It was February the thirteenth. This day was no different from many other days. It was a Wednesday which meant that Natalie had a lesson of double Geography that morning. Other than that there was nothing to set it apart form the other days of the week. In fact it wasn't the fact it was Wednesday that made the day special, or even the fact it was the thirteenth, though that should have been a sign in itself as to what she should expect. It was the fact that tomorrow would roll round yet another valentines day.

Natalie Pearson was in her seventh year now, which meant she had loved Daniel Ransom, her best friend with the messy brown hair and the most charming smile around, for three years come summer. Natalie hadn't been one of those girls that tried to deny her feelings. She wasn't that nonsensical. Her parents had raised her better than that. Instead she had lay in bed one stormy night some years ago, and after catching her breath from the rather vivid dream, had set about concluding what she should do in response to her discovery, that she was indeed madly in love with a friend.

The first obvious answer would be to confront him, and then he would say "Oh Natalie I have waited so long for this moment, take me Natalie, I am yours…" or something else equally satisfying to her imagination. Though of course she knew this would not be the case. Daniel Ransom was one of those roguish boys unaware of just how many girls were lusting after him, not to mention he was infatuated with some girl named Serra. In the end Natalie decided to wait until Daniel showed no romantic interest in anyone, and then she would confront him with her feelings.

Three years later that day still had not come. Natalie often wondered if boys had a different definition of love, because Daniel seemed to have an endless string of girls he dated. Not to imply he was a gigolo of course, though if he were Natalie would be sure to sample his services. It was just that Daniel had gone out with at least seven different girls over the time, and liked them for half the time that he wasn't going out with them. She began to wonder if there was some waiting queue of interest she could get on.

Still desperate times called for desperate measures. Daniel liked some girl at the moment with legs a mile high and blonde hair far straighter than hers. Still he was not going out with her, and with Valentines Day just tomorrow she knew she had to act. She was attending the prestigious boarding school in York and would be graduating in just a few months time. After that she would be attending a university down in Exeter, so she didn't expect to see many of her friends again. Daniel however would be joining the company his father owned, as a financial advisor.

If Natalie didn't make her move Daniel would never have chance to love her. She had poured over it all in her mind for the previous week, and whilst she hadn't bought him anything great she bought him something which says "I like you Daniel" (not literally) without infringing upon the boundaries of friendship to much. She had gotten him a watch, which lit up and was water proof. Boys liked that sort of thing.

Other than that she was making him a card, which is what she was currently occupied with. It was a long time since she had employed her skills in an artistic means and she was cursing herself as she looked now. Natalie didn't celebrate Valentines nearly as much as most girls did, and so she felt her attempts were somewhat inadequate. Especially with her home made card. It was a cream coloured card with a red heart cut and stuck on the front. She had also put some glitter on it. She debated whether boys liked glitter or not, but she always enjoyed rubbing it on her hands and she supposed such a childish activity would also tickle Daniel's fancy.

On the inside she had managed to make a crude pop up picture of their school, with Daniel, James and Natalie standing in front of it. James was a friend of both Daniels and Natalie, who they often hung out with together. The drawing was messy and uneven, and she hadn't wanted to put James in, though she had to in case it made her seem desperately in love with him. The most difficult part of the card however was what to put inside. She had even asked Sarah's advice on it, though she didn't say who it was too

"I think you should just write. "Marry me Daniel!" She said as she lay on her back swinging her feet against the wooden headboard at the end of her bed. Natalie considered this for a brief moment before she gathered her senses.

"And just what makes you think this is for Daniel?" She asked in a tone which was not entirely convincing. Sarah laughed at how stupid Natalie could be at times.

"Well if it wasn't obvious from the fact that you salivate when you stare at him…" She said as she blocked a pillow which Natalie had thrown at her "…Then the picture inside the card is a give away."

"You wouldn't send Professor Ploughman a card with a picture of you Daniel and James would you?" Sarah asked with a sly grin. "He might take it the wrong way and think your inviting him into some sort of sex party with the three of you." Natalie blushed at how disgusting such an innocent mind had become. "Therefore unless that card is for James, which I'm fairly certain it isn't then it must be for Daniel Ransom, Wooer of Women.

"Am I really that see through?" Natalie asked after a moment in which she bit her bottom lip, a habit she had when she though of a particularly troublesome problem.

"To all except those it concerns," Sarah said as she got off her bed and gave Natalie a friendly pat on the back. "Still at least you admit it now. The next step is to see what we can do about it."

The next morning Natalie awoke with an uncomfortable feeling in her stomach, at first she considered that it was probably something she had eaten last night, but as the morning rays of sun played across her face, she remembered what today was, and the commitment she had made to herself. Today she would give Daniel the Valentines card. If he didn't seem too freaked out by it then good. If he did seem like he was scared, then she could hastily add that it was just as a friend thing.

Whilst it was technically supposed to be a school day, there were no lessons for the students. The teachers had long since given up trying to teach on this day, as pieces of paper went flying from one side of the room to the other carrying secret declarations of love which everyone would read before folding it back up and whispering "Pssst, pass it on."

Natalie didn't know what they had planned for the day, she said they, meaning Daniel and James. Both of them being in a state of bachelorhood would probably wonder round for the day and try and find a partner. Daniel needn't look very far though. The weather was promising to be good today, which meant whilst it was still cold outside, with the sun shining it would feel a lot warmer than it was, and they could easily forget that they could see their breath outside.

The students were allowed to leave the school grounds today, though even if they weren't, the three of them could sneak in. On quiet a few weekends they snuck into the neighbouring town by dodging past the elderly man who signed people in and out. James and Daniel would buy sweets and gather the latest practical jokes from the shops. Natalie usually got more stationary, or a new novel when she went, though last time she had managed to excuse her self and pick up the watch she would give to Daniel.

Natalie pulled on her best trousers, which consisted of some dark jeans. She had had them for a long while but she never really got a chance to wear them with school uniforms all the time, and it was to hot during the summer. With this she wore a red sleeveless top, with a black cardigan over the top. Natalie being a prefect meant she had her own private room, though Sarah was in there often enough you would think she lived there to. It wasn't very large, and it didn't have its own bathroom meaning she either needed to use the one coming of the main girl's room, or the prefect's bathroom way over the other side of school.

Natalie glanced down at the clock on her bedside table. It was half past seven. She didn't want to be to late, just in case she missed anyone wanting to give her a card, though she didn't want to be to early and end up having to sit there forever whilst everyone but her got cards. Sarah knocked on the door just as Natalie was finishing her hair.

"Beautiful enough for Daniel yet?" She asked as Natalie played particular attention to her appearance today.

Firstly, I shall never be beautiful," Natalie said with a smile. "And secondly I don't think Daniel is that shallow that a little bit more make up and a change of clothes will make a difference," She said though she wondered just how true it was. Sarah gave a snigger.

"If you think that what clothes you wear wont matter to him then you walk in front of him with lacy underwear and see what he says. I bet he won't ask about homework."

Natalie turned her face away at this venereal comment, mostly to hide the blush as she imagined the scene in her head. Daniel would be tied down on satin bed sheets and she would stand over him with a whip. "I hear you like rubber…" Natalie shook her head as she cursed to herself for these thoughts. They scared her sometimes.

"So anyway let's get down to breakfast, I'm sure Adam has a card for you," Natalie said as she changed the subject, put the hairbrush down on the bedside table, and walked out of the room.

Natalie had already taken the watch and put it in the valentine's box so it could be delivered anonymously. Whilst she dared give him the card in person she thought the watch might suggest stronger feelings and make him think she was madly and passionately in love with him, which she was. He was only supposed to think it was a mild interest.

As they reached the great hall they looked round and Natalie's heart skipped a beat. Daniel was already at the table with James, both of them talking to each other about something or other. There were three cards in front of them and Natalie desperately hoped they were all for James. As Sarah and she approached Daniel spotted them and gestured to two empty seats. It was still a bit early and only about half the students were there. The remained would probably file in before eight fifteen though, because that was when the cards would be dealt out.

"How are you this morning?" He asked before she managed to sit down.

"Fine thanks and you? Cards already?" She asked with a pained grin as she took the seat opposite him.

"Well only two of them are for me," He replied as he tried to make it sound like not much. "The other one is for James. Mine was from some lower year girl and Claire from Drama… you know the one with the…

"Enormous chest?" Natalie volunteered, causing Daniel to blush.

"Well I was going to say something else but yeah that's the one," He laughed sheepishly as he ran a hand through his hair, something which charmed the pants of Natalie. She made a mental note, that no matter what happened, that at all costs Claire from Drama must be annihilated.

"I don't know why you say only two. The only other person who has two cards before the main lot have even been given out is that Anorexic girl who doesn't wear enough clothes," Sarah said hotly as she glanced over towards a girl who was surrounded by boys, most of them with their mouths open, and none of them meeting her eyes.

"Who's yours from James?" Natalie asked with a little relief as she realised Daniel hadn't got a card from the girl that he liked.

"Oh no one great." James said as he blushed. "Just from that annoying girl in the year below me…you know the one, who smells me when I walk past."

Everyone shuddered as they remembered James's slightly creepy amateur stalker. Natalie fidgeted with the card under the table for a few minutes deciding when she should give it to him. She didn't want to give it when James was around because he would make his usual smart ass comments and hit bang on the nail about the extent of her feelings.

Daniel sat watching her curiously as she seemed distracted from the conversation which had turned back to homework, something she usually loved to join in with.

"Are you all right Natalie?" Daniel asked as James spotted the girl that he liked and ran off to give her his card.

"What?" She asked as she looked up distractedly.

"I asked if you are alright," Daniel repeated as he began to wonder. Perhaps too much homework had finally cracked her. "Do you want a glass of water or anything?"

"I want your babies!" She thought loudly in her mind, before she mentally punched herself and tried to seem as normal as possible.

"You know me Daniel. I just don't like Valentines Day particularly. Its one of those lovely days in which we are reminded just how shallow boys are," Daniel looked slightly offended as she said this, and she immediately regretted it. The remainder of breakfast past in much the same manner, when the mass of anonymous cards had been handed out Daniel had nine cards all to himself, not including the one Natalie still held in her hands under the table. James and Sarah both had a couple each whilst Natalie sat at the table leaning as far forward as possible, so that it looked like some of Daniel's cards were actually hers, and wouldn't reveal just how much of a loner she was.

Daniel had even gotten a box of chocolates from one girl who seemed to immediately capture his heart. When he got the watch he seemed impressed, though nothing more. He said about how it was nice, and he put it on, but Natalie knew deep down inside that he preferred the chocolates. Her mother had often said the way to a man's heart was through his stomach, and whilst she could see that was true for James, she hadn't thought it was true for Daniel also. Now she thought maybe she was wrong.

The school bell rang and the students began to gather up their gifts and cards and make their way to the front door. They wouldn't be going to lessons, but into town. Natalie looked down at the card in her hands, and back at Daniel who was begging to stand up. She cursed to herself as before she could regret it she quickly said

"Daniel, here I got this for you."

She held it at arms length as though it were about to explode in her arms. She dared not look at Daniel's eyes for she didn't want to see the look of disgust in them. He didn't say anything at first, but lowered the bag off his shoulder and put it back on the bench. He them reached out and took the letter from her hands (which were begging to shake). It was in a red envelope and she had sprayed it with perfume. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now she hoped he couldn't smell it. Still she probably shouldn't have worried. Girls don't spend fifty pounds on a bottle of perfume with the delusion that a boy will notice.

"Oh ok," He said as he opened the envelope. It was the kind of classic envelope where you have to lick the edge to make it stick. Natalie stood thinking about how it was like indirectly kissing his fingers. Wonderfully nimble fingers for writing and touching…Bad Natalie! She scolded herself. He stared at the front of the card for a minute. It was rather plain and it didn't have any naughty jokes on it so he was probably only staring out of politeness, rather like when a grandparent sends a card with money in.

He opened it up and the pop up picture of her Daniel and James on the school ground popped up. She had drawn James as far away from them as feasibly possible without making it obviously so. She had also made it so Daniel hand was near hers in the picture, so that if it were to come to life they could hold hands just by reaching across a tiny bit.

"Wow…Thanks Natalie," Daniel said in an awkward manner. A moment of silence fell between them before Natalie interjected.

"It was just meant as a friend thing. Its just I haven't done the whole giving a card thing ever before and I wanted to send one, and I though that if I gave you one you would understand, without taking it as an invitation to sex." Daniel hastily nodded to show that was exactly what he thought it was, a friendship thing.

"Well it's still nice that you went to the effort for me. Still I'm afraid I didn't get you a card," He said as he sheepishly ran a hand through his dark locks of hair.

"Don't be silly Daniel," Natalie said with a smile. She was slightly disappointed that he hadn't even gotten a card for her. "I know you care anyway," She lied. Daniel beamed back at her with his irresistible smile which made it hard to be angry at him.

"You're the best friend I could ask for," He said as he gave her a pat on the back which made it hard to hold back the tears. She didn't know what to expect from him, but the way he said friend felt like a knife stabbing into her heart. As though the lack of love that he showed her was a betrayal to her heart. As though she had been cheated on by her own best friend, by the one she loved, who never had, and never would love her back.

Twenty minutes later the seventh years were assembled at the entrance to the school. Whilst it looked like it was sunny it turned out to be in fact quite brisk still, and so no one was in any mood to get going. They had the entire day to do as they pleased. They could leave as soon as professor Gates had come to sign them out, as long as they were back by dinner time, at which point they would sign in. However, being a good friend of Daniel's over the last two years that he had been teaching, professor Gates had told Daniel he was free to stay out as long as he liked, providing none of the other teachers saw him wondering in during the early hours of the morning.

"What's taking him so long?" James asked as he peered over the crowd of students.

"He probably had something important to attend to," Natalie replied, slightly more curtly than she would have had today not been such a depressing one. As if to prove her wrong, there was a murmur that rippled through the crowd and professor Gates appeared, slightly out of breath.

"Sorry about being late," He said as he ran to the front where he turned to face them all. "I forgot about things and then I couldn't find my coat, you know how it is…"

Gates was always one of the few teachers who could get away with acting as anything but one. "Now let's get on with this shall we. I have some shopping to do and I'm sure you all have remote parts of town to run off to where you can take off half your clothes and kiss," Several people laughed and Natalie cursed the fact she wasn't one of those people. Not that she was a pervert or anything (obviously girls couldn't be) but if Daniel had pushed her up in a remote corner and taken his top off, then it would only be fair to do the same.

"You sure you want to come with me and James?" Daniel asked as they started walking down the slope towards town. Natalie considered this for a moment. She often had fantasies, though James was never in them. She mentally hit herself.

"Well it beats sitting round on my own," She said with a slight note of worry in her voice. "Why you afraid I'm going to scare off any potential mates," She asked in a boyish tone to hide her worries. James was tempted to say yes.

"No, I like to think I'm not that shallow." Daniel said as he tightened up his coat. "I just worried it would be the same for you."

"What you mean someone would want to ask me out?" Natalie said as she rolled her eyes. Daniel looked at the ground.

"Well yeah, it could happen. You're not entirely ugly after all. It's just with a couple of strapping muscular men such as ourselves…" He said as him and James exchanged one of those boyish rituals in which they elbowed each other as a means of reassuring there heterosexual prowess. Natalie rolled her eyes and continued.

As they came into town some fifteen minutes later there were already quiet a few people there. Many of the students had run down ahead, whilst there were a great number of non-students as well, partly due to the fact that unless you fancied having your wife upset all day, then a restaurant was the only place to go for lunch

"Shall we go to the sweet shop first? Daniel asked as they neared their favourite store. Natalie readily nodded. Perhaps all the romantically wrapped chocolates would inspire him to propose, or at the very least buy her something.

As they walked into the shop they were hit by a blast of hot sweet smelling air. It was sickly for the first few seconds until the senses adjusted to the assault they were receiving on all fronts. The shop which normally sold all sorts of sweet items seemed to have shifted more towards the expensive chocolate range. There were lots of tradition red heart shaped boxes containing chocolates probably worth a fraction of the price. They also had a selection of chocolates you could buy individually, and have wrapped in a rather fancy manner of plastics ribbons and sparkly bits.

The shop itself was busy with people, most of whom were middle aged men who had forgotten what date it was, and were now out on emergency missions to try and please their wife. James father Graham, was one of them.

"Ahh son!" He said as his eyes lit up. "Tell me your mother does know it's Valentines Day doesn't she?"

"Yes…" James replied as he wondered where this was going.

"Mmm I thought as much, that's probably why she was crying this morning when she was cooking breakfast."

"Do you not remember last year when you bought her a stuffed toy of a decomposing corpse?" James asked in exasperation.

"I bought that for Halloween didn't I?" Graham asked as he paled slightly.

"You thought that was what it was when you went to the shop last year. I remember you came home complaining about how there was nothing suitable for sale."

"Oh I see… Anyway good news is I didn't do that this year. Bad news is I didn't do anything. Does your mother like dark chocolate?" He asked as he pressed his face up to the glass counter peering at the range of confectionary.

Twenty minutes later they left the shop, having each spent a little money. Graham was no longer with them, something they were all thankful for. James and Daniel had both bought boxes of chocolates which they stowed away in their bag.

"You see if you are going to buy chocolates for every girl you think may get something for you then you're going to end up spending all your money," James explained to them. "Where as this way, if you keep a box on hand, that way you can wait till the girl gives you something, before giving her something. That way you don't waste money on the cheap ass…" He said before Natalie began to stop listening.

"Oh my god it's her," James said as he spotted a single girl amongst a crowd. Daniel looked all round for the one in particular that James was talking about, but to eyes not clouded by love it was difficult to spot the individual. "I'm going to go give her the card I got. I was going to give it to her this morning but there were all these boys around and my card looks lame compared to theirs." Before either of them could say a word he had dashed off, slipping on the path and falling over, before hastily pulling himself to his feet and covering the remaining distance.

They watched as he reached into his bag and pulled out the card and passed it to the girl. They were out of earshot and so Natalie and Daniel were left following the conversation though gestures and facial expressions.

"Is it going well do you think?" Natalie asked as the girl frowned. There were a lot of people walking backwards and forwards and so they kept blocking the view.

"I don't know but I think…" Daniel said before he fell into silence. As a fat man moved across the path and the vision reappeared the girl was kissing James.

"Well I guess it did go alright for him after all," Daniel said in mild amusement. James stopped kissing the girl, and spoke to her for a minute. He then looked at Daniel and in a series of gestures Natalie was unable to interpret, passed a message to Daniel. He finished off by miming a yawn.

"He says he is going to spend the rest of the day with her, and won't be back until late tonight," Daniel said as he turned to Natalie. "I guess that means it will be just us two from now on, if you want to that is. You know someone people will probably get confused and think we are on a date. Do you think you could bare that?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh I suppose I could bear that." Natalie said as she tried to act like it wouldn't be the secret lust filled fantasy of hers.

The two of them walked through the streets with no particular purpose. Although they had the whole day to spend they didn't really have that much that they wanted to buy. The last visit hadn't been that long ago and so Daniel didn't need to stock up on any thing from the joke shop.

"I guess I could get some more pens," He said as they approached a school supplies shop. "I do still have some but I guess with exams coming up in a few months time it will be good to have some spares in case they break."

Natalie simply nodded and they made their way inside. It was quiet in here compared to the busy street outside, probably due to the fact that there was nothing romantic about pens and rulers.

Natalie walked a little way away and looked at some inks. They had various different colours, including a deep blue one which reminded her of Daniel's eyes, those things she spent so long staring into.

Daniel picked up a few new pens. They were an unusual type, but he always bought them because he said he preferred the stroke he could get out of them. Natalie smiled as he explained this. It was endearing. He glanced down at his watch which he wore round his wrist. Natalie was pleased to see him using it rather than the large clock on the wall. He glanced up at her and she quickly diverted her gaze.

"It's too early to get anything to eat. Is there anything else you would like to look at first, or would you like to go and get a drink?"

"Well there isn't really anything I need to get… Besides I'm meant to be saving for my holiday this year. I suppose we could always go and watch that street performance that is on. I saw one last year and it was quiet good. I don't mind if you don't want to though," She added. "After all it is a bit chilly outside and you probably don't want to be standing round do you?"

"Well I have never seen one, but if you think its good and you want to see it I don't see why not. After all what are friends for?" He asked as he smiled and opened the door for her.

"For dating…" She muttered to herself as she stepped outside. The street performance was mostly like a play, though it had a few differences. Firstly there were no stage and no props that weren't real. Secondly there was no announcement that it was about to start, or who the actors were, so basically people gathered in a crowd at the point and time, and then people who seemed no different than any others would start talking or behaving in a manner which seemed rather believable, so that you could easily be fooled into thinking it wasn't a play at all.

She heard somewhere that it was based on an old kind of theatre from the renaissance period but she didn't really care for that. As long as she went with Daniel then she could partly fool herself into thinking it was a date. The street play was scheduled to start in about fifteen minutes near the far outskirts of the village. It was a ten minute walk through the busy streets, and when they finally got there, there was already a crowd assembled. There was a large circle which had been drawn on the ground with chalk, to mark where the play would take place.

Many people were standing inside the circle, for this was permitted, the only down side was that if you did stand there you may well find yourself involved in a play that you only wanted to watch.

"Wow its awfully busy do you think it's started yet?" Natalie asked as she tried to see over the mass of the crowd. "What do you see Daniel? Tell me, I'm only little."

"I can't see anything myself, we are going to have to get nearer the front," He replied as he pushed through the throng of people leaving a closing path behind him that Natalie quickly darted down.

They stopped as they reached the front, only to find themselves some way inside the circle.

"Oh we are going to have to go back a bit," Daniel mumbled as became panicked.

"Don't be such a big baby," She said as she shoved him the rest of the way forwards. They were standing inside a large circle, probably measuring about one hundred feet across. There must have been two or three dozen people inside the circle, though it was impossible to see where exactly the line was on the far side.

"Ok as long as we stay near the edge though we should be good. Generally the closer you are to the middle the more likely they are to choose you. Isn't that right?" He asked as he looked down at her. She was only half listening as she looked round at all the people. There were only a few minutes to go so the actors were probably already there, though it was impossible to tell.

She spotted James some way to their right, about a third of the way round the circle from them. She made no effort to point him out to Daniel in case he wanted to join James again.

She waved to him, though he didn't see her. He still had the girl from earlier next to him, and he was talking to a man some years older than himself. At first Natalie thought it was Mr Weasley, but as the man turned slightly and his hat slipped on his head she saw it wasn't. She didn't recognise the man, nor did she know how James knew him.

She was about to ask Daniel what he thought, but the stranger cast her a quick glance, so fast as to almost be missed, before turning his attention back to James, talking for a moment more, and finally disappearing into the crowd.

"It should start now." Daniel said as he looked once more at his watch. As though on cue to what he said there was a small murmuring that went through the crowd, as though something was beginning. Everyone looked round at each other hoping to spot the beginning, though no one seemed to have any luck. None except Natalie.

"God damn stop pushing me will you?" A man called as he stumbled into the circle, a larger more aggressive man walking in after him.

"Well maybe I wouldn't have to push you if you had some manners. Trying to take my wife…" the larger man yelled back. Many people backed away from them, for none of them fancied getting in a fight.

"I did no such thing!" The smaller man answered as he raised his hands in defence." They continued arguing for a few minutes as several people watched, whilst many others continued waiting for the actors to arrive.

However the argument did not die down, and it actually took a violent turn. The larger man began pushing the smaller man, who seemed hesitant to stand up for himself. Instead he was getting backed into the centre of the circle, where he tripped over his own feet, and fell onto his back. The larger man reached down and pulled the other man up by the collar of his shirt.

"If you think its so funny trying to take my wife from me then maybe you should be pushed around a bit to!" He said as he lifted the man up as high as he could, so the smaller man's feet were waving some feet above the air.

Then in a sudden movement which caused several people to gasp, he threw the man down onto the ground so hard that there was a loud crack sound. The smaller man lay still for a moment, unconscious or worse, as everyone looked on.

Several seconds past before he gave a groan, rolled over and coughed up some blood.

"Someone call the doctor cried!" Someone from the crowd. The large man looked satisfied as he looked down at the other man writing in pain. He knelt down and whispered something that they couldn't hear, which seemed to be offensive by the facial expression that could be seen from the small man.

There was a silence that followed as people stood round watching what to do. Someone had run off to fetch the doctor, but until then, the man was in serious danger. Daniel clenched his fist tightly as he looked on.

"We have to help Natalie!" He said as he went to make a move forward. Natalie tried to hold him back but he brushed her off.

"Are you alright?" He asked as he knelt down besides the injured man. "What's your name?" He asked.

"I'm Albert…" He replied weakly as he gave another cough and spat up more blood next to Daniel's feet. "And you are Daniel Ransom, won't you help me?" Daniel wondered briefly how he was known.

"He won't help you if he knows what's good for you?" The large man replied as he squinted at Daniel with a look of disgust.

"I don't know what he has done to you," Daniel said as he gestured to Albert. "But whatever it is there is no excuse for your behaviour. I don't want to make a fight here, so if you leave then I think that will be the best."

"And if I don't leave?" Asked the man as he lent over Daniel and gave a breath of putrid vodka smelling air.

"Then prepare for a fight," Daniel said as he stared the man in the face and braced himself.

"A fight it is then, though not today. Men fight hand to hand. Still since you're but a boy I shall give you a chance. I will give you three days to prepare, and if you should still wish to take a beating then meet me here then." He said as he gave a spitting gesture and marched off. Daniel was about to turn his attention back to Albert, when a young woman, hardly older than Natalie ran up to him.

"Thank you brave sir for saving my brother from that fearsome brute. May I in some way repay you for your kind deed?"

"Um no that's ok." Daniel said sheepishly as he scratched his head. There were still an awful lot of people watching.

"Please my sir there must be something. I know I am not the most beautiful woman in the land but perhaps I could reward you with some physical pleasure?" She said as she ran a hand down his chest. His eyes widened in fright as he backed away from her. His eyes looked round at the people in the crowd, many of whom were chuckling lightly. He then turned to Natalie who was shaking her head in disbelief.

"You're in the play!" She mouthed to him, causing him to relax a bit, before realising if possible he were now in an even worse situation.

After a moment in which he composed himself as best he could he returned to her expectant gaze.

"To take pay for a favour would be to put a price on the deed done and the values for which it stood." He replied in a fluent tongue which matched the manner in which she spoke.

"Such wise words spoken from thy lips. Indeed such a noble heart have you that I flush in embarrassment as to have offered you my body."

There was a groan from Albert as he pulled himself to his feet. He had some blood on his chin which he wiped off with the back of his hand.

"Noble man who doest save me and earn a place in mine family and mine heart. Doest they know the nature of the danger in which you have placed yourself?" He asked as he put a hand on his knee for support. They were indeed great actors.

"I no not the danger, nor the fear that I should. Tell me what is it that I should have to fear. Could not the man with whom you fought simply be taken by a sword?"

"Oh no no!" The woman answered as she shook her head.

"Whilst you could draw his blood and spill his guts, it would only beseech a more dreadful danger upon thee. The man with whom my dearest brother Albert fought, was the cousin of the king Gerrard who doest rule these lands with an iron fist. He came to fetch me for King Gerrard doest wish to take me to his bed.

"You see the one thing king Gerrard wants above all others is not gold or power, for he has both of those, but a son to whom he may pass it one day. You see he doest take every woman of age to bed, though none of them will fall pregnant. He blames them when he needs look no further than the mirror. There are only two ladies left in the kingdom to whom he has not wed himself, myself being one, and the other being the daughter of the noble lord Fialfa," She said as she gestured to a woman who walked though the crowd.

The new person to enter was wearing old fashioned style clothes. Harry guessed now that it was obviously a play, it would become clearer through costumes and wording. She had long flowing hair which blew in the wind. She was average in height, about five foot five at most, though she was no less beautiful for this. She wore a dress which accentuate her figure and made Daniel stare a little more than he normally would. He had to suppress a small smile at this, for he knew that in some whole way it had been planned, though he didn't understand her true motives.

She had done it masterly though, she thought to herself as she entered the area. Natalie had rushed off round the back of the crowd shortly after the large man had left, and explained to him what she wanted. He had led her over to where the other actors were hidden, and had her dressed up as the fair princess. If Daniel did not notice her before then he would have to now. After all Natalie had breasts too!

The play was going better than Natalie had hoped. She got a few of her lines muddled up, although since the actors seemed to be making it up as they went along, there was no harm in this.

"But what of the dragon?" She could say, and a few moments later two people would come along dressed as a dragon. Daniel however got nothing wrong it seemed. She marvelled at his acting skills, though her opinion was a little biased, given the whole love issue and everything.

Natalie was trying to steer the play into a direction where she was the damsel in distress and Daniel would need to rescue her. The other actors seemed more than happy to go in this direction, as few audiences liked anything better than a love story. Natalie of course was not shallow enough to believe that it meant Daniel would actually like her, should anything happen (and she desperately hoped it would). It was merely a fact that boys have simple minds and often struggle with the concept that reality and fiction aren't the same. If she could make his character love hers then he might just start loving her…

The crowd seemed larger than it had before, though this was half due to the fact that it was now staring at them intently. Hundreds of pairs of eyes upon you could make you gulp.

"Step aside for I mean you no harm. Stand your place however and I shall cut you down." Daniel yelled as he pointed a sword at a fat bald man who was blocking their imaginary path up to the great castle of the evil lord. It wasn't a real sword, though it still looked sharp enough to cut.

Natalie watched on in awe as Daniel engaged in a stage battle with the bald man. At first the man had been going easy on Daniel, though still trying to make it look convincing. A moment into it however as Daniel slapped the flat of his sword across the man's backside he realised he was not dealing with the usual student. After all in his free time Daniel was a regular practitioner of fencing, as well as, sharp shooting and gun slinging.

Half an hour later and Natalie had been kidnapped by evil henchmen whilst Daniel engaged in fierce battle. She didn't mind this, as she would hopefully get to hug him when he rescued her. Also hopefully more, though she didn't want to be disappointed. She was a little bit put out that he didn't put up more of a battle to rescue her. He only pretended to kill one man before turning to his companions and declaring they needed to regroup.

The play went on smoothly, with only an occasional fault in the story which was only found after a careful examination. Finally after another fifteen minutes it was coming to a close. Daniel and his companions had stormed the castle, set free the abducted girls and women, and all that was left now was to kill king Gerrard, and untie her from his bed where she was held. It was an exciting battle; as good as from any movie she could remember seeing (she had never watched terminator). They both fought, moving backwards and forwards in turn as the other one pushed on.

Daniel looked like he was about to end the battle as his blows quickened, each one striking with precision causing his foes to wobble in his hand, or go pointing in completely the wrong direction. As he was about to drive his stage sword though the king, Gerrard reached to his belt and pulled out a knife which he thrust up, missing his body but slashing Daniel's arm, causing him to drop his sword.

Daniel's arm bled profusely, as he clasped onto it with his other hand, squashing the fake blood pack he had been given earlier. He ended the battle however, as he lay on the floor in certain fake death, when he managed to swing his leg round and knock the king onto his back, before quickly springing up himself, and brandishing the remnants of a wooden coat rack.

"It's time to say goodnight," Daniel said as he raised the pointed stick straight above him, and drove it into the man's body like an enormous spike. Many people gasped at this for they did not realise it was cleverly done with padded clothing and trick of angle.

"I have done it," Daniel called as he turned to Natalie who in actual fact was lying on nothing more than two wooden boxes with a blanket on. "For my strength and my courage I owe but my love, for it was that which caused me to fight true and strong. You are safe once again, my darling, my sweetest." Daniel said as he mimed undoing the ropes.

Natalie's heart fluttered as Daniel was poised over her. He was straddling her, with his knees either side of her hips. She hoped it would be something like this one day, though without the uncomfortable boxes and the clothes and the two hundred odd people watching. She readied her lips for if Daniel was to truly play the part of the noble knight then he would have to kiss her now. He looked like he was contemplating it, and Natalie tried to give her most neutral look possible, neither to dissuade him, or make it seem like she wanted it.

She was so tempted to reach out and pull him down onto her, but even the slightest movement in that direction would have been a fatal mistake on her part. Daniel looked at her questioningly, as members of the crowd shouted what to do.

"Kiss her." A woman yelled.

"And some tongue." A voice yelled, that sounded a little bit like James.

"Take her clothes off…" Shouted one man who was getting a little carried away.

Natalie gave the smallest of shrugs.

Daniel hesitated for a minute before slowly lowering his head. Natalie could feel the blood rising in her body as her face flushed from embarrassment and excitement, anticipation and impatience. Daniel's sword was digging into her, but she didn't mind, she wanted that to always be the case, she decided, though she would never admit it to anyone other than herself.

Daniel's face was just inches form hers and she could smell his breath. It was warm, yet cool and minty at the same time. It caused the hairs on the back of her neck to rise, and she hoped Daniel couldn't see the goose bumps he had brought about on her arms and her chest. Natalie stared back into his eyes, emerald green and shimmering in wonder, as he looked into hers, full of undistinguishable lust. He lowered his head just a few inches towards her, as she raised her head forward a little, Her lips were slightly parted, as were his, both so close to each others they could touch with the slightest of movements.

A moments silence passed between them, as in some far off part of the world their tumbleweed blew by.

"Gee this is awkward isn't it?" Daniel said with a small laugh as he moved his head slightly to the side. Natalie tried to turn her head, to catch his lips, but he moved to quickly, and instead he kissed her cheek. Natalie's cheek burned under his touch, before he quickly withdrew. To the crowd it looked as though they had kissed, at least gently, and there was cheering all around.

Natalie had to hold back a sob as all her hopes were dashed to pieces. The moment was over and his face was now moving away from hers. It was in this moment of extreme emotions that Natalie did something utterly stupid and totally permanent. Daniel was about to climb off of her, already he was turning his head away. It was at this point that she raised her head forwards, opened her mouth, and licked his face.

Daniel froze at this strange sensation, as it took him a moment to try and comprehend what had happened. Finally when his brain caught up with him and found the answer, it tried to deny such a thing, such a taboo act, between friends. Natalie on the other hand was thinking just as fast. She cursed herself afterwards, and if there was a gun in her hand she could think of at least one person she would willingly shoot.

"Think of something fast," She thought to herself as the fractions of seconds seemed to drag on like days under a blistering desert sun. Natalie decided that the best thing she could do for now at least, and also to risk a repeat performance, was to get out of the close proximity. She raised her leg and whacked her knee straight into Daniel's groin, causing him to freeze further before falling sideways and onto the floor.

By this point thankfully the actors had come together and were bowing, and so little attention was on the two friends. Daniel was unaware of anything however, as he lay on the floor clasping himself in agony. It was dying except it didn't end. This was a pain so great he doubted he would ever have children.

"Are you alright?" Natalie asked after a minute in which she composed herself as best she could and looked down into his eyes, which stared back confusedly.

"What the hell are you doing Natalie?" He panted as he heaved himself to his feet. Natalie decided to play innocent, for it came naturally to girls.

"What do you mean?"

"What do I mean?" Daniel spluttered as he waved his hands in indignation. "You licked my face and then whack me in my sensitive places!"

"Oh I'm sorry I didn't mean to do that." Natalie said caringly as she held out her hand to support him in case he succumbed to the equally crippling after pain. "I was just trying to get up form where I was. I felt a bit awkward and everything and I didn't want Rita Skeeter or anyone getting a picture of you on top of me like that. I must have accidentally brushed my lips against your face or something. I think I did but I didn't want to make a fuss about it. As for the other bit… I'm sorry about it… do you think you will be ok?"

Daniel didn't seem entirely convinced of this explanation, partly due to the fact that there had been a few seconds pause in between the two incidents. However Daniel seemed to accept it as he gave a sigh and straightened himself up.

"Yeah I will be fine… I hope." He said as he dusted himself off. Before they could say anything more the leader of the actors came over, who was the one who had played Albert.

"That was a great performance you two did there. We hardly had to work around it at all," He complimented as he gave them a hearty pat on the back. "Normally we end up with a couple of duffers who mess everything up, but you two did really well. If you ever want to consider a career in the acting business then give me a cool," He said as he flashed a grin and flicked out a business card.

"Since your students I'm afraid I can't give you any of the profits we took." He continued as he jingled a hat that was full of contributions of coins and a few notes. "Still, I know it's not much but I would feel a lot better if you accepted it," He said as he passed the hat to one of his friends and began rummaging in his pocket. He muttered to himself for a minute or two whilst doing this, before drawing out two small tickets.

"I had reservations at my brother's restaurant later tonight, but I'm sure you will make better use of them than I will." He said.

Daniel hesitated for a moment before accepting them.

"Are you sure? We were pleased just to help." Daniel said modestly.

"No go on I can get tickets anytime. Besides I don't know what you had planned for the young lady but she deserves to be taken out, after all, it is Valentines day."

Before they could say anything else the man had turned on his hell and walked of, where an assistant was ready to remove his carefully applied makeup. Natalie and him exchanged a look before glancing at the tickets. They were for a restaurant which had opened sometime last year. It was very nice; according to the few people Daniel knew who were lucky enough to get reservations. It was booked up several months in advance, or so Daniel had been told. He pocketed the tickets before turning to Natalie.

"Mmm I don't know about going to that," He said causing Natalie to sulk inwardly. "We will have to see about it. For now let's just get a drink and something to eat shall we?" He asked as they walked out of the chalk square, into the main town once again, with Natalie leading and Daniel hobbling slightly behind.

They went into the Three Hoops, to Natalie's disappointment. She had been hoping, though not expecting, that they would go to somewhere a little more romantic. Maybe one of those places where they gave you all the pretty bits on the drink with umbrellas and whipped cream and cherries and stuff. Still she pushed this aside and concentrated more on the fact. She was with Daniel, and being in his company was pleasure enough for her, at least for now.

There were a few decorations put up to make it look nice, though it wasn't really romantic yet. As Natalie sat at the usual table by the window it started to rain outside. She watched the droplets run down the pain of glass, and felt glad for the warm fire next to them with the crackling logs. Daniel returned a moment later carrying his things, and a piece of carrot cake and a hot chocolate for her.

It had cream on it, and was sprinkled with chocolate; there were also lots of chocolate hearts round of the saucer on which it stood. She hadn't given him any money, and as he took a drink of his bitter coffee he made no move to ask her for any. She smiled to herself as she sipped some of her drink. It may have been far from it in his eyes, but in her opinion he had just bought her a drink and a cake. It was a nice gesture and showed that he cared, if only a little.

They didn't speak much, which made Natalie a little bit uncomfortable, she didn't meet his gaze when he looked at her, though when he glanced out of the widow to the street outside, she would stare at him and savour it. She finished her drink and turned her attention to her carrot cake. Daniel didn't have anything to eat himself and she felt a little guilty.

"Would you like some?" She asked as she made to cut half off for him. He glanced at her distractedly, having being pulled from his concentration on something else.

"No thanks Natalie, I don't eat very much," He said truthfully. Ever since his mother had passed away three years ago he hardly seemed to eat at all. It wasn't that it was a problem, that he was starving himself for some reason, it was merely a case of something that had changed in him.

"So what would you like to do after this?" Natalie asked him as she bit into the cake. It was delicious and creamy and she knew she would enjoy watching Daniel eat it. Maybe he could get a little bit of icing on his lip and she could wipe it off…with her tongue! She scolded herself once again.

"I think I might just head back to the castle if you don't mind. I have some Maths I'm falling behind on. You don't mind do you?"

Natalie bit her lip mainly to stop herself shouting at him. Of course she minded. She was here on a sort of date on Valentines Day with the man of her dreams. How dare he abandon her for homework, especially Maths, it was easy!

"No you know me." She lied. "I don't mind. Besides it's not like we are on a date or anything." She said as she tried to keep her tone light and her eyes dry.

"You sure?" He asked as he looked at her curiously. She could feel herself giving into her emotions, being a stupid pathetic girl. A tear broke from her hold and rolled down her cheek. She was looking down at her empty plate so she hoped Daniel couldn't see.

"Just go," She told him angrily. She didn't want him to see her crying, to see her upset over something, and see her being weak. She had always tried to be strong for Daniel, but it was so tough when she was constantly being disappointed.

Daniel hesitated for a moment as he stared at Natalie worryingly. He couldn't see her face for her hair hung down obscuring her features. He had a slight hunch though, perhaps due to a sixth sense of some sort, that Natalie wasn't quiet as happy as usual. He wasn't sure about girl stuff, so he decided he had best leave as she said so. It wasn't a good idea to defy a girl, especially one called Natalie.

Daniel got up from his chair, pulled his coat on and bid her farewell.

"I will see you back at the castle later," He said.

"Ok she responded as she continued staring at her plate, hoping the tear wouldn't fall from her cheek. As Daniel turned and walked to the door Natalie very quickly wiped it away and dabbed her eyes, and as Daniel walked past the window, she smiled and waved him goodbye, making him doubt his sixth sense powers after all.

Back at the castle Natalie sat in her private prefect bedroom crying. She had been hoping to catch up with Daniel, and maybe he would let her help with the homework. Just being in close proximity had its pleasures. He must have walked quickly for she left to return back to school only a few minutes after he did, and she didn't see him at all up the slope.

"Well what did you expect?" Sarah asked as she sat on Natalie's bed, giving comfort.

"If there is one thing I know it is that boys are stupid. They don't have a clue about girl's feelings. If you want Daniel to know that you like him then you will most probably have to tell him in actual words.

"But I'm not sure if I do want him to know…" Natalie conceded as she played with a bouncy ball from her pocket. "What I want to know is if he likes me or not. That way if he doesn't I don't have to have said it, and have ruined the friendship.

"Well that's a pity because he isn't going to tell you, boys don't," Sarah said wisely. "He might invite you for sex though…" She muttered under her breath as she rolled her eyes. Natalie considered for a moment before deciding she would happily settle for that even.

"So you think I should tell him then?" Natalie asked as she turned to face her friend. "And risk the friendship between him and me?"

"It's already at risk!" Sarah said in dismay. For the brightest girl in Hogwarts Natalie could certainly be a little dim at times.

"Look, you're sad Natalie, so obviously this friendship isn't that great as it is. "I know you well enough, that you could never just be with Daniel, you could never just be a friend, watching from afar, never speaking your true intentions and never showing your true face. It has been working away at you for all these years, and I know that if you don't tell him soon then something bad will happen…"

"I will die?" Natalie hazarded. Sarah gave a small laugh.

"No! Of course you won't die. What will happen is, you will be all depressed and lonely and one day when you are sitting doing homework you will probably end up trying to hump him or something."

"I would not!" Natalie said with wide eyed shock. Sarah was always so lewd about things… "Ok I might do a little bit, but it wouldn't be that bad would it, I expect it would be quiet nice." Natalie said with a straight face before they both burst out laughing.

Twenty minutes later after the Daniel conversation had died down, and Natalie had made herself appear suitable for presentation, they both agreed to go down for lunch. It had started half an hour ago but there was no rush, they always had more than enough time to eat. They made their way down to the hall, and as Natalie spotted that Daniel was sitting on one of the long benches alone, Sarah parted from her and gave Natalie a shove in the direction. Sarah went to sit with some of her fellow lower years, whilst Natalie took one of the many vacant seats next to Daniel.

"How did your homework go?" Natalie asked as he paused from his eating. Daniel looked confused for a moment before he realised that had been his excuse to leave her earlier.

"I'm caught up now," He smiled. "Just that English coursework that we were set… Still it didn't take long."

"I thought you were doing Maths…" She said slightly unsurely. Daniel hesitated before finally replying.

"I don't think I did say Maths. I could have by accident but it was definitely English," Natalie simply gave a shrug and decided not to push the subject.

They didn't talk much during lunch. Natalie was busy watching a few of the slower students giving out cards still. There were those who had slept in late, or those who were returning cards that they had hastily whipped together during lessons whilst the teachers weren't watching. One boy looked petrified as a young girl had paid a fat boy ten pounds to do a singing tap dance, which rather than tap dancing sounded like a rumbling pneumatic drill.

"Just tell him," Natalie scolded herself as she stared at him, eating in that manner of his, that undefineable quality about his eating that made her think of…sex! "It won't happen if you don't ask him out." She added hastily, as she tried to draw her mind away form such a titillating topic. "Unless I rape him!" She thought slyly. She gave a quick glance to try and estimate Daniel's strength. "No, that wouldn't work." She concluded. Daniel had managed to win a fair few fights in his time. He could most surely fend off a hormone crazy friend.

"I don't know what to do this afternoon," Natalie said in the end, as she gave into her nerves. Still at least if Daniel knew she was free he could suggest a romp in the hay or something.

"You could always revise," Daniel responded offhandedly without even looking at her. "After all we have got exams in next month." Natalie sulked as she pushed some peas around on her plate. Perhaps she would have to be more obvious.

"I was hoping someone would ask me to do something tonight, since I most probably would have said yes. Still, I guess sitting in the common room won't be bad."

"Yeah, you could always have a rematch at chess against Sarah, she beat you last time didn't she," He said with a stupid smile which made her want to punch him in the face before kissing it better. She cast her mind back to Sarah's bit of advice, and in the end she decided she was going to have to be as blunt as possible, since it was a well known fact that boys are stupid. Since she choked every time she tried to ask Daniel out she would just have to do something slightly different.

"I'm wearing red underwear…" She said as casually as she could, this time causing Daniel to choke on his food. She smiled inwardly as he gasped for breath. Eventually he managed to swallow his food, and with a large gulp stared anywhere but at Natalie.

"Wow." He said shakily. He didn't need to be told about Natalie's underwear. Friends shouldn't know about that sort of thing. "That would be nice for a boyfriend. I bet you wish you had one."

"You have no idea," She muttered savagely.

As the rather long and awkward lunch finished all the students filed out of the great hall to go about their business. Daniel and Natalie stayed where they were a while longer both of them talking about plans for during the summer holidays, before Daniel started his job. No other students were present, and as Natalie sat and listened to Daniel talk about something with such enthusiasm she found it difficult to resist the urge to kiss him. Not that this was a ground breaking discovery…

Finally after the conversation died down a little Daniel sat in silence for a moment, looking distracted.

"Is there some place you would rather be?" Natalie asked as she raised an eyebrow. She would kill him if he said yes… Then she could kiss him afterwards, she thought gleefully.

"No." he said as he shook his head. "It's just that we have Drama tomorrow and I can't figure out why but my script isn't acting out right. I tried it every way but it always sounds wrong."

"I thought James managed to help you with that?" Natalie asked. "Two days ago wasn't it?" Daniel shook his head.

"Well James tried but he isn't nearly as good a teacher as you. I don't suppose I could borrow your note book on script construction to see what I'm doing wrong could I? I might have written something down wrongly.

"Yeah ok, it's in my room," Natalie said as the both shouldered their bags.

She was glad that she had tidied her room earlier, just in case Daniel did come up. Of course this was a slightly different situation than what she had hoped. There would be no ecstasy of fumbling as they ripped each others clothes off for a start. The common room was empty apart from a few elder students who had no person to be with today, and those who did but said something stupid." Natalie's room was leading off the staircase at the very far end, where only she went.

Natalie climbed the staircase which spiralled round, with Daniel hesitating at the bottom for a minute.

"Hurry up Daniel," Natalie teased as she ran up the last few steps.

"Yeah yeah I'm coming," He said with a sigh. Natalie gave a snort and thought to herself "I wish."

She got to the top of the stairs, and Daniel came up behind her just as she opened the door. Her bedroom was as she had left it at first glance, but as she made her way to the end of the bed where she kept her books, she noticed something that hadn't been there before. There was a small package that sat neatly on the middle of her bed. She stared at it curiously for a moment as she picked it up. There were some daffodils on top which she smelt before placing to the side. The package was wrapped up in blue paper, rather messily.

There was a letter underneath it that for now went unnoticed, as she hesitated for a moment before unwrapping it.

"I wonder who got it for you." Daniel said as he peered out of the window innocently. As the paper fell away Natalie gave a loud gasp.

"Daniel… Wow!" Natalie said as she speechless for a moment. "Did you get this for me?" She asked as she placed down the photo album he had made, full of lots of pictures they had taken over the years, and some he had taken that she didn't know about."

"Um no?" Daniel tried as he blushed deep red and backed away from her.

"Yes you did Daniel," She said with a smile gracing her face and brightening the whole room. "You're the only person besides Sarah who has a key to my room…. Oh thank you Daniel," she said as she pulled him into a deep hug. She hid her face against his cloak so that he wouldn't see the tears forming in her eyes. She tried to control her emotions and stop making illogical conclusions. Daniel probably just felt pressurised to make it since she had gotten him a card.

"When did you do this?" She asked as her tears had finally subsided enough.

"Um, well I had the photos and the album lying around but I knocked it together earlier, I was intending to give it to you before we left school anyway, so you would remember all the fun times but I decided today was a good day. As for the flowers that was when we got back from town. I'm afraid they aren't roses or anything because these are the only ones I could find growing around that weren't stinging nettles," He mumbled as he backed away from her.

"You shouldn't have got me this Daniel," Natalie said after a moment. "It must have taken you ages and I didn't get you a present." She sighed. She didn't feel like confessing that she had bought him the watch he was now sporting on his wrist.

"It's just a couple of pictures, and you did get me something. Even if you didn't say it was from you the only person who could get me a present this nice is you," He said as he gave his arm a waggle, displaying the shining face of the watch.

There was an uncomfortable silence that fell between them as they both tried to think of what to say next. Natalie felt perhaps now would be a good time to confess her love, for it did seem to be a rather intimate moment. However as she was battling with herself over doing so, Daniel spoke up.

"There's a letter as well," He gestured to it sitting on the bed. It didn't look any different from the normal letter she would get from the bank or her parents, but still Natalie's heart raced as she tore it open.

"I felt really guilty about not treating you better today," He began to explain. "I know you had probably hoped for something more fun, or to be able to spend the day with someone you love and care about, and I just wanted to say I'm sorry for making it boring," Natalie thought she would start crying again as she looked at Daniel lovingly. At one minute he could be so dim, and yet the next he could make her melt before him.

She sat down and looked at the letter, and was surprised to see it was actually a poem. It was neatly written, with a large scrolling style that suggested he had perhaps taken penmanship lessons, or at the very least taken his time whilst writing it. It wasn't the greatest one ever written, but to her it was, and always would be.

My life is nothing but a lie

Nothings ever true

Each day I start to die

Just from looking at you

So many mixed emotions

Dwelling deep inside

As deep and dark as Oceans

Longing to confide

You think that I am but a friend

Thought that is not the case

The bond we share I cannot mend

Without my artificial face

You mustn't know my true affections

Mustn't know my thoughts and mind

My broken heart can't take rejection

So you'll go on blind

A naked man I am alone

Without you by my side

The only love I've ever known

I'm sorry that I lied.

You're so naïve it's funny

In its own cruel twisted way

I don't have looks or money

But every dog has its day

Natalie didn't say anything as she read over it once more, and the tears started flowing down her cheeks freely. She made no move to hide them as Daniel stood awkwardly five feet away watching her. He made several attempts at speaking but each one of them stopped before it had begun. Instead she folded the letter back up, and placed it carefully to the side, before standing up and staring into Daniel's eyes.

"This day, and each one after it, shall be your day," She said as she closed the remaining distance, and went to kiss him.

It was very slow at first, as she raised herself up to his height, and looked up at him. At first their lips just brushed together, as they were both shaking from nerves. It broke as soon as it had begun, but bother of them felt the excitement from the new found discovery of love. She could feel his breath upon her, and whilst it was warm it still elicited Goosebumps up the length of her back. This time with more confidence she closed the small distance between them and kissed him more firmly. As their lips came together she raised her hands up to his neck where she coiled her fingers through the tips of his hair, and pulled him down to her so she could reach him better.

They kissed for a while longer, that in actual fact lasted no more than ten seconds. To them however it felt like the dawning of a new age, and so they noticed every small detail, and the experience seemed to stretch out for days before them. When they broke for air she smiled to herself, running her hands from his neck down over his face, where her fingers ran over his lips before finally meeting his hands.

She led him to her bed, where she motioned for him to sit down, as she removed his gifts and placed them delicately on the floor. Daniel sat down sheepishly, though he was unable to hide the smile that shone on his face, and reflected inside. They kissed again, this time more passionately, and not as they had before. Whilst the first kiss, or two kisses if you wanted to call it that, had been gentle and tender, this was the passionate exchange of two lovers.

Natalie opened her mouth a little, gingerly extending her tongue, hoping to meet Daniel's. He didn't catch on straight away, but when he did he quickly came to meet her, and they embraced and kissed with all the pent up emotions of their hidden love. Twenty minutes later as they lay side by side, each one staring into the others eyes, bright with excitement about what the world would be like form now on, Natalie spoke.

"We have been rather silly haven't we Daniel," She said with a smile.

"Just a little," He said with a grin. "I longed to tell you how I felt Natalie, I really did,." He said softly.

"You don't need to explain it to me Daniel. I was the same. Still… I'm glad it took us so long. I wouldn't want to have started going out with you as soon as I started loving you, because at least now It's been so long I know the emotions aren't going to go away or lessen. I think I will always love you Daniel," She said as she quickly kissed his nose.

"As do I you." He said poetically as he kissed her eyelashes.

"Do you think you could perhaps promise to always love me?"

"Yes I think I could just about manage that." Daniel said as he stuck his tongue out at her.

There was another moment that passed in which the exchanged gentle tender kisses, and lay in each others embrace. They could be relaxed together, and be themselves, and most of all love each other, just as they had always wanted to.

"Thank you Daniel." Natalie said as she ran her hand under his shirt.

"For what?" He asked as she stroked his back.

"For today, for everyday, and for my sweetest Valentine."