From the first day he saw her, he watched. Not in stalker way—in the manner a brother watches after his younger sister. She was different from all the other kids in their grade. She gave off a different air.
They did not properly meet until the next year, when they had English together. He was happy to become one of her friends. She was the sibling he had wished his parents would have. She was the sister he wished had lived. She was.
It was, of course, impossible. His car-accident-killed four-year-old sister had been cold in the ground for two years. But his new sister, his unknowingly adopted one, looked remarkably like his biological one, and he swore that she acted just like the sister that his family trees would remember.
So he watched her, and he felt a sibling's pride for her accomplishments. He watched her soar.
In the winter, she skipped in the snow and ate icicles; and he joined in as she drew breath to ask, because his sister had loved the snow and ice. She was amazed when he put five small marshmallows and one big one in her hot chocolate. He had just known. It was a lucky guess, he reasoned. It had nothing to do, he told himself, with the fact that his little sister always took it like that.
When spring rolled around, he was unsurprised that she presented the object of her affections with a hand-gathered bundle of Queen Anne's Lace. That was his sister's favorite flower. It was an eerie coincidence, and nothing more.
During the dregs of summer, she lay in the grass and watched the clouds until she was so hot she had to dive into the pool. Another similarity. She was his age, so she could not be a reincarnation of his sister. Still…
Autumn blew in, and she danced in the falling leaves. As soon as he had a pile raked up, she would jump in it and destroy an hour of work. But he did not mind, because she was his sister—both as herself and as his buried sibling.
He watched her fall in love. He gave his silent permission when she began dating the boy. He knew that she was asking for his approval, when she approached and carefully announced that she had been asked out by someone. He had asked who; she had told him the name, and waited for a response.
"He's not bad," her pretend-brother said, and that was that.
He watched her happiness. He watched her grades skyrocket; he watched her be blissfully content. He watched her make the play she dreamed of, he helped her rehearse during lunch. When he watched her onstage, she sparkled.
In sports, she was a valued player, up for anything. They voted her MVP of the volleyball and baseball teams, and she was incredibly modest and asked three times if there was someone else who deserved it.
His "sister" played in the band, and performed well-deserved solos flawlessly. She read music as well as she read words; she never missed a note.
Months passed, and a new school year began. He watched her adjust, and for the most part, she excelled. But then…
He watched her heart break. He watched her shed tears that weren't worth it, for a relationship ended. He watched her take a double blow when her father died, merely a week after the breakup, of a heart attack. He consoled her as a brother, and that was when she told him.
She told him about her brother, who was four years older than her.
She told him that, two years before they had met, her brother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Terminal being the operative word, the hands of Death had quickly caught her sibling.
So, she said, she had almost been looking for a replacement brother in him. And he had been exactly what she needed, because he was looking for her.
The brother and sister remained friends and "siblings" for the rest of their lives, exchanging letters and emails and phone calls. When he received a wedding invitation, with details of his position, he could only smile and accept.
The day she got married, he stood in and gave away the bride.
Years later, he became a godfather, and something of an uncle. Around that time, he married; though it was somewhat unconventional, she was his Best "Man". Which means, of course, that she got to give the speech. She told the wedding guests a short humorous tale, and wrapped it up with how good a "brother" he had been to her.
"Let's have a toast—to the happy couple. A toast to my sister-in-law, who I gladly welcome into the family. And here's to you, my brother, for being such a good person to us all. Here's to you!" And as she raised the glass, a message passed between the pair.
Here's to you, Watcher, and thank you! Thank you for being here when I need you. Thank you for being my brother.
Author's Notes: Uh. I don't know where this came from. I just sort of sat down and wrote it. Hope it wasn't bad. Please review to let me know.