Author's Note: trigger warning: suicide.


There's something in him that intrigued her. The way he speaks, the way he handles the blossoming flowers, the way he moves around the garden… the list can go on and on without ending. She doesn't know why, she doesn't know how. All she knows is she wishes of him more often every day.

Never in her life would she wake up so eagerly in the morning, just a little bit after the sun begins to rise. She would stand near the window to watch the young gardener, who works hard every day to make sure that the Estate has pretty flowers all through the year. As the sun rises brighter, she would attempt to count the beads of sweat that form on his tanned skin, so beautifully contrasting her own fair and pale and boring tone. She would watch him all morning, until he finishes his task or until her personal maid interrupts and reminds her that she needs to prepare for another big day.

Little did she knew, that when she turns away from the window, the young gardener would glance her way, with a longing look that would match the look of a moon begging for the company of the stars.

The first time that they have the chance to speak without the presence of watchful eyes, she was avoiding her teacher by hiding in the library, only to find the gardener sitting on a secluded corner, reading one of the thick books her father owns.

He's surprised at her sudden presence and abruptly stands up, knocking the book in the process. He quickly opens his mouth to mutter some sort of apologies for stealing a read, but she stops him by placing her index finger to her lips.

'Please, I do not wish to be found!' she whispered shakily, slightly out of breath.

He nods nervously, afraid that she will tell others that he has been secretly reading the Lord's books, and on the other hand nervous of being in close proximity to her. At her end, she fidgets her fingers, trying to look at anywhere but him. He can't help but getting captured by her.

Somehow, both don't really know how, they end up sitting on the secluded corner for half an hour, a few meters apart, him continuing his own read, and her picking up whatever book was closest. The next day, she finds herself at the library, reading with him in silence. And the next day, and the day after that, and almost every day of the week.

She has never seen a garden more beautiful than this.

She walks through the garden, not more than a small opening in the woods near a small pond. She touches the jasmines' petals and asters' and lilies', consumed by their fragrance. A large tree provides a shade at the side of the pond. She stops under the tree, looking up to the sky with eyes closed, wanting to absorb every details of the moment.

When she opens her eyes, the young gardener – her gardener – is standing in front of her, smiling hesitantly, as if asking whether she likes it or not. Oh, how come she not likes the garden, when it is his hands that crafted it? She is beyond happy, both with the secret garden and the fact that he brings her here. This small opening in the woods is clearly not his property, in fact it is owned by her father, and he has insulted a lot of rules to make the garden.

'I thought you would like this,' said he, offering her a single stem of sunflower. 'You smile as bright as the morning sun.'

Her heart leaps as she smiles shyly, accepting the yellow flower, and takes his hands to hers. Here, under the protection of the large tree, they have found the love of their lives.

Both know that heaven doesn't lie on earth, and aware of the fact that the society forbid them to be a couple. What a scandal will it be! The honorable lady with a lowly gardener! In this world where they live, on the ground that they walk on, and in the time that frames their lives, they realize that it will have to end soon. But neither wants to admit it.

The doom day comes with the news of her engagement to the Prince. She's instantly angry at her parents for doing such thing without ever talking to her, though she's not in any way surprised by the news. Her parents have been trying to betroth her with the Prince, for her sake, as they believe so.

She runs to the woods, to the secret garden where she knows he will be waiting. She doesn't even care if it's in the midst of the night. She needs to see him, needs to tell him that her heart is his only, that she belongs to him, now and ever.

There. He sits under the tree. The full moon lights the night, creating beautiful shades of silver and grey everywhere. And she crashes him as she holds the front of his shirt tightly. Stuttering as she tries to explain, with tears glistening on her cheeks.

He smiles sadly, tucking her head under his chin. He already knows. She is his, not more than he is hers. The world will never approve of it, and he doesn't know how he's going to survive without her. But if this is what it should be, then he will let go, even if it will hurt him til his very end.

He kisses her for the first time, knowing it will also be the last. He gives her a necklace, one from his great grandmother.

'Wear this,' he whispered in her ears as he put the necklace around her neck, 'for as long as you have this, I will know that you still love me.'

She cries and cries for the rest of the night. She never thought that he will be so easy to give up on them, on her. She has thought of running away, leaving her family and her status behind. She has expected him to ask her to do so. She's disappointed with him, with her parents, with the world, with every single thing that has ever happened in her life.

But as the dawn rises, she realizes that maybe it is time for her to take up courage. If she were to live a fulfilled life, she would need to be brave and stand up for herself. So she decides to take the lead and send a few words to him.

'Let's run. I will be waiting for you under the tree. Tonight, before the moon falls. There is not a world for me if you're not there.'

Her frustrations spill at the words, but she couldn't care less. She's determined to be with him, and if she wants it enough, fate will find its way to her. She sends her personal maid to deliver the letter, hoping he would accept her proposal.

But he never got her letter.

Instead, he gets whipped in front of her eyes. When they find out about her letter and force her maid to reveal everything, they decide to punish him. Punishing her in the process, for they whip him in the garden right in front of her window. She screams, begging for them to stop. The whole county can hear her crying his name, trying to reach him behind the maids' straining.

When they finally stop, he's already unconscious. She runs to his side, not bothering with people's attention. She shakes him hard, wanting his eyes to peek open and see her own face reflecting in them. As she pulls him to her embrace, she begins to sing softly; between the tears she could no longer cries. An old song from an old memory.

Are you, are you, coming to the tree

Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

Midnight comes. She sits by the tree, in the dark, waiting for him. The moon has gone dead. But her heart is full of sparks.

Are you, are you

Coming to the tree

Where I told you to run, so we'd both be free

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

She sings softly. Smiling to him, as she puts her necklace of rope around her neck, just like when he puts his necklace on her the other night.

She sings the ending stanza of the song, the one she sang to him as he left her. And within the last tune, they finally rejoin.

Author's note: Don't hate me.