The North Star once fell in love with a girl.
But she was only human, and she passed away.
When he first saw her, she was very young—fifteen, maybe sixteen, her hair falling into her eyes as she bent down to pluck a dandelion from the ground. She was so small in that field of grass, so golden in the daylight.
She took his breath away.
He floated downwards, hoping for a closer look. He was almost invisible, save for the hint of stardust that trailed behind him in the late afternoon sun.
Though he made no sound, she turned. The dandelion seeds sprayed into the air with her movement. Her eyes widened—such eyes, dark and dazzling, the color of liquid shadows and obsidian. He lost himself into those eyes, fell into them so deeply that he could not speak. They studied each other in silence.
"Who are you?" she said at last.
"I am the North Star," he said, in a voice as soft as the whispering breeze. "I come from the skies."
She laughed. Perhaps she did not believe him, or perhaps she did and simply found his appearance odd. Nevertheless, she did not leave.
Instead, she offered him a smile.
He took her flying to celebrate when she turned a quarter of a century old.
She clutched him tightly, excitement coloring her laughter as they soared through the night sky at a leisurely pace.
"Thank you," she said into his ear. Her words were warm, and under her coat, he could feel the steady rhythm of her heartbeat against his chest.
The city was at their backs and the wind in their hair as he kissed her for the first time under the rising moon.
"They call you Polaris," she said to him as they lay on their backs and watched a meteor trace its way through the sky.
"Those who watch the sky."
"Because you're the pole star. You are the closest star to the north celestial pole." She rolled onto her side and dropped a careless kiss on his cheek. "You didn't know?"
He put out a hand and brushed it through her hair, marvelling at the softness. "It doesn't matter what they call me."
"Be serious," she chided, but she dropped a kiss on his other cheek. "You have too many names. What would you like me to call you?"
He caught her by the waist and pulled her down in a puff of silk and lace. She smelled like lavender and rain and sweetness, so lovely he never wanted to let her go. "Whatever you'd like."
"I'll call you the Dog's Tail," she threatened.
"Whatever you'd like," he said again, and he leaned down to kiss her on her smiling lips.
Her world changed so quickly. For him, who aged so slowly, who was still considered young for a star—she fascinated him, intrigued him. She made him feel alive.
"I can't believe you're considered young," she complained one evening as he rested his head on her lap. "You're several millennia old. I'm not even three decades in, and I'm supposed to be fully adult."
"Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?" he said, reaching out to tap her on the nose. She wrinkled her face in response and he laughed.
She changed so quickly, and he loved her all the more for it.
Some of the changes went wrong for her more than once.
He didn't understand what it meant when the balding man told her she was fired. Was the man talking about a kiln? He didn't ask her. She was already crying so hard that he feared she would melt in his arms and disappear.
"There now," he said, "there now." He held her closer. "It can't be as bad all that, can it?"
"They'll all be laughing at me now," she wept. "I can't face anybody."
He touched her cheek and the corners of her eyes, desperate to take away her sadness. "Let's run away, then. Just you and me. Shall we?"
She hiccuped and giggled shakily into his shoulder. "Where would we go?"
He curled his fingers around hers and smiled into the golden tangle of her hair. "Wherever you want."
She caught him drifting one afternoon. He'd explained to her that stars didn't need sleep, but they could let themselves fall into a state of inertia every now and then to rest their minds.
Very carefully, she draped a heavy duvet from the bedroom over his unmoving form. It had already been forty years since he'd first seen her, coroneted with sunlight and covered in dandelion seeds, but she was still worried that he would catch a cold someday—"like the rest of us normal beings," as she put it.
He stayed still as she fussed around, trying to tuck the duvet more securely around him, and was rewarded for his patience when she leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to his forehead.
It was after nearly half a century when the Old Man, the second-brightest star in all the sky, appeared to him with an invitation to the Convocation of Stars.
"Don't stay away for too long," she said.
He touched the laugh lines that framed her mouth, trying to memorize the contours of the face so beloved to him. "I will be back as soon as I can."
"Think of me?" she asked.
He reached out and caught the tear before it could fall to the ground. "Anything you wish," he said, but the words were lost to the wind as the cosmic energy of the universe pulled him away.
When he next descended to Earth, two decades had passed, and she was fading.
The sun had caressed her golden hair once too often, once too many times—perhaps it had loved her too much to stay away. He could sympathize. The strands were now completely silver, glittering in his light when he passed into the room through the window.
She stirred, her lashes fluttering as he approached. "Is it you?"
He bent to kiss her brow. "It is I."
"You were gone for a long time."
Her eyes were wide and dark, speckled with emotions as varying and immeasurable as the stars in the night sky. "Did you think of me?"
"I thought of you." Throughout the long journey in the dark, with the cosmic magnitude of the universe pressing upon him on all sides. "I thought of you, wherever I went."
A tear slipped out and traced the curve of her cheek. "I thought you weren't coming back."
He knelt beside her bed and took her hand in his. Her skin was so fragile, like the wings of a butterfly. Beneath, he could feel her tired pulse. He brushed her fingers gently, smoothing the wrinkles with his gleaming touch. "I will always come back to you."
The North Star once fell in love with a girl.
He has loved none other since.