Here is where they start: on an isolated hill in the south of Ireland, under an oak tree. About twenty feet distant from one another, but the measurements we are concerned with aren't spatial, but emotional. Pure enemies. She wants to escape. Never see him again. And he wants to use her. And also never see her again. Seeing this fairy a second time would be disastrous.
A few days. Or hours. It's hard to identify, with the time stop and all. And half that distance is traversed. She saved the lives of his friends. The mind of his mother. And he returns the favor by saving her career. It's not friendship. Not mutual respect. But...it's halfway.
Months gone. A crisis. She goes to him. No more distance is traveled in that moment, but wait for a few trips to the Arctic, an almost lost digit, a crawl through deactivated plasma, and him putting his life at risk, for once, and they've done it again. Gone halfway. Friends. How odd. Friendship is only three quarters of the distance possible from enemies.
Only weeks, this time, and he's made a mistake. A huge mistake. One that should send them right back to the beginning—his mind wiped, hers resolved to let him live in peace—but something has happened there. Alone in Spiro Tower, she sees him do it again: sacrifice himself for the greater good. And halfway. Not simple friends, but good friends. Even if he doesn't recall.
Then she saves him. Can do nothing but save him, because, after her mentor—gone in a blast she maybe could have prevented, maybe made come all the sooner, maybe could do absolutely nothing about—and the centaur cut off from her by beauracracy, he is somehow the most important person in her life. He doesn' trust her, initially. Seems all the way at the end of the continuum. Then he is with her. At her side. Even closer; their bond stronger. Another half gone.
And of course it can't stop there. He can't stop there. But she wonders, for a moment, if this new obstacle between them—impassible, despite the softness of a rich life and perfect curls—will stop it all. If this is as far as they go. Then it's just them. And about a thousand pissed off demons. And a sword, she thinks, but she isn't sure. And how can you go get another half closer than being best friends? By becoming a part of each other.
Once more, he almost ruins it all. (He has a talent for that.) But she is the one who halves the distance, all on her own, with tears and a hug and her lips pressed to his. He's not sure how to respond in that moment, but the answer is pretty obvious. He falls in love.
He has to stop this half half half half progress. It has to be complete. All the way. He puts it all on the line: his intellect, his money, his very sanity. And he makes the jump forward...sort of. It's a part of him, and she recognizes what it means well enough. It turns out that halfway between friends and lovers is unrequited love.
So where do they have to go from here?
Halfway, she says she cares for him.
Halfway, she says she loves him.
Halfway, she says she wants him.
Halfway, she would give...almost anything to have him.
And never quite there.