Avalee, as always was on her way to the bar. The warm summer air swirled her hair up and around her face. Her hair was as it always was; curly and blond. She wore a very loose, thin tshirt. And black shorts. On her feet were gladiator sandals. Her face showed her mood; relaxed and happy. It had been a while since she was walking down this cobblestone road. But it felt like home. She grabbed the familiar doornob. It was the door to The Hog's Head. This place held memories. Too many, perhaps. But tonight was to be simple. Drinks alone at a pub. Avalee felt that the building was more an old friend than a building. A small wave of anxiety crashed in her stomach. She pushed it to the back of her mind.
She swung open the door and relit the smile on her face. She walked in, confident. She was a different person now.
A hooded figure sat alone at a table in the back. He sat hunched over his untouched firewhiskey, staring into the amber colored liquid. Beneath that ragged black coat was a man with a troubled past. And now it was his time to start over. It was time to be the person he was meant to be. Better choices were going to be needed to make this life of his a good one.
He pushed the firewhiskey away. This would be his first good choice. He didn't need this alcohol, this...emotion numbing potion. He needed to feel again. He needed to let reality course through his veins once again, because quite frankly, Axel had started to forget what reality was.
He spent his days alone, drinking away his sorrows and his thoughts, letting them all be washed away by those few ounces of amber. Then he would stumble home and go to sleep. He had a recurring dream almost every night. It was her. The girl with the beautiful blond hair and perfect smile. Axel had made himself forget about her while he was conscious, but in his dreams, there was no pushing her away. He couldn't get her out of his dreams. He loved her. He never stopped loving her. He only wished that things had been different. That the dramatic scenes of the past didn't occur.
Axel stood up, little strands of dark red hair falling down over his sky blue eyes. He pulled the hood down so as not to be noticed. He was a nobody and be a nobody. He started for the door but when he looked away, he didn't notice that somebody was coming in. He ran into the girl.
"I'm sorry." Axel said, looking down, his cheeks red. He looked up and felt his heart do what felt like a somersault. "It's you." He whispered. He bit his lip and stepped around her and stepped swiftly outside.
Avalee was numb for a moment. She froze. Had she really seen that face? That face she had known so well. The face with the blue eyes, framed by red hair. Yes. It was him. It was defiantly him. It was Axel.
She snapped back into action. Avalee spun around quickly and grabbed him by the arm. "It's me." She said softly. Her hands went up and pushed off his hood and placed her hands on his cheeks. "And it's you." She whispered. Avalee had no idea how she felt towards him anymore and was altogether confused at this point. But he was not going to blow her off and run away like he did all last year when he saw her. This spring and summer Avalee had changed. And She wasn't going to let him walk away this time.
Axel had looked quite a bit different. He had purple shadows under his eyes. He had lost a little bit of weight. But the big change was that his eyes didn't seem to have that familiar light in them. That glow. He looked like a scared little boy.
"Just let me go." He said softly. "I'm not the same." But he didn't want her to let him go. He wanted Avalee to hold him. Those hands that cupped his cheeks were the most affection he had had in a long time.
She didn't let go. She was far too stuborn for that now. "No. Come here. She took a step backwards, back into the bar. She tilted his chin up to get a good look at his face. He had obviously been through something. Her eyebrows pushed together.
"What happened?" She asked, starting him in the eyes.
"Nothing." Axel said quickly. "Don't worry about me." He stared into her eyes for a moment and then avoided her gaze, looking at the ground. He knew what the problem was, but he wouldn't tell her. This was all because of him. He put himself in this mess. He would be the one to deal with it.
Avalee smiled a worried smile. "You know that's not going to happen." She pulled him closer. "I'm here to worry. And to help." She nodded, super zen and calm for the striking situation. "Always." She whispered this last word.
Enough time had past. It was time now. Avalee was a different girl now. So much had changed. She wanted to tell him everything, but right now she needed to help him.
A single tear had fallen from Axel's cheek. He would never want anyone to see him cry. But maybe he just needed to.
"Avalee, I'm so...I'm so sorry! I'm sorry if I ever, ever hurt you. Please just know that, okay?"
Avalee smiled as her own eyes began to fill up with tears. "Oh..." She wiped the tear away from his cheek, and hugged him. He was warm, familiar. She knew she had been in these arms before.
"It's fine, Axel." It was true, he had hurt her. Badly. Very badly. But it was fine now. She had made it fine on her own. This was just icing on the cake.
"Avalee, I need you to know something else...." Axel gently have her a push away from him, so that he could look her in the eyes, even though her arms around him felt simply amazing.
"I've loved you. Ever since the day we first met. I never stopped. Ever. Never ever. You always had a place here," Axel brought his hand to his heart and then let it drop. "I never forgot the way your hair frizzes up when its warm out, or how anxious you got when you had a big test or a new group of students to deal with. I never forgot that glimmer in your eyes when you smiled. And most of all, I never forgot how much you mean to me."
Axel bit his lip and looked down. He didn't mean to ramble on like this. He really didn't even think he would be here in this very moment, confessing all of this to her. But it needed to be done.
"Avalee, I don't care how long its been. I love you. And I always will."
Tears began to flow as soon as the word 'Loved' passed through those gorgeous lips of his. She smiled lightly as he spoke. The more he said the happier she got. A fondness shone in her eyes. The kind of fondness that only the people in the relationship could ever begin to understand. Through all the sh!t with Alice. How badly she had f****d it all up with Phoenix and Seth... None of it mattered. In the moment it was simply her and Axel. The pub disappeared. The people disappeared. Memories went away. All that was Axel: his mouth, his eyes, his beautifully expressive face.
"Avalee, I don't care how long its been. I love you. And I always will."
Tears finally spilled over at this moment. This summer. Everything. It was all. Wow. Almost too much to take. She stood there for a few seconds. Her mouth was slightly open in shock. A blush graced her cheeks. Tears rolled down slowly. She then, getting up on her tip-toes, kissed him softly on the mouth. It was a soft kiss. The kind that was not born out of passion or lust as other kisses had been. No, this kiss was love and tenderness. Happiness and adoration.
She took a step back and said in a quiet, high voice, "Me too." It was simple and not nearly as profound or eloquent as anything he said. But it was true.
No. He didn't mean to make her cry. Axel wanted to wipe the tears away, but they were flowing so fast, he didn't even know if he could get them all. By then, more would fall. He couldn't think. He shouldn't have said anything. He shouldn't have----.
And she kissed him. Oh, she kissed him. There was nothing like that kiss. Her lips were soft and warm, where as Alice's were cold, almost like ice. He considered for just a short moment to kiss Avalee back, but then she stepped back. And Axel thought he felt his heart beat again for the first time in a long time when he heard her say "me too."
He merely smiled and brushed away the hair from her eyes, just looking into her eyes and smiling. He had missed her so much, it almost hurt.
She pulled him closer. She needed him so much closer. "I missed you." She whispered into his chest. These were arms. This was a real hug. It was so nice. She eventually had to break it off. She pulled back and looked him in the eyes. A smile spread across her face.
"Come here. I have so much to tell you." She took his hands and pulled him towards the bar.
"I missed you too. More than you will ever know." Axel said softly into her hair, planting a tender kiss a top her head. Before he knew it, he was being whisked away towards the bar.
"Woah!" He said as he was tugged.
Avalee laughed a loud, nervous laugh. She pulled him hard. Way too over-excited. She jumped onto a stool and almost fell over as she pulled him onto the stool beside her. She just looked at him. Her heart racing. He always did this to her. He could make her feel like this...only him. She leaned forward and kissed him again on the lips.
Axel grinned, but on the inside, he was full of questions. How could she be like this? Happy as can be and kissing him? Isn't she angry? How can she forgive him for the way he had been?
She really was the sweet hearted girl he had fallen in love with, wasn't she? He took her hand.
She squeezed his hand. She just wanted to be with him. Simply to be there. To be with him. To absorb his presence. Just being together made her happy. She shook her head and looked down the smiling falling a little. She thought of everything. The past year. The very very long past year. This summer of starting over. Re-discovering herself....
She didn't know where to start.
"So, what have you got to tell me?" Axel asked, pulling the hood of his cloak back up over his head. It fell right over his eyes, casting a shadow over his face.
"Well...a lot....and I mean a lot...has happened since we last spoke." Avalee said quietly. The bartender set down a frozen vodka-lemonade in from of Avalee. Her usual. Avalee gestured for coffee for him. She didn't know how long he had been at the bar or how many drinks he already had...but the coffee would help.
"So..." She said. Thinking oit loud. Where to begin?
"I don't want anything. I decided to quit drinking." Axel said. When the coffee was offered to him, he politely turned it down.
"So a lot. Like what?" He questioned. Not to be rude, but he was curious. Wasn't she seeing Seth? What happened to that?
"Well..." She said trying to decide where to begin. Hmmm, She thought. Might as well cover the light stuff first. She cleared her throat.
"Well!" She said folding her hands in her lap getting self conscious all of a sudden. The butterflies in her stomach intensified. "I got a few tattoos..." She giggled, nervously.
Axel raised a brow.
"Tattoos? Really? You never seemed like the kind of person to bare a tattoo. Let me see." Axel grinned as he leaned over to see if any were visable.
Avalee laughed lightly. "I just need a major change. But...it's true what they say...after your first tattoo you really can't stop...Here's my first." She flipped over her pale, thin wrist revealing a small sun outlined in black with little triangles for the rays around it. Around the whole thing in a delicate cursive read 'little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter'.
Axel's eyes traced the letters around the sun, frowning as he reached the end. It was almost the end of summer now, and it felt like a long cold lonely winter to him. He looked up at Avalee and brushed her hair with a simple movement of his hand.
Her immediate reaction was to quickly jerk back. Touch was so foreign to her. The touch of Axel...so odd. Familiar...but odd. She had mostly stayed away from people, besides when she went home this summer. It was a tad awkward after she jerked back. So she just took a sip of her lemonade.
She had avoided his touch, his hand brushing against air. Axel had frowned and turned away from her. The movement hurt him a little, but he couldn't blame her. Axel had ruined everything they had. He'd probably never have her heart back. How could she ever want him as her own again? There was probably someone out there who could give her the world. Axel had nothing to offer.
"I'm sorry." Axel said softly. He slid off of his chair and apparated outside. It was raining. The weather was cold, and the rain was bitter on Axel's skin. He sighed and tightened his hood as he started walking. Avalee deserved better. He didn't need to get her mixed up with him again. He was afraid that he would hurt her.
Before she could open her mouth to say, 'It's okay', Axel disapperated. Avalee groaned loudly in frustration. She immideately apparated outside, sensing that he might have been out there. Sure enough he was. And it had begun to rain. Lovely. Avalee thought to herself.
"You aren't walking away from me," She said, running to catch up with him. Grabbing his arm, she physically made him stop. "Axel! Listen. This is weird. I mean, a year ago I saw you DIE. Right in there!" She gestured back to the pub. "I saw you fight your own cousin to the death. I held you while you bled out. Then, only six months later, I saw you right over there," She gestured to an area of Hogsmead, "Kissing a girl. A girl who isn't particularly fond of me. And I though you were DEAD. But no. I then find out that you've been alive. You just haven't bothered to find me. Then I kiss your cousin! In some juvinile attempt to stick it to you, because you have hurt me SO much. Then I help speed up the divorce of your cousin and his girlfriend. And somewhere in the process I started dating Phoenix, and end up hurting him, too. Then you chose Alice over me. You CHOSE her. Not me." She paused sighing, showing all the desperation and frustration on her face. "Now you have two options Axel: You can get your a$$ back in that pub and talk to me until it's no longer weird, and we can kiss and be happy again. Or you can walk away from me right now. And I will be left here crying." She let go of his arm.
"But you need to make your decision. Do you want to try to make things work and move on with our lives? Or do you want to keep going on...." She looked for the words. "...like THIS. Because I have learned so much these past few months. And I'm in control of my life finally. I'd like to share that with you. But....you have to choose."
Axel watched, half surprised, as Avalee went on about them and their history. He had a choice. He knew what he wanted, but it wasn't always about that. He felt her loosen her grip on his arm and let go. That was when he came to a decision.
"I've made some terrible mistakes, Avalee. I can't take them back. I've been through so much and it wasn't until a few months ago that I woke up and decided to put my past behind me and change for the better. I wish I could have made better choices, I really do. I wish you understood what I really felt like and thought about during all of that."
Axel carefully took off his cloak and wrapped it around Avalee.
"I may have kissed Alice, but I have never ever felt the way I feel towards you around her. I don't want to be all dramatic and cliche', but this is the honest truth. I am and will always be in love with you. I always have been and the moment I saw you, my heart raced as I fell in love with you all over again. I don't know what more to say except that I want you in my life again."
Tears welled in Avalee's eyes for the third time that night. He loved her? In a milion years, Avalee would not have expected him to say that. At first it was all very confusing in her brain. But then it clicked. Everything fit. The clouds in her mind cleared up. "I love you too." She said rather loudly and a bit tired, her face still numbed into a shocked expression.
She threw her arms around him, holding him closer and closer. Wanting never to let go. His smell, the shape of him, it all felt so right.
Axel held her close as he brought his lips to the top of her head, planting a tender kiss atop her golden hair.
"Remember that." He whispered. "Because that feeling will never change."
"Good. I will never forget it." Avalee said in a small voice, smiling. She shook her head. In a way, she was proud of herself. She said what she needed to say, and said it well. On top of that he said that he loved her. That's more than she could ever ask for.
"Want to come back to my place? I have a warm couch and a bottle of wine that's calling my name." She begged him with her eyes.
"Uh...s-sure." Axel said, slightly taken aback. He had never been in Avalee's home, nor had he expected her to welcome him into it just like that. Besides, how could he say no to those eyes that were practically pleading for him to go with her.
As she took his oh-so-familiar hand, she wondered why he sounded so nervous. When they had dated Avalee had been over to his place all the time. Although he had never been to her place, it was just the same right?
Of course it wasn't the same. It was over a year later. They had both changed. A lot. They had broken up. He had died. She still had a few boxes of stuff from the house that Seth had given to Avalee the week after Axel's death. In fact. She still had that house key. She still had Axel's ring that she used to wear around her neck each day.
That was going to be awkward when he saw that.
After a few minutes of walking in silence they were at her small cottage. The plaace she had gotten for taking the new Herbology professor position when Professor Longbottom became headmaster. (haha) Placing her hand on the door, a bunch of clicking noises happened. She pushed the door open and flicked on a light.
"Quite a place you've got here." Axel said when they entered the cottage, glancing around. It was perfect for Avalee. Nothing too extravagant. It was just what she needed. He smiled. He was proud of her for what she had become.
Axel grinned and made a bright orange fire ball appear above his right index finger and was making it zoom around Avalee in circles.