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God damnit, Al. 

Every time I think I don’t love you any more, you saunter the fuck back into my life and ruin freaking everything. 

In fact, I wouldn’t have minded that you wandered into my life again after you left to travel around the world at all. It’s just that you decided crashing my wedding was the best way to do so. Crashing the wedding? Not cool. But chasing my fiancé away, convincing him that I was only doing it for his money? That was low, even for you. 

You wanna know what the worst part was, though? You freaking invited me out afterwards. I was standing in the pouring rain, crying my eyes out, and you asked me to coffee. 

For some stupid, out of my mind, unintelligible reason, I accepted your offer. I guess I did have an on again, off again ‘relationship’ with you for five years of our lives that I never got over – but that was absolutely not connected with my decision to go out for a drink with you. 

I shouldn’t have made that decision anyway. I should have been held down, gagged and made to write a lengthy letter in which I politely declined your offer. 

But instead, I’m standing in front of Felicity’s Coffee Corner, feeling ridiculous. Ridiculous as in: I’m wearing hugely expensive sunglasses in a place where there is no sun. I swear, it was sunny when I stepped into Diagon Alley. But now, it’s clouded over and I feel like an idiot. 

Pushing open the door tentatively, I notice you sitting in the corner, innocently eating... a liquorice wand? What are you, Albus, ten? 

You look up at me and grin. I think my insides melt, forming one large lump labelled ‘oh my gosh he is so amazingly PRETTY’. 

“Hi, Belle,” you say, “Sunny outside?” 

Fingering my glasses, I suddenly remember I’m angry at you. “Albus Severus Potter! I swear, make any jokes and I will ram my sunglasses right up your—“ 

“Woah! What have I done?” you interrupt innocently. I grab a seat and march over, sitting down with a glare already in place. 

“You chased away my fiancé,” I growl, “Told him I was only interested in his money, and then convinced him not to marry me! Not to mention gate crashing my perfect wedding! You pushed the cake into his mother!” 

You shrug. “Well, he was obnoxious. Didn’t you hear him? What a freaking Pureblood.” 

I can only gape. Okay, gape and seethe. You grin again, taking another bite of your wand. I snatch it away, starting to tear it into pieces. 

“I’ll have you know,” I say, pointing a lump of liquorice at you, “Gabriel was a charming man. If you hadn’t have decided he wasn’t right, I could have had many long years of matrimonial peace. But no! Albus must get involved, because he’s always right!” 

“Yep,” you agree, eating the bits of liquorice I’ve broken up, “Coffee?” 

You stand up quickly and head to the counter, leaving me trying not to shoot a spell at you and run. I do like you, Al, but you are very, very infuriating. 

By the time you return, I’ve composed myself enough to not kill you. Or attempt to. 

“So how were your travels?” I ask reasonably politely, taking the offered latte. I hate latte. Why the hell couldn’t you get me a cappuccino? 

“Shit,” you reply, “Everywhere I went someone pointed and said ‘Potter boy’. Is that all I freaking am? It’s like I’m just a different version of my dad.” 

“I hear your dad never ruined someone’s life,” I say dryly, taking a sip of coffee. I hate latte. 

You stare at me intently for a moment. “You don’t mind that much really, do you?” 

“I’ve never minded,” I admit, “You always turn out right. I expect he would have been a horrible loser if I’d married him.” 

“I’m not always right,” you disagree, “I’ve done stupid things. I left you.” 

“You left me to travel the world, where people could point at you and say ‘Potter boy’.” 

“And yet you still think I’m right.” 

“In a few years time, Albus, you’ll value that journey. Just as I’ll learn to value your abrupt return to my life.” 

We stay staring at each other for a moment. Time doesn’t seem to effect you; every time I look you’re still as pretty as ever. Albus Potter, the pretty jokester who ran away to travel. 

“Do you ever miss me?” you ask after a while. I look down at my coffee. 

“Like hell. I always think you’ll come back, too.” 

“I do, don’t I?” 

“After a fashion.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” 

Suddenly, I’m angry again. “You leave me! How do you think it felt that morning, when I rolled over and found I was alone? The house was deserted, and all I had left was a scrap of paper! And then when you return, you only stay for a few weeks, just enough time for me to get used to the idea of you staying put, before you leave again. I kept the notes, Al. So many fucking notes, apologizing for ‘not being enough’ and being just you. For once in your life, Al, you could just stay!” I whip off my glasses, standing up. “It’s not fair, Albus. It’s just not fair.” 

Pushing out my chair, I rush out of the cafe, leaving you behind for once. Sunglasses in hand, I run down Diagon Alley. It’s cloudy and overcast now, rain threatening to spill.
“Belle!” I hear behind me, “Oi, Isabelle!” 

“Piss off!” I shout back, still running. I’m making for a local park, and a particular bench. The bench is a bad influence on me – I swear it makes me cry. Every time I’m in this park I do a rough impersonation of the fountain by the gates, and I fully intend to uphold my record. 

God damnit, Al! I love you so much and you don’t even care. I always think I can move on, I can get over you, and then you walk back into my life and it feels like I’ve been winded. 

“Belle! Come back, I can’t run that fast!” 

If anything, I run faster, powering through the last stragglers returning from the day’s shopping and through the leaky cauldron, getting out of breath and feeling my thighs burn. But I don’t stop. 

No, I only keep going until I reach the park gates. Then I slow to a jog, reaching the fated bench sweaty and breathing heavily. I sit down quietly, take a few deep breaths and burst into tears. 

“... love him... not fair... oh, God... stupid!” I sob, feeling exactly as if this has happened many times before. It has. 

I sit and sob for a good five minutes or more, before straightening up, wiping my eyes and tucking my hair behind my ears. It’s all tangled, completely ruined from my impromptu exercise. 

Slow footsteps crunch on the gravel, and you appear by my side. You just stand there, letting me compose myself. In the pause I can hear a child crying somewhere, and a mother attempting to be a comfort. The bench is cold and hard underneath my legs, but I don’t mind. I never mind. 

“This is how it feels when you leave,” I explain quietly, “Even though you’re not gone. I’m not going to cry for you anymore, Al. I just want... I want to be happy. That’s all.” 

“I don’t want you to cry,” You reply, “I won’t leave again.” 

You take my hand and pull me to my feet. I admire your face again. You never seem to grow old. Then again, you don’t stay enough to age. 

“You always say that,” I retort, “You always say it’s over. And then I always get a note.” 

“I can’t do anything but leave a note!” you exclaim, dropping my hand like it burns, “Every day I spend with you terrifies me; all the people in the world I meet expect me to be everything, but you expect nothing! I don’t understand it, and it scares me, okay?” 

“No, not okay! I need you, Al! I don’t expect anything but you to be there, and then I can... I can sleep. When you’re gone, it’s like the world falls.” 

“The world keeps turning.” 

“Stay, Al. Please.” 

You take my hand again, and kiss it gently. Your lips caress my skin and it feels like home should feel; comfortable and enticing. 

“Let’s go back to yours,” your murmur, “Let’s talk.” 

I admit defeat and start walking back to my house. I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow with another note and another heartbreak, but for now you’re here. 

God damnit, Al.

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