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Chapter 13


The Great Hall echoed with laughter and the happy sounds that came with a Hogsmeade trip. As Leif entered the hall he saw the boys sitting around their table each rubbing a sore spots on their bodies. Tryouts had been hard, he had made sure of that, but they would be nothing compared to what he had in store for training. Leif’s hand went to his forearm without thinking, a habit he had recently developed. It was sore this morning as well, but for different reasons then the other boys. Mikko was the only one he trusted with the job of tattooing Avalon’s name on his arm and he had been wise to chose him. Leif had seen the others boys work and cringed at the thought of those on his perfect body. But he didn’t cringe when he saw her name on his arm in fact he smiled. Having her name on his body made his heart swell with something he could not quite place something that he had never felt before. This seemed to happen a lot when he thought about her or saw her.


“Leif mate.” Mikko called from the table
 
“Hello Mikko.” Leif said sitting beside his friend. “You getting nervous yet.”

 

“Nervous?” Mikko asked his voice cracking like that or a pre-teen. Leif chuckled. “No I’m not nervous.” He countered deepening his voice drastically.
 

“Good you two will hit it off I’m sure of it.” Leif said thumping his mate on the back a few times while filling his plate with any type of meat in reaching distance.

“Are you going to be strictly a carnivore today?” Mikko asked eyeing Leif plate of carnage.

“Real men don’t eat veg like you.” Leif said woofing down some bacon.
 
 

“You’re going to lose that fast metabolism one day mate, and I will be there to watch.” Mikko said disgust written on his face.

“Enough about me, have you made plans for today.” He asked spraying food out of his mouth.

Mikko brushed bacon crumbs off his once clean robe sleeve and cleared his throat. “I was thinking of going to The Three Broomsticks.” 

“How original.” Leif said sarcastically pushing away the plate he had emptied in record time.

“Well what did you and Avalon do?” Mikko demanded.

“This is not about me, it is about you.” Leif said waving away the question. 

“Well what would you suggest?” Mikko asked.
 

“I am thinking a romantic walk down the main drag of town. You buy her the first thing she sees that she likes then you take to an open field and have a romantic picnic complete with violinist.” Leif said looking dreamily toward the ceiling.

 “Yeah that’s great but what should I do.”
 
 

“I don’t know mate just be yourself.” Leif said happily standing. “I’m off to find my lady, good luck finding yours.”
 

“You’re useless.”He heard Mikko call to his back as he walked away knowing he would not find Avalon here I the hall. No he would have to seek her out like always.

Her feet hurt today. She had missed stepped on the often followed path and had stepped into some brambles and they had released there poison. She sat massaging her feet as she studied her charms book in an empty class room. The dim lighting was not ideal for reading but if she sat close enough to a window the natural light made it possible. She sighed and looked over the pages she had skimmed over and over again. She cursed her mind that kept wandering to that smug boy who had seemed to wiggle his way under her skin. She had even dreamed about him last night. Images of him laughing and holding her cycled through her mind no matter how hard she tried to push them out.

“Not thinking about me are you?” The deep male voice asked filling the empty room with a feeling of life.

She smiled and shook her head. “I use my time wisely.”

He chuckled and sat next to her. “You are snarky again today.” He said leaning back in the chair and watching the light play on her face.

“And you are pester some.” She turned to him putting her chin in her hand and leaning on the desk.

“You know you are adorable.” He said leaning forward and copying her pose.

“Are you fishing for compliments?” she asked a smile coming to her lips.

 “I never have to.” He said reaching up and pushing her bangs aside. “Your eyes tell me all I need to know.”

Avalon closed her eyes and laughed. “Where did you get that line.” She looked back to him and noticed he was laughing too.

 “I may or may not have stolen it from a song or something.” he said rubbing his chin.

 “So that’s how you do it. You steal other men’s lines.” She said poking his chest accusatorily. “I should have known.”

 “Look you can’t tell the others.” He said rubbing his chest and chuckling. “It would ruin me if they knew I was not really this sappy.”

 “I’ll think about it.” She said turning back to her books closing them up and packing them away.

 “We are going to Hogsmeade soon.” He said reaching over and grabbing her bag after she had packed it. He tossed it over his shoulder and stood.

 “I never agreed to this.” She said standing as well looking at him defiantly.

 

“Doesn’t matter. You’re my girl now. It comes with the territory.” He said turning and walking away form her.

“I never agreed to that either.” She called after him.

 When he reached the door way he turned back to her. “If you want to eat breakfast first you better hurry or otherwise we will just leave now.”

 She glowered but followed.

 

 

He waited outside the Gryffindor dormitory patiently dressed in his town clothes. He rubbed the rich fabric of his shirt and shivered at the feel of it. It even felt expensive. When she appeared in the door way he smiled. “You look nice.”

Avalon looked down at her bulky sweatshirt and favorite jeans and raised her eyebrows in disbelief. She was not trying to look pretty, but she was not trying to look not pretty. Well, the truth was this was the only non school clothes she had brought along. But nice would not have been the word she would use. She felt rather out of place next to him in his expensive clothes. But to be honest he sort of looked out of place in those expensive clothes. They didn’t seem to fit him like they should.

“Come on, if we are late Mikko will have my head. He has not quite mastered the whole dating thing quite yet.” He said holding out his hand. She ignored it but came into stride next to him. He quickly started babbling off about Quidditch and about training ideas he had been developing. Avalon happily zoned him out only nodding when she needed to. 

“I have a feeling you are not listening to me.” He said trying to hide the amusement in his voice. Avalon looked up at him.


“I think you are right.” She said nodding.

 “Well what should I talk about then.” He said grabbing her hand now that she had put her guard down.

 “Something besides Quidditch.” She said wiggling her fingers against his but it was no avail and she knew it.

 “What else is there.” He said only half joking.

“What about that line you said last night.” She said looking at him from under her eye lashes trying to see his reaction.

“What line.” He asked dumbly.

 “The Shakespeare line.”

 “I don’t know what you are talking about my dear.” He tried to keep his mask pulled tight but she saw it slip again. He was lying. But why? What was he hiding?
 
“My favorite Shakespeare is probably “The Taming of the Shrew.” She continued. “It is a good comedy don’t you think.”

“I wouldn’t take you for a girl who would let a man dominate her. Or enjoy reading about such things.” He said.

“You know the plot I see.” She remarked.

 “So I know a few muggle things. That doesn’t make me a blood traitor does it.” He demanded his voice picking up tension his body becoming stiff.

 “There is nothing wrong with it.” She said looking up at his tight face.
 
 

“What being a blood traitor.” He spat.

“No knowing muggle things.” She said looking at her feet. “There is no such thing as a blood traitor anyway. It is all just nonsense insecure wizards made up to make them feel better about themselves.”

 “Are you a muggle born.” He asked his hands getting clammy.

 “Would you stop following me around if I was.” She asked.

 “No.”

 “Well in that case no use in lying. I’m not muggle born. I come from a very long wizarding line.” She said. “Not that it means anything to me.”

 “You’re a pure blood how sexy.” He laughed feeling relief flood over him.

 “Not completely. A few muggle borns have slipped in there.” She said with a smile thinking of her great aunt Josie. She was a crazy old witch who would tell her stories about her youth around all the muggles.

 Mikko sat in the booth sipping his butter beer and cursing Leif black and blue under his breath. He and Lucy sat awkwardly trying to make conversation. Lucy had thought of lots of topics but Mikko had this uncanny skill to kill any conversation that she could think up.

“Umm.. are they going to come.” Lucy asked referring to Leif and Avalon. She didn’t ever expect to be looking forward to having Leif Haroldson joining them but if it meant some talking she couldn’t wait.

As if on cue they burst through the door cheeks red looking somewhat happy.

“Leif mate.” Mikko almost yelled at his friend arrival.

“Sorry my boy but Avalon was taking forever to get dolled up.” He said nudging the girl next to him. This was not what Lucy had expected at all. She expected him to be dragging around the dumbest most plastic looking girl in Hogwarts but instead he had in tow what seemed to be a normal girl.
 

 

“No problem mate, have a seat, Avalon how are you.” Mikko asked talking to her for the very first time.

Leif held out his arm directing her to sit first in the booth then slid in after her. “So what have you kiddies been up too.” Leif asked folding his arms and leaning on the table with his elbows.

“Just waiting for you guys to arrive.” Mikko said clearing his throat.

“Oh no.” Leif said sitting up and looking at his friend with pity filled eyes. “You haven’t been conversation killing have you?”


Lucy’s smile and Mikko’s blush was all the information he needed. “I’m sorry Lucy unlike my nasty self dear sweet Mikko does not know much about dating or girls in general.” He said even when Mikko shot him a glare. “Let me help out. I shall pick a topic.” He looked over at Avalon and smiled. “Not Quidditch related.”

 “Right. What is it then” Mikko said eager to prove himself able to talk.

 “Umm.. can’t pick girls that would be awkward.” He said looking around the room as if for ideas. “That’s it. Magical creatures.”

 “Magical creatures.” Mikko parroted. “That is a ridiculous topic.”

 “No it is a good one. All of us have taken care of magical creatures we should have plenty to comment on.” He had also picked this topic to get Avalon talking and the glare she shot him told him she knew what he was about.

 “Alright magical creatures.” Lucy said rolling the idea around. “I enjoyed the talk about Unicorns. I find them to be fascinating creatures.”

 The table nodding in agreement. “I think that mermaids are pretty amazing.” Leif said. Leave it to him to bring up a busty half naked woman. Both girls rolled their eyes. “What! They are cool creatures. They get to swim around.”

 “You realize that mermaids are not what painting describes them as.” Avalon told him. “They are more fish then person. And not very attractive.”

 “Dream crusher.” Leif said looking down at his date.

 “Hold on I don’t mean to be rude or anything but what are you doing with this tosser.” Lucy asked finally after holding back for so long. “You seem like a really nice girl. I just don’t understand.”

 “It is not really my choice.” Avalon said quietly looking down in her lap.
 

 “It’s true, I sort of just follow and drag her around.” Leif said looking down at her smiling, willing her some of his courage. “What can I say, I’m smitten.”
 

Lucy looked across the table at the odd couple, at the way he looked down at her lovingly and took her hand in his. She looked over at Mikko who was watching them too with softness in his eyes that made her smile. This boy was different than most. He stuttered and blundered around like an idiot when they were together but he was genuine. Something that most boys were not. She decided she liked him.

“You want to go walk around.” She asked Mikko smiling.
 
He gulped audibly but nodded quickly.

“Oi we hurry all the way over here and you take off in seconds!” Leif bellowed as they scooted out of the booth and stood to leave. Mikko glared and Avalon squeezed his hand effectively shutting him up for the moment. “Have fun.” He grumbled.

 

 

 “He is not quite what I expected.” Lucy said kicking at a stone on the sidewalk.

 “He is rather like a six year old, bless him.” Mikko said with a smile.

 “You’re not gay for him are you?” she asked him seriously.

 Mikko laughed and shook his head.

 “Good.” She said slipping her hand into his. Mikko stopped in mid stride and looked down at their intertwined hands. “You don’t mind do you?” she asked suddenly self conscious.

 “No I don’t mind at all.” He said looking into her eyes. “As you already figured I’m not really good at all this stuff.”

 “I know that’s why I like you.” She said sweetly stepping closer to him.

 “Really?” he asked excited. “Why?”

 “Cause your real, your genuine not like all the other boys who try so hard to be anything but themselves.” She told him happily. “Like that goober in the three broomsticks.”

 He smiled a truly happy smile and tilted her chin up and slowly pressed his lips to hers. When he pulled back and looked down into her eyes he decided then that this girl who he had shared his first kiss with would also be the one that he shared his last.

 Leif watched them from where he was ducked down behind a large cart full of books on the street corner. “Get down they will see you.” He hissed at Avalon who stood browsing through the book selection.

 “Hmmm..” was all the comment she gave her nose inside a book.

 “Blast they went around the corner.” He said standing and grabbing her hand and tossing her book back onto the cart. “Come on we have to follow them.”

 “Hey I liked that book.” She said defiantly.

 “Avalon you like every book.” He tossed over his shoulder at her as he dragged her down the crowded street toward where the couple had disappeared.

 The street they had turned up was more of a dirt path leading up to a garden. It was fenced it by a stone fence which Leif leapt over and ducked behind where as Avalon found the gate and simply walked through and waited till he came over to her.

 “You are not very good at being sneaky.” He hissed.

 “Some time subtlety is better than your hi jinx,” she told him but let his pull her down to her knees so they could peek over the fence.

 “I’m impressed that he has already kissed her. He is moving quickly.” Leif said like a football commentator. “Careful lad this one is a lady.”

 “Are we going to do this all day this grass is wet.” She complained.

 “You’re complaining about wet grass. I thought you loved nature.” He demanded looking down at her.

 “I do, I really do.” She relented.

Leif turned away from the sight of his friend happily snogging his girl and sighed.

 Avalon knew she was supposed to ask him what was wrong but it seemed so awkward she just turned and sat next to him instead in blessed silence.

 “I am scared if he gets a girl he won’t be around as much to be my mate.” Leif decided to tell her even without her having to ask. 

 She groaned inwardly knowing this was the part she was supposed to comfort him. A skill she had somehow not learned in all her years was this one.

 Leif flopped over plopping his head in her lap and let out another deep sigh. “You could rub my hair that would make me feel better.” He told her as if she should know.

 She gently put her hand on his head of curls and was surprised at how coarse it was. It was thick and hard almost like horse hair not at all what she had expected for the way it gleamed in the …. Wait, what was she thinking he had normal hair. It didn’t do much gleaming she told herself as she ran her hand through the locks.

 “You know what would make me feel better?” he asked her.

 She shook her head.

 “Ice cream.” He said suddenly standing. “Come on now that im thinking about it I must have it.” He said pulling her to her feet.

 “I don’t think you are human.” He said as he licked his cone. “Who does not like ice cream?”

 But before she could give him an answer they both spotted a little boy no older than 4 crying on the sidewalk.

 “Hello chap, what’s the matter.” Leif asked the small boy who shied away from the large stranger.

 Avalon went over and bent over to the little boys level and smiled. “Hello love what is your name.” she asked him he voice gentile.

 “Gil.” He sobbed.

 “Don’t cry Gil, I’m here to help you. Have you lost your mum?” she asked him whipping away a tear that fell onto his cheek. The little boy only nodded and let out another whimper.

“Don’t worry Gil my friend Leif is great at finding mum’s. Aren’t you Leif?” she asked turning back to look up at him. he nodded quickly and smiled to reassure the little guy.

 “Come on.” She said standing and taking his hand. “Would some ice cream make you feel better?” she asked him. When he nodded she quickly snatched Leif’s cone and handed it to him. “There you are.” She rubbed his hair and smiled.

“Hey that was my cone.” Leif said outraged.

“Leif is good at finding mums but not so good at sharing yet.” Avalon said squeezing his little hand.

 “Sharing is good.” The little boy said between sniffs.

 “I’ll keep that in mind.” Leif grumbled.

 They wandered around the main drag of town calling out Gil’s mother’s name which was Abigail. Soon the cone was gone and Gil was smiling at Avalon’s jokes and looking much less like an abandoned child.

 Then Leif spotted a disgruntled looking woman and called out “Oi Abigail.” She turned at the sound of her name and spotted the reason for her gruntlement happily in tow.

 She rushed over and grabbed up the small boy into her arms. Of course upon finding his mother he started wailing again much to Leif and Avalon’s amusement.

 “Never wander off again do you hear me.” She told her son through her tears.

 “I promise mum.” He said crying as well.

 “Thank you so much.” Abigail said turning to Leif and Avalon. “I have been so worried about him.”

 “It is no problem we were glad to help.” Avalon said reaching our and rubbing Gils hair in a fond goodbye. “Don’t go getting lost anymore Gil you made your mother very scared.”

 Leif grunted in agreement.

 As they watched the mother and son leave Leif felt his heart break a little. Watching Avalon with the little boy made his heart burn. Now watching the boy with his mother his heart was close to total melt down. But he quickly put those memories or lack of them aside and turned back to the girl beside him and he grunted again.

“What are those grunts about.” She asked him looking up at him.

 “Why aren’t you that nice to me.” He asked.

 “You’re not a lost 4 year old.” She said laughing.

 “I could be.”

 “You look a little big.” She said looking up at him. When she looked into his eyes she saw something behind the constant mask. It was pain. But why? The look was so real and genuine she reached out and this time she took his hand in hers.

 “I guess I could be a bit nicer if you like.” She said quietly.

 “You can look right into me cant you?” he asked her in a low tone.

 “You’re pretty easy to read.” She told him with a sad smile. “Was that who you lost? Your mother.”

 He didn’t have to answer for her to know the answer. He looked away off into the distance and said in a harsh voice. “We should be getting back.”

 “Okay.” She said grabbing onto his arm with her free one and he led her back to the castle. This time instead of her trying to be as far away as possible she was pressed to his side.
 
 
 
 

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