hazy_reflection: (Hourglass)
Title: What Happened Before...
Characters: Aiden and Annaliese Carmichael
Word Count: 364
Notes: complete randomness...have no idea where it came from

You've been warned... )
hazy_reflection: (Ouija)
Unfinished and Untitled Take III
by
Lita Reena
started at 1:27am 03-01-06


Bambino Bello )
hazy_reflection: (Dolphin Goddess)
Continued from...

~~*^*~~


It was harder than anticipated, even though they all knew that new beginnings usually are. There were still days when tempers flared and harsh words were spoken. There were times when tension was so thick, Hagrid's Cauldron Cakes would have been more welcome. But as many times as there were bad, the good ones held a much higher count. Eddie and Alex began to reacquaint themselves with each other, sinking into Shakespeare by candlelight in the middle of the night or causing Bridget to throw pillow after pillow at them in the Sitting Room when they would both manage to tune her out as they talked about the old times and how much fun they had all had back during their years at Hogwarts. And then there were the weekends when they would all walk down into the town of Hogsmeade, remembering what the village used to be like when they were younger. Zonko's had long ago gone out of business, happily replaced by the special humour that only Fred and George Weasley could provide. Madam Rosmerta was still at the Three Broomsticks looking as good as ever, serving ale to all who arrived. Other shops had come and gone, but there was one small shop that had stood vacant for years, never replaced, though never completely vacated.

It was an overcast Saturday when they all walked down into the village of Hogsmeade yet again, an event that seemed to occur more often as the weeks passed. They walked, arm in arm in arm, down over the dirt path that led through the village, looking in through all the windows, and then stopping in front of one window in particular. The window always looked the same, bracelets, necklaces, a few amulets, a few pairs of earrings and other small accessories that stood, looking forlorn and abandoned in the small window display. If they hadn't known any better, they would have been surprised that the door to the store was locked, even though the display looked as though someone had always been keeping it clean and presentable. Alex couldn't help but sniffle every time they stopped, and every time she did, both Bridget and Eddie would squeeze one of her shoulders to comfort her. It never lasted long, though. She would look up at each of them and smile weakly, motioning that they should move on and continue their walk through the village. It was always a quiet affair, though one that seemed to strengthen their regrown friendship.

It wasn't until a few months later that things really began to change.

It had taken some time for the village to spring back to life again. Buildings were demolished and reconstructed, the roads were improved and beautified, and new shops began taking the places of the old ones that had closed down during the war. They were on their way down before Alex took off at a run, her path obvious to her two best friends.

"Alex! Don't!" Bridget cried, reaching out to try and stop the blonde before she got too far away. It was for naught, though, because Alex just brushed her off and kept going. Eddie gave Bridget a funny look before taking off after Alex, stopping just behind her when she fell to her knees in front of a small shop.

"Bramble's Baubles?!" she cried, her hands wrapping into small fists that fell to her sides. Eddie walked up and knelt beside her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and helping her to her feet.

"Alex, maybe we should--"

"I want to go home." It wasn't a request, it wasn't even a plea. It was a command. It wouldn't have made a difference if she had said "Take me home, NOW." Eddie could only look back at Bridget before he held tightly onto Alex and Disapparated, taking her back to the Estate in the quickest way possible.

Bridget stood there in the street, alone, and sighed as she looked up at the new shop that now stood where Ailerny Accessories used to stand. She stared at the new shop sign for what seemed like an hour and then began the walk back to the Estate. 'Maybe now would be a good time to find an apartment of my own,' she thought to herself.

Back at the Estate, Alex was in a bit of a funk.

"How--no, why...it couldn't have--it wouldn't have...there's no way!" she stammered out as she paced back and forth in front of the library fireplace. "Someone had to have sold--" Alex stopped herself midsentence, the realisation of what she was about to say striking hard. She raised both hands to cover her open mouth, the astonishment obvious on her fave. "Did you know about this?" she asked, turning to look at Eddie, here eyes wide, waiting for the answer she really didn't want to hear.

"He had nothing to do with it, Alex," Bridget said quietly as she closed the door to the library. It clicked loudly, echoing around the room as Bridget walked toward her friend, closing the gap between her and Alex.

"How could you?" Alex whispered, her voice cracking as she fought the sobs that were threatening to take over her body. "That was my mother's shop, you had no right--"

"I had every right! You asked me to take care of it, to make sure it didn't fall apart while you ignored it!" Bridget was quiet, but forceful as she spoke to Alex. "You couldn't even bear to look at it until Eddie came back! You didn't want it anymore. You didn't want the shop or anything in the apartment, so I did what any sensible person would do and I sold it. It wasn't until just recently that they decided to finally do something with it." She stared pointedly at Alex.

"That was my home, Bridge," Alex said quietly, staring up at the ceiling and then turning her back on the other girl with a quick turn. "This isn't happening," she said with a sigh, not wanting to look back at Bridget.

"Well it is happening, and you need to face it," Bridget said angrily at Alex's back. "I had to face the truth, to face the fact that that place was only dragging you down. You've had a good thing going here, but every time you see that place you digress back into the little girl that you turned into back when your mum first disappeared. I risked everything for you back then! I've only done what I thought was right! Why can't you see that?" Alex could only stand with her back to her friend, her mind starting to grow hazy and confused. Eddie took that moment of silence to jump into the conversation.

"Maybe...this isn't the time," he started.

"Now is the time!" Bridget snapped.

"Don't snap at him," Alex whispered quietly.

"Fine. I'll snap at you. Where's the fire you used to have? Where's the spunky attitude, the optimistic outlook on life?" Bridget was practically pleading with Alex now.

"There's no room for fire and spunk in times of war," Alex muttered quietly. She turned to walk away.

"You see?" Bridget told Eddie, "She's always running away now. She's become as soft as a Hufflepuff." Eddie could see Alex's shoulders stiffen at that comment, but the blonde didn't say or do anything. She just kept walking.

"I don't know what to do anymore," Bridget told Eddie, "but I know I've got to stop taking care of her. I'm going to stay at the Three Broomsticks for a few days. Maybe we need some time apart. Sorry to put you in the middle of all this, Eddie." She didn't wait to hear Eddie's response. Instead, she turned on her heels and hurried out of the library.

Eddie collapsed onto the couch. Both of the girls were justified in their arguments, but there had to be some other solution than for Bridget to move out. He needed to find some way to snap Alex out of her funk. He decided to use the next few days to plot out his idea.

~~*^*~~


The house seemed oddly quiet with Bridget gone. Eddie almost missed the clicking of heels around the halls. Still, it gave him the time that he needed to be alone with Alex without the distractions that Bridget brought. It was true; Alex had lost some of the old fire that Eddie had first been attracted to when they had met during their years at Hogwarts. Alex used to be so lighthearted and warm, full of a life that he couldn't remember seeing in any other person he had met. His plan was to bring that life back into her. He wasn't sure exactly how he was going to go about doing that but he did have a few ideas. During the first couple of days Bridget was away, Eddie mainly kept to himself, watching Alex from a distance and using his time to formulate his plan. It was simple enough to put into words: wake Alex from this mind-numbing trance. Her depression only seemed to be worsening with Bridget's absence. It was becoming clearer to Eddie that one thing Alex needed, now more than ever, was someone to interact with. It was easy to recall how bubbly and bright the bouncy-haired blonde had been during their years at Hogwarts, even as talk of Voldemort and war grew more and more audible in the halls. Still, she had been happy and Eddie knew what the first part of his plan was going to be.

~~*^*~~


"Will you stop pacing? You're making me nauseous," Bridget snapped impatiently at Eddie as she placed a flower arrangement on the foyer table. "I've made sure everything is in order for this evening." She raised a knowing eyebrow at him and smiled,” Alex will be thrilled." Eddie inhaled deeply, rubbing his sweaty palms on the legs of his trousers.

"It's only been two weeks, Bridge," Eddie grinned nervously, "do you think that's enough time?" Bridget walked up to him and put each of her hands on his shoulders, looking him straight in the face. Eddie hadn't realised she was only a few inches shorter than he.

"Edward, it's been ten years. If that isn't time enough then I don't know what is," she said, the serious expression on her face not hiding the twinkle in her eye. She took her hands off his shoulders and straightened the knot in his tie. "Now, dinner reservations are at six and it's already five forty so go make sure our little darling is ready," she added, sending him down the hall with a light push on the back. "And remember, she's not allowed to skive off this time!" she called after him, giving him that knowing look when he turned around to look at her. As Eddie continued down the hall, he shook his head and smiled. No, Alex was definitely not allowed to avoid tonight's dinner out. Tonight was going to be special.

~~*^*~~


"Oh Eddie, dinner was just wonderful!" Alex gushed, linking her arm through his as they walked out of the restaurant. She was glowing, almost bouncing off the ground with each step. "It's such a pity that Bridget was called away on an emergency work assignment, though," she mused quietly, resting her head on Eddie's shoulder as they walked under a starless sky. "She enjoys fancy dinners like this," she added quietly, prodding him questinably with her free hand. "I'm just as comfortable eating dinner at the manor..."

"Still a cuurious Ravenclaw," Eddie said with a smile.

"You an hardly blame me!" Alex replied with a laugh. "Expensive dinner for no reason? You'll have to forgive me Mister Carmichael but I was not born yesterday," she giggled, pulling gently away from her companion. "There must be a reason for it all," she murmured lightly, twirling around in circles, causing her skirt to flare out. "Because if I remember correctly, you never used to spend money just to spend it. There was always a reason."

Eddie couldn't help but smile at his friend's enthusiasm. It was almost infectious; Alex was truly alive. Seeing her like this made Eddie feel guilty at having left the girls alone for so long. It made him wonder if whathe had planned for the rest of the evening was even necessary. No matter. It was too late to change plans now.

"M'lady," Eddie said with a smile, "it wounds me that you would suggest such villainy of me."

"Oh Eddie," Alex said with a happy sigh, "it almost feels as though we're back at Hogwarts and this was just a visit to Hogsmeade." She moved back toward him and wrapped her arms around him in a thankful embrace. "This was wonderful. Let's go home," she whispered. Eddie leaned down and kissed the top of Alex's head, held her close and together they Disapparated, disapearing from the street and reappearing in the Carmichael Manor foyer. Eddie gave Alex one last squeeze before loosening his embrace. "I've got an idea," he told her as he let his hand slide down her arm, coming to a rest once it met her hand. "Why don't we go up to the library and relax with a good book in front of the fire?"

"That sounds lovely," Alex breathed, squeezing Eddie's hand and leading him up the stairs. As soon as blonde tresses appeared above the top stair, though, the two were met with a thundering explosion of "SURPRISE!" Alex dropped Eddie's hand as she raised both of hers to cover her mouth in shock.

"Eddie..." she mumbled through her fingers, "who are all these people?"

"Like you have to ask?" asked a familiar voice over the roar. Soon after, the owner of said voice appeared, causing Alex to start bouncing on the balls of her feet.

"Luna!" she squealed loudly, throwing her arms around the other girl in a tight hug.

"And how could you forget us??"

Alex started to turn around when more familiar faces swarmed around her.

"Ellie! Stephen...Ernie! Awww, Lavender, your hair looks so lovely! Padma, Parvati, how are you?" Stepping further in to the crowd, Alex was greeted by more friendly faces. "Ginnny, it's so good to see you again! Terry, Kevin, as dashing as always!" Ssoon, Eddie had lost Alex in the sea of people. He didn't mind i though. She looked like she was happy and having a good time and that was all that mattered. He was about to turn to leave when a hand rested on his shoulder to stop him.

"You're not just going to leave her in the middle of all that, are you?" Bridget asked him, a small smile on her face.

"Has she seen you yet?" Eddie asked, easily avoiding the question.

"No," Bridget answered, one eyebrow raised at him as she continued, "but I'll go see her once things have calmed down. There's no point wasting energy trying to push my way through that crowd." She moved away toward the wall and sat down in one of the chairs there. "No matter. She has a lot of catching up to do." With a snap of her fingers, a wine goblet appeared in her hand and she took a sip. "When is she getting the other part?"

Eddie leaned against the wall, his gaze drifting out over the sea of people.

"When she's ready."

~~*^*~~


It was almost five in the morning by the time the last guest left. Bridget had bowed out halfway through the party, claiming that an early work hour called for an early "to bed" hour. Eddie had stuck around, mingling with some of the guests and then slipping out literally unseen at about four am. Not seeing either of her friends, Alex went off in search of them. Eddie was usually the more difficult to find, so Alex made her way to Bridget's room on the first floor. Upon reaching the correct door, she settled her hand on the latch, wondering if she should let her best friend sleep the last hour before rising for work. With giddiness spilling over from the party, Alex smiled to herself and threw the door open.

"Wake up sleepyhead!" she cried, dashing toward the bed and leaping onto it like a child at Christmas. She landed lightly next to the groggy figure that was Bridget Dunstan. "You've slept long enough, I need someone to talk to!" Bridget shifted lightly, murmuring something about being too early to Alex before turning away and pulling the bedspread over her head. Alex giggled and leaned over, kissing her friend on the top of her head before sliding off the bed and practically prancing out of the room. She took a moment in the hall, smiling to herself before dashing down the hallway toward the stairwell. Eddie had taken to rooming in the Black Room upstairs, so Alex's first thought was to check there for him.

"Eddie?" she whispered, poking her head through the door. One look at the smooth bed covers and Alex knew that finding Eddie was going to be a bit of a chore. Of course, it would be if Alex didn't have a map of the manor. She set off for Eddie's secret study, positive the map would tell her where Eddie was hiding. She walked down the hallway, running her hand along the wall, remembering back to the first time she and Eddie had ventured to his secret study.
Insert RP here *sigh*

'Thirteen different entrances and I always come back to this one,' she thought to herself. As she stepped smoothly through the glamoured wall, Alex's gaze went immediately to the chair that was Eddie's usual resting spot in the study.

"Not here either," she murmured to herself as she quickly crossed the room to the bookshelf. "Whoever thought up this entrance wasn't being very creative," she muttered as she nudged a book from it's place. "I mean, really? A bookshelf that leads to a library? Of all the silly things..." She kept talking to herself as she made her way through the dark corridor, then out through another bookcase in the library. A smile crept across her lips as she surveyed the room. There he was, sitting cross-legged at the edge of the couch, one hand petting the sleeping form of an obsidian-coloured feline resting in his lap, the other holding a worn copy of The Taming of the Shrew in the other, held up in front of his face as he read. It didn't look as though he had noticed her yet, so Alex crept slowly and as quietly as she could across the floor toward the couch.

"Your stealthy approach would function much better if you weren't also trying to suppress a giggle while doing it," Eddie said quietly from the couch, the hand holding the book not having budged a millimetre. Alex couldn't help but let out the giggle as she quickly covered the gap between them and pounced on the spot next to Eddie. She made herself comfortable, fidgeting until she maneuvered one leg under her body and settling her gaze on his figure.

"Is there something I can help you with, Miss Bradford?" he asked, still not moving, though the corner of his mouth was twisting into a smirk.

"Why you--!"

Alex's mouth dropped into an "O" of surprise, the sparkle in her eyes dancing with laughter. "You, sir, are being a very poor host this morning!" she exclaimed lightly, ruffling his hair and resting her head on his shoulder.

"And you, madam, have been residing in this home for the duration of my absence, thereby having no need of a morning host," Eddie stated matter-of-factly, still reading from the book. Alex made a face, thinking for a moment before reaching quickly for Eddie's book. Her swift movement jostled him, waking the black ball of fur in Eddie's lap. The feline didn't enjoy being woken in such a manner, jumping down from her sleeping spot and stretching her legs as she opened her mouth in a wide yawn.

"Oh, Musetta darling, I am sorry," Alex apologised with a smile to the elderly cat.

"Now look what you've done," Eddie said in mock disappointment. Alex just giggled and threw her arms around him in a warm hug, snuggling up against him.

"Last night was so wonderful, Eddie," she breathed, her eyes fluttering closed. "It felt so amazing to see everyone together again, like we used to be before the war." Eddie smiled and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," he told her, happy that, for the moment, his plan seemed to be working.

"I'm glad I did too," Alex whispered. "Mmm, Eddie?" she asked.

"Yes sweets?" he responded, calling her by her old nickname.

"I'm going to fall asleep now," she murmured quietly, straightening her legs out on the couch and resting her head in his lap. Eddie couldn't help but smile, adjusting his body ever so slightly so as not to disturb Alex, but so that he could sleep comfortably as well. It had been a long night, and Eddie suspected that Alex's newfound energy would not be in short supply after last night. In fact, he was counting on it.

~~*^*~~


The next weeks were a whirlwind of activity. Eddie and Alex were constantly out of the house, and Bridget was only too happy to find comfort in the silence of the estate. She knew what Eddie was planning, and she only hoped that it would help more than hinder. She could remember their younger years when Eddie's ideas weren't always safe for everyone involved, but she knew the connection between the two and decided that he would never do anything that would harm Alex in any way.
Eddie was optimistic. He didn't have much of a plan, it was all basically just get Alex out of the house and her mind off Hogsmeade. He took her to London for a few days, one weekend they apparated to Rome, another weekend they were in Greece. It was a blur of mini-vacations and Eddie was only too happy to keep Alex entertained. Of course, they weren't just visitting random places. Each place they went to was to visit specific people. London, of course, was where Alex was reacquainted with many of her school chums. She enjoyed spending time with Orla Quirk and Luna Lovegood, among many others. They even took Bridget along to spend time with her extended family in Paris.

Time passed quickly as they travelled through Europe. Alex even managed to convince Eddie to take her to Iceland, and though she asked if they might visit the states, Eddie didn't think it would be a good idea. She let it pass with little questioning, and finally they were settled back at the Estate for a short break from their travelling. It wasn't until a sunny afternoon in the gardens that Alex finally let Eddie know what was on her mind.

"Eddie," she asked him quietly, watching his face as he stared off into the distance, "I've been having such a wonderful time, visitting all of our friends and seeing all of these magnificent places, but," she paused a moment, hoping that the words she chose wouldn't hurt his feelings, "but I get the feeling you're hiding something from me." She watched his eyes close and open, felt the swell of his chest as he took a deep breath. He was silent for a while; Alex could almost see the cogs spinning in his head as he searched out the words to speak.

"I'm not hiding anything, sweets," he started, squinting at the setting sun and then glancing down at the ground. He could feel Alex's inquisitive stare and it was making him just slightly nervous. "It's just, I put you and Bridget through a lot leaving the way I did, and I want to make it up to you. I know things will never be the same, war does that to people, but I was hoping to at least try to make up for it. There's so little that I remember and so much I don't know. I remember you and Briget as teenage girls, Alex. You've since grown up into beautiful, strong, successful women. It's almost like you're two completely different people." Eddie stopped walking at that point, turning to look at Alex, taking her hands in his and holding them between their bodies. "I want to get to know you again, perhaps even bring back a little of the past."

"Oh Eddie," Alex smiled, the pale golden light of the dwindling sunset reflecting gently off her soft curly locks, "we can't live in the past. These past few weeks have been amazing, and we have been getting to know each other again. But there's something behind it all. I almost get the feeling that you're afraid to tell me something." Eddie grinned at that, turning again to continue the walk back toward the house.

"It's not fear," he told her slowly, "more like, trying to time things right," he added with a charming smile.

"Timing?" The blonde blinked, confusion spreading across her face. "But what--?"

"Alex," Eddie interrupted quickly, "Just...trust me? Please?" She nodded silently, letting him lead her back to the house. Her instinctive curiousity was getting the better of her, but at that moment she thought better of it.
~~*^*~~


After a few days of rest, Eddie was ready to pack up and head out again, but Alex stopped him before he had the trunks shrunk.

"Eddie, I know you've probably spent a good amount of time planning these mini-holidays, but is it possible to stay at home for a little while longer?
He paused mid wand wave and looked inquisitively at her. "Are you sure?" he asked, wondering how he was going to stick to his plans with this sudden change.

"Quite. Please, I love travelling, but it's nice to just be home for a while, especially now with you around. And besides, I've been thinking that I want to go back to work and it will take me a while to send correspondence around, see who might be seeking apprentices." She shook her head thoughtfully, "Bridget was quite right in saying that I've spent far too much time here, letting depression rule my life. I'm grateful that you've been so patient with me, but I think I need to try to stand on my own two feet again." Eddie nodded and put his wand away, smiling at Alex as he reached out for her hands.

"If you want to find work, I think that's wonderful," he told her, kissing the backs of both of her hands and then kissing her on the cheek. "How about this, we'll make one last trip, you wanted to visit the states, we'll spend some time there and then when we get back I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to send out your letters." He watched her pensively, hoping that she would agree.

She smiled, throwing her arms around his neck and squealing with delight. "Oh Eddie! That sounds wonderful." Alex took out her own wand, casting the shrinking spell on the trunks herself. "Shall we then?"

~~*^*~~

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