Chapter 1 : Letting Go
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“Come on Alice, you can’t stay in here moping forever. You got to get out.” Mary pulled the blankets off from over Alice’s head and Alice squeezed her eyes together at the bright light. This made Mary wince, wishing that she had done this earlier. You couldn’t let Alice go too far with these things.
“Leave me alone.” She whined, making a grab for the covers which Mary still held but she held firm.
“This is not good enough Alice. You are better then this. Get. Up!” Mary always seemed to have a no-nonsense attitude, especially when it came to Alice’s fragile feelings and rapidly changing moods. When Alice still stayed curled in her ball, Mary pushed her out of the bed and on to the stone floor beside it, making Alice give a sharp scream.
“What’d you do that for?!” She screamed at Mary, picking herself up off the cold hard floor, rubbing one elbow.
Mary didn’t spare one sympathetic look, for she knew that was not what Alice needed. “You need to get out of this room. I did not stay at Hogwarts for the Easter holidays just to have you stay in the dormitory the whole time, crying about Frank.” She strode around the bed to face Alice who was still look dejected and grab her by the elbow. “We are going to party tonight and you are going to are going to forget about him.”
“But …” Alice whimpered at the sound of Frank’s name, eyes welling up again.
“Not again!” Mary said firmly, before tugging on Alice’s elbow, pulling her towards the bathroom. “Now, go have a shower. We are getting out of this room.”
“You’re mean, MacDonald!” Alice called out as she shut the door behind her.
“Got to be cruel to be kind, darling.” Mary called back, a smug smile appearing on her face, but inside the knot in her chest couldn’t quite relax yet. Ever since Frank had blindsided Alice with the break up around a week ago, Alice had been an emotional wreck, to put it nicely. To Mary, this seemed ridiculous to go pieces over another human being, having never had anything of the sort happen to her, but could understand that Alice needed comfort. What she wasn’t prepared for was the constant crying, grumpy mood swings and sweet scoffing that had been happening. Mary could see that Alice was really distraught, and this worried her. The time had come to take charge. Obviously Alice couldn’t fix this herself, so it was up to Mary to fix it for her.
Glancing back at the bathroom door, Mary was pleased to hear the comforting sounds of water jetting out of the shower head. Briskly she turned away and started towards her closet, deciding to start the difficult decision on what to wear later.
A quiet knock on the door startled her, and she smartly walked over to it, pulling it open. Frank stood there, looking desperate but forlorn. Mary began to shut the door in his face, but he quickly slid forward a step, preventing it from closing.
“What on earth do you want?” She hissed in a harsh whisper, casting a look back over her shoulder to the bathroom door beyond which laid Alice.
“I need to talk to you.” Frank said strongly in a low voice. Worriedly, Mary kept glancing over her shoulder as she ushered Frank out of the doorframe and into the stairwell beyond. Well, more like she brushed passed him while he still stood on the doorstep, to stop the stairs turning into a slide.
Mary closed the door with a snap and began to hiss at him again. “You have a lot of nerve coming up here Longbottom. Give me one good reason while I should push you down these stairs right now.”
“Because this is about a matter of Alice’s safety. And, I’d pull you down with me.” Frank grimly joked, but you could obviously see that his heart wasn’t in it.
Mary’s eyebrow rose at the mention of Alice’s safety. “I’m listening."
Ten minutes later, Mary re-entered the dormitory and sat down on her bed, staring at the floor in front of her, shocked by what Frank had told her.
“I saw you had bought some new shampoo from that boutique in Hogsmeade, I borrowed some, I hope you don’t mind.” Alice exited the bathroom, towel wrapped around herself.
“Oh.” Mary looked up, startled out of her revelry, “No, I don’t mind at all. Come on, what foxy thing shall we put you in tonight, hmm?”
She got up and made her way back to her closet, while Alice continued to chat meaninglessly behind her, sitting on Mary’s bed.
She has no idea what he’s done for her, she thought as she pulled another dress down the rack, mind still out in the hallway with Frank.
I hope she gets over him.
Alice found herself wearing a ridiculously short dress and absurdly high heels later that evening, clutching a glass of butter beer. Mary had abandoned her for a few minutes in favour of a cute Ravenclaw boy who had somehow found his way into a Gryffindor party. Mary was rather tipsy but Alice knew she would be back. Even tipsy, Mary was still in control of herself. But it still scared Alice to be here, alone, with Frank in the very same room. It had only been a week since their … break up. Was she really ready to be out like this?
No. But with Mary as a best friend, she didn’t have much of a choice.
What would she do without Mary? She was the rock to Alice’s watery emotions. Neither could survive without the other really. Mary needed Alice to keep her human, show her what feelings were like. Alice meanwhile, desperately needed Mary to keep her from drowning in indecision and intense emotion.
Alice glanced back to where she had last seen Mary but to her surprise, she wasn’t there any more. Alice’s heart started to pump faster at the prospect of facing this party alone and she began to frantically glance around the room, looking for her lost best friend. When she failed to spot her, Alice decided it was time to bail. She quickly placed her butter beer back on the table next to where she was standing and walked across to the girl’s staircase.
Just beside the entrance to the staircase, she saw a couple kissing. She quickly averted her eyes, not wanting to pry but did a double take when she recognized the floppy black hair of Frank.
It was as if a shard of glass had just been thrust into her chest, pushing all the air out of her lungs. She turned away, heading back the way she had just come, straight into the mesh of the dance floor. One arm held her stomach, the other hung lip against her side. Alice’s face was blank, seeing the moment over and over again in her mind, taunting her, teasing her.
Suddenly hands were holding her firmly by the shoulders and Mary’s calm grey eyes were staring sternly into hers. Her mouth moved, but Alice couldn’t hear a thing she was saying. The world’s noise was echoing around her ears, deafening her. Mary tried again, but the noise still battered at Alice’s ears.
“Alice!” The bubble popped and Alice’s eyes quickly caught Mary’s, trying to find something to grab on to, something that would pull her back to reality. She had to find her rock.
“Let him go.” Mary said firmly, hands still on Alice’s shoulders.
“How?” Alice’s voice was frantic, close to breaking apart.
“By showing him what he lost.” Mary looked deep into Alice’s eyes, making sure she understood before grabbing Alice’s hands and staring to dance, moving them both. Reluctant and still shocked at first, Alice barely moved at all, but soon warmed up to it. This was what she needed, she realised. Fun. Distraction. Something to help her forget.
Suddenly, Alice was steaming mad at Frank for doing this to her, without so much of an explanation. Why? Was the burning question on her mind. Why the fuck with no moment’s notice?
But that was then. Alice knew she looked hot. Mary had been right. She needed to let him go. Who gave a shit what he thought? He probably wanted to see her hurt. And that was the last thing she was going to show him. That’ll show Frank, she thought, wrapping her arms around a hunky Quidditch player.
I don’t need him.
Frank could still feel the lingering touch of Sabrina’s lips on his as he watched Alice and Mary pull the party around them. The energy, the attention, it was as if there was a pulse that only they could feel and everyone else only got a taster. Frank only wanted to be there with them, be part of vibe. But he couldn’t now. That was the price he had had to pay. The price of war. The price to keep Alice safe.
When Dumbledore originally had come to him, asking him to be part of the resistance, Frank was hesitant. Sure, he wanted to fight back, so badly even he had considered leaving Hogwarts early. But it was Alice, dear Alice, who held him back and made him think. Could he do it to her? Would she be asked as well? Would she get hurt? What if he got hurt? He knew that if he went, she would want to as well, putting herself in danger just to stay with him. Just as he would do for her. But the thought of Alice out on the fighting lines, Alice getting hurt, Alice dying, bought him back earth.
He couldn’t allow her to come with him. Which meant that he couldn’t go fight either. That was his decision and he would have to stick with it.
Later that night, after telling Dumbledore his decision he was lying in bed, mulling the whole thing over. The harsh cold reality suddenly occurred to him, forcing him out of his bad and back to Dumbledore’s office.
If no one stopped the war and Voldemort and the Death Eaters, then would Alice ever be safe?
So he had told Dumbledore he had changed his mind. Frank was going to go off into the world and make it safe for Alice before going back to her and begging for forgiveness. She, meanwhile, would be with Mary, the only other person that Frank trusted with Alice. He had told her of the situation that morning, made her swear never to tell Alice unless, well, he wasn’t around to tell her himself.
A little pain now to save her the huge pain later.
That was only why he had kissed Sabrina. He knew that Alice needed something to hate him for, something to hold against him as a buffer from the hurt. It had killed him inside to do it, but he would put himself through anything to make sure Alice was safe.
But it hurt Frank so much.
“Do you want to continue this upstairs?” Sabrina trailed her fingers down Frank’s chest, pushing herself against him as he stood stock still with his back against the wall, staring at Alice. It bought him back to the present, back to the consequences of his decision.
He pushed her off him. “No. Thank you.” She turned away in a huff, but Frank saw her immediately set her sights on another bloke, leaving him free to keep staring at Alice.
She was just so perfect to Frank. He didn’t know how he was going to cope without her. He wasn’t even sure if he could. Sitting with her at breakfast, talking with her, studying with her, kissing her … his mind became caught in a whirlwind of memories.
I can’t do this, he suddenly thought, slain by the thought. I can’t be without her. He began to walk towards her, weaving between people, fighting the crowd to get to her. Suddenly, Mary was in front of him, grabbing his arm tightly and turning him so his back was facing towards where Alice was.
“You have to go.” She shouted in his ear over the noise of the music.
He bought his own mouth to her ear. “I can’t live without her, Mary.” Then he turned to face her, his eyes burrowing into hers, trying to show her the desperation that was consuming him inside. Mary stared back, showing him the iron will to fight that she had, the protectiveness she felt for her best friend.
“What if she dies because of you, Frank?” She bought his ear back down to her mouth, spitting out the harsh words. The words physically hit Frank in the stomach, punching the air out of his chest.
She was right.
Face hard, Frank nodded to Mary then turned away from his love and made his way over to and up the boys’ stair case. Oh Alice, what a fool I’ve been, he thought, wishing he could run back down and sweep her into his arms. But he knew now, that would never happen. Couldn’t happen.
As long as Alice was fine, Frank didn’t care what happened to him.
I just don’t want her hurt.