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Addison Toft

We're only holding on so we can let go

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Addison Toft

She half-ran, half-stumbled awkwardly through the lower corridors of the castle towards the kitchens. They were supposed to meet by the fruit bowl painting for their date, and it was where she was originally heading before meeting Silas in the great hall. Addison was forced to slow her pace as every step in the unfamiliar sandal wedges threatened to tip her over or twist an ankle, but once she was down to a steady walk, she was grateful for it. Like this, she could catch her breath and wipe the tears from her cheeks.

 

He'd kissed her. Silas had kissed her. When she was (kind of) dating Mercutio! This was supposed to be their big night when the Gryffindor would step up and tell her fake boyfriend the truth about her feelings, so he could feel safe enough to reveal he felt the same thing too and then they could turn their fake dating into real dating . But then Silas kissed her! Didn't that mean she'd cheated on him? What if Mercutio hated her guts forever because of this?

 

Of course Addison considered not telling him. If he never knew, then they could continue on happily ever after. Why ruin the chance for a good thing? But it would mean every day they were together, every time they went on a date and held hands and kissed would mean they were basing themselves on a lie. And based on first hand experience with the many people she knew before coming to Hogwarts, Addison knew real relationships never thrived on lies.

 

"Mercutio!"

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Mercutio Bates

Waiting by the entrance of the kitchens at least allowed Mercutio time to pop in and out for a snack. He was munching on a banana, glancing at his watch, when he finally heard his name called. The Hufflepuff whipped his head up in the direction of the voice, smiling wide before doing a double-take. Was that Addison?



“Woah, you look— you look great!” he said, looking her over with impressed raised eyebrows. She really was going all out with this thing — much more than he’d ever ask or imagine. What a great actress. In comparison, he felt overwhelmingly underdressed in his slacks and a button up shirt. “I didn’t realize this was supposed to be fancy.”



Upon closer inspection, however, Mercutio realized Addison looked distressed. Her eyes were rimmed with red and her nose was a bit blotchy. Had someone hurt her along the way? “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Who did he need to beat up?


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Addison Toft

She might have been sent over the moon by his reaction, the way his eyebrows shot up in obvious surprise from her new look. She might have felt warm and comforted knowing she'd managed to impress him, might have fawned over the natural handsomeness he possessed, even when he was wearing normal clothes. But she didn't. She couldn't. Not when there was this poison coating her lips that made her want to retch and vomit, as if that would somehow eradicate the feeling of Silas' lips against hers. How could he?

 

Through vision blurred by tears, Addison kept running towards Mercutio, wanting nothing more than to crash into his chest and get wrapped up within his arms again, be re-assured that he would make everything okay. But she tripped and fell, hitting the ground hard and tumbling to a stop, breaking the glass of her composure and letting out a string of sobs as her chest and shoulders heaved from a mixture of gasps and wails. Her knees and one elbow were bruised, but what hurt her most right now was somewhere inside her heart.

 

Still on the ground, Addison put her head onto her arms and yelled out, distressed, "I'm sorry! I didn't want it to happen, honest! I didn't know he was going to do it and pushed him back and told him it was wrong but I feel like it's all my fault and now you're going to hate me forever and ever and ever!" From that position, her words came out muffled, partially un-intelligible when combined with the weeping and sniffling. But a part of her wanted to say like that and hope Mercutio would think her so pitiful he'd forgive her for what had happened...

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Mercutio Bates

Oh. Oh dear. Addison was worse than distressed — she was downright hysterical. She didn’t even make it all the way to him, especially not in those shoes, and collapsed halfway there on the floor. Mercutio was about to make his way over to her when she began to yell something, half-mangled as her face was buried in her arms, but miraculously, he was able to make out the words.



So someone had wronged her. He’d done something so wildly evil that she couldn’t even look at him in the face out of shame. At least, that was what he was understanding. All the worst case scenarios raced through his head, each getting worse by the second.



Mercutio finally forced his legs into motion and he rushed over to Addison’s side, gently helping her sit up so he could get a better look at her. Hmmm, no bruises, blood, or signs of struggle. “Take a deep breath,” he instructed calmly, giving her a gentle smile. “And tell me again what happened. What did he do? And who is ‘he’?” He was already getting ready to go punch someone’s lights out for making Addison so distraught.


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Addison Toft

This was it. This was the moment she was going to tell him what happened and forever change their relationship. Certainly this truth was going to be the spike that drove them apart because Mercutio wasn't going to want a girl who had kissed another boy while they were still dating, would he? But she couldn't keep it from him. Even if Addison lied now, it wasn't as if Mercutio and Silas would never run into each other and talk. Then it would get even worse when the Hufflepuff found out both the truth of what happened as well as the fact that she lied to him about it.

 

The witch allowed herself to be moved by his arms into a sitting position, relishing the comfort of his gentle but firm touch, soaking in his scent and warmth for what would surely be the last time before he deserted her. It was inevitable: people always left. From her supposed 'friends' at her past schools to the adults who were supposed to be taking care of her as her new foster parents, Addison knew nobody ever stayed in her life for long. But never did she think she would be wanting someone to stay.

 

Lifting only her sullen hazel eyes to him, mascara smeared across her cheeks, Addison fidgeted with the hem of her dress. "Silas kissed me," she whispered hoarsely. "I met him in the great hall and he helped me down the stairs because I could hardly walk straight with these shoes, and we were, um... talking, and then he kissed me."

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Mercutio Bates

Mercutio’s mind went blank as he tried to register Addison’s words. While he didn’t often think kissing would be categorized as bad (he’d enjoyed most of his experiences, even if they hadn’t all been 100% welcomed), if said kiss was not wanted at all, then Addison had every right to be upset.



Because, after all, that had to be the reason, right?



“Silas,” Mercutio repeated with a frown on his face while he reached forward to brush away the tears on her cheeks. “Did he even ask if he could? I mean, I guess he was so blown away by how pretty you look, but if you didn’t even want him kissing you then of course you should be angry.” Although she didn’t look angry, just distraught. That didn’t seem too characteristic of Addison.



“I hope you gave him a piece of your mind, at least,” Mercutio said with an encouraging smile before standing up, trying to help her along by gripping her hands and pulling firmly. “C’mon, I can go punch him for you if you want, but I don’t think he’ll do it again.”


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Addison Toft

He wasn't mad. He wasn't mad! Even though her lips had touched another boy's, he wasn't getting angry or hating her in the slightest. He didn't even sound upset at Silas, his usual light and airy tone lifting her spirits with every word. Addison leaned into him gently, breathing in the smell of his clothes and body and hair. He even said she was pretty; did this mean he really did fancy her? Could this evening still be salvaged? Relying on his strength to help her up, she pressed her palm into his and wrapped her fingers around it tightly.

 

Addison opened her mouth to speak, but stopped. Something seemed wrong. He wasn't mad. At her or Silas. But shouldn't he have been at least a little bit irritated by the fact some other boy tried to make a move on his girlfriend? But the way Mercutio was acting seemed as natural and easy as ever, like he was concerned for her as a friend... Her lip trembled at the fears that began to creep in from the corners. She had to know.

 

Pulling her hands out of his, the brunette cleared her throat. "I told him off myself, but... aren't you angry that someone tried to kiss me? Don't you care?" She didn't think him to be a temperamental person, but expected some sign of passion. A boyfriend should be bothered when another guy moved in on his territory, she opined. "At all?"

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Mercutio Bates

The words caught him off-guard and he reeled back for a moment to stare at her in bafflement. “I… of course I care… but…” he stammered at first, wondering where she was trying to go with this. Initially, he thought maybe this was supposed to be another dramatic show they put on for everybody’s sake, one where he’d act the jealous boyfriend and fly up in a fit of rage to show how much he cared about Addison. But, one glance around the corridor and he realized it was empty. Nobody was watching them, save for a couple of curious portraits.



Was this still a show?



The Hufflepuff tried for another easy, soothing smile. Addison looked quite genuinely upset so it was easy to be concerned, but upset and angry was not an emotion that he’d ever considered. “Why would I be angry?" Oh god, this wasn't a test, was it? "It’s not like we’re really dating,” he reminded with a light laugh as he rubbed at the back of his neck anxiously.



At the back of his mind, Mercutio was reminded of Desmond’s words of warning, how all this would blow up in his face one day. Was this it? Is that what was happening here?


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Addison Toft

The truth hit her like a cold slap to the face. She was so stupid, so stupid to have believed in her fairy tale romance; Mercutio's tone and demeanor were plainly obvious. The discomfort was as clear as the nose on his face - yes, this had been a test, but ultimately Addison was the one who failed. Her eyes began to well up with tears again as acknowledgement of reality settled in. Lips parted and then shut repeatedly like she was a fish out of water, unable to make a sound while her insides were screaming. It wasn't right of her to feel betrayed because nothing had been Mercutio's fault. It wasn't right of her to be angry because he had done no wrong. It wasn't right of her to feel victimised because it had been her who changed the dynamics of their relationship.

 

And yet she felt all these things, and it boiled and bubbled together into a wave of nausea in her stomach. Addison twisted her upper body around, checking to see if other people were present, looking for a way to escape, trying to find anything else to focus on that wasn't Mercutio Bates and the humiliation she was feeling right now. Her cheeks flushed a deep pink and she backed away from him.

 

"I...I messed this up, didn't I?" she said faintly, shamefully. "I let myself... and then... you..." She couldn't bring herself to say it. I like you! The words rumbled around her brain, searching for a way out, but her pride held the key to the locks and wouldn't let them be spoken. I like you! Addison kept backing up until she bumped into the wall, feeling like nowhere was safe anymore. She could hardly stand his eyes on her, disarming her in ways far worse than a wand was capable of doing. Surely, he knew. I like you! Surely, he could see by now. I like you! It was written in pain and grief across her face. I like you! I like you I like you I like you!

 

They were breaking out now, summoning her voice to carry them from her lips. Lips - the very lips that he'd brushed against his own. Addison held her hands up to her mouth, crisscrossing fingers like a gate... but the words came crashing out anyway, a strangled cry that brought a fresh round of hot tears of embarrassment down her face.

 

"I like you!"

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Mercutio Bates

Immediately, he knew he had said the wrong thing. Alarm bells blared urgently in his head as he noticed the tears filling up Addison’s eyes and the way her face fell in utter disappointment. Panic overtook his brain as he scrambled to figure out how to fix this. “Oh god, please don’t cry. I’m sorry!” Mercutio pleaded, hands fluttering about her anxiously but not really sure where they could land.



Confused couldn’t even begin to describe how he was feeling right now. Clearly he’d said something wrong, but he couldn’t figure out what, but the look of horror Addison was throwing at him as she backed away only made the heavy feeling in his gut worse. Think, Mercutio, think! he scolded himself, hoping a solution or an answer would come to him.



He thought back to when things starting changing — when Addison began to add kisses and unnecessary practise sessions to their daily routine, or how she’d linger a bit longer at his side, clutch his fingers a big harder…



Realization came to him at the same time as her confession. “Oh no,” he groaned quietly, just as her words confirmed his suspicions. His hands rubbed at his eyes and an defeated sigh escaped his lips. “Addison…that was one of our rules…” he finally said, looking at her sadly, wishing she’d followed her own carefully laid out guidelines that she’d set up for him. “You weren’t supposed to fall for me.”


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Addison Toft

Horrified. If she didn't know what it felt like before, Addison certainly knew it now. It was a frost creeping through her veins, bringing with it a nigh uncontrollable urge to hurl. If it wasn't already obvious, Mercutio's words were the nail in the coffin and every word he added shoveled a heap of dirt atop the casket. Boys who were in love with you didn't first respond with, 'Oh no,' when you confessed your feelings to them. And now, at the worst possible time, her encounter with Silas bubbled up in her mind. She recalled how vehemently she denied him, essentially telling him how she and Mercutio were mad about each other and were going to make their relationship real. She'd made such a massive deal out of it and now this was happening to her.

 

"It's too late for that now, isn't it? For the stupid rules?" she hiccoughed. And it wasn't as if Addison engaged in their agreement intending to step out of the box. It just happened on its own volition and her feet began stepping off the straight and narrow path towards what she believed were the arms of a loving boyfriend, not the cruel grasp of ignominy. "I thought you liked me back," Addison whimpered, still pressed up against the wall.

 

There would be no escaping this, ever. She would never live this down, nor wipe it from her memory: her first crush ending in absolute and utter embarrassment, sentenced by the very boy she was head over heels with. If only there were a hole she could crawl into and disappear...

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Mercutio Bates

Indeed, it was too late. At this point, he wished he could tell her he liked her back, just so he could make her stop crying and looking so miserable. But Lillian’s words kept coming back to him: do you know what you want? If being Addison’s fake-boyfriend hadn’t drudged up any hidden feelings below the surface, no matter what kind of rules they had implemented int he first place, he didn’t think anything would change as her real boyfriend.



And that was the cold, hard truth.



Mercutio hated having to tell her the truth, but he had a feeling he didn’t even need to say a single word for her to know.



“Addison,” the Hufflepuff whispered again, looking wretched for being responsible for this. “I’m sorry. This whole idea was a bad one. I should never had dragged you into it and now…” It wasn’t their relationship that was in shambles now, it was their friendship. “I’m sorry,” he tried once more. “I do like you, just not…” Not in the same way.


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Addison Toft

She threw up her hands, desperate to save a final shred of dignity. "Don't - don't say it." If you went back in time to the day she met Mercutio and they began dueling, only to tell her that one day in the near future that the boy standing across the platform would become her first crush, she would have told you you were crazy and needed to get your head checked. But life rarely turned out in line with predictions, no matter how confident people were, and Addison was holding a first row seat to that lesson.

 

Wiping away a bubble of snot, the brunette started to inch away from him. "Let's just end it. Make up whatever story you want. I dumped you, you dumped me, we dumped each other. I just... I don't want to do this anymore. Find someone else to be your gi-girlfriend." She stumbled over the last word, her heart barely into it. Addison didn't truly want Mercutio to find someone else as his girlfriend - she wanted him to pick her.

 

But that wasn't happening.

 

Because why would it? She wasn't pretty, she wasn't smart, she'd bowed out of the tournament in the early stages, she didn't play quidditch. Addison was nothing like what Mercutio was interested in or wanted in a girlfriend - a truth she'd been ignoring this whole time. No, she was ugly, she was dumb, she was weak, she was clumsy, maybe she really was the troll Hailey accused her of being.

 

"I'm done."

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Mercutio Bates

His jaw clicked shut and he gave her a pained look, staying silent as requested. What could he say anyway to make this all better? Addison wanted something he couldn’t give her, and it hurt her even if he never wanted to do such a thing. But he couldn’t help his lack of feelings as much as she couldn’t help having them.



Mercutio allowed his arms to fall uselessly to his side. “Yeah, that’s a … that’s probably for the best,” he agreed quietly, eyes focusing on a particularly interesting tile on the floor. He winced guiltily when she told him to find another girlfriend, his thoughts drifting immediately to one Lillian Wayland. While he realized she meant another fake girlfriend, Mercutio knew he wouldn’t need to try pulling off this fake-dating thing again. He was ready for something more real.



“I’m sorry,” he whispered one last time. “I hope we can still be friends, Addison.” It was probably the most genuine thing he’d said tonight. But he knew she needed time and space, and he needed to think. Where did it go wrong? How had he missed all the signs? Did Navi or Desmond know?



And so, he squared up his shoulders and took on the burden of turning and walking away.



Post 1777 <3


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Addison Toft

This was it. This was reality. And she hated every second of it.

 

Watching Mercutio walk away and vanish around a corner, Addison sat there in silence for some time, absolutely shell-shocked. What had she done to herself? Why had she let her guard down so quickly, so willingly, and thrown wide the door to getting hurt? The brunette thumped the heel of a palm into her forehead, gritting her teeth and trying to make sense of her folly. How stupid!, she berated herself, stupid stupid stupid! Eventually she came to her senses and realised she was still in the corridor by herself, and sooner or later someone would come by and wonder what she was doing.

 

She began running. Trying to find the emptiest route back to the common room, Addison stumbled and staggered her way through halls and secret passages, growing increasingly sick of herself. After tripping for the umpteenth time, she ripped off the wedges and throw one at the nearest window, punching a hole in the glass with a sharp crash. Addison stood there, chest pumping up and down, up and down, second wedge raised and ready to throw.

 

Then her shoulders slumped and she started trudging back downstairs to head outside and retrieve the borrowed shoe.

 

End

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