Disclaimer: Frank and Alice Longbottom belong to JKR, along with the rest of the Harry Potter universe. Inspiration for this story comes from the name of FictionAlley's Frank/Alice ship, Aurora Borealis.
Iceland, many years ago. Straight out of Hogwarts, they'd decided to take a trip, just the two of them. Together. Somewhere cold, she said. Somewhere warm, he replied.
Iceland, she said. Glaciers and hot springs.
It was perfect. It was summer, and they wandered the moors, alone beneath the endless sky. Race you, he would say with a smile. To where? she would ask. To tomorrow, he would reply. To the horizon.
The horizon? she would ask. Might as well be the end of the world.
If it is, he'd say, at least we'll be together.
At first, she dragged him off to climb in the mountains and ski on the glaciers, and he wore so many clothes he could hardly move, and on the mountaintops, she would laugh and pull the scarf off his face and say, Look at the view. You can't see it properly with that woolly thing over your face. Isn't it beautiful? Don't you just want to fly out over it, with the wind in your face and the beauty all around?
And he would turn a little bit green because he'd always hated brooms, and say that this was really fine with him, thank you very much. And he would fix the scarf back on his face and drag her back down the mountain to the little village and they would swim in the hot springs.
But then they were there for longer and they didn't need it anymore, they didn't need the glaciers or the hot springs. They only needed the moors and they only needed together and they slept together beneath the midnight sun and the endless sky and raced to the end of the world and fell off the edge together. They were in love.
Then it was autumn, and they were sending owls home. We love it here, and we want to stay a few more weeks. They sent the owls every few weeks.
In autumn, there were nights, and they found that they loved Iceland nights as much as they loved Iceland days. They loved the pure darkness of a place with hardly an electric light to speak of, they loved the brilliance of the stars. But more than anything else, they loved the northern lights.
They'd both seen the northern lights before, one night at Hogwarts a few years ago, a faint shimmering curtain of color in the sky that gently moved and changed like a child's kaleidoscope. But the northern lights didn't come south very often, and when they did, they were faint and hard to see.
Up here, they were so much more, so much more. In the middle of night, the sky filled with beautiful color and it formed a shifting curtain of light over the stars, pink and green and red and blue. And then the sky seemed even more endless at night.
Then it was winter, and there was snow, and it was cold. They returned to the hot springs and lay comfortably in them, warm in each other's arms despite the snow all around them and the cold wind that blew the warm steam away. It was winter, and they watched the northern lights, and they were more beautiful than ever.
Aurora Borealis, he said. That's their other name.
Aurora was a Greek goddess, she replied. The goddess of the dawn.
You can be my Aurora, he told her.
Does that make you my Boreas? she asked, and giggled at the thought of him as the cruel and biting north wind.
It doesn't matter, he said. This is all that matters.
I love this place, she told him. I love you.
But then the winter fell away, and spring returned, and the hawks that wheeled and cried above the moors came with it. They took again to wandering out alone, and as always in Iceland, they were happy. At night, they still would watch the northern lights, and everything was still as perfect as could be.
Then spring began to turn to summer, and that was when the owl came.
The letter was addressed to her, and she sat at the table of the small cottage they'd just been discussing buying so that they no longer had to bother with the rent and opened it.
She read the first line, and the letter fell from her hand in numb disbelief, and he was asking her urgently what was wrong, but she couldn't answer, because she was lost in turmoil. So he picked up the letter himself.
Her parents were dead.
He stared at that one sentence for several minutes, unable to comprehend it. At last, he forced himself to read on.
They'd been murdered, said the letter, by the forces of a new Dark Lord. The letter told of this Lord Voldemort, of the horrors he had begun to inflict.
The letter ended with a plea for help. You were both excellent students, it said. You both achieved Outstanding on your Defence N.E.W.T.s. We need your help. The ranks of Aurors are being depleted at an alarming rate. Return to England. Train to be Aurors. Help us to prevent more innocents from being killed, as your parents were. It was signed, Albus Dumbledore.
Two days later, they stood at the dock, watching the ship glide into the harbor. His right arm was around her.
She turned her gaze from the approaching vessel to look south across the ocean. Not quite as endless as their sky, he thought.
He gestured out with left hand, across the ocean. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge goes south from here, he said. It stretches all the way down the world, but right here is the only place it ever comes up for air. Right here.
She nodded and didn't say anything.
Then they left on the ship, and returned to England. They enrolled in training, and before anyone knew it, they were Aurors and in the midst of a war. They fought and cried and hurt and fought some more. Somewhere in there, they were married. Sometime later, she became pregnant, and they had a beautiful baby boy. They named him Neville, after her father. The first true joy in their lives since Iceland.
Then another year was gone, with its own danger and grief. Lord Voldemort was gone then, and that brave young couple, the Potters, dead. Their son a legend.
She smoothed Neville's hair from his forehead and thanked God it wasn't him.
Then one night, there was a commotion downstairs, curses flying and light flashing, glass shattering. There was running to see what was the matter, and terror, and then there was pain. Pain, and still more pain, and shouted questions, and even more pain. And then at last, it was over.
Then there were two clean white beds, in a room with clean white walls. And that was all. Day after day, clean white beds and clean white walls and someone in the neighboring bed who was familiar from somewhere. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Everything was clean and white.
They've been in here for many years now, watching the other "long-term residents" come and go. There've been occasional visits from an old woman and a young boy. There was one of them today. The boy is very nice, and they both like him.
It's night now, and the room is dark. The two of them stand side by side at the window, staring out across London, a patchwork of tiny lights.
She raises her eyes to the sky. She knows this sky, the few stars that can be seen from this city. But somehow, there's something different in the sky tonight. An ever-so-faint veil has been cast over it, and she can pick up a hint of green, and maybe some pink.
His right arm is around her, and they watch the faintly shimmering colors as the lights of London slowly become more sparse.
Something is in their heads, as they stand there together, something like a forgotten other lifetime.
It says its name is Iceland.
A/N: I hope I didn't massacre Iceland. I've never actually been there, and I don't know much about the place except that it has hot springs. If anyone's actually been there, or even lives there, please tell me what I did wrong, because I'm sure I messed something up. In any case, please review, because it makes me very very happy.