Harry Potter Fic: To Know Your Courage Never Slows
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Aug. 28th, 2011 | 05:03 am
music: After The Storm - Mumford & Sons
Title: To Know Your Courage Never Slows
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG. ish.
Characters: Dean Thomas, Luna Lovegood
Summary: Luna hums a tune he doesn't recognize and calmly sits beside him—as if they're simply old friends on holiday, instead of two kids hiding out in the middle of a war. Some Dean-centric musings about life on the run. Oneshot.
Author's Note: So, I'm kind of really fond of Dean Thomas and I guess that fondness, which may or may not have something to do with my natural tendency to become fascinated by side characters that I wish we learned more about, has resulted in this piece. This was originally part of a story I started that follows Dean's experiences during the last book, but I'm not sure if I have time to finish organizing all of it right now, so I figured this worked well enough as a stand-alone. While this isn't particularly shippy, the canon interactions we got between these two intrigued me so I'll probably be writing more for them. Here's to hoping I did both these characters justice. Anyways, excuse my rambling—Happy reading.
She finds him on the outskirts of the cottage, sitting among the patches of sand and wild grass scattered across the cliff that overlooks the sea. Or rather, she seems to have stumbled upon him in the midst of her wandering, for her expression is calm and unassuming, her stride as leisurely as ever.
Luna takes a seat beside him, her legs casually dangling over the edge.
"You know," she begins, and Dean can now recognize the tone, a strange mix of enthusiasm and serenity, that's about to give way to the unsung tales of unheard of creatures. "I've never been to a beach that had such fine grains of sand before." She smiles at the seashore below like it's an old friend. "Dad says the texture depends on how many Wallowing Merkits are nesting in the pebbles. They're quite small, but their bite is so powerful that it..."
He doesn't really mind listening to her, even finds her airy tone soothing most days, but as Dean watches the darkening waves crash along the shore, her voice seems to taper off into the salty air around them. As he adjusts the collar of his coat against the cold wind and gazes at the changing tide, he can't resist the oncoming memory of the first time his family went on holiday. With the pale sun streaming high in the sky above them, his youngest sister had giggled as she grasped his wrists with her tiny fingers, squealing in delight whenever a wave would rush up the shore and kiss her rain boots.
Sometimes it's difficult being here. Not that he's not grateful for everything, including the simple joy of sleeping somewhere that isn't a forest bed, but the downtime that comes with no longer being in constant danger causes his attention to stray elsewhere. It gives him time to miss every little thing; his sisters giggling during supper, the excited roar that bursts throughout the house whenever a West Ham match is on the radio, his brothers making faces as his mum scolds them for not keeping their trainer-clad feet off the coffee table...
He knows there are others who have it much worse, but that doesn't make him any less tired of running and hiding in a war he never expected to be in, of second-guessing who he is or what he's even doing. He craves familiarity and the once simple act of living everyday life—to be greeted by the smiles, the laughter, the new spells, the bad ref calls, the Exploding Snap games in the dormitory, and even his best friend's habit of setting fire to their latest assignment. Instead, here he sits without any of that; he feels rather shoved into some sick kind of hands-on learning experience you can't practice for, nor would you ever really fancy to.
"I know that look."
He almost jumps at the sound of Luna's voice, her observation breaking his reverie. "It's alright to feel homesick," she adds, as if reading his thoughts, "I miss Dad, too."
He exhales a breath that expels in visible puffs before casting her a sideways glance, a twinge of guilt coursing through him. He knows his family is as safe as they can be; Luna's father is most likely in Azkaban.
"You reckon we'll survive all this?" He surprises himself as the question slips out.
Dean likes to think he's persevered and believed that Harry is a key to saving them all as much as, maybe even more than, the next bloke, but there's something about life on the run that changes a person. He'll never forget the true exhaustion that comes with darting through a forest, panting out of fear and dread, kicking up dirt beneath his worn heels as he tries his best to elude the Snatchers. He's seen too many bodies lying still on the earth—people he's traveled with, survived with, swapped nostalgic stories and kept faith alive on cold nights with. Witnessing the light leave Ted Tonks' eyes, with the cries of terror still fresh in his ears, is something that'll stay with Dean forever. Something unwanted and heavy, but embedded all the same.
"Not all of us will." She addresses him calmly in that unblinking manner she has, even as the quiet wind blows her wavy strands across her face, obstructing her view.
Before he can do anything other than look down at his hands, currently preoccupied with plucking and shredding strands of grass, she continues, her eyes staring out at the sea now.
"None of us want to be in a war, Dean," she muses, her voice still dreamy even as her words feel like solid ground, "but what matters is that we're all fighting for something, I suppose. Something good, for the people we care about, for the world we want to save." Her head turns back to him, a small serene smile growing from the corner of her mouth. "I think that gives us more power than anything else."
She continues staring for a few seconds before her hand reaches out to his. He feels a ghost of her touch; her fingers give a gentle squeeze and the comforting warmth of her hand is retracted before he even fully registers the action. While he's at a loss for words, she begins humming a tune he doesn't recognize and looks back at the water as if nothing was said, as if they're simply old friends sitting beside each other on holiday, instead of two kids hiding out in the middle of a war.
She soon resumes filling him in on the dental properties of the sand-inhabiting creatures, and Dean feels himself relax a bit—despite everything he could, and just was, worrying about. It's seems to be the first semi-productive feeling he's had in a while, though, so he doesn't question it too much. He's not all that sure what a Merkit is, but in the time they've spent together, Dean has learned that if anything about Luna is certain, it's that she's a believer. And as he mulls over her words of hope and strength, he's not sure if it's the way she sounds so untroubled or the way her hand felt over his, but he finds himself believing, too.
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