Stranger Things


Story Summary:
Wars make people do mad things. But if Seamus ever finds out about this, he’s dead. Dean/Luna, throughout Deathly Hallows. Charcoal, driftwood and fishfingers abound. Oneshot.

Chapter 01

Chapter Summary:
Wars make people do mad things. But if Seamus ever finds out about this, he’s dead. Dean/Luna, throughout Deathly Hallows. Charcoal, driftwood and fishfingers abound. Oneshot.

Author's Notes: DH spoilers. says that Dean has both half-brothers and half-sisters, but Deathly Hallows mentions only sisters. I went with the latter. Many thank yous to fireworkfiasco.

Stranger Things

He's cooking dinner when they come for him.

He's sticking the fishfingers in the oven (with three younger sisters, this is pretty much the only thing they agree on eating) and musing on next year's World Cup. He's wondering how many people he'll have to Confund to get tickets - wondering how many times he'll have to Confund Seamus to get him to come along - when he hears a bang at the end of the street and sees the flash of green.

He doesn't go for his wand; there's no time for heroics. He bangs the oven door shut, hurls himself up the stairs and into his room. Throwing on his jacket, he grabs the bag and swings it up onto his shoulders.

It's only when he tries reaching for his wand to Disapparate that he realises how much his hands are shaking. He swears at them and balls them into tight fists.

He hears another bang, and a scream.

While get out - OUT, stupid - you stupid, stupid twat plays in his head, he bursts into his mum's room, where's she's dozing. His step-dad's still at work.

'Dean?' she mumbles blearily, rolling over.

'I'm going out for a bit,' he says. 'I'll be back soon.' He leans down and kisses her cheek.

'Mmm ...' She rolls over again.

'Will you - give my love to Dad, yeah?'

'All right ...'

'And - don't let anyone in, OK?'

'Hmm?' She sits up. 'Is something going on?'

He attempts a grin. 'Nothing that will affect you.'

'Dean -' she starts, but he cuts her off by running down the stairs.

He pauses at the open door to the living room. Through it, he gazes at them: Kirsty's reading a book, Lizzie's on the phone to her boyfriend and Laura's watching Blue Peter.

He hears another bang. This one's closer. Laura turns up the volume on the TV.

He raises his wand and casts the only protection charm he can remember on the hall ceiling: protego totalem.

'Fishfingers'll be done in twenty minutes,' he calls to his sisters. Then he Disapparates.


He finds Ted around Hallowe'en, and Dirk and the goblins a few days later. They form a band of merry men; in a way, it's sort of nice to hang around with people who get Muggle references.

He misses Seamus, though. And he misses a lot of people he thought he wouldn't, as well. He misses Neville tripping over his trunk and Ernie MacMillan being a twat and Harry and Ginny snogging in corners obnoxiously - when he starts to miss Ron's snoring, he knows he's cracking up.

They get hold of papers occasionally, and the 'WANTED' notices tell him more than he wants to know. He hears from Dirk that the youngest Weasley boy's at home, sick, and he marvels at how Ron must have done it: if the Prophet's right, and Hermione's travelling with Harry, then Ron must be with them. There's no way he would have let them go off and get on with it by themselves.

What it is, though, Dean doesn't know.

Sometimes - and this is a bit embarrassing, this - he wants the papers for something else. He wants them just for the sake of paper. The feel of it, beneath his fingers; the way the ink comes off on his hands ... it reminds him of something else he misses.

He has some charcoal for drawing, hidden at the bottom of his bag. That was all he could fit.

He doesn't get it out. It's not exactly practical, and he doesn't want the others to laugh. He keeps it in his bag as more of a keepsake, really.

His embarrassment seems stupid when Ted, Dirk and Gornuk are dead, and he and Griphook are tied back-to-back.


Escaping from Malfoy Manor, in retrospect, is all a bit of a blur. The second he sees the Malfoy family standing in their drawing room, he's sure he's going to die there - murdered and slaughtered by this mad bitch 'Bella' and his skeleton thrown onto her pile of Mudblood bodies. Then they're in a cellar with that Ollivander guy and Loony Lovegood, and Hermione's screaming and Ron's sobbing and that piece of cringing cunt-faced arse-wipe Malfoy is making them line up against the wall.

Then, of all things, a house-elf appears - and that's probably when Dean loses it.

'Go!' shouts Harry, Harry who always manages to get himself out of these messes, Harry for whom heroics isn't a choice but first nature, Harry who would never have had to spend every night wondering if his family are still alive because Harry would have been the last one out of that building, not the first - Dean grabs the elf's hand and Disapparates.

His feet hit earthy ground, and he can feel wind whipping through his hair and taste salt on his tongue. Opening his eyes, he sees a cottage, balanced precariously at the top of a cliff, and a shocked face at the window.

'Dobby must go back,' says the elf, and with another crack he Disapparates. Ollivander sinks, slowly, to the floor, and Luna flops against Dean's shoulder. He grabs her arm to keep her upright.

A tall, robed man with red hair in a ponytail and a dodgy-looking face is running towards them.

'What - Ollivander?' asks the man, crouching down beside the wandmaker, crumpled on the ground. He looks up at their faces, and addresses Dean, being the member of the party least likely to fall over. 'Who sent you here? What - who was that house-elf?'

'We've been - we're friends of Ron and Harry's - Harry Potter,' says Dean. 'Are you ... a Weasley?'

'Bill - Ron's brother - but -' He stops. 'What's Harry's Patronus?'

'A ... a stag?'

Bill nods. 'Can you walk? Let's get inside.' Then he swoops down, lifts Ollivander into his arms and turns back to the house, leaving Dean to hang on to Luna and wonder how many people know what Harry's Patronus is.

'Bill? 'Oo are they?'

Dean looks up, and now he knows he's seeing things. Standing at the front door is Fleur Delacour, Beauxbatons Triwizard champion, blonde hair shimmering gently in the twilight.

'Friends of Ron's, and Ollivander - the wandmaker, you kn--'

'I remember 'im!' the vision of perfection gasps, and runs back into the cottage; Dean is left to support Luna by himself.

'Hello, Dean,' she whispers against him, and he puts an arm around her waist to help her walk a bit better.

'How long have you been in there?'

'Since Christmas.'

He almost lets go of her. 'Three months?'

'Mmm ... I thought they'd take me to Azkaban, you know, but they seemed to think the Malfoys' was better ... I don't think Draco much liked having a schoolfellow in the cellar ...'

'I'm surprised you can walk.'

'Well, if I'd stayed there much longer, I wouldn't be able to.' She looks up at him and he's met with a radiant smile; for a second, she almost reminds him of Fleur. 'Thank you for saving me.'

He snorts. 'I wasn't exactly very helpful.'

They start to manoeuvre their way up the stone steps to the front door. 'No, I suppose not. But you're helping me now.'

He doesn't know what to say to that. He shakes his head.

Suddenly, behind them there's a crack, and they spin around to see Ron charging towards them with a limp body in his arms.

'No!' Luna gasps, and suddenly Dean feels as if he's going to throw up; Ron charges up the steps towards them; somehow, Dean has the presence of mind to drag Luna out of the way.

They follow him as fast as they can as he crashes into the kitchen.

Ron! What -' yells Bill, before his eyes fall to Hermione's body. 'Is she -?'

'She's alive,' says Ron, laying Hermione down on the kitchen table, 'but only just.'

Hermione's head lolls sideways; her eyes are closed and blood's dripping down from her throat. Ron reaches for his wand, but Fleur Delacour, appearing at a door, pushes him aside and draws her own with lightning speed. 'What 'as 'appened to 'er?'

'Can't tell you,' says Ron stiffly. He doesn't take his eyes from Hermione's limp form; his expression is the fiercest Dean's ever seen it. 'Harry should be outside.'

Bill starts towards the front door. He looks up at Dean and Luna, and then his eyes flick towards Fleur, Ron and Hermione. 'Come on,' he says to Dean, 'unless you want to ... shouldn't she go upst--'

'I want to see Harry,' says Luna, and the three of them leave the cottage and walk towards the sitting figure in the distance.


Dobby dies; Hermione lives. Luna and Hermione are put to bed, Ron and Dean help Harry to dig, then Luna closes the elf's eyes and that's that.

Half an hour later, Bill, Fleur, Dean and Luna are sitting at the kitchen table. There's a noise at the door leading to the staircase, and Harry, Ron and Hermione enter the hall. With a pause at the kitchen doorway and a nod at those sitting, Harry marches straight through to the front door; Ron and Hermione follow, faltering slightly.

'More tea?' Fleur asks Luna. Dean watches the trio move outside toward the grave; stopping near it, Harry starts to address them on something.

'Er ...' Dean starts. He considers saying Mr Weasley, but decides against it. 'Bill, d'you know what they're ...' He gestures helplessly at the window.

'No. Harry won't tell me anything.' Bill looks sharply at Dean. 'Has Hermione been tortured?'

'Yes - yeah.' Dean nods, slowly.

'Where?' puts in Fleur. 'Where did you escape from?'

'The - the Malfoy's place.'

Luna is looking out the window absently. Dean wishes she wouldn't.

'Was You-Know-'Oo there?' Fleur demands.

'Fleur, we can't -' interrupts Bill.

'You have a right to know! They are in our 'ouse - 'e is your brother!'

'No, he wasn't there,' says Dean, worrying if he's doing the right thing. He looks at Luna again, but she's still staring out at the garden.

'Oh, look,' she says. 'Harry's fallen over.'

The three of them leap to their feet; through the window, they can see Harry kneeling in the grass, clutching his forehead.

Fleur starts to hurry to the door, but Bill grabs her shoulder. 'We mustn't,' he says. 'Not unless they ask for help.'

'But -!'

'He's done this before,' Dean says. 'I've seen this happen before. He'll be all right.'

Nevertheless, they stand at the window and wait until Hermione is able to help him onto his feet.


The thick, green leaves on the trees surrounding them whisper together as the wind pushes the branches into each other's arms; with one hand, Dean manages to pull his collar up against the cold helter-skeltering its way down the back of his jacket.

'They're musical creatures, really, not like Heliopaths, which are much more easily attracted by the visual,' Luna continues, both arms clasping a bundle of driftwood to her chest, happily impervious to the attack they're undergoing from Mother Nature.

Not to mention the very real attack they could experience at any time. Dean doesn't know what Bill was thinking, sending them off into the dark for firewood, anyway. The boundaries are all protected, his arse.

Not that he's scared. He'd almost welcome a Death Eater attack - even though he's now wandless. Let them come. This time, he'd protect them both.



'You've stopped listening.'

Wide blue eyes accuse him in the darkness.

'I, um ... Sorry. I was just -' He looks up at the bruise-coloured clouds, just visible through the treetops. 'Just wondering, and ...'

'Are you scared?'

He shoots her a look and is met with a sly grin that sneakily curves its way up into pink cheeks. 'Me? Never.'

She starts to walk again. 'You know, they provide light.'

'What do?'

'The Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.'

'Oh, yeah?'

'Yes. I think you'd like drawing them.'

The only thing he wants to draw, he thinks, is her; then he stops walking in an attempt to shake the unwelcome thought from his head.

'You're a creature of the visual, I think,' she says, and then noticing that he's stopped, she does too. 'What?'

He's not entirely sure. What he is sure of is that the cold hands slapping down the back of his jacket have also whipped her cheeks into pinkness and made her eyes bright.

He takes a half step towards her, arms still full of driftwood, and kisses her.

After a moment, he breaks away. Her eyes are, if possible, even wider than before; her chapped lips are slightly parted. 'I think we should go back,' she says, and turns away and starts walking without him.

His feet follow automatically and she waits for him to catch up, but once they are walking side by side once again, she launches into another speech on the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.


Kissing her like that may have been the biggest shock of his life, he muses later, although his favourite old Defence Against the Dark Arts professor bursting into the cottage and announcing that he'd just had a baby with the daughter of Ted Tonks comes a close second.

Dean wishes he could draw her then and there, as she joins in the exuberant congratulations and glasses of wine, eyes alight with happiness and cheeks flushed.

Wars make people do mad things. But if Seamus ever finds out about this, he's dead.


The want to draw her doesn't leave him. He tries, when he's by himself in the living room, but it doesn't work.

She doesn't mention the kiss, and neither does he.


He wants to draw her. And on a Thursday night, she lets him.

While the other three are closeted away with Griphook in Hermione and Luna's bedroom, she sits on what used to be Ollivander's bed, her legs tucked under her, her head leaning against the wall.

'Do you want my hair up, or down?' she asks him, hands knotted in her long, now waist-length blonde tangles, eyes wide and inquisitive.

He's taken aback; he's got no idea - he's not a real artist, for fuck's sake. But no one's ever sat for him before ... even Ginny was too embarrassed. He stares at her, and he doesn't know what to do - Luna's hair is lovely - but then he's taken with the idea that if it's up, she'll expose more of her neck ... and then he's very confused.

He shrugs, but as he reaches for his lovingly cared-for bits of charcoal, he sees her pin half of it up. He grins.

Somehow, it works all right: her glowing eyes and her nervous - and soft, he thinks - lips start to take a scratchy form on the parchment which other people might see and recognise as the essence of Luna Lovegood.

When he gets to her body, it becomes problematic: how the hell is he going to do this? He'd drawn Ginny a lot (when she wasn't looking); he'd drawn Lavender a few times (when Seamus wasn't looking); he'd always wanted to draw Hermione, but Ron was quite a bit bigger than him and it had probably been more than his life was worth. The point is, he can draw girls' bodies - clothed, thanks - well, usually - he just doesn't think he can draw Luna's.

But he tries. He sketches her neck, and her collarbone, and is wondering which arm to do first when she speaks, making him jump. 'I never know how you draw the bones,' she says, her hand going to the ridge of her collarbone, jutting out from her pale skin and stretching across in an arc, swooping gracefully around the base of her neck. 'And I do seem to have more of them than usual, these days.'

'Nah, it's easy,' Dean says, ignoring the reference to her stay in the Malfoys' cellar. 'Here,' he adds, leaning forwards impulsively; holding himself up on the bed with his left hand, he touches the skin of her collarbone with his right. 'See, it's like ...' he says, marking the two corners at the base of her neck, 'right angles. Dead simple, really.'

'Why are the angles right?' Luna asks breathlessly.

'Ninety degrees, you know ... oh, yeah - you didn't go to Muggle school ... they're ... well, corners.'

'Oh, I see. Corners.'

'Whereas this,' he says, continuing to sketch on her skin, 'is more of a curve ... see? And then there's your neck ...'

She swallows beneath his fingers, and Dean suddenly realises that his hand is pressing a crumbling piece of charcoal to her neck. His left hand has long since left the bed to hold her arm, and his knees have crawled up to rest on either side of hers.

'Yeah, this is your neck,' he says softly, drawing lines on it, more in order to give his hands something to do rather than to illustrate anything. 'And then we go down to your shoulders ...' Pushing her blouse down, he drags the charcoal in a straight line along from her neck to the round part of her shoulder.

Luna looks at him. Dean is suddenly aware that there are strange black smudges outlining the bones at the top of her chest. 'Sorry,' he says, though he can't stop looking at her face. 'I've covered you in this muck ...'

'Don't apologise,' she says. Then she puts her hand on his cheek, leans forward and presses her lips to his.

After an age, she breaks away and smiles at him, leaving him still feeling dazed. 'That was better, wasn't it?'

He opens his mouth, but is embarrassed to find no words coming out.

She smiles, beautifully, and leans forward again until her lips hover against his.

Through her beam, she breathes, 'Do keep going. Draw me.'

She wraps his wrist in her dainty hand and raises the charcoal to her face. Slowly, he moves it over her jawbone, on both sides of her face: a smudge that stretches from her ears to her chin. His hand slows and his eyes drop to her slightly parted lips - then, even lower, as he sees her hands fumbling with the buttons at the top her blouse.

He meets her eyes.

'Keep going,' she whispers.

He presses the charcoal to the top of her cleavage and starts to mark the path downwards. Her fingers change tack and move to undo the buttons from the bottom up, pushing the blouse aside from where it covers her stomach as she goes. As she leans back on the pillows his charcoal follows her fingers, etching smoky wiggles over protruding ribs and exploring the swells of her hips.

Glancing up, he sees that she's shed the blouse completely, and tentatively, wondrously, he creeps back up to her breasts. With a shaking hand, he outlines the small mounds of translucence.

She emits a small sound that could be a moan or could be a yelp. He can't help it - he drops the charcoal on the floor and kisses her.

Five minutes later, Dean is losing his virginity to Luna Lovegood, and he doesn't care at all that this is probably the stupidest thing he's done in his young life, because she's bewitching, entrancing, intoxicating, Luna - yeah, that's right: intoxicating.

Throughout the slapping of skin and the chocolate and cream of their legs; throughout the grunting, the embarrassing expressions and the feel of her fingernails on his back - all right, he's not a ponce, yeah, but he tries to make love to her.

He tries. It doesn't work very well.

Afterwards, they lie in sweaty dampness. There are black smudges all over Ollivander's mattress. Next to him, a very naked Luna lies, legs akimbo, hair in a tangle.

He feels a bit sick.

He sits up. He expects to see their clothes hanging from all sorts of places - curtain rails, picture frames - and it is a bit of an anti-climax to see them all in a heap at the side of the bed.

'Hey -' he says, hoping his voice doesn't sound too panicked.

She twists around to look at him. An old pillow cushions her head; some of her hair is still pinned up.

He snaps his head away to stare out the window. 'Maybe you should, you know, go.'

Out of the corner of his eye, he watches her pull her clothes on. As she vanishes out the door, taking his reputation as a gentleman with him, all he can feel is relief.


She stops speaking to him. Or he thinks she does, anyway. It's difficult to tell with Luna. Maybe her mind's moved onto higher things and she's just forgotten all about it.

Whichever way, it hurts. Yeah, he was a prick, but it still hurts.


It's very boring without Luna to talk to.

But what does she want him to do? What's he supposed to say? 'Sorry I was such a dick, Luna, and I know it's kind of awkward now that I can't look at you without thinking about what you look like naked, but let's just forget it and move on, all right? Let's just go back to conversations about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and never make that stupid mistake again, and it'll all be super.'

No, thanks.

But God, he misses her. And Ron and Harry are pretty boring, now. They spend all their time with that bloody goblin.

No one else would have made the mistake he'd made. Someone like - like Neville wouldn't have made that mistake.

But the thought of Neville even getting physically close enough to Luna to make that mistake causes Dean's insides to boil with rage, so he decides to stop thinking about it.


Three days after the incident, she asks him to pass the salt.

She even says please.

He does as she asks and tries not to grin. They might make it onto full sentences by next week.


But there is no next week.

On the evening of the day Harry, Ron and Hermione disappear, Dean is sitting in the kitchen, flipping gloomily through the Prophet. Around lunchtime, he'd been with Luna in the garden, watching her and trying to work out what to say, but she was still practising with that bloody wand Ollivander had sent her yesterday, and Dean had given up.

He turns a page, and then he hears a shout from outside. 'Dean!'

He's up and into the garden before she's finished the syllable.

She's beaming at him; he thinks he must have stumbled into some bizarre parallel universe, where blonde beauties smile at Dean wherever he goes, no matter what a shit he is to them; she's holding a coin.

A large, golden coin, held up in the sunlight for him to see.

Maybe it's a trap.

'Is that your DA coin?' he asks uncertainly from where he stands. He doesn't dare come any closer.

'Yes!' she says, with more obvious excitement than he thinks he's ever heard Luna speak. 'Look!'

He takes a very, very hesitant step forwards.

'You are ridiculous -' She thrusts the coin into his hand and marches past him and back into the house.

There are two words etched into the side: HOG'S HEAD.

'Lu--Luna?' He turns back to the house and crosses to the front door.

She's writing something on a piece of a parchment.

'Luna ... what's -'

'Be quiet, please,' she says.

'But -'


He does as she commands him; he doesn't really have any other options.

She finishes writing whatever it is and stands back to admire it. 'Right,' she says. 'Let's go.'

'To where?'

'The Hog's Head.'


'Because of the battle!' she cries, eyes shining. 'The revolution! The over-throwing of the Carrows! Harry's back,' she adds in a matter-of-fact tone. 'I knew it would only be a matter of time.'

'Are you serious?'

'Of course.'

'Then -' He falters, and he doesn't know why; isn't this what he's been waiting for? 'Let's go!'

She beams again. 'I thought you would see it my way.'

He spins around distractedly; is there anything here he'd need for a battle? He spies the kitchen knives and a bubble of hilarity rises in his chest - he's going to a battle without a wand -

'Well, are you coming or not?'

'Wait -' he says. 'What about Bill and -'

'I wrote them a note,' she says, nodding towards the parchment on the table.

She's not a Ravenclaw for nothing, Luna.

He follows her outside, and together they run across the clifftop garden in the gathering twilight until they reach the edge of the boundaries.

They turn to face each other.

'I can't Apparate,' she pants, breathless.

'Oh, here -' he starts, grabbing her hand.

'No,' she says, withdrawing it. 'No, thank you.'

In the midst of their excitement, an awkwardness falls.

'I'll hold onto your sleeve, if you don't mind.' She takes a prim handful of the cloth near his elbow.

Fuck it; he's got more important things to think about right now. He has.

With a determined nod, he tucks the fake coin into his pocket and Apparates them both away.


'OK,' shouts Harry over the din. 'There's something we need to find. Something - something that'll help us overthrow You-Know-Who. It's here at Hogwarts, but we don't know where. It might have belonged to Ravenclaw. Has anyone heard of an object like that? Has anyone ever come across something with her eagle on it, for instance?'

Everyone shakes their heads, and despite the atmosphere and despite the fact that he's in Hogwarts once again and despite Seamus' arm around his shoulders, Dean feels his stomach sink.

'Well, there's her lost diadem. I told you about it, remember, Harry? The lost diadem of Ravenclaw?' says Luna, perfect, genius, beautiful, fucking magnificent Luna. 'Daddy's trying to duplicate it.'

The Ravenclaws start arguing amongst themselves about something swotty, who knows, who cares, because Dean's too busy staring at perfect, precious Luna -

'No, Luna will take Harry, won't you, Luna?' snaps Ginny.

'Oooh, yes, I'd like to,' says Dean's Luna, jumping to her feet with a simple grin - and suddenly Dean is boiling with rage, because can't the bloody Chosen One for once in his life get his own women?

He glowers at Neville leading the two of them away until he's sure he could bore a hole in Harry's back with mind-power alone -

'Dean?' asks Seamus. 'You all right?'


'We're fighting,' says Harry. He doesn't say it with the gusto such a phrase deserves; instead, clearly audible is the panic they're all feeling but keeping locked down inside themselves.

Harry's never been much cop at hiding his feelings.

But do they care? Not in the slightest. With a roar, the crowd of students and DA members - and adults, now, too, and random people like Oliver Wood - surges forwards and up towards the door to the corridor.

He sees the flash of blonde hair.

'Come on, Luna,' he calls, holding out his hand.

There is no response. He prays. Prays to God, prays to Merlin, prays to Dumbledore - prays to - fuck, he's run out of people to pray to -

She slips her hand into his.

Without looking at her, he clasps it firmly and heads up the stairs.


'Where's Luna?' Dean shouts at Seamus as they crouch in a hallway on the first floor that Dean's certain he's never been in before in his life and hold their arms above their heads to stop the castle from falling down on top of them.

'Feck! Feck your mother, you stupid, fecking -' Seamus yells at the Death Eater who had hit him with an Impedimenta as he'd ran past, but the Death Eater has rounded the corner and is out of sight -

'Seamus!' bellows Dean. 'Where's Luna?'

'How should I know? That stupid motherfecking piece of scum -'

'Are you all right?'

'Yeah - me leg's a bit shaky, but I don't think the fecker broke it - I think she's with Ernie - they'll be fine -'

But before Dean can question the wisdom of this statement, suggest going to look for them, or tell how Seamus how he's glad it's the two of them together again, two people crash around the corner, wands drawn and spells flying: Remus Lupin and Dolohov.

Dean grabs Seamus' sleeve, whether to suggest they join in or run for it, he doesn't know, but before they've moved, a jet of green light hits Lupin in the chest, and Dean's favourite Professor is falling, falling, falling -

With a roar, Dean drops Seamus' arm, runs at Dolohov, snatches Professor Lupin's wand from the floor and lunges forwards to take his place -


He's in the Entrance Hall and he's running across shattered crystal balls - no great loss, there - and pieces of emerald from the hourglasses to get to Neville and give him a hand, because he's trying to battle a Death Eater while holding onto an armful of Venomous Tentacula, when the doors burst open and Luna, Ernie and Seamus appear.


A flash of red, and she's thrown against a wall.


Seamus and Ernie turn towards her, but a spell from a Death Eater trips Ernie up and Seamus whips around with his wand drawn to defend himself -

'LUNA!' Dean bellows again, running through the fray towards her. Feeling something whiz by his ear, he ignores it and keeps moving, but then someone or something grabs at his jumper -

He's spun around by a still-masked Death Eater; his arms flail and he tries for a spell but nothing's working because he can barely see what he's doing -

In desperation, he jabs the wand into the eye-slit of the Death Eater's mask, and miraculously, the man drops - he spins around again -


He stops; she's standing there, on her feet. 'Dean -' she starts.

And then, they all freeze.

'You have fought,' says a high, cold voice, 'valiantly. Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery.'


It is very odd to be in the relatively clean and tidy common room, after all that.

Well, as tidy as the Gryffindor common room can be with about five hundred people in it.

The battle ended six hours ago, and for some reason, this is where they'd ended up. He, Seamus, Neville and even Ron had slept down here, on the sofas - none of them felt worthy of going upstairs to sleep in the same room as Harry.

Standing in a corner, Neville is telling Dean about what's been happening at Hogwarts in the last year in an odd voice, as if he himself can't quite believe it all really happened - Dean's having enough trouble taking it all in as it is, without the people who were actually there disbelieving it - when Seamus joins them.

'So what happens now, then?' he asks. 'D'you reckon the house-elves are up to making breakfast?'

'I doubt ...' Neville tails off and his eyes widen. 'Seamus - look -' Dean feels a pang of jealousy as Neville automatically grabs Seamus' arm, but then a grin breaks out over his own face as he follows Neville's line of vision. Ron and Hermione are in the far corner, kissing gently.

Seamus catches Dean's eye. 'This is your moment, mate - gonna break them apart and tell them off for snogging in public?'

Dean smiles and shakes his head - he has little energy for anything else - but then something blonde by the portrait hole catches his eye and mid-shake, he stops.

Luna is standing on the other side of the Gryffindor common room, looking directly at him and looking the least vacant he's ever seen her look.

'Isn't that brilliant?' asks Neville, still gazing at Ron and Hermione in a somewhat sappy manner.

'I don't know,' says Seamus, shooting Dean a suspicious look. 'Stranger things have happened.'

'I have to go and talk to -' says Dean, moving through the crowds towards her and leaving the pair of them behind with Seamus' eyebrows up somewhere in his still-singed hair - but, really, much though he loves Seamus, who cares what he thinks about this?

He reaches the other side of the room and stops in front of her.

He doesn't know what to say, so he jerks his thumb over his shoulder. 'Ron and Hermione are snogging.'

Her eyes flick over to the corner. 'That's nice.'

She doesn't seem impressed.

'I thought you were dead for a second, last night.'

Not the suavest thing he's ever come up with.

'I don't need you to save me,' she says.

'I know.' He looks down at his hands.

There is a short silence. If silence can be found in a room ram-packed with hundreds of people.

'You could probably do with a bit more respect from me, though,' he says.

A normal girl would fall onto his shoulder, weeping, and say something like 'Oh don't apologise, Dean; forget it, it's in the past - what is saying sorry when the war is over?'

But this is Luna, and to her, life and death is but a trifling matter.

'I probably could do with a little more respect, yes,' she says.

He looks up morosely, but he's shocked to see that the hesitant smile is back - and maybe, just maybe, in the glint of a not-so-vacant blue eye, he can spy the first inkling of forgiveness.

Maybe Luna is a bit more like a normal girl than he thought, after all. Just with a few principles.

Right, then. He better make this good.

'I'm sorry,' he says. 'For all that.'

For a second, he thinks she's going to say something; then, she shuts her mouth and opens it again. She has stopped smiling. 'Sorry for what?'

'For telling you to get out. And ... and, I think ... I suppose ...'

No. No, he's not going to go any further - he's done his bit, he's apologised for being such a dickhead, but he is not going to say sorry for what they did. He may be many things, but Dean is not a liar.

'And ...?'

'And that's it,' he says stubbornly. 'I'm not sorry for anything else.'

And now, suddenly - she's beaming. Beaming with shining eyes, and Dean remembers - how could he have forgotten? - quite how beautiful Luna Lovegood is.

Is Luna not sorry for it either? Is Luna ... Would Luna be angry with him - disappointed with him - if he said he was sorry for sleeping with her?

That would be a bit weird. But then, Luna is a bit weird.

'Here,' he says, extending his hand and taking the risk. 'D'you want to go for a walk?'

The beam stretches, if that's possible, and so does Dean's heart. 'I'd love to,' she says, and putting her hand in his, she follows him out of the portrait-hole.