Title: How Can I Keep From Singing?
Author: Tirya King
Spoilers: Not that I can think of.
Timeline: In the midst of the war, 3 years after Harry is graduated.
Disclaimer: You know the drill, guys. JKR owns Harry Potter. Enya owns the song 'How Can I Keep From Singing'. I own the ancient pile of poo computer that the story was written on.
Summary: In a world of death and horrors, sometimes the strongest heart is the one that sings. A look at a lesser-known character. Dedicated to Crushed Velvet's 50th reviewer.
A/N: This is dedicated to Crushed Velvet's 50th reviewer, RavenLady, who requested a fic that centered around one of the minor characters that no one seems to write about. I nearly made it about Neville, but decided on an even more obscure character, Colin Creevey. So sorry it took so long, but Crushed Velvet was taking up most of my writing time.
How Can I Keep From Singing?
"This is a bad business, Creevey," muttered Julius collapsing in his chair. "Boss wants us to go back to the Weasleys to do a follow-up."
The young photographer looked up from his stack of pictures. "But the family is still in mourning. Is it prudent to go there so quickly after the funeral?"
His partner nodded reluctantly. "It's a reporter's life, Colin. Come on then. Get your stuff and I'll get your broom for you. Meet you in front."
The 19-year old photographer nodded and gathered his camera and various lenses. Heading out of the main office, he put on his overcoat while holding his camera bag by the strap of his mouth. The life of a newspaper photographer was a busy one, what with the war and everything.
Colin was relatively young in his department, too young in the opinion of most. However, he was one of the most valued. In school, he knew his eternally joyful countenance was a source of much annoyance to his peers and superiors. He wasn't so dense as to not know that. But it was the way he was and there was no changing it. Here, with the job he was doing, photographing the things he did, to keep up his love for the world was a great gift prized by the Editor-in Chief.
"Where are you off to, Colin?" asked a voice behind him as he made his way downstairs. He looked up and saw his younger brother, Dennis, leaning over a rail peering down at him.
"The Weasleys," Colin replied. He saw Dennis frown at this.
"The funeral was yesterday. Why're you gonna bother them so soon?"
Colin shrugged. "It came from the top. No use arguing. Don't you have a sports column to write or something?"
Dennis smirked bitterly. "No one reads them anyway. What's the use of a sports column if Quidditch is banned? No one cares about Muggle sports."
"I got you the job here, Dennis," his brother frowned. "If you get fired, it'll look badly on me. Get back to work and let me do the same."
The 18-year old nodded and reluctantly retuned to the stuffy office where new interns were forced to work. His older brother, meanwhile, continued to journey to the front lobby where Julius waited with both their broomsticks.
"What took you so long, Creevy?" asked his partner, eyeing him critically. "Death Eater attack you in the halls or something?"
"Much worse," chirped Colin brightly as they made their way outside. "It was my brother." He smiled at his own joke causing Julius to roll his eyes. How anyone could still smile so brightly in such abandon was beyond him. The kid was just so… happy! It annoyed the hell out of him.
"Whatever, just don't crack one of your jokes during the interview. They won't want us there as it is."
"All the more reason for laughter," Colin answered matter-of-factly. Julius only gave him a warning glare, and the young photographer promised to do his job and keep his mouth shut. Satisfied with that, Julius allowed them to take off and head for the Burrow.
The early September air was growing chilly as they gained altitude, thus the reason for the jackets. Julius was not overly fond of flying as he suffered from a slight fear of heights. But apparition was discouraged these days unless absolutely necessary. Too risky to stumble upon something you'd rather not.
Beside him, Colin was having the time of his life. He was not a natural flyer by any stretch of the imagination. The only person who fell off his broom more than he was an older boy from school in Harry Potter's year. Neville somebody-or-other, he couldn't exactly remember. But it was something that he found relaxing and liberating all the same. Julius preferred to go slowly because of his fear of falling, and that was just fine with Colin. The faster he went, the greater the risk that he would fall.
Too soon, the flight came to a close as they approached the large lone cottage surrounded by chickens and ducks. Leaving their brooms by the front door, Julius and Colin knocked.
They did not have long to wait before a plump, motherly woman opened the door. Her eyes were red, her face pale, and she lacked her usual joviality. Colin's heart went out to the poor woman. No mother should have to bury their baby.
"Afternoon, Mrs. Weasley," Julius spoke touching his hat in greeting. "Julius Adams of the Daily Prophet. This is my partner Colin Creevey. Might I have the pleasure of your family's company, m'am? I have some questions I'd like to ask concerning your son's involvement in last week's battle."
For a moment Colin thought she would refuse them. But the look in her weary brown eyes suggested she no longer had the strength to refuse them. She left the door open and walked inside, not bothering with cordial greetings or offers of tea and pasties as she was known to do. The two entered soundlessly and followed her to the living room.
Years of self-restraint was the only thing that stopped Colin from whipping out his camera right then and there, for there, sitting next to the youngest male Weasley, was none other than Harry Potter himself.
A finer wizard never was born in the photographer's humble opinion. Worshipping this young warrior since before he knew what a broom was, Colin was beside himself to learn that not only was he to school right beneath the famous boy, but that he was destined to become close friends with him. Harry could never really publicly declare that he and Colin were so close of course. He didn't want Colin to become a target for the Dark Lord. Therefore, the young photographer bowed to Harry's wishes and acted as though they hardly knew each other. It was an act they had perfected in school and it carried through today.
Harry, however, was aware of no such companionship with the younger boy. For him, there was no act to protect the photographer. Colin's appearance at the Weasley residence was an annoyance at best and a severe violation of a family's right to grieve at worst.
Julius, sensing the less-than-welcoming family members, muttered to Colin to get scarce until he was called for. He wanted to get the interview done with as quickly as possible.
Agreeing, the photographer found his way into the kitchen, away from the main bulk of the family. He sat on a stool at the table, watching Julius work from afar. So intent was he in this task the he did not hear the soft footsteps behind him.
"Colin?" an equally quiet voice asked in surprise. He jumped in shock and turned to face the speaker. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, it's you, Ginny. Sorry, I didn't hear you come in." His heart went out to his former classmate. Her long vibrant hair was ill-kept and hung about her pale face in limp strands. Her normally bright eyes were dull and irritated red, probably from crying. In all, Colin had to admit she looked like Hell.
"What are you doing here, Colin?" she asked again. Regretfully, he held up his camera.
"Daily Prophet," was all he said, but it was enough.
Her eyes hardened in sudden anger and she drew herself up to her full height, which was not much at all. Now, however, her slight height still managed to intimidate him slightly.
"Who the Hell do you think you are, Colin?" she demanded of him. "Can't you hero vultures just leave us alone for one minute?! First you harass Harry constantly, and now this! I just lost a brother! Can't you let a family grieve in peace?"
"No, no, Ginny, it's not like that at all!" he cried, holding up his hands as though to still an attack. "Percy was very brave in what he did. We just want others to realize it. Give them hope and the honor he deserves. We mean no disrespect."
"He didn't have to die," she insisted, though he was offering no argument. "He didn't want any of this. Why couldn't they have just left him alone?"
"Because they needed a spy close to the Minister. If he had accepted, think of how many more people would be dead already." His voice was soft and soothing, not the voice he was accustomed to using, but nonetheless effective.
"Is that wrong of me, then, to rather have him alive?" she asked. "Does that make me a horrible person, because I wish he had just told them what he knew so they'd let him live?"
"Of course not," he assured her. "If Dennis were in the same position…" Oh, he didn't know what he'd do. Certainly he would beg the boy to tell them everything, just so he could be left alone and in peace.
Looking out into the living room, her doe eyes hardened in anger. "Sometimes I just get so angry at Harry, y'know? He is the only one that can stop this. He can stop You Know Who and end this war and all these deaths. And it's because of him that Percy first left the family. Mum and dad never patched things up with him fully before he died and I can't help but blame Harry for it." More tears slid down her face. "But at the same time I know it's not his fault at all! He's just as much a victim as any of us, maybe more so. He has so much on his shoulders and I know he feels every death as another thing that he is powerless to stop but is still his fault. He deserves my unwavering support and trust and all he gets is anger. I care for him so much, but I can't even show him that without burdening him even more!"
"He knows, Ginny." Colin didn't know how he knew, but he was sure of it. Harry had to know of the people that supported him. How could someone like him not know just how loved he was? "Don't worry about him so much. Just being there for him helps him with his burden."
"I don't know what to do," she sniffled, her fiery spirit drained. The young woman clutched a shawl around her thin shoulders. "This war is all going to Hell and I don't know how to stop it."
He stood up and wiped away the tears that trickled down her pale freckled face. Her large brown eyes were watery and threatened a whole new barrage of tears at the slightest provocation. "You don't have to do anything except what you're doing now," he assured her. "Your job isn't to stop this war. Just be yourself and it'll all come together in the end. You Know Who wants you to despair, so hope every day that no one else has to die. He wants you to be afraid, so lend your support to the side of Light openly and without fear. He wants you to be paranoid of others, so trust those that you can and be loyal to your friends."
She sighed and smiled despite herself. "Colin Creevey, that has to be one of the corniest things I've ever heard out of your mouth. And considering this is you, that's saying something."
He smiled back warmly, never one for tears. "You Know Who wants you to cry, Ginny, so smile instead. Besides, it's prettier on you. It suits you. If being corny can make you smile again, it's worth it."
Ginny's smile faded slightly to his dissatisfaction. "I miss Percy, Colin."
"I know, Ginny, I know." Setting down his camera, he embraced her lightly. He had done this to too many grieving people he decided. "He died so that you don't have to be afraid anymore. Don't cry for him when you can smile for everything that you have. You're alive and you'll be well again. Thank him for it and no one thanks someone with tears in their eyes."
She stepped back from him wiping her tired eyes with her slim fingers. Giving a morbid chuckle, she shook her head. "You're not very good at this, are you?"
He shrugged and grinned goofily. "No, not really. We all have our ways of dealing with problems. Laughter happens to be mine. Besides, every man is pretty useless when it comes to crying women."
"Well thanks anyway. In your own way, you helped me." This time, her smile was a little steadier. He brightened at this and held up his camera.
"May I take a picture of you, Ginny? Just for old time's sake?"
She looked down at her state of dress and cringed. "As I am? Colin, I look like Hell. I feel like Hell. You can't be serious!"
He held up his camera. "Just smile for me, Gin. That's all you have to do."
Moments later, Julius and Colin made their way back to their broomsticks that were leaning against the dilapidated porch. Julius staggered like he was only half awake.
"That was one of the worst interviews I ever had," he groaned, exhausted from the emotionally draining visit with the Weasleys. "I thought the twins were going to hex me into next week if their mum cried one more time. And Potter looked downright murderous!"
Mounting his broom, Colin gave no reply, quietly whistling a tune he had heard earlier that day on the wizarding radio. The Kappa Spirals had come out with a new album earlier that month. Their latest single was rather catchy and had been flitting through his mind lately.
Julius stared unabashedly at his partner who was flying through the air as though all was right with the world when they had just visited the house of a grieving family ready to murder them. Perhaps there was something really wrong with that boy, maybe he was a little out of touch with reality. Whatever it was, it appeared to be contagious for when the time came for the family to be photographed, Julius called out his partner. In walked the youngest Weasley, a young girl whose name evaded him, smiling softly despite having just lost a brother.
"What's your secret, Creevey?" Julius asked, flying alongside next to him. "How can you be so happy when the whole bloody world is falling apart around us? Are you just nuts or what?"
"Probably," Colin admitted noncommittally. "But the way I figure, if the Dark Lord wants me to be miserable, then I'd better damn well sing the loudest that I can." He turned to his partner suddenly, with a strange vulnerable look in his eyes. "I'm not a warrior like Harry is or a genius like Hermione. I have nothing going for me and I feel so useless in this war. There's so much that needs to be done and all I'm good for is taking pictures for a paper no one reads anymore. This is sorta my own way to contribute. Ginny lost a brother the other day and if I can make her smile for just 5 minutes, then I've done something right. I've protected someone, for just a little while, from You Know Who."
The serious and pained look faded and the usual jovial twinkle returned. The one that the unnerved reporter was more accustomed to seeing. Colin's tense shoulders relaxed and the tight grip on his handle loosened. "Besides, Julius, you're all so damn serious. There's still so much good in the world. How can I keep from singing?"
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to the rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?