A/N: So... this is not remotely what I was trying to write, or even the Gideon/Marlene piece I'm working on. All I can say is... I've been listening to a LOT of Fleetwood Mac and well, this is a different sort of oneshot and the sort of thing I normally avoid writing like the plague but I'm pretty attached to it (we'll see how i feel about it in the morning ;P). I'd love to hear what you think of it, reviews are so very much appreciated. Anyway... for all my Harry Potter readers wondering what's up with all the Doctor Who alerts from me coming your way (oh, i'm officially obsessed)- here's one for you.
Only when she was dead did Marlene McKinnon slip into his dreams. And even plucked out of his memories and spinning through his sleep, she wouldn't let Gideon Prewett forget she was gone from his days and nights for however many he had left.
She never had let him get away with believing make-believe. She'd never been one for pretending they were any more to each other than they had been, never pretended they fit just right.
My hair would never stay this way, said his dream Marlene one night, patting the loose curls that brushed her shoulders like she always had. Probably part of why her hair never stayed in place no matter what charms she used, she touched it too much. He'd never told her that. Never would.
Shame, said Gideon. They were swaying to a few replaying bars of a song he barely knew, something new from Celestina Warbeck that Molly'd had on the record player at the Burrow the other day. He liked the tempo and some snatches of lyrics had stayed with him. It hadn't been out yet when Marlene was the first light of the Order blown out, else it might have been their song. Looks good on you.
'Course it does, said Marlene, adjusting her arms behind his neck and he felt the weight of them or maybe remembered it. It's why I kept trying. C'mon with the color though, Gid, really?
He blew on a chocolate-colored curl and grinned, because she'd always liked how his left cheek dimpled when he did. Told him as much once. She'd never been abashed in her life. It looked the best on you.
Liar, she said bluntly. 'S why I went with caramel after.
What was it with you and turning your hair the color of confections?
Answer yourself, she said. I dunno a thing you don't already.
You probably thought it looked delicious.
'Fess up, she said, breath tickling his ear. So did you.
He could smell the cinnamon gum on her. I liked this brown. She'd worn her hair this shade at seventeen or so, and looked more seventeen than nineteen here, before the war, soft, when the only battle was on the Quidditch pitch and they could laugh it off when they lost. I'm afraid you're stuck as a brunette with me, Mack.
Yeah well you, you were always sick about the brunettes, she said, and he twirled her under his arm. She had that old puss on her face when he pulled her back again by her waist. That and the redheads. Ye gods, man, you had me thinking you were plotting to start some sort of redheaded wizarding tribe and take over the country.
There's Molly for that, he said.
What, no pretty girls? What's-her-name, Jill-something, with the scrunchy eyes, what happened to her? She was a bit ginger.
She'd always known their names. She made a point of showing she didn't care by always getting them wrong. Jean, said Gideon. Jean Stebbins. She married Dirk Cresswell.
He let the name sit between them for a moment.
I slept with him once.
That's how I know.
She laughed, because she would have, and tossed the wavy curls she'd never had. And he held onto her, rocking back and forth, remembering how she'd felt in his arms.
I wish it was you, Mack, he said, and wanted to cry, but it was a dream and he couldn't and he didn't do that much these days anyway. I wish you were the one marrying a nice guy well out of it all.
With you and Fay fighting without me? An' me missing out on all the fun? Ha, she said. Not likely.
Maybe… maybe if Fabian had joined the Order when he should've, with us, you'd still be alive, said Gideon, dreaming the words he couldn't even let himself think by day without going more mad than he was already.
Nah, she said. I wouldn't.
You don't know that, he said, the song still going, over and over with the same pretty refrain that was all he knew of it.
You do, said Marlene, meeting his eyes. Her face had a faint haze over it, even in his dreams, almost a year now and he couldn't remember her quite right. She cleared her throat. As it is I'm shucked me going down pulled him in. All those times you tried to talk him 'round and all it took was me.
You're worth fighting for.
She pulled away, and it was as if she hadn't been in color till then, and spread her hands down the petal pink dress he'd once seen another girl wear. He hoped it hadn't been Jean Stebbins. Her hands were small, he remembered, almost too small, and they looked the way they should've but he was afraid they'd been long and graceful a minute ago.
And Gideon knew he was waking up.
She looked up at him, tilted her head to the right. Her smile was rueful, but it was her big smile that spread up into her cheeks and crinkled her eyes, all mouth until the smile was almost all he could see of her face. That smile had never photographed well. He remembered it as prettier than it was.
You made me beautiful, she said, sounding almost broken. She'd always been too vain for her own good. I was never beautiful.
No, he admitted. She'd put herself together well, she'd known how to drive them all crazy but her face and nose had been too rounded, her mouth too big and her chin too squared-off stubborn to be more than attractive verging on pretty. She could look great in the right makeup, the right shade of lipstick especially.
In his dreams it was as if she'd been touched by light at every angle, kissed with color in her cheeks and lips and blurred oh-so-faintly, and he wanted her back the way she'd been, every limp strand of hair and practiced smile. But he couldn't bring her back right even in his dreams, not when he'd forgotten where the dotty freckles on her nose were supposed to go. Time cast its own spells and they were the worst of all.
You had beautiful lips, Gideon told her, too late. Starlet lips. I stole another kiss when you were dead – I'm sorry.
You thought I might wake up.
Confessions meant nothing when she already knew his mind. Good thing she'd been rubbish at Legilimency, he couldn't have taken Marlene McKinnon picking his thoughts up like posies.
The music had stopped. Maybe he'd wanted it to.
I didn't, she added, as if he could forget.
It was as if the words had shattered something, let in a wind to pull him back, because the whole haze around them was breaking and he knew what came next. He tried to hold onto it.
I love you, said Gideon, grabbing for her, but though he saw his hand circle around her wrist he couldn't feel her anymore. He felt his eyelashes fluttering instead.
Yeah, she said, shaking her head and those curls that'd never stayed. In your dreams, Prewett.
(He didn't remember in the morning but hummed snatches of a tune the rest of the day until he got it stuck in Fabian's head too, and never realized he'd said it wrong, because of course she was easier to love locked up in his heart and shining, but he'd loved Marlene McKinnon long before a memory was all that was left for him to dance with.
He only wished it had been enough.)