A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me. Done for a quote prompt. This pairing is a Mew and Mor's Weird Pairing, which you may find in the M&MWP forum (see my profile for details). Check out and join the forum FUN! Read, review, and enjoy! *Also, this coincides with my oneshot, "Pierrot Triste," a Seamus Finnigan/Angelina Johnson piece (which is bittersweet).
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved—loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." —Victor Hugo
Despite the adrenaline that coursed through his veins, despite his Gryffindor bravery, Dean Thomas was truly a frightened young man, driven only by the need to survive. He really wished he hadn't come along back to Hogwarts. He knew that the Death Eaters, that You-Know-Who—no, no, he was Voldemort—would be here. Dean cursed his stupid bravery and his loyalty to his friends and classmates and the damn school.
He ducked another curse. Merlin, who the hell was left to even shoot at him?! The last he'd checked, all the Death Eaters had been preoccupied. Well, now that he looked, even more Death Eaters seemed to be pouring into the castle. Dean shot off another Stunning Spell and ran ahead. He saw a familiar face right as he went to hang a left. "Seamus!" he called out to his best mate.
Seamus Finnigan looked over his shoulder and stopped. "Dean? Where ya been?"
Dean briefly hugged him. "Blood status stuff. You know. The Ministry was hunting me and—well, I can save that for later." He nodded to Lavender Brown and Padma and Parvati Patil behind Seamus. "How're you lot?"
His fellow Gryffindors, Lavender and Parvati, hugged him, too, and Padma acknowledged she was glad to see another classmate still alive. Seamus jerked his head behind him. "We're gonna go take back th' Astronomy Tower." He raised his eyebrows. "We gonna see you again?"
Dean smiled and nodded, taking the hint completely. "Of course, Seamus. You still have some of my comic books."
"I'd join you," he told them, "but I was going to see if I could help some of the teachers get the rest of the students out. Good luck, guys."
"You, too, mate."
Dean parted with them and made his way down the hallway. He hoped and prayed to anything and everything that they'd be all right. The tower was as dangerous a battleground as the rest of Hogwarts. More and more Death Eaters kept coming…
"Slytherins, leave that way!" Professor McGonagall shouted. Dean watched a group of green and silver shuffle away. He grimly smiled; McGonagall still had it in her, even after Dumbledore's death and during this time of crisis.
He looked both ways and decided to double-check the different Houses. If any innocent students remained, they would have to be protected.
"Argh! You no-good oaf! Don't you fire that Unforgivable Curse at me!"
The black wizard came to a halt outside the library, spying a wizard in a Death Eater mask was dueling with a Slytherin girl. The girl had a crazed and pissed expression on her face. Dean tried to place her face since she seemed so familiar, but he couldn't quite guess it. But that was beside the point. That Death Eater needed to be taken down.
"Stupefy!" she screamed at her opponent.
Dean jumped to her side and cast a nasty Hex. He glanced at her. "You shouldn't be here. You should've left with the other Slytherins!"
"'Other' Slytherins?!" She laughed darkly. "Don't lump me in with them! If they had any school pride, they'd fight! Instead, most of them are just running away to Mummy and Daddy!"
He did a double-take. "Who the bloody hell are you?!"
She ducked the enemy's Cruciartus Curse. Her hazel hair floated behind her and her hazel eyes burned with the light of the corridor's braziers. "Astoria Greengrass at your service."
"Greengrass? Daphne's little sister?"
She grimaced. "Yes, I'm a pureblood. No, I'm not a coward like her. No, not all Slytherins are arses. Yes, I am a Slytherin." She aimed a Full-Body Bind, but the Death Eater deflected it and began advancing. "He's Goyle's father, the git."
Dean straightened his arm. "Expelliarmus!" he bellowed. "What are you doing up here?" he asked her breathlessly as they nearly danced between Goyle, Sr.'s incantations.
"No one thought to check on poor Madame Pince," she answered. "That's not right. She's a Hogwartian just like the rest of us."
"You're really a Slytherin?"
"Yes, already! Now help me kick this guy's arse!"
Goyle laughed at them. "Ah, lookit you, little Greengrass. Your family never was very good at keeping its blood clean. Look at who you're fighting alongside! That's nothing more than a Mudblood you have there!"
"I'm not—" Dean started with a growl.
"Leave him alone, you—you goose-gog!" Astoria shouted, her cheeks aflame. "You should never use that horrid word! Hermione Granger's a Muggle-born and all she's ever done was kick your Death Eater arses!"
Goyle snorted. "That's all right. Bellatrix was going after her downstairs. Now I'll finish you off."
Dean's blood chilled hearing that Bellatrix Lestrange was going to try after Hermione again. She'd nearly killed the girl back at Malfoy Manor. His anger stirred again, though not over his half-blood status. He didn't want to see anyone else killed. Already, there were too many bodies piling up on the levels below them. He aimed his borrowed wand at Goyle. Beside him, Astoria did the same.
"STUPEFY!" they shouted in unison. What came out of their wand tips had to be the biggest jolt of red light either had ever seen. It hit Goyle straight in the chest and knocked him off his feet.
Astoria lowered her arm and took in several deep breaths. Dean's chest heaved as he greedily gulped air, too. He looked at her. "Think he's down?"
"Only one way to find out," she replied. She walked right over to Goyle's body, despite Dean's obvious alarm. She nudged him with the tip of her toe. "He's out cold." She turned to Dean, really seeing him perhaps for the first time. "You're Dean Thomas." Her eyes softened. "Thanks for not dueling me at the same time," she said with a half-hearted laugh.
His cheeks warmed a little. "Well, for you to have abandoned the group McGonagall was escorting out like that…"
"Made you trust me?"
"A little bit, yeah."
She smiled fully this time. "Let's go check on Pince, then." Astoria grabbed his hand without another word, and the two slowly opened the dented library door. "Madame Pince?" the girl called. "Madame Pince? It's Astoria. And Dean Thomas."
A noise from behind the counter startled Astoria, making her clutch Dean's arm. Slowly, they walked forward. Dean, being twice Astoria's size, peeked over the edge.
"Mr. Thomas!" Pince exclaimed. She popped up and nearly dropped the stack of ruined books in her arms. "Unless you have come to help, I would ask you kindly to back away with care so as not to step on fallen and damaged books."
Dean grabbed his chest where his heart was, scared shitless by the woman. "Are you all right, Madame Pince?" he asked.
Though her appearance was slightly ruffled, the librarian seemed as snappy as usual. "I'll be fine. The disturbances shaking the castle are causing chaos, though. I shall remain here and protect the school's treasures."
"Treasures? People are fighting out there and—"
"Take good care of the books," Astoria interrupted, and she ushered him out of there before Pince could start in on them. When they were outside, Astoria magically sealed the door and placed a few protective Charms on it. "There. That should do it. Let's go."
Dean followed Astoria back downstairs. "Why did we just leave her alone?"
"Because she won't be very helpful. She'll only be reluctant to join the battle. Besides, she's partly right. Hogwarts has some information that only exists in the last copies our library possesses. If that information is lost, it's lost for good. And if it gets in the hands of You-Know-Who—"
"Voldemort," he corrected.
Astoria frowned. Apparently she was going through the same comfort issues most others did over the name. "If it gets in the hands of…Voldemort, who knows what he'll do?"
They were both quiet for a moment. Their footsteps echoed in a hollow way against the walls. "Do we really have stuff like that?"
"You don't even know the half of it. Neither do I."
They re-joined others in battle. There were too many familiar faces to count. At one point, Dean and Astoria were fighting alongside Oliver Wood and Katie Bell, two Gryffindors who had already graduated. Hours and hours seemed to drag on, and all they felt was that they were fighting nonstop. Dean grew tired, but he kept moving. If Astoria could fight when so many of her supposed brethren ran with their tails between their legs, when so few of those like her knew right from wrong, then he could fight, too.
He didn't know what time it was when they finally reached the Great Hall. It was almost silent downstairs. Except for Voldemort and Harry. Those two were dueling to the death.
Dean couldn't hear too much of what was being said. He just couldn't believe his eyes. Voldemort, there, in the flesh. The Dark Wizard that was Evil himself…and he was dueling right there in Hogwarts' Great Hall. Harry seemed pretty worn out, too, but he wouldn't let anyone else join in. He had to do this on his own.
At one point, Dean started when the Dark Lord shot off a Killing Curse that narrowly missed his friend. Astoria put a hand on Dean's chest and kept him back. When Harry was nearly hit again, Astoria squeezed Dean's hand. No one else in the room could tear their eyes away from the battle, either.
"I just want to go home and see my family…," Dean muttered to himself as his hung his head. His nerves were shot; he couldn't stand any longer. But he also knew he might not stand ever again if this battle swung the wrong way.
"I want to see my family, too," Astoria whispered. Her eyes weren't on the duel. Instead, she tried to get Dean to look into her eyes. "We'll…We'll get out of this. This'll all end soon."
He saw how her lower lip quivered. "Thank you, Astoria." He wrapped a hopefully comforting arm around her shoulders, and they both faced the duel—at the right moment.
Harry had just met Voldemort's Killing Curse with his trademark Expelliarmus. Voldemort's Curse somehow backfired and the Dark Lord fell, dead. The school suddenly was alive with a cacophony of cheers.
Dean broke into a shocked smile and lifted Astoria off the ground. He twirled her around and around. She had been right. Judging by the elation on her face, she had been hoping for the same happy ending. When he put her back on the ground, she looked around, surveying the wreckage. Her eyes were still lit up with joy, despite the carnage around them.
"It's over," she breathed. She brushed some of her hair out of her face. "It's really over."
He nodded. "It seems like only yesterday when the Harry Potter was sorted into Gryffindor. And when…when I made friends with him…" He smiled wistfully, thinking on his past school years. Yes, he had missed his seventh year, but missing N.E.W.T.s for this? This was so much better than anything he could've ever learned in the classroom.
Astoria looked around. Her eyes rested on the bodies that were being moved around the Great Hall, and she bit her lip.
"Want to go get some fresh air and then look for your sister?"
"Yes to the fresh air…maybe on Daphne."
Dean and Astoria made it outside without much trouble. No one stopped them; most people were going out and about finding loved ones—both dead and alive. It was quiet near the edge of the Black Lake. There, at the water's edge, Dean sat down and stretched his legs. He lay back and felt his eyelids grow heavy. It was so very tempting just to sleep now. He didn't know when he last had…
Astoria sat beside him, drawing up her knees and resting her chin on them. "Dean?" she asked quietly.
"Don't you want to see your family?"
"I do." He opened one eye and glanced at her. "But I'm drained. I couldn't even Side-Along Apparate if I tried right now." He closed that eye again, and Astoria smiled.
"Taking a nap then?"
Soft chirping filled the early morning. Astoria watched the water ripple very slightly at the wind's urging. "I'll be here when you wake up."
"I'm sure Daphne's fine."
"Thank you for trusting me."
Dean opened his eyes and sat up a bit. "Astoria, I think our true selves are revealed when tested. I've met the real you. And I like what I found. It was a no-brainer trusting you."
She smiled sweetly and surprised him with a kiss on the cheek. "It's a no-brainer trusting you, Dean."
"Uh, ha, th-thanks…" He awkwardly lay back down, suddenly very aware of her warmth beside him. Physically, she was very plain, but she truly was different from any other girl he'd ever met.
The witch reclined on the grass, too, and tentatively snuggled up to him. When he didn't push her away, she held on to him. She enjoyed it when his arm came back down on her shoulders. "I'll be here when you wake up," she repeated. And I want to be here whenever you open your eyes maybe, she thought, the idea of dating such a courageous boy growing very fondly in her mind.
"I'd like that," Dean muttered in his sleep, and Astoria giggled as they both settled for a well-earned nap.
Okaaay… So a little fluffy at the end and a kiss, but it was only a cheek kiss! And there weren't even any "I love you"s! But I LOVED writing this so much, I feel like I could draw a whole sketchbook of Deanoria pictures! XD I'm a Deanoria fangirl now! Are you? :3
Thanks for reading, and please review!
Thanks as always to Morghen for beta'ing! XD
2017 note: Coming back to this years later, I find this piece to be cute. Dean is a sweetie, but I can see here the start of my early headcanons for Astoria. I've written many final battle fics since 2010, plenty of which I enjoy more than this one, but I still think this has its charms. -w-