Done to Train's "Ordinary"
A stuffed dragon on his bed. Posters on the walls. Toys. Toys still piled in the shelves in the corner, a little dusty, maybe, but he'd never bothered to get rid of them. For the last six years, he'd spent so much of his time at Hogwarts, and so much of his holidays down in the hothouse and gardens or else helping his Gran around the house that he had never realized how much his bedroom was still a child's room. Such an ordinary child's room.
Had he once, had he ever been ordinary? It would have been so easy even so recently as last year to say yes, even to use it as an epithet against himself. His parents had been extraordinary. He was ordinary. A little too plain, a little too chubby, a little too clumsy, a little too self-conscious, a little too everything to really be anything.
He was the Commander of the DA, and that in itself marked him as different. The chain of command stopped with him, and sometimes it was all so much, he ached for the days of being ignored, being dismissed. Everyone else had someone to look up to, someone beyond themselves, but what about him?
"Neville?" He turned, only half-surprised to see his Gran standing in the doorway behind him, and there was something in her eyes that was perceptive in the way that used to make him shrink down, feeling like she could see through him to the biscuit stolen a week before, but now was so oddly comforting. Because she knew. Somehow, she knew, and she nodded past him to the still-untouched room where Trevor blinked mildly from the top of the dresser.
"I've waited for you to get back so you can choose what you need, but your father's room is ready for you. Fresh linens on the bed. If you're going to be using this as a safe house, I think we need another guest room, don't you?"
Done to Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping"
"Just tell my mother that I love her, give my sister my regrets, and –"
Jack laughed, reaching down to grab Felton's wrist and yank the other youth to his feet. "You're fine, just bruises, I bet…if that, you drama queen."
Felton winced theatrically, rubbing his chest. "And the last time you got thrown into next week by a human battering ram?"
He pretended to consider it for a long moment, stroking his chin as he looked across the Room of Requirement to where Ernie was still standing with a rather smug smile on his face, both arms crossed, wand tucked casually and unneeded in his waistband. "Are you speaking in general, or specifically by that human battering ram?"
"That one," Felton scowled only half-jokingly.
"Last spring," Jack answered easily, then ruffled his younger Housemate's hair and shoved him back into the lineup. "Just be grateful that you're not thirty feet in the air and he's not armed with a solid rubber Quaffle. Then you'd really have something to whinge about."
Done to Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory"
Sometimes he still slept on the streets. He had a flat now, a place to go, but there was something cathartic, cleansing, redemptive even about the filth of the gutter and the chill of the night air, waking up with the slats of a park bench etched into your ribs and a thin crust of tears that had leaked between sleep on the coat bundled beneath your head.
Icarus would be panicked when he came back, he knew, but it hardly mattered, for all that he had come to feel such a strange mixture of younger brother affection, mentored respect, and even a gratitude-seared worship for the other man. Man…boy, really. Only eighteen. So young, too young to be the puppeteer of such a deadly marionette, but was there ever an age when anyone could be ready? They hadn't been. If the world wanted to preserve innocence in the young, they shouldn't have fucking abandoned them to have it shattered.
He sat up stiffly, checking himself again to make sure all the blood had been cleaned the night before. Not a speck. He was good at that. Good at all of this, better than he should have been, than he wanted to be, but damned if he'd let himself go coward now and see it all happen again.
Icarus would find another target, he'd start the slow, measured stalking of the sub-human predator, and it would all happen again to keep it from all happening again. Another night on another bench, another morning woken to the hunger for what he wouldn't let himself give in to any more, because it dulled his wits, and those were all he had now, wits and resolve and one boy with one mission and one purpose that didn't bear thinking about if it failed.
Somewhere in the distance, churchbells sounded, and he closed his eyes, almost able to smell the candles and incense of childhood. He didn't really believe in the church any more, but he still believed in something, good or evil or completely fucking uncaring that had kept the man breathing after the boy had fallen so long ago that he had lost track now. The vaguely salted mustiness of the Belfast air chilled his lungs, and the prayer that was a plea that was a demand of every morning lifted again to the brightening blue and echoing bells as he shrugged into the battered leather coat and checked the wolf's head knife at his belt.
Let me do what I need…then let me go.
Done to Chantel Kreviuzak's "These Days"
"Just stay a minute, Frobisher. I need to talk to you." Rowan gestured sternly with her water bottle towards the young Gryffindor in the last cluster of witches leaving the Room of Requirement, and Victoria stopped, frowning as she turned back.
"Did I do something wrong?" Her short, dark curls were glistening with sweat, her scarlet tank top clinging so closely that it outlined every still-heaving breath, and she looked so cherubically confused that it was all Rowan could do to keep her voice businesslike.
"No…I just…" But then the others were gone, and they were alone, and there was no need to keep the façade up any more. The tears came to her eyes before she even knew it, and she slammed them away with the back of one fist, hating the choking thickness in the back of her throat. "Alecto, Vicky…she cruciated Emma in Dark Arts today. Right in front of me, and I couldn't…I didn't…Morgana's wand, I could feel my hands on that bitch's throat, but…"
There was nothing more she needed to say, and for that she was so grateful. So much of this year was so wrong, so hard, so unfair, but it could all be lost when Vicky's lips were so soft and her arms so understanding. The kiss was salted sweet, and she saw through the blur her own blunt fingers on the other girl's cheeks that were rosy with more than the workout now as her mint-glossed lips parted, their foreheads resting against one another. "It's okay, Rowan…it's not forever."
"I hate her."
"But you love me."
It was true. And sometimes, in a year where everything was complicated, it was that simple.
Done to Spoon's "Underdog"
"I asked yeh a question, Mudblood!" Amycus leaned over the desk, planting one hand on the notes and smearing the ink uncaringly as he raised the wand clutched in his other fist to prod callously into Dennis' cheek. "When yer Professor asks a question, yeh answer, or did yer filthy Squib mother not bother to teach yeh basic manners?"
"He doesn't talk!" The bench scraped roughly against the stone floor as Jimmy got to his feet, his eyes blazing in fierce protectiveness of his friend. "Leave him alone!"
"He'll talk, oh, he will," Amycus leered dangerously. "Little lesson in respect'll loosen his tongue."
Jimmy growled low in his throat, the sound horrifyingly animal from such a young boy, but he'd barely made it half a step away from his desk before Walter's Body-Bind stopped his foolish attack in its tracks, and he could only watch. He could feel his heart thundering frustration beneath the spell, the breaths ragged in futile expression of the hate he couldn't cast into magic, but he could only watch as the stubby wand cracked and flared, as Dennis fell back from his seat, writhing and sobbing.
Yet even after the spell faded, even after he pulled himself, shaking and whimpering, back to his seat, it was still without saying anything at all, and the desperate horror curled in Jimmy's chest changed to a kind of pride as he saw the blue eyes flare, saw Amycus flung down in an undignified heap on the way back to the front of the class, and Dennis' wand slipped quietly back into his pocket.
The Tripping Jinx had been wordless, too.
Done to Sarah McLachlan's "Fallen"
"Cammy! CAMMY! NO!" Pansy flung herself so hard towards the window of the Three Broomsticks that she would have gone straight through it, cutting herself uncaring to pieces in a shower of broken glass if Blaise hadn't caught her, pinning her arms behind her back in a bear hug that took every ounce of his strength to hold. She was hysterical, kicking and thrashing in his grip as she screamed her sister's name over and over uselessly towards the little mob of students running down the center of the street, wands out, unable to hear her over the Caterwauling Charm they had triggered.
The last of them were soon gone, Camellia's blue pajamas long faded from sight when he finally managed to twist her around, silencing Pansy's screams with a harsh slap that made his hand burn almost as hotly as his face. "Stop it!"
Pansy gaped at him, fingering the red handprint blooming on her cheek as the tears continued to fall undeterred. "My…my sister, Blaise!" she gasped. "I have to –"
"We have to nothing!" He snapped fiercely, looking around the tight cluster of sixth and seventh-year Slytherins packed into the pub. "Who else? Who else wants to go join those morons?"
There was a long moment of silence, then Augustus Travers stepped forward, chin held defiantly high. "I will. This is sick, Zabini. It's one thing to try to ride out the school year with our noses clean, but they're killing people up there just because Potter won't show his cowardly face!"
"So we join them," he motioned grandly towards the doors, making no effort to hide either the pain or sarcasm in his own voice. "And when you're facing your father, Gus? You going to kill him, or make him kill you?" Blaise turned to the others now, spreading his hands wide. "Your fathers, your brothers, your uncles, your friends…don't you think this has gotten out of control enough? And do you really, do you really think that if we did go, that the rest of them would be happy to watch our backs, or don't you think we'd get shot down just as fast by our schoolmates as our loved ones? Do you think anyone out there would be on our side, whatever side we were on?"
There was a long, aching silence, broken only by Pansy's choked sniffles. "My sister…."
Blaise could only stare at her, feeling at once guilty for having hit her and furious that she'd needed it, that she still didn't see, but it was Claudius Rookwood's voice that finally broke the stalemate. "Just pray they send her back, Pansy, and pray it's over soon. That's all any of us can do."
Done to "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright
The darkness was their confessional, the pitch black after lights-out where there were no witches, no younger kids to hear, and where they could all pretend not to recognize the voices that whispered barely audible, scant more than breath. It was enough that you could pretend you didn't hear it above snores and shifting blankets, creaking hammocks, enough that accents were almost indistinguishable and no one could swear they knew Liverpool from London, the Highlands from the Dales, Cardiff from Belfast when they faced each other over the next morning's bravado.
They were spoken like sins, wavering and shameful, and when in this whole twisted year had it become a man's darkest secret to dream, a shame above the Killing Curse to fear?
"I just want to go home."
"If I die, I'll go to hell if we really do this."
"I worry what'll happen to my little sister if I die…I've always been her protector."
"I miss my parents."
"I'm going to break, I know it. Oh, Merlin, I just know it."
"I can't stand blood."
"I'm just making all this up as I go along, why do they trust me?"
"I want Harry to do it instead."
"I'm in so far over my head."
"I know I'm going to get my arse whipped."
"I'm too young for this."
"It shouldn't have to be us."
"I don't think I can pull off a real AK."
"I'm no better than they are."
"So am I."
Done to POD's "Youth of the Nation"
The dust and grit still hung in the air, the smell of blood and char and broken stone was metallic in his throat, and the bright morning sunbeams cut through it all like the slash and flare of spells, turning every fleck into a swirling star that should have been beautiful. It was, even, in the distant way that everything seemed to be right now, in the way his tears formed patterns at his knees on the floor in the dark scattering of ash that scattered out from beneath the blanket that covered his sister's remains.
Walter hadn't looked beneath, he didn't want to, but he knew he would have to. He'd have to identify her, he was the oldest now, after all. They were all his responsibility, whether he wanted it or not.
And he didn't. Oh, he didn't.
Maybe that made him coward, maybe it meant he shouldn't be Gryffindor, but he would gladly have torn the scarlet and gold from his throat if it just meant he could go home and there would be a home, that there would be parents there to welcome him, that it wouldn't be a motel he didn't know how he was going to pay for and siblings he didn't know how he was going to feed and….
"The wizarding world would like to thank you, son." Walter blinked hard, looking up, and he shook his head in slow bafflement at the kindly-looking older wizard in the bizarrely pristine robes, saw the quill hovering above the scroll of parchment at his elbow.
Another goddamned reporter. Acid swelled at the back of his throat, and he felt himself begin to shake all over again. Bad enough Rita Skeeter, that nasty creature and the things she'd known about Katie, but this man was worse, so much worse, because he was looking at Walter as if he'd just gotten straight O's on his OWLS, as if he'd done something ever so clever rather than a whole year of things that were wrong, and his smile was soft and cloyingly ignorant. "What's your name?"
"Fuck off!" The words were a hex, and he was on his feet before it was out of his mouth, stalking away to find someone in the wreckage who wouldn't blink at him like a damned sheep for saying 'grownup' words when he'd just fought a so much more than grownup battle.
"Now there, son…"
"Don't call him that," McGonagall's icy burr startled Walter, and he stopped, turning back with feelings too mixed to even know what they were to see his Head of House holding the reporter sternly by the shoulder. "You refer to the soldiers as 'Sir' and 'Miss,' and you leave them be at their sister's bodies, or you remove yourself from this battlefield, because thanks is the least the wizarding world owes them."
Done to Simple Plan's "Generation"
"This is not over!" Colin's voice rang across the babble of hushed voices in the common room, the clear authority of what hadn't quite been a shout stopping his Housemates mid-sentence as easily as a Silencing Spell. He could feel their disbelieving eyes on him as he crossed to stand in front of the fireplace, but his head was high, his shoulders back, and it startled him as much as anyone else that the confidence was no act as his eyes scanned across the huddled clusters.
"What kind of army are we for them if we haven't learned by now how to get on without babysitters, anyway?" he challenged. "I'm sixteen and a half…why should that say that not having anyone around whose birthday came a few months earlier suddenly means I'm helpless, or that anyone else here is? Okay, the seventh years and half of my year are gone, probably from now 'til the battle. So what?"
He pointed towards the couch, Romilda startling back as if he'd thrown a spell at her. "Millie, you took Neville down a week ago. Jenny in Ravenclaw has Terry almost spell for spell. Rowan and Fritz have been training us all along physically…but it's all 'oh no, what'll we do without them'." Colin could feel that his face was flushed, and he could only hope that it looked like the anger – almost the excitement, if he was honest – that it was. "What we do without them is the same thing we did with them; we fight."
"But, Colin…." Natalie's tone was a little too reasonable, as if trying to soothe down someone from the edge of a cliff. "We're kids."
""Kids are who other people stand up for." He held up his deadened hand, turning it in the firelight to let the flickering glow reflect eerily off the too-smooth skin.
"We're the ones standing up for the rest of the world, and that means we're not kids any more. We're DA, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't need Neville Longbottom to tell me that. I can see that for myself here –" he pulled the Galleon from his pocket, striking it with his wand to set the charmed letters glowing.
" – And here." A fierce strike of his fist against his chest, then Romilda stood, no longer seeming frightened, but smiling in a way that lit her exotic beauty to something feral.
"And in me."
Norman got to his feet, drawing his wand. "And me."
"I'm still in!"
There were fewer of them, but the sparks were no less bright, the cry no less fierce as the wands united in a single burst in the center of the common room ceiling. "Dumbledore's Army!"
Done to Billy Joel's "Walking In Memphis"
Half a world, half a lifetime, all of a world away, and it wouldn't let him go.
Bernard stepped off the bus, tilting his head up to the rain, so warm, so different in the way it fell across his skin itself than the rain of home. Not home any more. There was no home since he'd lost Mandy, his last anchor to a world that churned and twisted violently with each moon, never quite surrendering him to the call of the wild. But enough. Enough to cost him enough that he had to leave, and the sounds of voices around him were alien silk, sliding and drawling over words that were still his own in a way that he'd only heard on the wireless.
Across the street, the blue haze of a pub beckoned universally, and his shoes splashed through the tepid puddles in unconscious rhythm with the sounds of the piano. It was unlike any music he knew, but he felt his throat clench, because Merlin, it was the ache and wail of loss, but with all the ugliness carved away to be nothing but the perfect outline of a sob, a woman's voice that called to somewhere as deep as Mandy always had.
The fish was flat and flaky, fried in cornmeal instead of batter, served with a mayonaissy cabbage salad and chips that were thin and overcooked, the woman's voice deep and smoky as the air, rich as the bourbon he rolled on his tongue, and her eyes didn't leave him for the last two songs of her set. At last she finished, sliding over without asking into the open chair across from his tiny table. "I've seen a lottta lost souls in here, sweetie, but you get a prize. What's your story?"
Bernard chuckled from somewhere lower than a sob. "What if I told you I'm half a werewolf from a magical war when I was fifteen, that my wife threw me out when I nearly bit one of the kids on the moon, and I've no idea what to do with myself in the ordinary world when I can't face my own?"
She looked at him, long and hard, and he was ready to be thrown out, laughed at, anything but to have her reach out and wrap her hands around his. Anything but to have her come back to his table between songs of loneliness and loss that were cut closer to his wounds than he knew how to hide the tears from. Anything but to be heard.
Halfway around the world, he took his first steps away from half a lifetime past, and they were the steps to coming back.