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Twenty-Six Stories by fluffball
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 4: D is for Dean
A/N: Ugh. I know it’s nearly been two years since I updated either of my stories and I really am sorry about that. I got distracted by going away to college and when I tried to log on I couldn’t for the life of me remember my username because it’s a nickname I used to have that no one calls me anymore. BUT I’m back and I have one-shots through G ready, so the only thing keeping you me from quite a few updates is the queue.
D is for Dean
I’d been sitting at the riverbank for a good twenty minutes before I realised I wasn’t alone. The man Ted and I had recently met up with, Dirk was sitting, arms wrapped around his knees, which were drawn up to his chest. His misty blue eyes were staring into the river, but focusing far away. He looked so much younger, more helpless than he had done earlier that day, when he’d put his doubt of Harry into words.
I wasn’t sure if I should interrupt his thoughts, but I’d gone away from that conversation unsure of how I felt about the bloke, so I figured I should at least try to get to know him. I walked up to him and cleared my throat awkwardly, tried to think of something to say, failed, and settled with, “Hey.”
Dirk gave a slight start, responded with a polite, “Hello,” then went back to staring at the water. I plopped down beside him and copied his gaze. We sat there for what felt like hours before he spoke again, “What’s on your mind, son?”
I felt almost affronted. How could he be asking me that? I should be the one asking him that! Nothing was on my mind! But...I realised that wasn’t entirely true. “I--I just feel so useless. I’m out here, on the run, yeah. Which sounds exciting but it isn’t. It’s just like a big, stupid camping trip I’m forced to go on that keeps me from doing anything helpful! Harry and Hermione are out doing who knows what to stop You-Know-Who and the spattergroit thing’s probably a cover-up, I’d bet my hat Ron’s with them, too. Then there’s Hogwarts. It’s a war zone, the Carrows against the students, but their magic is so much more powerful and they have so much more authority and--all of my friends are out risking themselves to bring an end to all the injustice while I’m just out here camping!” Even I was taken aback by my rant.
Dirk, on the other hand, considered me carefully. After a long pause, he said, “The young are so quick to want to jump in the way of danger. You don’t realise how war can destroy a person and...everyone they knew and loved.” He sighed. I hoped he was going somewhere different than it sounded, because this wasn’t encouraging at all. “The most painful part is not knowing, and I understand that, but don’t think everyone would be better off if you were there...not to say you aren’t a great wizard, I hardly know you, but the students at Hogwarts are so outmatched that it’s more likely that you would just be another victim.” He paused slightly. “It sounded like you knew Ginny Weasley.”
“Yeah, she’s my ex, actually,” I replied, startled by the sudden subject change. “What of it?”
Dirk sighed and stretched out his legs, “Well, I knew her uncles. They were a year ahead of me at Hogwarts, but good friends of mine.” The past tense didn’t escape me. “They were Ginny’s mother, Molly’s, younger brothers. Twins. Completely inseparable. They died in the First War, about a year before You-Know-Who’s encounter with the Potters, fighting off a veritable horde of Death Eaters. Anyway, at--at their funeral, Molly was a wreck, of course. She blamed herself. She thought if she’d been there, fighting at their side, they might have lived, but that wasn’t true. They wouldn’t have still been alive, she just would have been dead along with them, and circumstances like those are just a cruel reality in war. If you went back to Hogwarts, Dean, the Carrows wouldn’t suddenly be usurped and the school wouldn’t go back to being the place you’ve come to love. Everything would be the same for Hogwarts, and you would be in Azkaban.” Dirk put his face in his hands. “I know this doesn’t feel very helpful and I know it probably hurts to hear, but in the long run you’ll be better off if you just accept that, sometimes, there’s nothing you can do...and that’s okay.”
I wasn’t sure what to feel, but there was something I had noticed that was so far consistent in Dirk in every conversation I’d had with him. “Why do you have so little hope? I know things look bad, but there’s so much to be hopeful for. When and why did you decide that it’s better not to fight?”
Looking slightly agitated, Dirk snapped, “When did I lose hope? I just got done telling you that the last time You-Know-Who was in power my best friends and mentors were killed. I’ve been completely uprooted from everything I know. I left behind my wife and sons. I’ve heard horrible things about what’s happening at Hogwarts, but have no idea whether or not my oldest has been hurt by it, I don’t know what they’ve done to my wife, as she’s an obvious blood traitor, and--and she’s pregnant,” the man’s voice softened before he spoke his next words, “I doubt I’ll even get the chance to see the birth of my child.”
Again, I was at a bit of a loss for words. But I decided to have a go, anyway. “Your kids are the hope, they’re the future and they’ll be the ones to make it...good.” It sounded feeble, not to mention incredibly cheesy, even to me.
Dirk laughed slightly, “Well, that was a bit forced. But I get it...I’ve already expressed my lack of faith in Harry Potter and that’s where you get your hope from, so you didn’t want to use a personal example.” He chuckled again, “Thanks for not going on a “trust in the Chosen One rant...but I’d probably have deserved it if you had.”
“I--yeah--no problem.” I wondered what it would take to get through to this bloke.
As it transpired, nothing. “You’re right, Dean, I’m a bit low on hope at the moment, but probably not as much as you may think. One thing Gideon and Fabian taught me is that timing is everything. Of course, they meant that in regards to pranks, but I think it’s applicable here as well. Now isn’t the time for me to go out and fight, but when that spark of hope shows itself, whether as Harry Potter or not, I will be ready to face You-Know-Who’s army and help to be that hope to someone else. I’m sure hope will come back someday, and I await that day eagerly. For now, I’ll wait until the timing is right.” With that, he stood up and mumbled something about being tired and being off to bed. I nodded.
He was almost out of sight when I called, “Dirk?”
“Yeah...yeah...thank you, too. You reminded me of something I’d let myself forget...” His voice trailed off. There was a pause, then he continued of his way.
A/N: I know this story is as much, if not more, about Dirk Cresswell than Dean, but I tried to make one that was more Dean-centric and just felt like I butchered his character. I like this one a lot more. As always, I’d love to hear what you think!