Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter, Travelin' Soldier, or the Dixie Chicks.
Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army green
Sat down in a booth in a cafe there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
Claire Williams slowly wiped down the front counter in a small cafe in the West End, humming to herself as she worked. It was five thirty, almost closing time, if no one came in she would be free to lock up. As she turned to toss the rag into the hamper, she noticed there was still a customer sitting in the corner booth. Wiping her hands on her apron, she approached the table, observing the young man's slightly out-of-place robes and the wand which was poking out of his sleeve. He looked up as she neared, smiling shyly and flushing.
He's a little shy so she gives him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while
And talking to me, I'm feeling a little low
She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go.
Claire smiled back at him and asked, "Can I get you anything, sir? Coffee?" She twisted her finger around the end of her hairbow as she waited for him to reply. He glanced quickly up at the menu board and said, "Um, coffee, yes, coffee would be fine."
He has a nice voice, Claire thought, as she went into the kitchen and poured him a cup. She returned to the table and set it down in front of him, but did not move as he cautiously took a sip.
In a playful tone, she asked, "Is it quite to your liking?" The man looked up at her, and seemed to take courage from her apparent interest in him. He said, "Yes. Would- would you terribly mind sitting down, and talking with me for a few minutes?" Claire glanced at the clock on the wall, which told her it was a quarter to six. She looked back at the young man, who was awaiting her answer eagerly.
"I'm off in fifteen minutes," Claire told him, "If you'll wait for me, I know a place we can go." She smiled at him.
He smiled back and nodded his head, yes, he would wait for her. She started back to the kitchen, then paused and said over her shoulder, "I'm Claire Williams, by the way."
The man nodded again and grinned shyly up at her. "Caradoc. Caradoc Dearborn."
So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care
I got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you.
Caradoc waited for her on the bench outside the cafe while she turned the open sign off and and locked the door. He stood up as she walked up to him and he held out his arm for her to hold. She slipped her hand around the crook of his elbow and he teasingly asked, "Where to, milady?" Claire smiled and turned. Caradoc felt himself Apparating and then they were standing on a twilit beach, a few feet from a wooden pier. Claire grabbed his hand and he followed her onto it, not stopping until they had reached the end, where they both sat down, dangling their feet above the water. Claire let out a deep sigh and said, "So, Caradoc, where are you from?" She looked inquiringly up at him. Caradoc cleared his throat. "I'm from up north, Glasgow." Claire nodded and leaned closer to him,
"And what brings you to London, 'Caradoc-from-Glasgow'?" She was looking up into his face, now.
Caradoc cleared his throat again and told her.
"I'm an Auror," he said, quietly, "I'm waiting here in London for the head of our group to contact me. I'm on my way to join," and here his voice sank to a whisper, "The Order of the Phoenix." Claire looked up at him, wide-eyed. "You're going to fight You-Know-Who?" Caradoc nodded solemnly.
Claire leaned back on her hands. "Wow," she breathed. "That's impressive."
Caradoc leaned back also. "What about you? What is a witch doing working in a Muggle cafe?"
Claire shrugged. "My aunt, she's a Squib, owns the place. About a year ago, she had a geart attack and hasn't been strong since. My parents thought it'd be good for me to see life from a Muggle's point of view for a while, so I came down here to help her out. I was living in Gretna Green with my parents, before..." She trailed off, staring up at his face.
Caradoc shook his head a little, as if to clear it. He had been enthralled by her face, as she spoke, the changing shape of her mouth, the freckles scattered across her cheeks. His heart was pounding, and their faces were very close together. Slowly, Caradoc leaned in closer and kissed her. Her mouth was warm, and she tasted like sunshine. Their hands found each other and clasped together.
After a long moment, they broke apart, still holding hands. The watch on Caradoc's wrist chimed softly, and he glanced down at it. "Oh, bollocks." He scrambled to his feet, pulling Claire to her feet and running back with her along the pier to the beach. He stopped then, and said, "I'm sorry, the head, he's calling all the members to him. If I don't leave now..." Claire dropped his hand and dug into her pocket, coming up with a torn envelope. She handed it to him, saying, "Here, my address is on the back. Please write to me." Caradoc took it and nodded, feeling the call pulling at him. He grabbed her hand and kissed it, then turned and began to quickly walk away. Claire hesitated, watching him get farther away, then cried, "Caradoc!"
He whirled back around and yelled, "Yes?"
Claire shouted, "I'll expect to see you the moment the war is over!"
Caradoc nodded, and continued, backing away from her. She waved at him and he returned the gesture before turning and vanishing from her sight.
Claire stood perfectly still for a moment, staring at the spot where she last saw him. She lifted her hands up to her face and touched her lips, then spun in a wild circle, laughing with delight.
So the letters came from an army camp
In California then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart
It might be love and all of the things he was so scared of
Caradoc spent every spare moment he had that summer writing to Claire. He could not tell her much about where he was located, due to it's confidential nature, but he wrote her about his daily life, of his hopes and his fears, and he wrote to her of his heart, how it overflowed within him with love for her.
Claire always wrote back to him the second she had read his letters, telling him of life in London, what had happened there since he had left, and just how much she loved him back.
All of Claire's family and friends had noticed a change in her manner, saw that she had become kinder, thoughtful, and more given to daydreaming than usual. One day her aunt even found her in the parlor of their house, dancing with a brooom to an old recording of Ella Fitzgerald's 'Someone to Watch Over Me.' Claire kept her love secret, though. She and Caradoc would tell everyone as soon as the war was over and he came back.
He said when it's getting kinda rough over here
I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry but I won't be able to write for awhile
They had been writing for about six months when Claire recieved a letter from him that said he wouldn't be able to write for a while, that he was going undercover, and that she was not to worry, because if their mission succeeded, it would mean the end of the Dark Lord and all who stood with him. Claire's heart misgave her, and she closed her eyes and sent up a silent prayer that he would get through his task safely.
One Friday night at a football game
The Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang
A man said folks would you bow your heads
For a list of local Vietnam dead
Claire had not heard from Caradoc in several weeks and she was worried. A few of her friends had noticed that she was upset, but no amount of wheedling had pryed an answer from her. She was asked to play piccolo in the flying band tonight in the town's Quidditch match, and her friends ganged up on her and made her accept the invitation.
She went, allowing her friends to make her talk and laugh with them, knowing they would be unhappy if she continued in her sad mood. She mounted brooms with the rest of the band and they took a few turns around the pitch, gaily playing songs, though her heart wasn't in it. After they landed, instead of rejoining her friends in the stands, she lingered on the sidelines of the field, watching the mayor come out onto the field. He held a slip of paper in his hand and, after pointing his wand at his throat, he addressed the audience. A terrible premonition seized Claire, and she stood, frozen with horror, as the man spoke.
Crying all alone under the stands
Was a piccolo player in the marching band
And one name read but nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair
"Friends and neighbors," he said, "If you would bow your heads for a moment, for a list of those who have recently died in the fight against the Dark Lord."
He read the names of the list he held, pausing a moment between each.
Claire's heart stopped beating.
The crowd, the Quidditch pitch, everything faded out.
He was dead.
She stumbled back, under the stands, underneath all the people who continued to cheer as the game went on, people who cared nothing for her sorrow or her sacrifice.
Caradoc was dead.
The knowledge asserted itself in her head, screaming into her mind like a chorus of horror.
He was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead he was dead.
He was dead.
A sob burst from her throat and she ran, away from the game, away from the mad crowd who didn't give a damn about someone who had died to save them. She made it outside the stadium before the tears blinded her. She fell to the ground, and the last letter he wrote, the letter she had carried with her from the moment she got it, fell from her pocket. The last words on the page, the last words he had ever wrote to her, stared up at her from the page;
With all the love that I possess,
Her heart broke.
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home.
A/N: Did you like? Please, review and tell me what you think of it!