Secret Santa Fic for Katherine O
Genre Requested: HP, Labyrinth.
Pairing Requested: Andrew/Hermione, Dawn/Colin Creevy, Buffy/Jareth or Willow/Jareth.
Type Requested: Humor or Romance.
Maximum Rating Requested: R.
I wish I could hate him for this.
For once, my camera dangles limply from its strap around my neck. I can’t be bothered to lift it, and I certainly can’t find it within me to snap shots of the victorious hero and his lady-love sharing an enthusiastic snog after the final, definitive defeat of the wizarding world’s greatest and most dangerous enemy. Beside me, my brother Dennis watches with sympathy as the woman I love is thoroughly kissed by Harry Potter.
Dawn Summers. She came to Hogwarts a few years ago so she could go to school in a safe environment whilst her sister, a Slayer, could help rebuild the Watchers’ Organization and put the world to rights again now that the First Evil had been defeated. The whole lot of these Americans had been terribly discomfited to find that there was plenty more evil in the world besides that of the First, but met the challenge with much aplomb. Without them, doubtless the struggle against He-Who- no. He’s gone now. I’ll call him by his name.
Without them, doubtless the struggle against Voldemort would have taken twice as long, and killed twice as many. But it’s not for that reason that I’m thankful they came to England. No, it’s because their coming meant that I would meet Dawn. She came to Hogwarts more as a refugee than a student, and had apparently been sorted in the privacy of Dumbledore’s office. She said that she’d been made a Gryffindor because she was more bravery than brains, and laughed. Everyone else in the common room had been put off by it, but as it had been my personal opinion for years that we Gryffs were indeed guilty of the most horrifically moronic courage, I was immediately smitten.
Like always, I used my camera to get my foot in the door, so to speak. I approached her after a few days, and asked her to pose. She was suspicious, of course.
“How do I know you aren’t just some little perv who wants to get shots of me in the nip?”
I grinned—suavely, I hoped—and said, “You don’t.” It seemed to charm her; she relented, and within a week I had a sizeable stack of photos of her. She loved the ones taken outside with Fang, never mind the leaves in her hair and dog slobber on her cheek, and sent them off immediately to her sister in London. Tall, slender, with luminous eyes and a beautifully shaped mouth, Dawn could have been a professional model. I felt blessed to have her all for myself, and we quickly became friends. And then, one night atop the Astronomy Tower where we’d gone to test exposure in the dark (no joking, please—it’s a significant issue for photographers), we became lovers. For me, it was like sinking into a blissful warm bath. Dawn said it was like an epiphany for her—up until that moment, she’d never considered me anything more than a friend, but the moment we began to kiss, it all became clear to her. That was good enough for me.
Years passed. We graduated, moved on. I became a photographer for a Muggle newspaper, the easier to be with Dawn as she joined her sister and friends in London to fight evil as she’d done back in California. It wasn’t long, however, before we were pulled back into the wizarding world to fight, because Voldemort had begun to make a significant play for conquest of the Ministry and thus stepped up his campaign of infiltration, espionage, and murder.
Horrifically moronic courage fully intact, Dawn and I were amongst the first to return to Hogwarts and join what was now literally being called Dumbledore’s Army.
The years of her sister’s tutelage and influence soon made it clear that Dawn was a valuable member of the team, and it wasn’t long before she was high in the ranks of the Army, consulting with Harry and Ron and Hermione on all sorts of issues. I remained blissfully unaware of how close she was becoming to them, to him, because I couldn’t bear seeing the truth. Dennis saw it. Hermione saw it. Hell, even Ron saw it. All three tried to talk to me, tried to make me understand, but I would have none of it. No, Dawn was mine. She loved me, and she was faithful to me. The sadness in their eyes was wasted, I told them. They only shook their heads and walked away, sadness turned to pity.
Then came the final battle. Harry and I got stuck behind Death Eater lines with a few others, and I was torn—really torn—between whether I should fight, or take snaps: this was an historic fight, and Harry’s moves were a positive symphony of economy and grace as he deflected hexes, dodged curses, and shot off offensive spells. He never, ever used an Unforgivable, however, no matter how many of them came flying at him. Unforgivables were wrong, you see, and Harry never wondered what was right or wrong. He just knew. That was the reason that Dawn began to love him, and it was the reason I loved him, too. That’s why he was a hero. That’s why he was my hero.
Amidst the blood and chaos, Harry roared a mighty Stupefy that managed to wiggle its way round Voldemort’s defenses, and with a rather anticlimactic face-down topple, Voldemort fell senseless to the ground as the red light of the spell dissipated around him. Seeing their leader subdued, his followers redoubled their efforts and we lost quite a few of our side before finally managing to finish the rest of them. I killed four, not sharing Harry’s compunction about the Unforgivables—a swift, clean death was far more than most of these monsters deserved. It was with great satisfaction that I nailed Lucius Malfoy in the back with Avada Kedavra moments after he’d narrowly missed Severing Harry’s arm from his torso.
Then, finally, it was over. Clutching at the seeping gash on his side, Harry staggered out of the theatre of battle a few paces behind me. Clouds of smoke from burning buildings billowed round us; stepping clear of them, I searched for some glimpse of Dawn. “There he is!” she shrieked in panicked joy, pointing in my direction, and extracted herself from Ginny’s clutching hands to run toward me. I felt a broad smile stretch my mouth, and the weight of the struggle lifted from my shoulders. It was over, and we were all safe—her, me, and Harry.
Except her version of the equation didn’t seem to include me. Dawn flew right past me and launched herself at Harry, who snatched her up in his arms and twirled her round, making her hair spin out, gleaming like mink in the weak winter sunlight. And now I stand here, staring numbly, as the woman I love ignores me to embrace the man she loves. He kisses her, again and again, kisses those lips I know taste like strawberries, and I wish I could hate him, but I can’t.
He’s my hero.