I thought it was kinda rushed... I would have liked a few scenes explaining Dean's state of mind instead of just his thoughts. Some flashbacks would have been cool. I thought Luna was done very well, though and so was Neville.
You clearly made your point! We all at times get so self-focused that we isolate ourselves and make our situation worse than they need to be.
Rut roh… Jess is paying a visit to Hannah now. [cue doom music] Hide the cheese and the Cherry Coke!
I really like how this starts out. Dean is not unlike how I portray Harry after the battle. It’s over, he knows it’s over, yet there is almost a sense of loss, because now, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. I imagine that it’s the same for those coming back from war overseas; the soldier comes back from his tour of duty, but now that he’s left behind the only reality that he’s known for months – maybe even years – he’s not entirely sure what to do with himself. From the opening couple paragraphs, you’re already deep inside his head, and I know right away that this piece will pack a lot of meaning into 2200+ words.
Even though Dean had his ‘other world’ as they referred to it, and even though his Mum and her new husband had had children of their own, he had always felt like a Thomas. But he didn’t anymore.
He was completely alone.
This part tells so much in so few words. It’s like Dean realises that, now that he had been through one of the most gruesome wizarding wars in history, he didn’t feel like he could fit into a Muggle environment anymore. He had been forcibly detached from everything that he loved and knew as a child, and now that he has that chance to go back, he can’t do it. It isn’t his world anymore, no matter how much he wants it to be. This is also another mark of a battle-hardened soldier – difficulty acclimating to a civilian environment after the trauma of war.
Dean’s ‘almost’ relationship with Luna at Shell Cottage is definitely something that makes one think, to want to see between the lines. JKR said herself that many things happened between the pages of Deathly Hallows, and to me, one of the most fascinating has been the Dean/Luna interaction. I can see how, after spending time with cantankerous Goblins, being chased by Snatcher squads, and eventually being imprisoned in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, when he was finally free of that, he would come to crave the almost childlike spirit of Luna. Her personality makes her so unflappable in the face of everything horrible that she must feel like an oasis to him – the eye of the hurricane, so to speak.
I thought it was interesting how the phone sat there, almost mocking him, challenging him to do what he probably should have done the day after the Battle. The fact that he actually dialled the numbers seemed to me like he was acknowledging the need for a new order to things, a sense of normalcy. But when he hung up, I think my heart broke a little bit. He’s so broken and lost and alone, it’s almost like he doesn’t know how to be any other way, or worse – how to get out of it.
It’s interesting how his righteous anger starts to turn into hate. He hates Voldemort, that’s a given (many do), but it seemed like he hated himself and the life that he should have had that he would never get back. His coming of age should have been a joyous occasion, one worthy of celebration, but instead, he had been running for his life. The bitterness that’s taking over him is really starting to show now.
Okay, I like Neville. I really do. But I really wanted him to NOT be there when Dean showed up at the Lovegood’s home. It just seemed so damned unfair that he needed that time with Luna and someone else was there to take that from him, just like everything else was taken from him. His feelings of near betrayal that she wasn’t as sad and miserable as he was… it was heart-wrenching. When Luna said what she said, that Dean was ‘kind’ to her, it made me want to pull her hair. I know, that’s not very sporting of me, but knowing what I know of Dean’s emotional state, it just seems plain cruel that his last comfort in the world had been stolen by the ‘f’ word (She didn’t say it exactly, but ‘friend’ is one on the largest relationship killers known to man).
The way you wrote Neville during this was great. Though he is the heroic, Horcrux-killing, newly confident, Voldemort-spiting man that had once been the trembling boy on the Sorting stool, he still has that air of uncertainty about him. He really wanted to make sure that he wasn’t crossing any lines or overstepping any boundaries, especially when it came to someone that he had essentially lived with for 6 years and the girl come woman that he obviously cared about.
“But he wasn’t there for all of it.”
Oh, stab! Seriously, if Dean had vomited on the spot, I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit. I can just picture him, screaming in his mind that no one had been through what he had, either, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t need her. He felt betrayed, even more alone than ever, and that soooo sucked for him. You’ve really carved out a well of sympathy in me for Dean’s plight. This makes me want to write a story about him, just so I can resolve some of these feelings that he, as well as myself, is having.
When he ran from her and Neville, I knew it would not end well. He couldn’t have thought that she wouldn’t come after him, considering the fact that both of them had been startled by someone who could have been an intruder, not to mention that she would go after him anyway once she knew who it was. She did care for him, after all, even if she was in love with Neville.
And as Jenny said in her review, the small detail of the wands being brandished at the sound of a disturbance, purely by instinct, was awesome. Nobody could live the lives that they had in the past year and not be at least a little jumpy; it was a nice touch, which also added an entire new dimension to the characterisation of Neville and Luna with three simple words.
Their confrontation is so awkward, since Dean’s head is obviously spinning from the dissolution of his illusions. It felt like he had held out one last hope that she would pull him out of his self-pitying rut, but Neville had dashed that away and Luna didn’t seem to do anything to stop it. To me, he felt betrayed and completely alone, more now than ever, even to the point when he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to talk to her. I just want to hug him. :-
Then his outrage started. He was angry and hurt at her implication – or at least that was what he thought it was – that her and Neville’s struggles at Hogwarts were worse or more valid than his own. That rush of bitterness and hate inside of him was so strong, and I think he fought it as much as he could, but I feel like he was almost watching someone else try to hit Luna. It was like that monster that had been dwelling inside of him roared to attention when he felt like she had left him behind. The possessiveness is, indeed, indicative of early childhood abuse, but that’s still no excuse. I do, however, understand why he felt that way, even if I by no means condone it.
Oh, thank you, Neville! I knew that there was a reason why I like you so much. I had rather hoped that this form of Neville would never have to make an appearance again, the one that would protect his own at all costs, but it was nice to see that he kept Dean from making one of the worst mistakes of his life.
I could see the wheels turning in Dean’s head as he processed what had just happened, as well as what had almost happened. The inner turmoil was so clear and defined, and the way you built it was phenomenal. He knew that he needed help; he knew that he couldn’t deal with everything alone. It only made sense that he sought Harry’s help. Harry had, after all, essentially saved the whole world – why shouldn’t he be able to save Dean from himself.
For a moment, I had almost forgotten that Dean and Ginny had been an item, so I was confused for a second when Harry looked so annoyed. Once my brain kicked back into thinking gear, I felt a bit of warmth toward Ginny that I usually don’t have (and as you probably well know, lol). Despite the rather awkward ending of Dean/Ginny, I was happy to see her take him into her realm of calm when he needed it the most. I also didn’t see Harry saying ‘no’ to someone with whom he had lived for so long as a friend and someone who had always stood by him, even when the wizarding world didn’t think very highly of Harry Potter.
At this point, I’m really proud of Dean, realising that he had made a mistake and that he needed help. Even more so, though, I’m just glad that he went to someone who could understand what he’d been through and what it was like to run in fear of one’s life from crazy pure-blood, Mudblood-hating maniacs.
It was fitting that Dean didn’t share what had happened at Luna’s house. There would almost certainly have been reprobation from Harry, Ginny, or both. Instead, he finally started to understand that the solution to his problems, his first step to recovery, had been on the other side of that telephone, which had mocked him at the time, yet it beckons to him now.
That he stayed for dinner with the Weasleys was a step in the right direction. He understands that he really isn’t alone, and there are those who went on with their lives, despite all that had happened. Voldemort had stolen so much from them all, so it doesn’t seem right that he could, from death, steal their happiness and sense of peace. That’s just plain unfair.
The fact that you ended this with a ray of hope for Dean did my heart a lot of good. After everything that had happened, both during the War and just moments before with Luna, it just didn’t sit right that he could be so destitute when others seemed to be getting on with things. Thank you for that. : -D
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. I really hadn’t meant for this review to be so long, but I started jotting down notes and such, and it just sort of came out this way. I really appreciate the amount of characterisation you added to Dean. It just seems so real and so powerful, like it really happened this way. Very seldom to Post-Hogwarts angst stories ring true for me, but you made me believe in this one with your first three paragraphs.
Dean is such a fascinating character, and this new dimension, the one of not being perfect, of almost doing something reprehensible, makes him more human than ever. He’s so flat in the series, so it’s awesome to see him come to life in so few words in your fic. I’m glad I took the time to read and review it.
The way you said so much about the characters in this fic in so few words was spectacular. I feel like I was there the whole time, watching the scene develop, empathising with Dean about the way his life was turning out. I love pieces that can place me inside of a character and make me see what they see, and you, dearest, have done that. Bravo to you!
Well, that’s all I have for today, so I leave you hoping that you feel good about writing this piece, since it is so well done. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing it, and I hope this finds you in good spirits.
Take care and happy writing!
P.S. – I’m not sure if I’m supposed to do this or not, but I spotted a couple minor word errors that you will probably want to fix.
He was always aware of the neighbours’ activities behind the shared walls __ either side,
I believe that ‘on’ was supposed to be there.
He froze on the spot, unable to decide whether to stay __ go,
A missing ‘or’…
…the garden gate clanged shut behind with him so much force that it disturbed the couple…
I think those words were meant to be the other way around.
Again, it’s minor and nitpicky, but it was the only thing at all that bothered me. Cheers!
After Jen's careful and rather complex review I can't say much, can I? A very interesting story. I'm sorry I can' t do it more justice than that right at this moment!
O, I love that. It was very well written and the characterization was stunning all-round. I loved the way you captured Luna, she seemed very in-character and it was nice to see her sane and serious for once. I really felt for Dean. My favourite line was:
They all had a purpose. There were funerals to be attended, relationships to be reformed, relatives to be found and a whole world to rebuild.
It paints the picture of life after the war so nicely
So I read this just before you went offline and I was about to suggest some titles. Yours is very fitting, although I was thinking more along the lines of ‘Hope’ or something like that. Possibly something a bit better, but what I took from this fic was not so much that Dean was still hurting after the war (despite that being the major part) but the fact that there is always that hope there, no matter what.
If I saw this when it was on LJ I must have forgotten about it, since reading this was an entirely new experience for me. I definitely wasn’t expecting the story to go in the direction it did, but I did guess at the Dean/Luna, since the intimacy between them at the end of DH was something that I think every HP fan noticed. To have her end up with Neville in this was a huge surprise. I know there are a few Neville/Luna shippers out there, but I’ve never really cared much for the pairing. If this fic follows canon, then Neville and Luna’s relationship doesn’t work out, but with how you’ve written it I can see them having a relationship for a short while after the war – Neville’s newfound strength would make him chase Luna a bit, but I think ultimately he would get annoyed with her airy-fairy ways.
Dean has always fascinated me as a character, as he has that back story that no one really knows about. I like how you’ve touched on this in your fic, as you mention his father being a bastard and his stepdad taking care of him and his mother. I’ve always imagined Dean to be fiercely protective of his mother, and so the approval of his stepdad says an enormous amount about his character (the stepdad’s) in my mind. I really enjoyed the first part of the fic with Dean wandering about his house – I can imagine him feeling so alone simply because he was running the entire year, and didn’t really fight the same war that all his friends did. He reminds me of Harry a bit in that way, how he has to be at the centre of the action before he feels like he’s made a difference.
My heart broke a little bit for Dean when he overheard that conversation, but I can’t really see Dean/Luna working out, much like Neville/Luna. She’s such an enigma, and I think it would take a very interesting personality to finally marry her. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Rolf/Luna fic, but I’d like to see one. I thought you characterised Luna really well, considering you didn’t have anything to go by in regards to Luna in a romantic relationship. The sentence, “So much has happened that it is easy to confuse feelings of friendship with those of love,” was just so very IC. It’s got that vague Luna touch to it, but it still brings across her point very clearly.
Dean nearly hitting her came as a huge surprise to me. It wasn’t something I would have expected of his character, but I think in context you’ve written it very well. With all his anger about the war, and then wanting to talk to the very person he thought he could count on … I can see why Neville being with her would come as a blow to Dean. Also, the fact that he turns to abuse opens up such fascinating aspects of his character. I don’t know if you did this specifically, but his father immediately came to my mind. By calling him a ‘bastard’ you insinuated that he didn’t treat Dean or his mother well, and abuse could certainly have been a part of that. I’m not an expert on the topic by any means, but it follows on that Dean might have inherited the quick temper and violent tendencies from his father, or even subconsciously picked up on it when he was a child, and looking up to his father as children often do.
I thought I should also mention how I liked the detail of them drawing their wands when they head a gate slam – the war will probably stay with them for a long time. Also, I loved Neville in this situation. The short paragraph after Dean nearly hit her just summed up his character perfectly.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, even though this fic mostly centres on Dean hurting, the part that stuck with me was the ending. The whole fic is leading up to that moment of finally belonging again, and I personally would have made the title reflect that theme rather than the one of hurt and despair. Ginny and Harry’s appearance, however small, made for the perfect ending. I think out of everyone, those two would be the ones who would never give up on anyone, and it was nice that Dean realised this.
So yeah, I absolutely loved it. Thanks for a lovely bedtime read, dearest.
Author's Response: Thank you for the most wonderful first review for this fic :D I don't like my title, and I think you're right. The message that comes out of it is one of hope rather that depression and that's the main reason I didn't put it in D/A - it starts off quite angsty but the end is definitely the bit that's supposed to be left with the reader at the end. I was originally going to call it something like Looking Forward or Moving on or something equally lame, but I like Hope. I'm going to change it as soon as I finish this response and then only you and the nine other readers will no what it was originally called.
I'm not sure I see Luna working out with Neville either. I agree that it's going to take someoen very special to be able to stick with her. And of course we don't know that she's going to return his feelings. She tells Dean after all that she doesn't know - I wonder if they might try and just find that while they care a great deal for each other, there's nothing romantic really there.
I'm sure there are other parts of the review I should respond to but I don't want my response to turn out as long as your review! So I will simply say thank you so much and it's all wonderful, and really made me feel rather more postitive about this story than I did when I wrote it!
p.s - I hope you've got to bed now!