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29 February 2008 @ 11:23 am
February Omniocular Challenge Fic  

Here's story for you and I hope you're having a better day than I am.  
Written for the February Omniocular Challenge – and look!  It’s on time!

Use the film or TV prompt (which was ‘Dogma’) however you wish, from a full scale crossover or AU combining or substituting characters or universes to the ever popular "two characters walk into a bar" to using a quote as inspiration or even just using the same title.

 

Title: Fighting To Explain From In-Between

Rating: PG13

Warnings: References to character death/s

Length: 1,766 words

Summary: Dennis wishes he was more like Colin, then maybe he wouldn’t be in this in-between place.

 

Fighting To Explain From In-Between

 

“You know what the dead do with most of their time?  They watch the living.”

~ Rufus

(the thirteenth (and black) apostle,

who wants the Bible corrected to include him and the fact that Jesus was also black)

 

 

Dennis and Colin Creevey did not attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the academic year of 1997-1998, yet somehow Colin ended up living in the Room of Requirement for at least five months before becoming a hero.

 

Dennis wishes he was more like Colin.

 

A letter had arrived for their parents, delivered by the postman like normal mail, warning them that following the take-over of the Ministry of Magic by a group of political extremists Hogwarts would no longer be safe for Muggleborns and that if they allowed their sons to return their safety could not be guaranteed.  There was more, about how nowhere would really be safe for them, since the Ministry had a list of all students attending Hogwarts and anyone with access to that list could easily work out the blood status of the children listed, and that Hogwarts might be somewhat safer than staying in the Muggle world, but that it was their parents choice.

 

Dennis had stared mutely at the neat, familiar handwriting of their Head of House whilst Colin had argued, but Mr Creevey was only a milkman and Mrs Creevey a milkman’s wife and, apparently, a milkman’s children had no part to play in a war that was ‘none of their business’.

 

“You remember everything we learnt at DA, right?” Colin had asked as they waited in second-hand (but new to them) Muggle uniforms for the Muggle school bus to take them to the local Muggle high school.  “You still have your wand with you?  Constant vigilance, okay?”

 

Dennis remembers thinking that they hadn’t done anything bad enough for a bunch of Death Eaters to hunt them down in a building full of kids all looking the same, then that Death Eaters might think it was funny to randomly kill a lot of Muggle kids for no reason at all. 

 

He remembers sliding his wand out of its arm sheath slightly, so that the tip poked out of the end of his blazer sleeve where Colin could see it, and saying, “Okay.”

 

Dennis wishes he was more like Colin, who practised wand movements with a biro, a fork, a ruler and his toothbrush whilst Dennis just used the Muggle objects for what they were meant for.

 

They went to the high school, but it didn’t make the memories of Hogwarts fade away, like their parents had probably hoped.  People wanted to know what school they’d gone to before and why they went there when this one was close to where they lived.  The teachers wanted to know why they were always behind in class, why they paused every so often when writing, moved their pens away from the page as if to dip them in something not there and frowned, and why Dennis had doodled huge squids in the margins of his science textbook.

 

Dennis had wrestled with trigonometry and Shakespeare, World War Two and photosynthesis, and one Tuesday after school the seat next to him on the school bus had been empty.

 

There had been another letter for their parents, saying I’m not sorry and I can’t leave my friends and I don’t like that world any less just because it has bad parts that don’t like me.  There had been a letter for Dennis that time too, but it hadn’t contained any words, just a series of photographs.  People smiled proudly at the end of a DA session, Dennis and Colin stood side-by-side in the Gryffindor Quidditch stands screaming in excitement and the giant squid waved a lazy tentacle in the air.

 

Dennis wishes he was more like Colin, who practised being a wizard so that he’d never forget what he was and left to fight for his place in the wizarding world as soon as he got the chance.

 

They didn’t get the Daily Prophet or The Quibbler in case the owl was tracked to their house and they didn’t get any letters from Colin.  His parents muttered about wanderlust when they mentioned their eldest son and talked worriedly about paranoia when their youngest tried to make them plan for somewhere safe that they could go if anyone came to the house that they didn’t recognise.  Dennis hadn’t cared what they said about his mental state as long as they did it. 

 

Constant vigilance, until letters from Jimmy Peakes and Professor McGonagall and the newly created Department of Post-War Affairs say it’s over and they don’t need to be vigilant anymore.  They don’t need to be anymore because the war is over and Colin is gone. 

 

Dead people don’t need constant vigilance.

 

It rains at the funeral, glass beads rolling off everything and everything grey.  There aren’t any photographers at funerals and Dennis thinks that’s not right, because if every other event in someone’s life is captured in colour and lights this should be too, but he can’t think of any part of this snapshot of time that should be preserved.

 

Dennis wishes he were more like Colin, who practised being a wizard, who fought for his place in the wizarding world and who saw a perfect picture in every moment.

 

The Creevey brothers were going to be a team, like the Weasley twins with their joke shop.  Colin was going to be the photographer and Dennis was going to be the journalist and they were going to be the most formidable freelancing reporters the press machine had ever seen.

 

Colin had always loved taking photographs, especially when they went on holiday all together as a family.  Dennis remembers him saying once that it wasn’t about remembering all the moments of the holiday, but about preserving them so other people could see what it was like.  Dennis prefers telling stories and explaining things to people with words.  He’d always believed that between the two of them they could explain anything to anyone.

 

(Maybe if it had been Dennis that had argued with their parents that summer and not Colin, if he hadn’t just stood and stared, they would have both gone back to Hogwarts.)

 

Dennis has Macbeth and biros on the IKEA desk in his bedroom and a wand strapped to his arm.  He doesn’t know how to explain this strange mix of Muggle and Wizard that his is now, especially when Colin’s desk has quills and a back issue of The Quibbler.  Colin wanted to be a wizard and he was a wizard, whilst Dennis just feels that a scribbled squid alongside diagrams of the liver is the best way to describe his life.

 

His parents ask about his GCSE coursework at the dinner table and talk about career opportunities, because, apparently, a milkman’s son can aspire to be more than a milkman if he wants to. 

 

There’s a story bubbling behind Dennis’ lips that he wants to explain, but he doesn’t know how to.  Then he realises that what he wants to explain is that he wants to explain, and he wants to explain to everyone.

 

“I’m going to write a book,” he announces. 

 

His dad’s fork pauses in mid air with its mash potato load.  “You have to have a proper job at the same time though,” he says, “because fiction doesn’t pay well.  Unless you’re going to write textbooks, that kind of thing?  Think you have to go to university for that.”  He turns to Mum with a small smile.  “We could get a loan.”

 

“A wizarding book,” Dennis says firmly.  “I’m going back to Hogwarts and then I’m going to write a wizarding book.”

 

“No.”  Dad puts his fork down and a little bit of mash potato spatters on the table cloth.

 

“A wizarding book,” Dennis continues, just like Colin used to do, because if they don’t stop him talking before he’s managed to explain then maybe his words will get through.  “I’m going to write about what it’s like to get photographs of a strange world sent home to you by your brother and what it’s like to go to into that world yourself.  I’m going to write about going to a new school that’s more different than the high school you were worried about going to, and what it’s like to have to go back to that high school where you don’t belong all over again.  I’m going to write about Muggleborns and Purebloods and Halfbloods and what it’s like, I’m going to explain it, to everyone.”

 

“Sometimes people just don’t understand you,” his mum says quietly, looking at him with bloodshot eyes.

 

Dennis wishes he was more like Colin, who went back to where he belonged, but if Dennis has to stay in this in-between place then he thinks it’s a good idea to explain to people where this place is, and he’s willing to fight for the right to explain.

 

“It’s going to be a very good book,” Dennis tells her.  “It’s going to have photographs.”

Somewhere, in another kind of in-between place, Colin wishes he was more like Dennis, who always chooses the right time to argue and argues well. 

He’s not watching from ‘above’ them or the clouds, or next to them and unseen, but something of both and neither.  He’s not Colin-shaped or angel-shaped or shaped like anything he thought dead people would be shaped like before he became dead himself.  Really it’s not any shape at all, more like a floating light, for a lack of any other description.

He wishes he had a camera so he could take a picture of it, then people might understand what he means.  He wishes he was more like Dennis so that he wouldn’t need a camera and he could just tell people and they’d know.

Another light floats over.  The lights recognise each other like sheep can recognise other sheep.  The first light is a Colin-light and this light is a Rufus-light and both of them are unique.  Colin talks to Lavender-light sometimes, when they’re both watching people in the Gryffindor Common Room, and Lavender says that it’s because they all have their own auras.

How’s things? Rufus asks.

Colin likes Rufus.  He’s talkative and he has a way with words, a bit like Dennis.

My brother’s going to write a book, Colin says.

Books don’t always get things right, Rufus warns, sounding unimpressed.  Sometimes they don’t even get the colours right.

This one will be right, Colin tells him confidently.  It’s going to have photographs.

 

 
 
 
feeling: tiredtired
 
 
 
she's a witch!  burn her!allie_andromeda on February 29th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Oh.

Oh, oh oh.

This is brilliant. The constant comparisons between the two of them, the differences in Colin and Dennis's individual personalities, that ending line (OMG)... Lovely, gorgeous, made me sniffle and smile.

(PS- This is allie_meril, by the way. I'm logged into my fic journal and, erm, too lazy to log into my regular one.)

Deleted/reposted to fix a missing html tag.
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
Thank you!

To be honest, I wasn't that sure that I liked this fic when I'd finished it, if it was missing something somewhere. I did like the repeated photograph line though, so I'm pleased someone else did too :o)

(Heh, no worries.)
(Deleted comment)
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you! I'm glad you liked it :o)

I enjoy writing about the characters that are peripheral in canon and poor Colin just arrives in the final book to die. I'm please you liked the last bit, because the repeated photograph line was one of the only parts I was really happy with when I'd finished writing this - although sorry if it made you cry ;o)
(Deleted comment)
inkvoices: essayinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, I see. I think, although I don't have the books on hand to check, that Colin mentions sending photographs home to his family in the early books, which I why I have Dennis saying he'd seen photos of Hogwarts before going there himself. Those photogaphs are all their parents are ever going to see of that world, which is more than some parents, such as Hermione's maybe, are going to see of it. With that little information it's unlikely they'll understand about the war.

I can't see McGonagall not informing the Creeveys that their son was petrified in his first year, but whilst they might think that Hogwarts is more dangerous than other schools I think that's all they'll see it as: a high school. A strange one and a boarding school, but just a school, so for them taking their sons out of Hogwarts when they're told it's become a war zone (for a war that they think of as nothing to do with them) and putting them in just another school would seem logical and straight-forward.

Hermione casts a memory charm on her own parents in Deathly Hallows, so even someone that we know is extremely intelligent is incapable of explaining to her parents about the realities of the situation, or at least thinks she won't be able to explain and still be allowed to take part in the war (and keep them safe). Besides the fact that to parents their children are always, regardless of how much they grow up, their children, and no one wants their children in a war.

So yes, long reply there about the rationale behind my portrayl of the Creeveys.
♦ k a h l i a ♦: sunflowercuban_sombrero on February 29th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Wow. Just wow.
You've really come to grips with a character that got about half a dozen lines in a series of a few thousand pages. :) I really like the characterisation you've given to Dennis, the constant comparisons with Colin, who's so different, and the way you've given a reason for Colin being at Hogwarts during the Battle when he was a Muggleborn.

Just excellent all round, really ...
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 01:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! :o)

I like writing about the peripheral characters in canon, if only because that means I get to make more things up than if I was playing with the main ones. I was going to write a longer response to the challenge, with more dead people watching more live people, but when I started thinking about why Colin was at Hogwarts for the battle anyway all the other little snapshots fell by the wayside whilst I tried to figure it out!

I'm glad you liked it and thank you for the lovely comments!
lee: Fleursnegurochka_lee on March 1st, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
That was lovely! I especially liked the description of things they did strangely at Muggle school, like trying to dip pens in ink wells. :)
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I was trying to think of the things that would be strange, moving back into the Muggle world, and I figured it would be the little things that would be the most annoying - like the few times I wear contact lenses instead of glasses I try and push my glasses up my nose, or something, and for a scary moment I think I've lost them.
sdgdsgduol2fic on March 1st, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)
Wow, that was really poignant. I loved the last line and Dennis's limbo-like state between the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. You worked wonders here!
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 1st, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad the awkward state Dennis is in came across all right, because I felt I hadn't managed it too well, and the repeated line about the book having photographs is the bit I liked most in this fic, so I'm pleased you liked it too :o)
Keekeestone on March 2nd, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
Wow. This made me cry, and I'm not a weepy person.
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 3rd, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you, um, but sorry I made you cry!
inksplotched on March 4th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
My Lord, this is lovely.

I'd give you a coherent review, but... well, you can just read the rec I wrote, instead. :D
inkvoicesinkvoices on March 4th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Rec? Lovely comments in rec?! *happy dance* I'm having a naff time at the moment, but you've cheered me up mightily, thank you :o)

I'm glad you liked my characterisation of these peripheral characters in canon, because whilst I like writing about the overlooked characters sometimes that can be hard with so little to go on, even if it does mean I get to have fun making things up.

As for the links to 'Dogma', the quote from the film at the beginning pretty much lets people in on what they need to know: that dead people can watch the living (although you don't see it in the film) and that Rufus thinks the Bible is wrong, which is what the comment about photographs is about: a joke, but also a bit of a question - if religious texts has photographs would they be more 'accurate' and 'acceptable'? Other than that I just tried to work with the premise put forward in the film that ideas can be better than organised belief structures and that faith is important.

It's a bit of an old film now, so the special effects aren't CGI or anything, and it could stand with having less swearing, but I'd still recommend it as a film to watch :o)
(Anonymous) on March 26th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
thanks much
thats it, brother
inkvoicesinkvoices on April 9th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks much
Thank you, although I feel I should point out that I am, in fact, a sister ;o)
(Anonymous) on April 5th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
thanks much
thank you, bro
inkvoicesinkvoices on April 9th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks much
You're welcome :o)
★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★: husk: dennisgabe_speaks on October 27th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Every now and again I scour the interwebs for Colin and Dennis stories. They were done a great disservice by the majority of fandom--and Rowling herself, truth be told--so it's nice to see stories that show Colin beyond the 'creepy creevey' stereotype, as if everyone in HP was allowed to grow and change except Colin. Thank you for having the wherewithal--and sensibility--to show depth of character.

Excellently written.

inkvoices: hp:harry gofinkvoices on October 27th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
I never saw Colin as being 'creepy' so much as being over excitable - he got to go to a magic school and the famous Harry Potter knew his name - but I'm sure he grew out of it somewhat as he got older, although I doubt he ever entirely lost his amazement.

I'm glad you enjoyed this story about the Creevy brothers :o) Thank you.

If you're looking for more, I recently read Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness - a brilliant story about the year at Hogwarts during the seventh book, from Neville's POV, with a wonderfully characterised Colin and Dennis.
werewolfsfanwerewolfsfan on April 18th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Here via the rec at coffee and chocolate. I'm so grateful to have found this story. I've been upset since reading DH that JKR choose to kill a 16 year old character without showing his heroism or anyone mourning him. I feel better having "met" him through your story I know he's mourned but not forgotten now and now I feel like he can rest in peace
inkvoices: hp:deathly hallowsinkvoices on April 20th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I have a soft spot for the peripheral characters and Colin did leave the Potter verse bluntly. We're told that the Muggleborns weren't even at Hogwarts that year, and yet we're not told how Colin ended up being there. I suppose that's part of the war though - tradgic things that happen and should be important but there's so much going on that everything blurs after a while, or some such.

I'm glad you enjoyed this story and it helped you feel better about Colin. :o) Maybe try Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness by thanfiction if you feel the peripheral characters didn't get the attention they deserved - have a look under 'harry potter recs' on my tags page - but be warned, it's heart-wrenching at the end.
b00kaddictb00kaddict on April 25th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is gorgeous. I have to admit, I hadn't given much thought to Colin or Dennis, but you've done a wonderful job of fleshing them out. It makes what happened to Colin that much harder. Beautifully done!

(Here via crack-broom rec)

hogwartshussyhogwartshussy on April 25th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Here via the rec at crack_broom. This sounds wrong as I say it but maybe you'll understand the feeling. Some how the fact that Colin died sits a bit better for me knowing that he had a dream.

The Creevey brothers were going to be a team, like the Weasley twins with their joke shop. Colin was going to be the photographer and Dennis was going to be the journalist and they were going to be the most formidable freelancing reporters the press machine had ever seen.

I guess what I really mean is that it didn't seem right for his creator, JK Rowling to kill off this young kid without showing us who he was beyond an enthusiastic youngster. I've always felt bad about that death but somehow seeing Dennis remember his brother makes it okay to hurt for these lovely children.

“A wizarding book,” Dennis says firmly. “I’m going back to Hogwarts and then I’m going to write a wizarding book.”

“It’s going to be a very good book,” Dennis tells her. “It’s going to have photographs.”
ShIvErS!: [MV] Sexy not-lookershiveringsmile on August 8th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
Cute, sad and wonderful. Good mix