Fandom: Harry Potter
Note: For chain_of_fics. The fic has Deathly Hallows spoilers.
As he stepped backwards into the embrace of progress and change and thin air and nothing-beneath-my-feet, there was a ghost of a smile on his face. There was still much to be done in the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts, but Dean Thomas was finished with business in the Wizarding World. He Apparated away without regret.
He appeared in an alley in London, tilting his head back and breathing in the scent of industrialized air – it smelled like freedom. He'd been on the run for nearly a year, unable to move without fear of being found by the Death Eaters and supporters of the Dark Lord. Now that they were defeated, he could didn't have to worry about the Snatchers or being persecuted just because he hadn't been born on the right side of the sheets.
But that didn't mean he wanted to go back to the Wizarding World anytime soon. There was existence beyond the magical realm, where a mundane Muggle existence could be both satisfying and fulfilling. He had always had a gift for drawing, and he wanted to explore that. Now that You-Know-Who - Voldemort - was gone, he was free to follow that dream.
Stepping out onto the street, his smile blossomed as he felt the warm spring sunlight on his face. He was grinning like a loon, and people were staring. He smiled back at them, meeting their eyes without hesitation, and some of the women pulled their children away. He spared a moment to feel a bit hurt before overhearing a comment about men running around in drag. Glancing down at his clothes, he winced as he realized he'd forgotten to change out his robes. And he probably looked a fright, still caked with the grime only a spectacular magical fight could wreck.
Blushing a bit, he made a mental note to add "finding Muggle clothes" to his to-do list – something to do after going home and having dinner with his family. Then he would spend three days just sleeping, before applying to a couple universities to read art history. And of course he'd need to get a subscription to The Quibbler, which would surely have some interesting stories about the Magical World's recovery.
He would owl his friends later and let them know he was okay, but for now he would be selfish. All he could see was the bright vista of his future, full of possibilities and colored as brilliantly as an artist's palette.