Dean's... not quite sure where he fits in, at first.
Sure - he knows his way around set (sort of), knows what his job is and how to get it done (of course), but he doesn't know where he fits in the tangle of lives that is the Ace of London's cast and crew - doesn't know where he's supposed to.
All he can think when he looks at the chaos they cause is that he sure as hell hopes he works it out soon.
Dean's not quite sure where he's supposed to fit in, but he thinks that maybe he's figuring things out.
Like, now he knows that if he wants to have long conversations about books with someone, he should go to Hermione - which, maybe, should have been obvious - she is the scriptwriter, after all... Is that obvious? He's not sure - and if he wants a second opinion on if these colors clash or if he should use this texture here instead of this to make the bomb or the coral or whatever the fuck it is look more authentic, he should go to Blaise - Pansy more often if it's related to animal fur or scales, though - he has no idea why - but to Parvati and Lavender if he wants to start up a conversation on different brushing techniques to use in different situations.
He knows now that Harry and Draco might look and act all buddy-buddy for the camera and the fans, but in reality, they're anything but.
He could practically feel the temperature drop the first time he entered a room with them both in it.
The meetings are frequent, though they're mostly boring legal things, but Bill, Fleur, and Percy take the lead a lot so he doesn't have to pay a whole lot of attention, and a lot of the time, Percy and Hermione start talking by themselves in some complex, in-depth conversation about how this camera angle could be more meaningful, or switching this word out for that one could change an entire scene.
It's always different, and they're intense, too, and a lot of the time, they cross over lines he didn't really realize could be blurred before, hopping from department to department on different things they could each do for certain characters or scenes to get different effects, and all of the others pitch in little comments and ideas of their own once in a while, in passing, and he tries to pay attention to it all - really, he does - but it's all so confusing, sometimes - and he's pretty sure that some of the stuff they're talking about they either don't have, can't do, or is out of their jurisdiction - but really, he's new here, and they're both pretty high up, so he shouldn't be questioning it, even if it does make his head spin a bit.
Dean's new here, but less so, and things have gotten a bit clearer.
He accidentally stepped on one of Lee's CD cases once, when dropping by his sound booth.
No damage was done (to the case), but he learned not to do it again, if his sudden fear of tarantulas was anything to go by. (Best not ask, it seemed that the rest of them had decided. Dean guessed a few of them might have had similar experiences.)
He drops by to talk to Luna every once in a while, because she's nice, really, and she tries, but sometimes he's not quite sure they're on the same page.
If he's being honest, he doesn't get a lot of the things she talks about. They all sound make-believe, as bad as he feels for thinking it. (He never dares to tell her that.)
She's an animator, though. Maybe there aren't enough screens or pages of paper for her to contain her imagination.
Maybe that's not a bad thing.
Dean's not sure yet.
He can relate, at least.
On one of their free days, some of the stunt doubles went into town, and Dean tagged along with some of the other cast and crew members.
They tried this thing called 'free running,' and Ron's really shocked, at first, because Ginny shows an amazing talent for it, and then tells them all she's been secretly practicing it since she was six.
Apparently, it was much easier to cover up as a stunt double, and really helped earn her a few more roles. This one, in fact.
Fred and George seem to pick up on it real quick, and to everyone's surprise, Fleur does, too.
She confesses it's probably because of her gymnastics training, but it certainly doesn't hurt that she's taken a few parkour classes on the side - nothing that really stuck, just a few helpful pointers.
Dean's okay at it, but it kind of hurts and it takes a while to get the hang of, and he's just not sure he has the athletic ability or patience to do some of this stuff, regardless of how much football he may have played in the past.
Oliver and Marcus, admittedly, both got a little scraped up trying to out-do each other, and both were forced to see Hannah when they got back on set.
While she wasn't exactly surprised to see them (the two of them were always coming up with stupid, dangerous little competitions to try to best the other at), she wasn't very happy about it, either.
Dean tries to remember not to cross her.
It's halfway through the season when Cedric comes back, and to be honest, it's kind of awkward.
His character was killed off in the last season, so Dean's never met him, but he seems nice enough and welcomes him onto the set with open arms in his limited interactions with him.
Cedric's a great guy, as it quickly becomes obvious, and everyone's really happy he's back, even if it is only temporary, to film some flashbacks with him in them for Terry, Susan and Theo's characters, all of which had a strong connection to his.
Dean likes him - really, he does - but he can't help but feel jealous, when he sees how everyone else almost seems to gravitate towards him, can't help but long for that easy comradery that he immediately had with them all, even after over a year of being gone, when Dean's been there for months and he still feels like most of them forget that the old prop master retired after the last season and they have to go to him to talk about the props now.
He knows the guy has done nothing to deserve it, though, so he tries to push back that malicious feeling, and once he does, it doesn't take him long to realize that, while they may be mostly over it now, at some point in the past, Cedric, Harry, and Cho had pretty much the same awkward love triangle thing going on that Viktor, Ron, and Hermione do now. (And for the love of God he honestly hopes that Viktor gets his act together soon and asks at least one of them out, because watching their oblivious interactions is honestly sickening and he knows that Ron or Hermione definitely aren't going to be the ones to make the first move - they're both too proud for that.)
He's not sure if the light feeling settled alongside the sadness inside of him on the day Cedric leaves is happiness or something else.
He wonders if it makes him a bad person.
One time, Dean walks into Ron's trailer to tell him that lunch was ready.
Obviously, as the deemed 'new guy' on set - even if he wasn't quite so new anymore - it was considered his job to inform the laggers. (i.e. Ron - the rest usually took a little bit of time to get to lunch. Ron was usually among the first. Thus, he was now counted as a lagger, and Dean was sent to fetch him.)
He wasn't sure why Ron had a trailer, as he had six siblings on set, and, come to think of it - he wasn't even really sure what Ron did - but he brushed it off anyway.
Of course, Dean was hungry, because it was lunchtime, or else he wouldn't have even been sent to Ron's trailer in the first place, but Dean's head tends not to be the clearest of places when he's hungry, and in trying to talk to Ron, he forgets to knock.
When he went inside, the steady stream of talking that had apparently been going on slowly died out, and he's surprised to see Ron and Oliver looking up at him curiously.
Oliver is laying down on Ron's small small couch - because really, it was a trailer, what did you expect - his long legs hanging far over the edge and his arms wrapped around a pillow laid across his chest.
Ron's sitting on a chair facing him a few feet away, a notepad and pencil in hand, poised to take notes.
Dean blinks at the scene as they do the same to him, taking a minute to process it before he really gets it. (And even then he's not sure he does get it.)
And of course, after a "What the h-" on Dean's part followed by an undignified snort and a few muttered choice words about how he really shouldn't even be surprised anymore and how everyone on the set was half insane at least, he promptly gets an explanation about how Ron is their not a therapist therapist.
They, of course, being the entire cast and crew whenever necessary, meaning they all come to him whenever they have a problem, and as he scans the room again, trying to see if the twins or Lee or maybe Ginny were hiding anywhere laughing at the scene of what has to be a very odd prank he spots no other redheads and none of their usual accomplices.
Instead, he finds two and a half stacks of journals sitting on the counter, each with scotch tape on the binding and someone's name on said tape in sharpie, some with more wear-and-tear and fading than others.
He immediately thinks that there's probably more somewhere, and then he sees what's sitting on top of the half stack and his head drops back as his eyes closed, areyoukiddingme running through his head on a loop.
On the very top is a brand new journal, and on the side, he can see his name spelled out in big rounded letters.
He leaves as quickly as possible after seeing the journal and apologizing for interrupting the session and telling them both that lunch was ready (to which they both agreed to get some after their session was over, or make some themselves, as Oliver didn't need to do any stunt work today, and Ron didn't have any sick people or departments needing extra hands that he currently needed to help out or fill in for, so they had time to spare), but not quick enough to escape Ron chiding him about do you even realize how much coffee you've been drinking I hardly ever see you without one in your hand you know that's not really good for you and are those bags I see under your eyes do you have shadows too I can't tell from here you're coming back here in the next twenty-four hours so I can make sure you're getting enough sleep and those definitely aren't shadows and bags I'm seeing starting to develop under your eyes and don't make me fight you on this Thomas I will hunt you down. (And oh God now there's two Hannahs - but that was just Dean thinking.)
In many ways, the encounter weirded Dean out.
In two, it made him feel a little better.
1. There was always someone looking out for him - even if it wasn't exactly who he would've expected.
2. Ron has found his place in the cast, even if it's a bit unconventional. Maybe there was hope for him yet.
He goes back to see Ron that night.
He thinks that maybe he feels a little lighter afterward.
Dean goes to Colin when he needs good quotes or reference videos or pictures - the kid somehow knows all the perfect sources.
Dean has bi-weekly meetings with Pansy, Luna, Parvati, Cho and Blaise, to make sure the animation, sets, props, costumes, hair and make-up all coincide as they should before they actually start shooting the next episode of the show, or to fit in new ideas they have so they can reconfigure their other designs before the next episode, and make a list of anyone they'll need to update on any changes depending on what they are.
Sometimes he's not sure others appreciate how much work they put into this show.
Every once in a while, Percy or Hermione will pop in to see if it all lines up with their "vision."
Dean goes to see Ron if he's feeling stressed, Hannah if he's feeling sick, and Neville if he needs ideas or plant references.
He gets a good look at a few of the journals Ron kept of his meetings with their colleagues and his analysis of them, a couple of times - just the outside, of course. He'd only see the inside over Ron's dead body - and he's unsurprised to see that while some, like Harry's, look like they're about to fall apart, with scraps of paper and sticky notes attached to dozens of the stained pages (tea? Looked a bit more like coffee. He couldn't quite be sure), others, like his siblings', look practically untouched, along with Draco's and Hermione's, and a couple of others.
Makes sense, he reasons eventually.
Harry is Ron's best friend. Draco probably feels as if he can't tell him anything because of it, and is paranoid anything he says will be used against him somehow later.
And, obviously, there's Hermione. They may be good friends, but when you put Ron and her in the same room together, they bicker so much they're practically an old married couple, and you'll feel like your ears are about to start bleeding. While they might've tried on occasion to talk about her problems, they probably spiraled off on too many tangents and got stuck arguing on them, until they just stopped trying.
Then, of course, are the other six redheads running around on set.
The Weasley family is complicated - they love each other, sure, but with the exception of the twins, they're all too proud to share their problems and feelings with each other - too scared of being made fun of. Years of childhood rivalry probably made sure of that, Dean was sure.
Dean understands, though.
The journals aren't used.
But they're there.
And that sentiment's got to be worth something.
The boring legal meetings become less frequent as the season progresses, but every once in a while, Bill and Fleur will still come knocking on the doors to their different department areas to let them know what the deal is with the budget.
Percy and Hermione still have those conversations, but Dean's learned that the others don't listen to most of it, either, mostly just tuning in if they hear something sort of interesting or anything about them or their department, which is where the side comments get thrown in. Dean coaches himself to do the same thing so he doesn't feel overwhelmed every time he hears them going at it.
He also learnt that yes, while they do love to throw around ideas and get a good debate started, they're mostly doing it on purpose - making things confusing and flipping over so many different topics so fast - partly as a challenge to each other, partly to see if anyone else will catch on, and who they can annoy with it. Even if it's just throwing in a word none of them know, there's always some small way to make it hard to follow.
If he wants someone to share pancakes with at three o'clock in the morning, he goes to Ginny, or Neville - oftentimes it ends up being both.
More often than not, they end up either falling asleep on each other sprawled out on the floor of one of their trailers, or getting so caught up in spinning fantastic tales of adventure and magic or spilling all their secrets to each other in a twenty-four-hour diner that they're almost late for work.
Dean doesn't regret it. (Ron and Hannah aren't happy with any of them for it.)
Ginny, one day, jokingly suggests that they call themselves the Breakfast Club, as they sat there, eating pancakes and drinking tea and apple cider at the ungodly hour of 4:31 in the morning of a Saturday after a night of watching cheesy classic movies with some of the other cast and crew members. (Even American ones from the '80s. Ginny hits him when he points out that The Breakfast Club had nothing to do with staying up late or eating breakfast at odd hours of the night - or at all, really - and tells him to let her dream.)
Dean realizes he's starting to carve his own little niche in this place.
He thinks that maybe he could get used to it.
The twins were trying to make fireworks, go figure, and of course, despite being their resident pyrotechnician, Seamus found a way to set them all off without even knowing what they were. (And Dean found himself wondering if this was because they purposely made them not look like regular fireworks, or if they were really just that bad at it. Either way, they were idiots for trying it.)
Dean's somehow not worried for his safety, nor are any of the others.
He supposes that maybe it eventually becomes part of a package deal with this job.
Dean and the rest of the prop department began to work with Charlie a lot more, because they've got new characters coming up that host animal spirits, and as their resident animal trainer, he's their primary source (or source for finding other sources, sometimes) on animal skins, bones, furs, and personalities, all of which will help them create the proper weapons, accessories and decorations to truly capture the essence and feel of the animal each one represents.
During their time working together, Dean gets to know Charlie a lot better and finds out that he's a pretty decent bloke - though, to be fair, from what he's seen of him before that, that was kind of what he was expecting.
At some point, Dean finds out that Charlie's asexual, and he makes it pretty clear that if Dean had a problem with that, he gave exactly zero fucks and he could go deal with it himself. (Cue Dean's respect for him raising about ten bars in ten seconds.)
As someone with an asexual older sister, Dean's extremely pleased to hear that for the most part, pretty much the entire cast and crew were okay with it, and if they weren't, or they personally thought that asexuality wasn't a real thing, they at least kept their thoughts to themselves.
At some point, the original cast and crew drop by to say hi to everyone - this was a reboot of their show, after all, and it turns out that a lot of his coworkers knew them all in one way or another.
For instance, the Weasleys' parents had both worked there - Arthur in props with Molly in wardrobe, though they both played small roles every now and then. In addition to them were Harry's parents, with James in the same role his son played now, and Lily as the director - though both of them had died a few years back in a car accident.
Igor Karkaroff, Albus Dumbledore and Olympe Maxime, he'd all met before, albeit rather briefly, as they were the producers of the current show and each had prominent places in the Three Broomsticks Film Industry.
He got the chance to trade tips and advice with Filius Flitwick, who'd been the show's prop master the first time around, and he knew that if Marlene McKinnon or Dorcas Meadowes had gotten the chance to be there, Michael, Marietta, Cho, Pansy, and Blaise all would've been fawning over them all day, but as it was, Blaise and Pansy at least got to whisk Molly away for a little while. The twins and Seamus had seemed to take a liking to Emmeline Vance, and Colin to Hestia Jones, who had been on special effects and camera crew respectively.
Dean was a little disappointed that he wouldn't be getting to meet Frank and Alice Longbottom, both of whom were stunning actors with revolutionary techniques, doing their own stunts, and, he'd heard, helping out the prop department more than once when they were in a pinch, but he knew it was because they had both been in an accident of some kind and needed intensive memory care afterwards - and they weren't sure they would ever recover - a couple of facts he was harshly reminded of as soon as he saw Neville's bittersweet expression when watching the Weasleys reunite with their parents, and he decided to keep his thoughts as just that - thoughts - instead choosing to grab Neville's arm and lead him over to an ecstatic Pomona Sprout, which seemed to cheer him up quite a bit.
Tonks seemed quite taken with one Remus Lupin, as it was, who, along with Minerva McGonagall, had seemed to strike up a quick friendship with Hermione, and the whole thing really amuses him for a while, until they all decide to go out to their usual haunt, The Hog's Head (Abeforth didn't look too happy to see his brother, though), and just when he thought he might be getting somewhere with Seamus with the help of a little liquid courage in his veins, Tonks grabbed his arm, pulled him aside and enlisted him to be her wingman.
He tries to tell her that he doesn't know how to be anyone's wingman, only to have her respond with, "Fantastic! I don't really know how to flirt with anyone. Guess we can figure it out together, yeah?" And while he personally thinks that it all turned out awful, Tonks will fervently deny it.
After a while, he learns why Draco and Harry hate each other so much, and it's completely stupid.
Apparently, one of them pranked the other way back when they were still shooting the pilot episode, and they've been going back and forth ever since.
For some reason, this makes them sworn enemies, despite the fact that none of them can even remember who started it or what they even did.
In all seriousness, he honestly can't really tell if they're just pigtail-pulling each other (he wouldn't put it past them) or if they actually hate each other.
Whatever the case, Dean's getting pretty tired of it.
Dean's just trying to get some sleep, really, and it's - what time is it - 2:47 in the fucking morning, but someone's knocking on his door - more like pounding - real insistently, and he knows he should probably answer it, or, knowing his coworkers, whoever it was would just barge in and bother him until he was awake with no chance of going back to sleep.
So he sighs and grumbles, but he gets up, and he swings the door open, an irritated greeting already swelling on the tip of his tongue, but it crumbles when he sees who's there.
And suddenly he's not so tired anymore - or, he is, but he can deal with it for now - because Parvati's standing there on his steps at what is now 2:48 in the morning and no one else on set is even dreaming of having to wake up yet and the sky is still dark and it's almost completely silent, but Parvati's there on his steps and she's sobbing her eyes out and all he can do is step aside and open the door a bit more.
She gave him a wide-eyed look before bursting into a fresh round of tears and rushing in, and he thinks that that was the moment his heart broke, but he's not quite sure, because in all honesty, there were a lot of moments in the following hours that could've been it, and he's not sure which one it is. Maybe it was all of them, just chipping a little more away each time.
Before either one of them knows it, all of Parvati's problems are spilling from her mouth, but she keeps coming back to that one big one. And Dean's trying, oh God how he's trying, to figure out how to help her, because he knows she's hurting bad and this one problem is the real reason she's crying and the real reason she's here, and he wants to fix her hurt because this is his friend God damn it, but to be honest, he doesn't have a whole lot of experience in the romance department, with the exception of fumbling through conversations with Seamus and trying to figure out if he's being the same level of flirty with him as he is with everyone else or if he's actually trying to flirt-flirt with Dean, and then trying to figure out what that would mean, and he doesn't really think that counts.
She's on her third cup of hot chocolate, which she's been frantically drinking for the last half hour now, and she's still telling him everything, but he thinks he's getting her to calm down a little, and she's not crying a whole lot anymore, and he's still not really sure what to say, but he's afraid of just giving it a shot in case it only makes things worse, so he stays quiet and just listens, and it seems to help a little bit.
He wonders at one point during the whole ordeal why she didn't go to Ron with her problem like everyone usually does, but doesn't voice the question.
He soon realizes that was a wise decision, around the same point in time that he remembers that Ron and Lavender used to date.
Yeah, that could make things a little awkward if she were to go to Ron.
Finally she's run out of things to say - which is surprising, because she's known Lavender for years and years and she's only been talking about her for hours on end - and by that time it's already 5:11, and Parvati's supposed to be in the makeup tent doing Viktor's 'morph makeup' by now, and Dean only has fifteen minutes or so before he's supposed to meet with Cho to help her incorporate the cornucopia crown they'd made a few weeks back into Tonks' hair, and then go see the metal worker to see if they had the new brooches done yet, but neither of them can really find it in themselves to care as they sit on Dean's tiny bed together. By now her eleventh and his seventh cup of hot chocolate have run cold, and he's probably out of cocoa powder, and they can see the lazy sunlight beginning to filter in through his windows, and they can hear the world begin to come alive around them as doors start slamming, vehicles begin to move, birds begin to chirp, and more and more of their coworkers are beginning to wake up and get ready for the day, if they weren't part of the unlucky bunch who had to get up at an even more ungodly hour of the morning, and neither of them can find it in themselves to say a word to the other.
It's 6:52 when pretty much the whole of the makeup, hair and props departments finally seem to figure out where they are and a hail of fists rain down on Dean's door, but they somehow sound so much less urgent than those that had done the same thing just four hours prior, despite all of them most definitely being pissed.
Neither of them answer, and when Cho takes it upon herself to open the door because she really needs to get that prop and Tonks' hair sorted out right this second because for God's sake, she needed to do Millicent's, too, and she was supposed to be started on that already, but I can't do it myself, and Marietta and Michael are busy, so get your arse out here, Thomas, they all furrow their brows at the sight they're confronted with, and nonetheless eventually manage to get them both up and out the door despite the fact that they were both in pajamas and Parvati's eyes were all puffy and red and neither of them were talking at all.
And as they led them to their respective stations in their tents, everyone looking at them weirdly for still being in their pajamas and Lavender pestering Parvati, asking why she looked like she'd been crying and what was wrong, unaware that she was the reason and beginning to realize she wasn't going to get any answers, Parvati catches his eye, and they share a look, and in that moment, it goes without saying that all the events of that morning were going to stay between them forevermore.
And Dean realizes that he was just trusted with what was quite possibly Parvati's biggest secret.
And Dean realizes that that means they trust him now.
And that means he's found his place, right?