Seamus hunkered down in the cobweb infested cupboard. The only sound that permeated the silence was his own ragged breathing. The Gryffindor placed a hand over his heart, trying to get his lungs back under control. He had never been a runner – sprinting to save his own skin, definitely not a favorite past time. Maybe Dean was right. Maybe Seamus really did need to work on keeping his big mouth shut until he could remember to first take into consideration the person, or people, he might be pissing off. "The Irish are a passionate people, it's in my blood!" Seamus would joke when told to "be more careful!" or "stop getting into trouble." He just wasn't too great at thinking before he spoke, especially in the heat of the moment and with Seamus, well, most things ended up in "heat of the moment" territory. To his credit, this time he had been justified in his fury and subsequent insults. A group of older Slytherins had seen Seamus in the library, unfortunately alone, and begun loudly lamenting how many "dirty faggots" were in Hogwarts. The Irishman had kept his tongue, for awhile, but once they came round to "we should send them back where they came from, along with all the repulsive mudbloods and dumb n*ggers," he had exploded. Completely lost it. Gone ballistic. He was pretty sure he had at least three detentions with Madame Pince in his immediate future, once she tracked him down long enough to admonish him for his outburst. Pity she hadn't seen the fight that ensued after Seamus and the Slytherins had left the library. Seamus was willing to bet a couple of Galleons that Pince would have been on his side. He was convinced she and Professor Sinistra had a *thing*.

Pressing his ear against the door, he tried to hear if there were any footsteps outside. If the Slytherins found Seamus in here, in the ridiculous cupboard and cornered, he was royally screwed. There was no chance of him escaping and he had to face the reality that the cupboard wasn't exactly a stellar hiding place. He had ducked in the second open room he had come to and jumped behind the first set of doors. Not very sneaky. Well, there was a reason he had been sorted into Gryffindor and not Slytherin, he reminded himself. Loud, brash, loyal, and maybe even a little reckless, that was Seamus. He was wasted on deceit, lying, and manipulation.

And there it was, the thud of quickly moving footsteps across the cold stones in the hall. Seamus' heart stopped, the hand around his wand sweaty and deathly cold. There was nothing else he could do. Instead of waiting for his attackers to find him, he swung the doors open, curse poised and ready on his lips. What he hadn't considered was that his very battered and heinously bruised body, after being entirely stationary for nearly an hour, might fail him. Instead of standing tall and shouting his curse... he fell. Toppled right over on his lightly freckled and embarrassingly shocked mug.

"Seamus!" Hands were carefully turning his body over, gently patting his body down and probing for broken bones.

"D-Dean?" Seamus' words puffed out, soft and raspy.

"Fuck, yeah, Seamus it's me. I've got you. Are you okay? What the ruddy hell happened?" Dean pulled the smaller boy into his lap, kissing his brow and rocking him slightly.

"Got jumped by – by some Slytherins. How'd you find me?"

"Same way I always do, I asked Harry. That boy must have created a locator spell of his own or something. Nevermind that, are you okay?"

"Besides the bloodied lip you keep honing in on and being mostly all bruise at the moment, I think I'm alright. I don't need to go see Pomphrey."

"Merlin Shay, will you stop getting yourself hurt?"

"Er... sorry?" Dean brought their lips together in a gentle kiss, split lip and all, that was probably intended to be at least slightly punishing.

"I'm sick of feeling paranoid, worrying that you're alone and hurt somewhere, bleeding to death, only to find you and almost always be proved partially correct. Fuck, do you always have to provoke them?" Dean rubbed the bridge of his nose, unconsciously running his free hand up and down Seamus' arms.

"I'm sorry, Dean. I love you?" When all else failed, the first thing Seamus did to edge Dean towards forgiveness was to say "I love you." Worked every time. Dean was such a sap, he was practically a Hufflepuff. In response, however, Dean just sighed.

"I love you too, Shay. I love you too. Swear to all I know though, I'm gonna kick your arse for getting in trouble again."

"Really?" Seamus asked hopefully, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

"Or tell your mum."

Seamus paled, suddenly far less amused and considerably more apologetic. His mum. Now that was one fight he would never take.