Author's Note: This is a 1-shot. I am working on the next chapter of Mugglefied, but it's not ready yet. I've been writing Hermione/Draco stories for a while right now, first Law and Marriage, and now Mugglefied. I used to write Hermione/Ron stories, but got a bit disillusioned with their relationship. I was trying to think of another character that might be interesting to write, and I came up with Seamus. For the record, my favorite version of Finnegan's Wake is the Dubliners, but feel free to look up any version of the song-it's on YouTube in plenty of versions. And I've got good memories of singing it with my dad as a kid. I have some interesting ideas about a possible Seamus story (or possible Seamus one shots), but I promise not to start any new chaptered stories 'til Mugglefied is done. This one has been banging around my brain for a few months and demanded to be written tonight. It's been 6 years since I lost my dad, and Father's Day was a little rough last week. This one is dedicated to him.
The great hall was decorated with hundreds of candles—black, purple, orange, all hovering above the tables. Swathes of spiderwebbing stretched from corner to corner and hung across the hall, and giant pumpkins had been rolled in to stand anywhere they would fit.
A band was playing at one end of the room, and the large house tables had been removed for smaller tables scattered throughout. One of the house tables had been left lining a wall with food there for the taking.
It all seemed to have come together as it should have, but Hermione could't help looking about the room, feeling a bit anxious. She'd wanted to make sure everything went perfectly. She'd approached Headmistress McGonagall about making sure they hosted large, inter-house events this year. Not much mingling had occurred at the welcome back feast, and few people had made moves toward the school-wide clubs that McGonagall had tried to bolster this year. Hermione couldn't help feeling that if this Halloween dance didn't go well, they were going to rapidly run out of options. At least with a lot of people covering their faces, there was a chance they might—at least by accident—talk to someone of another house.
She stayed to the edges, watching people stand in clusters. There wasn't a whole lot of mingling going on. There was a cluster of girls dressed as cats, talking to a boy who was clearly supposed to be Merlin. Or possibly Dumbledore.
There were students dressed in Muggle costumes, and dressed as famous witches and wizards, and magical beasts. There was quite a good two headed dragon in one corner. Most of the costumes covered people's faces. Hermione was dressed all in black, with green paint on her face, a false nose, and a pointy hat. It amused her, even if most of the other students didn't get the joke.
She took in a breath of air and started moving amongst the clusters of students, talking to a few here, trying to draw others into a conversation there. She felt particularly proud when the conversations continued without her after managing to merge two groups together. As she made her way towards the punch bowl for a break, she caught sight of a figure wrapped in a white sheet, arguing spiritedly with McGonagall—whose costume may have also originally started out as a sheet. But clearly, she'd put some effort in. Hermione wondered if she was supposed to be dressed as the goddess of wisdom.
As she neared the pair of them, she heard Seamus's voice, arguing quite solidly.
McGonagall left him, clutching something in her arms.
Curiosity getting the better of her, Hermione approached her housemate with her glass in hand. He was cursing quite colorfully after the headmistress, though not loudly enough to be heard.
"Seamus? What's the matter?"
"Heartless old biddy stole part of my costume. None of this makes any sense without it." He was wrapped head to toe in a white sheet, with even his face covered, though it seemed to be thin enough for him to see through at face level.
Sipping her drink, Hermione looked him over. "Your mummy costume is a bit lackluster to be honest. You told me you were really going to try. I can't imagine any accessories that would improve it."
"I'm not a mummy!"
"What are you supposed to be then?"
"Can't you tell?"
Hermione laughed, softly. "Seamus, I wouldn't have asked if I could tell." They'd spent more time together so far this year than they had in any of their previous years at this school. So many people had chosen not to come back. They'd partnered together for charms this year.
Seamus reached up and pulled the corner of the sheet down from where it was pinned behind his ear, freeing one of his arms below the elbow to do so. "It's getting a bit hot in here. Can I have a sip of that?" He gestured at Hermione's drink, and she handed it over with a bemused smile. He took a large sip. "Better. Anyway, I'm obviously, Tim Finnegan. I told you it doesn't make any sense without the bottle of whiskey. Damn McGonagall taking it from me."
"You brought in a bottle of whiskey?" she asked, scandalized.
"It wasn't full. Though if it was, it might have helped everyone in here loosen up." He looked around the room. "Hardly anyone dancing. Not much chatting going on. The party is a bit dead. It's as though I'm not the only corpse here."
"So you're supposed to be a corpse?"
"Well, so many more corpses out in the world these days, I thought I'd fit in." His words were sour. He paused. "I've given you hint after hint. Do the words Tim Finnegan mean nothing to you?"
She took her drink back from him. "Should they? Is he a relative of yours?"
"I hardly would have imagined you've never heard Finnegan's Wake. Classic pub song. Me and me dad used to hear it sung down at our local. It was one of the staples."
Arching an eyebrow, Hermione said, "Can't say that I spent much time in pubs."
He changed the subject, "You want to get away from the crowd for a bit?" He snagged a pastry off the table and Hermione followed him off to a corner of the room, leaning against a pumpkin. He had already taken a bite of the sticky pastry and Hermione held out her nearly empty punch cup, knowing he'd need a sip. He took it with a grin. "If you promise never tell tell, I'll sing a bit for you."
She chuckled and watched as he drew himself up to his full height, setting the rest of his pastry in the empty cup and putting it at his feet. He began to sing.
"Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin Street,
a gentle Irishman mighty odd
He had a brogue both rich and sweet,
an' to rise in the world he carried a hod
You see he'd a sort of a tipplers way
but with a love for the liquor poor Tim was born
To help him on his way each day,
he'd a drop of the craythur every morn
"Whack fol the dah now dance to yer
partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake
"One morning Tim got rather full,
his head felt heavy which made him shake
Fell from a ladder and he broke his skull,
and they carried him home his corpse to wake
Rolled him up in a nice clean sheet,
and laid him out upon the bed
A bottle of whiskey at his feet
and a barrel of porter at his head"
He paused. "Well, it goes on a bit from there. He takes a tumble an' they think he's dead. We celebrate life when someone dies; it's a party. So the song goes, and they're having their party, and there's a big row. Tim wakes up in the midst of it all when someone manages to knock the whiskey all over him. But anywhere, there you are, here I am all rolled up in a nice-and mostly-clean sheet. It would have made a bit more sense if McGonagall hadn't stolen my whiskey." He paused. "With as much death as we all saw last year, I thought we could do with a lighter mood for the party tonight. But no one's even dancing. And the band's not half bad really."
Hermione tilted her head at him. "The melody is pretty cheery for thinking the man is dead for most of the song."
"The happier the melody, the more of us are probably dead or dying. Remind me to sing 'God Save Ireland' for you sometime. Real snappy tune, but oh boy, those lyrics. I sometimes think we need a song like that. For Fred. And Colin. And…everyone." Despite the lighthearted way he started, his words started to choke him.
It had been months. It still hurt. It hurt so much sometimes. Her voice shook only a little. "Let's have a party, Seamus. Let's dance." She took him by the wrist and he only hesitated briefly before following her to the floor.
"Let's teach these cubs what a party is."
Hermione did her best not to feel self-conscious as she led the way to the cleared area in front of the band. She much preferred ballads—she didn't look too stupid dancing if she didn't have to move. But Seamus was right. They ought to be teaching the younger students to have a little fun. So she ignored the eyes of the younger students on her and did her best to shake and move to the beat, without being too far off rhythm. Seamus had her hand and managed to spin her around a couple of times.
The band had mercy on them and struck up a slow song next. To Hermione's pleasure, a few tentative couples joined them on the floor. Seamus didn't let go of her hand as the slower music started, but instead pulled her closer, one hand on hers, the other resting lightly on her hip. "Not quite as good at this as Neville is, but I'm not half bad if I do say so," he said, taking the lead.
"Not bad at all."
There was a mischievous smile on his face. "So, you didn't recognize my costume. I know yours. Did anyone else get it?"
"Very few. You got it?"
"I have seen Wizard of Oz you know. You've got a sense of humor."
"I try." His fingers rested firmly on her hip. The contact was nice. With Ron and Harry both having decided not to come back this year, she missed the casual every day contact of a close friend. Sometimes she felt so alone. She looked at Seamus, knowing how upset he'd been when he found out Dean had chosen not to come back. She noticed that in their exuberant first dance, his sheet had unwrapped itself a bit more, bearing his shoulder and part of his chest. "You are wearing something under there, I hope?" she asked.
"Oh, I've got my skivvies on. And my wand."
And for some reason, Hermione laughed. He wasn't Ron. But Seamus was funny. She rested her head on his shoulder and kept dancing, long after the ballad ended. She didn't care.
She did care however when a passing first year tried to pull more of Seamus's sheet off. "I'm docking house points! As soon as I figure out which house you're in…" She looked and found that the mischief-maker had disappeared into the crowd. The party was looking a little livelier than it had a while ago.