Chapter 3: The Sylphs
The next morning he got a howler from his mother. He stared at it, kind of resigned. It wasn't a surprise. And of course, right through breakfast on Monday morning the entire school heard about shaming her and the family, blah blah, knuckle-headed Bulgarian, blah blah. No talent... It went on and on. And at the end, right around the time Seamus was feeling about ready to throttle his mam for talking so badly about Viktor, who she'd never even met, she said, "I don't mind if you're gay, Seamus dear, but can't you at least pick someone Irish?"
He snatched Dean's quill right out of his hand and a piece of parchment from under the one Hermione was writing on.
"Hey!" Hermione declared at the same time as Dean said, "What are you doing, you git?"
Neither of them got an acknowledgment. Seamus was angrily scratching out a letter.
How dare you insult someone you don't even know! I'll have you know Viktor is super-sweet and charming and goofy and totally not knuckle-headed at all! He was in the Tri-wizard Tournament you know, and sure, he didn't win, but he was still awesome. Gotta have brains for that. And Bulgarian or no, he's a right good seeker, maybe not as good as Lynch, but pretty close! You can't hold it against him just because some bastard he works with beat up Lynch, by the way. He totally had nothing to do with that. Not all Bulgarians are brutes! I mean, how do you feel when they say all Irishmen are drunken louts?! Sure, it's true for some but you can't make blanket statements like that it's really rude!
And for your information I'll date whoever I please, even if you disown me. Viktor's the one who took me to see the Norway/Ireland game, and we had damn good seats--well, I guess you saw that from the picture--and then we spent the night together in a hotel. Shared a bed and everything! So we're like, practically married, or something, and you'd damn well better get used to it.
I really, REALLY love him, so I'm gonna stand by him no matter what, for as long as he wants me.
P.S. Did you see the broadcast of the game? It was incredible! Closest game I've seen in a long time!
Dean was looking over his shoulder. 'shared a bed' and 'practically married' stood out in particular. "Wait, Seamus, are you serious? You really shagged Viktor Krum?"
Ron heard this and spit pumpkin juice all over the table. "You what?!"
The old Seamus would encourage them to keep their voices down. "I did! And so what? If Harry can shag Snape why can't I shag Krum? He's a great guy."
Harry started choking on his treacle tart. The only ones that didn't seem surprised at the fact that Harry and Snape were shagging were Ron and Hermione, the prior was trying to sink into the table though. "Oh, sorry mate," Seamus said to Harry. "Was that a secret?"
Harry made a few awkward gestures. "Er, uh, just...don't spread it around, okay guys? I'm still a student. He can get into a lot of trouble," he whispered. He didn't know how Seamus had figured it out, but now wasn't the time to ask.
Oh, that made sense, so just for good measure Seamus said, "oh, you're not? Sorry mate, just assumed. You fight like an old married couple." Yeah, like that would cover it. But it might convince enough people to distract attention. He changed the subject back to his own love life, "but yeah, so what if I shag Krum?" he said to Dean. "He seems to like me well enough, and as for me, I'm totally head over heels, a lost cause." He grinned stupidly. Sure, the whole school would know by the end of first period, but so what? It felt good to admit it. "Well, we only shagged the once, but that's so far."
Dean raised his hand in the air. "Seamus, seriously man, that's enough, I don't need the intimate details of what you're doing with another guy."
"But you were mad at me for not telling you yesterday," Seamus grinned, feeling the urge to tease Dean a bit now. "I mean, you're right. We're best friends, I should be telling you everything."
"No, really, that's okay. You're dating Krum. Great, good for you..." Dean knew if Seamus wanted to he'd really get every smutty little detail and he didn't need that burned into his mind. He didn't have anything against gay guys, but if he was going to have something smutty stuck in his mind, to be honest, there was this one weird little blond girl he was a lot more interested in.
But Seamus was not immediately dissuaded. "...like how much he liked those panties you picked out for me for the All Hallows Ball," he continued. "Or how he's hung like a freaking horse. Or, oh! He mumbles in Bulgarian when he's all hot and bothered--it's really cute..."
Dean suddenly got up. "There's, uh, something I forgot to do."
"Ask Luna to go to Hogsmeade with you next weekend?" Seamus asked as if it were obvious.
"Yeah, that's it!" And then he paled as he realized Seamus had just bullied him into asking Luna Lovegood on a date. He had to do it now. Shit. "...thanks for reminding me..." he muttered.
Seamus slapped him on the back. "Sure thing, what are friends for?" He laughed. He wasn't sure when the last time he'd laughed was, but he was sure it had been far too long. Another thought came to him. "Er, Hermione? Can I borrow another piece of parchment?"
"Viktor, mail has come," a little girl of some eight years said, carrying a small pile of letters into him. "Momma left the mail from your fans in the basket as usual," she said. "But there is another letter from your British girlfriend."
"Herm-eye-owe-knee is not my girlfriend, Kalina," Viktor said with a sigh, lowering his feet from the desk where he'd been sitting staring out the window with a book in his lap. He was pretty sure he'd been on the same page for an hour. He couldn't get his mind off of Seamus.
"Well that's good," the little girl said with a big smile. "She'd be rather upset if she found out you were kissing strange boys if she was."
Viktor snatched the envelope and shooed her from the room. His baby sister was absolutely incorrigible sometimes. Apparently all the kids in school were asking her about the boy in the newspaper, but she hadn't managed to trip him up enough for Seamus's name to slip.
He opened the envelope, and a smaller one fell out of it. He recognized the sloppy, boyish handwriting immediately and tore it open.
Hey, how are you? The papers are going kind of nuts, huh? I hope it isn't causing you too much trouble. The guys at school are giving me a little grief, but I say hell with 'em. They're just jealous, right? Me mam threw a fit, but I told her to stuff it. As if I can base who I'm going to like on something stupid like nationality. Well, I'll admit, at first I didn't like you much just because you're Bulgarian--which is totally stupid and I apologize for being an idiot who based his entire existence on Quidditch when we first met. Well, really mam's not that bad. It won't take her long to get over it. She just likes her tantrums, or something. The drama, I guess. Keeps things interesting.
What's your schedule like? Will I be able to see you again soon? It seems kind of silly having to send my letters to you through Hermione. Can you give your people (whoever they are) my name so I don't get sorted with all your fan mail, or something?
Viktor's heart was racing by the end of the short letter. It said nothing and everything. Seamus wanted to see him again, wanted to be able to send him letters. And he'd told his mother, essentially, that he liked Viktor, and there was nothing she could say to change that. It sounded like Seamus was finally ready for a real relationship. He'd been about to reply right away, but decided to read Hermione's letter first.
I bet you read Seamus's letter first, didn't you? Well, don't worry, I won't be offended. He's practically glowing. He seemed down yesterday (Sunday), but today he's back to his usual self. Well, other than the fact that he's limping. I suppose he has you to thank for that?'
Viktor blushed a bit, but continued reading.
I suspected he might be the special someone you were interested in after he asked me to send you a letter last time. It's good to have my suspicions confirmed, but you didn't need to hide it from me. I can keep a secret, especially such an important one. Well, not that it's much of a secret now.
In any case, I'm really happy for you! Seamus is a good guy. A bit of a joker though. He got sick of everyone asking about the paper, I guess, since now it's all out, and he's gone and charmed the arse of his robes with 'Property of Viktor Krum'. A bit vulgar, but even I have to admit it's somewhat funny. Well, the only person who isn't amused is Professor Snape, really. He docked Gryffindor twenty points for 'distasteful sexual innuendo', but he didn't make Seamus un-charm his arse. He's rather lightened up. Harry's influence, I imagine.
Well, I suppose we'll be seeing more of you, since you'll be coming to visit Seamus, right? Let me know when you'll be in England again, maybe we can get together--like a double date, for lunch or something.
Viktor felt incredibly torn having read both letters. Well, he'd definitely reply to Seamus--of course, but Hermione's comment about visiting often got to him. Was that really enough? Between Quidditch and being so far away from one another, even if he apparated he didn't think he'd have half the time with Seamus that he wished for. Seamus was close to his friends and family. He couldn't very well expect him to move to Bulgaria when he graduated. He had wanted a real relationship with the Irishman so badly that he somehow forgot the distance between them. Now it seemed like a most unexpected obstacle even though it had been there all along. As he thought about this he found himself pulling out a some parchment and writing:
I am troubled. I think the distance between Seamus and I may be too great. I think perhaps I am the jealous type, and will worry about what he is doing when I am not near, and who with. I know Seamus is not this type of person, but with time it may be too much. Long distance relationships, I hear, are very difficult. Do you know anyone who has experienced such a thing? If so, are they still together with their loved one? ...'
He threw the quill down in frustration. "I am being childish," he sulked. "We have hardly even begun, and I am already worrying about whether or not he will be stolen from me. I wonder if he thinks of me half as much as I think of him."
He sighed and leaned over to start a new letter even though he hadn't finished the one to Hermione yet.
A large dash of ink sprawled across the page as he was startled.
"What is it now, Kalina?" he sighed. He loved his sister, really he did. It was just that she was such a nuisance sometimes.
"Oooh, did I interrupt you writing to your girlfriend again? Or was it your BOYfriend?"
"Who has a boyfriend?" An elegant older woman asked as she happened to be passing the door.
"Viktor does, Momma. Don't you read the paper? Everyone at school is talking about it. Viktor's Irish boyfriend."
"Kalina, you should not believe everything they print in the papers," their mother said with a sigh. She hadn't asked Viktor about it. It seemed if it was something she needed to know about he would tell her himself.
"It is true," Viktor said. It was always so strange, talking to his mother about his relationships--the few that he'd had. "His name is Seamus. He attends Hogwarts with Herm-eye-no-nee. I...am very fond of him."
"I see," the woman said. "Well then, Kalina. Come. You are keeping your piano instructor waiting again. Leave Viktor to write his little love letter in peace, hm?"
Kalina sighed. "Yes momma."
Viktor grimaced. 'Little love letter'--like he was still some idiot child. There were days his mother rather drove him crazy too. He supposed all families were like that.
'Dear Hermione,' he started anew. 'Do you think you can research for me what I might need to do to get a VISA of some kind to live in the UK somewhere? The distance between Seamus and I is too great. I won't be able to see him often. Perhaps, if I can become a citizen or national of England, or a country somewhere a bit closer to it, I will be able to play Quidditch there instead.
Don't tell Seamus. I have not made a decision, but I think it is probably worth looking into and giving some thought.
Even as he threw that last sentence in, he knew that he'd probably already made up his mind. He was getting too old to keep living with his parents anyway.
I was very happy to hear from you. I am sorry that I was not very talkative the last morning I saw you. I was worried that you must be very upset with me. I was upset with myself for moving too quickly with you. I promised you I would go slowly, and it was only our first proper date. I also hope we will be able to have another soon, but I do not know for sure when I will have another chance to get away just yet. I will send you another owl when I have a better idea.
Things are very busy with me right now. My mother sorts the mail. She does not trust the maids to do it since they sometimes would let fan letters from their friends slip through. I do read my fan letters! It just takes me a bit longer to get them than my personal mail. I have told my mother that my boyfriend's name is Seamus, so I think from now on your letters won't have any trouble getting through. Mother is good with names, so I don't think she will forget.
Is your mother still terribly angry with you? I'd hate for you to be fighting because of me. I will write again soon.
Seamus blushed a bit. 'Love, Viktor'. Swoon. Love. He should sign his letters to Viktor like that too--love, Seamus. Oh but that was really embarrassing! Viktor had probably written it so easily. He was so much more open with his feelings than Seamus was. Well, Seamus was an open book--he knew that, but it was still hard to just say some things, even if they were written all over your face.
Okay, so Viktor hadn't given him a time or date, or even an approximation of when they could see one another again, and that kind of sucked, but he was a busy guy, and he had said a lot of other things. He said he'd told his mom that Seamus was his 'boyfriend', which cleared up exactly what Viktor thought was between them and that it wasn't some casual thing. That was good. That's what he wanted too. And he'd sweetly apologized--even though it wasn't necessary--for shagging him too soon. Seamus would just have to make sure next time he saw Viktor that he made it quite clear that Viktor didn't have to ever feel guilty about shagging him senseless. His bum didn't hurt anymore. It had only been really sore for two or three days, and he heard that the more you do it, the less it hurts. He was kind of looking forward to testing that rumor.
The only downside to dating Viktor Krum was that he was Bulgarian--and therefore incredibly far away, but Seamus figured he shouldn't have everything; he'd get spoiled.
It's totally okay! I mean, yeah, it was my first time and okay--ow--but there was a lot more good about it than bad. The way I see it, that's just one more thing we don't have to worry about now. We've already done it, so we don't have to stress over whether or not we're going too fast, because where is there to go after that, right? Now we can focus on just, you know, each other.
Well, mam's pretty much over it, but now she's kinda mad at me for not letting her meet you. It's a nuisance, but maybe over the summer sometime--if you have the time--you can come spend a weekend or something so she'll get off my back about it. Or the holidays are good too, but I guess you probably have plans with your own family for Christmas and New Year's and stuff.
Look forward to hearing from you again soon,
Okay, so it wasn't a 'love, Seamus'. He got as far as L-o- and panicked, but he figured Viktor probably already knew anyway.
In the weeks that followed he didn't really get any word from Viktor. Well, he did get this one letter that basically said 'I would love to spend New Year's with you' and that Seamus should tell him what day he should arrive after talking to his mam. Christmas he did have to spend with his family though. Well, that was totally okay.
Since then, nothing could get Seamus down--not even exploding potions or detentions with Snape, which he noticed were shorter than they used to be. Well, except for that one where Seamus had accidentally implied that Snape might be trying to 'get rid of me fast' to get on with some naked wrestling with his favorite boy toy. Seamus couldn't remember what had prompted him to say it now, but it had cost Gryffindor nearly all of their house points. The only person not upset with him for that had been Harry, who had whispered a 'thanks' to him before Charms one day. He said 'I don't know what you said to him, but he was really worked up last night.'
Harry, Seamus noticed, never seemed to be limping in spite of getting shagged senseless almost every night. 'Well, they do say practice makes perfect.' He chuckled to himself, but was soon interrupted by a voice behind him.
"Oh, hey Hermione. What's up?"
Hermione stopped, a bit breathless. "You know how there's a few new teams joining the British/Irish League next year, right?" she asked, but before he could answer that obviously everyone knew that she barreled on. "Well a few of them are playing some promo matches. I accidentally won some tickets to see the Stornoway Sylphs play the Chudley Cannons. Ron's rather excited about it. Anyway, I have an extra. Do you want to go with me and Ron? Harry's already got plans and I'd rather hate to see it go to waste. I know neither is really your team, but it should be fun anyway."
Like he needed convincing. Not his team, maybe, but Quidditch was Quidditch. "Sure! That sounds great, Hermione. When is it?"
"This Saturday. We'll have to leave rather early."
"No problem. If it's Quidditch, I can definitely get up on time," he grinned impishly. "That's awesome! Thanks for thinking of me. Dean's gonna be mad jealous. He's been talking about these new teams for a while. Nobody knows much about them."
"Well, we'll find out first hand then," she said with a smile. "Let's meet in the entryway at eight. We can grab some breakfast on the way."
Seamus nodded and waved, excusing himself. He was going to be insanely late to diviniation, but he figured that'd be okay. Professor Trelawney liked him--not as much as she liked predicting Harry's untimely demise, but pretty well, considering she was a wacky old coot. He doubted he'd be predicting anything but when Viktor might get around to sending him another letter for a while though. It was all he thought about the entire class, zoning out a bit until Trelawney asked him "How's your heart, dear?"
"You're heart, dear. You've not had problems with it, I hope."
"Er, not really?" Seamus more asked than answered.
"Ah, that's good, very good indeed. You see, you're in for quite a shock, it would be a shame if you died of it."
The game was in Stornoway, Scotland . Made sense, Seamus figured, since the Sylphs would want to show off their new stadium. It had a sort of ethereal feeling. The whitecaps beat against the far side of the stadium and the whole thing was built of this sort of ivory color that almost looked blue when the light flickered over it. White and blue were the team colors, it turned out, with this wispy little cloud design that looked kind of like a fairy if you squinted and tilted your head a bit to the right.
The Chudley Cannons were announced first, and their blinding orange uniforms really stood out against the ethereal-looking stadium. Ron cheered loudly, as expected of a Chudley fan. The Sylphs--having never been seen in action before, seemed to only get loud applause from the locals. Everyone else was polite and cheered a little though--'cept for the die-hard Chudley fans, that is. Seamus wasn't particularly rooting for either team, so he'd just gone ahead and gotten all excited over both.
To be fair, the announcer rattled off the names of the first string players for the Cannons as they circled the field, even though everyone already knew them. Then one at a time the Sylphs came out to begin their circle. He found out the Keeper was a guy named McGregor, beaters were Douglass and Shaw. Douglass looked insanely tall, where Shaw was built so wide Seamus thought he might have to go sideways through doorways. The chasers, Miller and Milne, did a few loops on their way about the field, grinning stupid grins that made Seamus think of Fred and George Weasley. And then Seamus's jaw dropped as the Announcer said, "...and superstar seeker, Viktor Krum!"
"WHAT?!" Seamus declared as he saw his boyfriend flying out with the rest of the team in blue and white. The whole stadium erupted in shock, applause, and more than enough confusion. Why was Viktor Krum playing for a Scottish Quidditch Team? The only people who didn't look too surprised were Hermione and Ron.
"Surprise, mate," Ron laughed.
"Wha--you, you guys knew?!" Seamus demanded.
"Don't be upset," Hermione answered right away. "I couldn't tell you. Viktor wanted to surprise you. He's been working really hard trying to find a team to play for in the UK so he won't be so far away from you, and getting the legalities squared away was a bit of a pain. And then there was settling into his new place. Obviously, I didn't win the tickets, he sent them."
"We only got to come because of you, mate," Ron added, grinning ear to ear. "Apparently Krum knows someone who knows this keeper, McGregor. Got his friend to pull a few strings. Didn't need much string pulling, I'd bet. I mean, he's Krum. They'd be mad to pick someone else."
But Ron's good mood didn't last. His precious Chudley Cannons were rather thoroughly smashed by the Sylphs. It wasn't a game that counted for anything, but it was always depressing when your team lost. Seamus couldn't seem to care though--Viktor always looked so cool when he was Seeking. And he wanted the Sylphs to be a success, because that meant Viktor would be nearby. Seamus blushed when, in the victory lap, Viktor made eye contact with him, and afterwards they got to go down and meet the team. When Viktor introduced him he wrapped his arm around Seamus's waist. Seamus--normally so charming and witty (self-appointed personality traits) couldn't seem to get his lips to form words.
It was after one in the morning when the after-party died down enough that he and Viktor could actually have a conversation without having to yell at one another. They were seated on the end of a couch with Ron and Hermione both conked out next to them. Seamus was leaning against Viktor's shoulder, tired but content. Viktor finished off his butterbeer and set it aside.
"You are not angry vith me?" he asked finally. "For not telling you?"
"Nah," Seamus answered. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack for a minute, but it was a good surprise. Unexpected, maybe, but nice. You'll still be busy with Quidditch and all, but at least you won't be halfway across Europe." He tilted his head back to look the older man in the eye. "I'm not changing favorite teams though. I'll still root for the Irish."
Viktor smiled. "This is vhat I expected you vould say. I don't care who you vant to vin Quidditch, as long as you vill not let anyone else vin your heart."
Seamus smiled at the corny and somehow typically Viktor reply before curling his arms around Viktor's shoulders, tilting his chin up into a mutually-initiated kiss. When they finally pulled apart, Seamus replied. "I don't think you need to worry. My heart's a lot slower than a snitch, and you're the only guy on the field."
"Ah, you make it sound easy," Viktor murmured, kissing Seamus again. "But there vere many obstacles put in my path along the vay. I think I had better make sure not to let go, now that I haff caught it."
"Mmn," Seamus answered into another kiss. "Sounds like a good plan."
Seamus wasn't stupid. He knew he had a lot to learn about Viktor. And he also knew that they'd probably never agree when it came to Quidditch, but it's not as if Quidditch was everything. There was also the game of Love. In that game, Seamus knew, he would always be a die-hard Krum fan. Always.