For the Speed of Lightning, Round 4.

Prompt: Happy ending.

Warning: Seamus has a little bit of a foul mouth, on occasion. Oh, and slash.


"Promise?"

Seamus jumps a foot in the air when Dean Apparates into his room, having forgotten that he keyed his best friend into the wards when Dean got his License. Everybody's jumpy lately. Dean collapses straight into Seamus' arms where he's been reading the Prophet on his bed. He's shaking.

"My mum," he murmurs. His voice comes out shaky and crackly.

"They didn't…" Seamus trails off, horrified.

"She's not dead, no," Dean says softly. "But they hurt her, Shay, they hurt her and it's because of me! And I wasn't even there to stop them!"

"Hey," Seamus says, forcing Dean to meet his eyes. "It's not your fault."

Dean shakes his head. "It is, Seamus. It's only because of me that they hurt her. It's only because of a stupid stroke of luck that…" He shudders at the thought – if the Death Eaters hadn't been called away at the last second… "And it seems wrong to call that luck."

He looks up again, meeting Seamus' eyes. "What do I do? How do I keep her safe?" His voice is made of steel now – firm, and solid.

Seamus frowns. "I don't know." He watches Dean's face droop, as though he half expected Seamus to have the answer.

"I know," he says softly. "I just…" He trails off, and Seamus understands – with Dean, sometimes there are no words. He doesn't often even need them, or at least, not with Seamus.

They sit in silence for a moment, and they've shifted so that they're side by side against Seamus' headboard, touching lightly at the hip and the shoulder. Both take comfort from the human contact. Eventually, Dean speaks.

"I have to run, don't I? School…"

Seamus smiles softly. "Looks like it."

Dean bites his lip. "Seamus…"

"I know," Seamus says, and then suddenly he's hugging Dean, and the small part of Dean not still blanketed by recent events is smirking deep down inside, because Seamus is the most affectionate guy he's ever met in his life.

"Just… Don't die, all right? Come back."

"You know I can't promise that."

"I know." His voice is muffled as he speaks into Dean's chest. "Promise anyway. It'll make me feel better."

There's a note of amusement in his voice as Dean says, "You sound like a sullen five-year-old." He muses that Seamus has a particular talent for making him feel better about things.

Seamus looks up. "Just promise. Please." His eyes are serious.

"I promise I'll try my hardest to come home. All right?"

Seamus grimaces. "I guess."

"Promise me, then, that you won't do anything stupid. School isn't going to be like it was."

Looking him straight in the eye, Seamus says, "I promise." Dean nods.

After another minute of silence, Dean speaks. "Promise me one more thing?"

"Of course."

"Promise you'll forgive me."

Seamus frowns, eyebrows furrowed. "Of course, but for what?"

"I just can't… Not when it might be the last…" Dean knows that he's probably not making sense to Seamus, so he gives up on words and kisses him, because it might be the last time they ever see each other. Before Seamus even unfreezes from shock, Dean is gone.

In the next months, the world deteriorates into a state of utter chaos. There is one moment where Seamus feel his blood run cold as the now-familiar voice of Lee Jordan over the Wizarding Wireless says Dean's name, but as he carries on Seamus drops from a state of utter horror to constant anxiety. "…Muggle-born Dean Thomas and a second goblin, both believed to have been traveling with Tonks, Cresswell, and Gornuk, may have escaped. If Dean is listening, or if anyone has any knowledge of his whereabouts, his parents and sisters are desperate for news." Seamus mentally adds himself to that category – desperate for news.

You better damn well not die on me, he thinks. Not after leaving me like that.

It's after that that Seamus gets maybe a little reckless in his crusades to defend the younger kids and defy the Carrows. Every face tortured becomes Dean's – it stops mattering who it is. All that matters is who it could be; and maybe who it is to someone else.

It's Neville that finally talks him down off his perpetual adrenaline high and into staying in the RoR – the Carrows are after his blood, by that time. He hardly recognizes his own features in the mirror, but at the same time, he can't help being proud. The pain doesn't matter, because he's done something good.

And then Harry comes tumbling through the opening, and Seamus knows that finally, finally, it's all going to end, but even as he cheers, half of him is watching the door like a hawk the minute the message goes out on the Galleons. He hopes with everything he's got that Dean still carries it, because he needs to see Dean right now. He needs to know that he's okay. And he needs to punch the idiot for running off, but maybe that can wait until later.

When the portrait opens, Seamus' eyes skim right over Luna and hit Dean. He can't help the yell that escapes his mouth as he runs toward him, throwing his arms around Dean. Merlin, he feels so solid. It's something Seamus has missed without even knowing he missed it.

As everyone else, argues with Harry, Seamus mutters, "Don't you dare ever run off like that again, Dean Thomas. Do you know how… frustrating, that is?"

Dean shrugs sheepishly. "Sorry?"

"You'd damn well better be!"

"Would it help if I said I missed you, too?"

The corner of Seamus' mouth twitches. Dean smiles, seeing it. "I thought so." Then he frowns. "Now, this isn't fair. I held up my side of the bargain. I came home. You, on the other hand, have clearly done plenty of stupid things." His fingers lightly skim a particularly spectacular bruise on the side of Seamus' face.

"Not stupid things," Seamus says. "Useful things. I'll explain later." He turns back to the group. Dean, now slightly behind him and to the right, leans down and murmurs a warning in his ear. "You'll have to explain why you're worse off than anyone else."

Seamus swallows, knowing Dean isn't likely to agree with him on the the pain doesn't matter part. He tunes back into Harry's conversation in time to hear Harry say, "This is insane–"

And then Dean speaks up. "We're fighting, aren't we?" He pulls his Galleon out of his pocket. "The message said Harry was back, and we were going to fight! I'll have to get a wand, though–"

"You haven't got a wand–?" Seamus can't help but interrupt, but Ron interrupts his interruption.

"Why can't they help?"

As the conversation moves on, Seamus turns to Dean. "How, exactly, did you wind up without a wand?"

Dean shrugs sheepishly again. "Explain later?" he parrots Seamus' earlier phrase.

Seamus laughs. "All right," he agrees.

They watch Luna lead Harry out of the Room of Requirement, and, as other people filter in through the portrait, Seamus leads Dean to a small, out-of-the way alcove, saying, "We need to talk."

Dean blinks. The words don't sound good, but the tone isn't scary in the slightest. When they've both sat down on a small red bench, Dean says immediately, "I'm sorry. I… Maybe that wasn't the best way. But I didn't know… if I'd ever see you again. And I didn't want to lose you without… I don't know. I don't know." He's been looking at his lap, but he finally looks up. Seamus' brown eyes are glimmering with something unfamiliar.

"I'm not mad about that, Dean. I'm not mad that you kissed me. I'm mad that you kissed me and then ran away."

"You… What?" Dean can't seem to process this and what it means.

Seamus chuckles lightly. "Words are not your forte, are they?" he asks, and then he kisses Dean.

When they pull apart, Dean murmurs, "Oh."

This time, Seamus laughs outright. "Yeah, that about sums it up."

Dean smiles softly.

Seamus' face shifts, and he tosses his arms around Dean again. "Don't you ever, ever do that again, you got me?"

Dean nods solemnly, but he's grinning. "I got you."

"Promise?"

"Promise." And Seamus believes him.