For the Word Limit Competition - 1000 +/- 100 words, "Stop the World" as a prompt.

For the Defying Gravity Fluff Competition - "So if you care to find me, look to the Western sky."


As the sun goes down, the air cools, but neither Seamus nor Dean can bring himself to move. They're curled up in Dean's backyard on the small patch of grass, Dean splayed out, arms behind his head, and Seamus curled up on his chest.

Neither is speaking – they hardly need to, anymore. Still, the silence speaks volumes. It talks about all the things they don't want to say. It speaks of the newspaper in Seamus' pocket proclaiming Hogwarts' new policy disallowing Muggleborn students – the newspaper that drove Seamus to seek out his boyfriend of over a year. It speaks of all the things that they cannot say – all of the "I love you"s and "I'll miss you"s and "Don't-you-dare-die-on-me-you-prat-because-I-don't-know-what-I'd-do-without-you"s.

The silence, too, is full of all of the things that they know better than to ask. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will you be with? All of the questions that they're safer not knowing. It's full of all the things they don't want to say, because saying it makes them real. It's dangerous out there. Stay safe. Come back to me.

The silence is heavy with all the things they know. Dean will be running for his life. His family could be a target. Seamus is just hotheaded enough to get himself in trouble without Dean there to keep him calm. It's full of all the warnings they cannot bear to say. Keep your head. Stay alert. Be ready for anything.

The stars begin to twinkle in the sky, and the only difference is that Seamus tightens his grip on Dean, because they both know that the time is soon. Dean is going to have to disappear, and Seamus can't know where he's going. He's going to hide is Mum, his stepdad, his half sisters, and then he's going to take off. And Seamus is going to have to go back home, and then return to Hogwarts, and pretend that everything okay when really he's falling apart for the sheer worry of it.

He doesn't ever want to let go. He wants to stop the world right here, in this moment. This moment where everything feels calm, and safe. This moment where they are together.

But even magic can't stop the world from spinning. Even magic can't stop time. Turn it back, maybe, but that wouldn't do any good right here, because Seamus doesn't want to go backward. He just doesn't want to go forward, either, because going forward means going forward alone, without Dean.

Dean shifts, propping his head up on one hand and working his wand out of his pocket with the other. He conjures a pillow and sticks it beneath his head, freeing up both arms so that he can wrap them tightly around Seamus' shoulders.

And finally, the silence breaks. Seamus' voice – unusually quiet – shatters the heavy silence into a million shards. His words are barely more than a whisper, and his voice sounds unusually vulnerable.

"Don't go."

Dean sighs. His breath comes out deep and heavy, and his arms tighten. "Shay…"

"I know," Seamus whispers. "I know. It's just…"

"I know," Dean replies softly.

Silence wraps tightly around them once more. This time, it says only a few things, repeating them over and over, pounding the silent words into the heads of both boys. To Seamus, the silence whispers in his ear, I have to. I have to, Shay. I have to. In Dean's ear, the silence murmurs, Don't go. Please, don't go. Don't go.

Dean's arms tighten around Seamus again.

"I wish things were different," Dean says, shattering silence's grip.

"So do I," Seamus says. This time, the silence whispers cruel words about how things aren't different, how they can never be different. How they have to learn to live with this life, because it's the one they have.

Eventually, Seamus disagrees with the silence. "Things will change," he says softly. "It won't stay like this forever."

Dean's lips curl up slightly at the edges. "I know."

The fickle silence seems to be on their side this time, muttering words about how they can make it to the end of this, how they can survive.

"We'll be okay," Dean murmurs softly.

Seamus just nods in agreement.

And finally, finally, the silence stops speaking, and the stars glimmer and the only sound is the steady rhythm of breathing.

In, out. In, out. In, out.

Seamus tries desperately to stay awake, but it's been a long day, and the steady up and down of Dean's chest with every breath is soothing. His eyelids drift closed. He forces them open again, but, without his say-so, they drift closed again. He forces them open once more, because he knows that if he falls asleep, Dean will vanish while he's unconscious and he won't get a proper chance to say good bye.

His eyelids, though, win the war; he slowly drifts off to sleep. Dean smiles softly at the Irishman in his arms. Just a few hours later, Dean slips out from beneath him, conjuring a pillow and a blanket for his boyfriend. He thanks Merlin that Seamus is the heaviest sleeper he's ever met.

Searching the backyard, he finds a suitable rock and he pulls out the note he'd written earlier that week – because Dean has known for a while that he was going to have to take off.

He puts the rock on top of the note and places it by Seamus' hand, and then he rouses his family and they vanish into the darkness.

When Seamus wakes up, he finds only a small scrap of parchment and a conjured blanket and pillow left of his boyfriend.

The note is simple, as Seamus has come to expect from Dean, and it reveals nothing, yet gives him something to latch onto.

So if you care to find me, look to the Western sky. That's where I'll be. I love you, Shay.