Title: Counting

Characters: Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan.

Notes: This is set in the summer holidays before 7th year, the day that Dean leaves to escape the Ministry. And, um, I really can't write Irish accents! I hope you enjoy!

"Don't," he whispered. "Don't leave. Stay with me. We can - we can still make it. We don't have ta go to Hogwarts. Or at least take me with ya!"

Dean looked back at his friend, his best friend, his brother. He shook his head, and picked up his wand, twirling it through his fingers and wondering just how long he was have it before it, and he, was taken away to face the Dementors.

"They think I stole magic, Shay," Dean told him calmly, rubbing the back of his neck and reaching down to close the clasp of his trunk.

"They don't have a bloody clue abou' magic if they think ya can steal it!" Seamus yelled, throwing his fist at the wall. Dean healed it swiftly before he could register the pain.

It took roughly three seconds.

"'Course they have no clue about magic," he said, sitting on top of his trunk, his long legs crossed at the ankles, "I mean, they're keeping Dementors as pets, ostracizing at least a fifth of the wizarding population and put Snape in charge of Hogwarts. They're all demented."

Seamus let out a choked laugh.

"Trust ya," he breathed out, collapsing onto his green, Kenmare Kestrels bed, "ta turn this situation into a joke. A joke, Dean Thomas."

"I'm aware of what it is, and what my name is, thanks very much, Seamus Finnigan."

"You're a lost cause, you are," Seamus sighed with another easy laugh, but it trailed off as his eyes rested, once again, on the trunk. "You're keeping tha' here, then? All ye school books, ye broomstick, ye magazines?" He gave a lewd wiggle of his eyebrows but it seemed out of sorts.

"I won't need them where I'm going," Dean muttered sadly, looking at his lonely looking rucksack with not a lot in it.

He had bought that rucksack three years, two weeks, five days and roughly ten hours ago, for the Quidditch World Cup that he attended with Seamus.

"Ya don't need to go where you're going, Dean!" Seamus shouted again, kicking the trunk. Dean barely gave it a glance. "Ya should be a' Hogwarts, with me!"

"But how long would that last, Shay? If they even let me in the school, that is. A few days, maybe a week, before I was dragged to see the Headmaster and his Death Eater goons!" He spat, fiddling with the strap of his rucksack.

"Then take me with ya," Seamus begged, grabbing Dean's wrist, "I could help ya. I could - I could light fires and - and-"


He fell silent.

It had been six days, three hours and roughly forty-five minutes since Seamus had been rendered silent by his best mate, Dean. Granted, Dean had turned up at his front door step with a broom and a TV guide and asked if he could stay for a week or so.

"I've got to head off now." Dean looked down at his wrist that held the wizarding watch Delilah Finnigan had sent to him on his seventeenth birthday, which was nine months, five days and roughly twenty-one hours ago.

"Tradition," she had said, blocking out his protests with a trained ear, "ta give it ta me eldest son, and I don't think Seamus will mind missin' out on an old watch anyway, do ya?"

"Take me with ya," he whispered, and Dean paused, just to look back. He supposed he should say goodbye, maybe even hug his best friend of six years, one month, three weeks, two days and roughly half an hour. He didn't, just stood in the doorway, just for a moment, then looked Seamus in the eye.

"See you on the other side, right, mate?"

He shouldered his backpack, and walked out of the room. That was the last time Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas laid eyes on each other for eight months, three days, seven hours and roughly ten minutes.

Not that either of them were counting, of course.