Title: Within these walls
Prompt: "Seventh year. The real one."
Pairing(s): Draco/Seamus
Word Count/Art Medium: 24,400 in 4 parts
Rating: NC-17
Warning(s): Swearing, some violence/torture; set during the reign of the Carrows, which should give you some idea.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thank you to S and E for kicking me and this story into shape. Couldn't have done it without you 3
Summary: Torture, rebellion, war and Draco bloody Malfoy. Seamus won't even know where to start telling this story if they all make it out the other side.

Repost notes: This was written for the hprarefest on livejournal, in which we had to write a story based around a 'rare' pairing - one not commonly seen in fandom, or a pairing that doesn't have a fest of it's own. I'm still not entirely sure how these two jumped into my head, but they did and this is what we ended up with. This story is perhaps the one that I am most proud of, out of everything I've written. Thank you to anyone who gives it a chance and doesn't run screaming when they see it's not H/D.

There will be four parts, I'll post them when internet allows.

Within these walls

All he can hear is the sound of his rough breathing, his heart pounding in his ears as his heart pleads for him to stop running. His footsteps slap against the flagstones beneath his feet and he knows if he can just reach the third floor staircase he can disappear through the tapestry and get away-

"Get back here you miserable Irish runt!" a voice behind him hollers, and a jet of light streaks over his shoulder and hits a suit of armour in front of him, sending it crashing and clanging to the floor. Seamus vaults a breastplate and a gauntlet and keeps on running, staggering slightly as he lands.


That one misses as well and Seamus laughs breathlessly and hysterically, ignoring the screaming stitch in his side as he pushes himself to just keep going.

He skids around a corner and has a glorious moment of thinking he's gotten away with it when he careers straight into a body that is blocking his way. He hits them so hard he falls back, winded and dazed.

"Sir, I've got him!" Vincent Crabbe shouts, and then turns a grin on Seamus who is trying to scramble away, flailing across the floor and scuffing his elbows. Crabbe draws his wand and Seamus freezes in place, cursing his stupid Irish luck which doesn't seem to ever last as long as he needs it to. Crabbe steps forwards, a well-used gesture that makes the lower-years tremble in anticipation of cruelty.

Seamus isn't scared, and frankly, he has no intention of ever acting like he's scared. "Fancy seeing you here," he says brightly, a winning smile in place. Crabbe's face twists in a scowl because for as stupid as he is, he knows when Seamus is taking the piss. Seamus manages to keep smiling as Crabbe points his wand at his face, all the while vaguely thinking that this is really going to hurt.

Hidden behind the edge of the desk, Seamus lifts his hand from his lap and holds it as still as he can, watching carefully. It trembles ever so slightly, and then his thumb twitches, an involuntary movement that he can neither predict nor quell.

"What's wrong?" Neville mutters next to him, eyes concerned.

Seamus nods at his hand and Neville watches as his thumb twitches again. "The Crucio twitch," he murmurs, and Neville goes pale. He swallows thickly.

"Maybe you should stop winding them up in class."

Seamus balls his hand into a fist and lowers it. "My quill hand is still fine," he says offhandedly, just before the room falls silent, heralding the arrival of Alecto Carrow.

Seamus flexes his fingers and gazes up across the room, avoiding looking at the Death Eater that is standing at the front of the room, masquerading as a teacher. Sat straight opposite in his direct line of sight is Draco Malfoy, and Draco Malfoy is staring right at Seamus.

Seamus stares back and his first instinct is to flip two fingers at Malfoy – stupid fucking Death Eater scum – but then Malfoy's head jerks ever so slightly and he doesn't-quite-blink and Seamus forgets all about slinging insults across the room.

Malfoy flushes and looks down at the table, an ugly pink flush blotching his cheekbones. Seamus eyes him curiously, just waiting. Malfoy looks sick, Seamus thinks after a moment. He's not at all the smug, cock-of-the-walk bully that Seamus expected to encounter on returning to school. Malfoy looks pale and wasted and like he's about to throw up.

Pale eyes lift hesitantly and then dart away as they see Seamus is still watching. Malfoy lowers his head even further so he's looking down at his lap and then his head jerks again, a quick unconscious movement that is barely there at all.

To Seamus it looks like either Malfoy is going to have a panic attack, or he's got his very own twitch. And that is an interesting thought indeed.

The oppressive silence stretches out leisurely as they wait, as if they've still got all the time in the word. The still is only broken by an occasional cough or the creak of a chair, or the rumble of Seamus's stomach. He ignores it and stares blankly towards the front of the classroom, half-heartedly wishing that he could remember to get into trouble afterhe's eaten.

There are thirteen of them in detention today, including three third years and a pair of Slytherins. Seamus vaguely hopes that he doesn't have to write anything because his twitch has decided that his quill hand is just as good a place to be as his other. And not to mention that if he's forced to write another essay on how stupid Muggles are, he's going to kick off big-style.

"I don't want to."

A voice outside the classroom breaks the silence. Seamus catches Neville's eye at the raised and angry tones. The other students that are in detention turn their heads to the sound of the commotion, mild curiosity and some trepidation written across their faces.

"You will," a voice snarls, and several of the younger students instantly straighten up in their seats at the sound of it, facing back towards the front of the room.

"I don't want to," the petulant voice repeats, and Seamus glances at Neville again as he realises who it is. "You can't make me," the voice adds, and there's a slight tremble to it.

"Malfoy?"Seamus mouths at Neville. Neville nods, frowning and listening hard.

"You will do it, or you'll join them."

"Then you won't have anyone to watch them," Malfoy says defiantly, but he sounds more seven-year-old tantrum than brave.

"I'll ask Crabbe. He's turning out to be a much more loyal supporter than you. I wonder if I should send a message, let a certain someone know about your…reluctance."

Without another word, Malfoy storms into the classroom, looking humiliated and angry. He marches to the front, folding his arms tightly across his chest. Amycus Carrow steps into the doorway, a crooked smile in place.

"Good choice, Malfoy."

He slams the door shut and there is the grinding and clunking sound of it locking. All faces turn to Malfoy, who is staring at the door like it's done something terrible, not paying any attention to the students he is supposed to be observing.

"So, aren't you supposed to be setting us lines or something?" Seamus can't help but break the silence, voice loud. All heads flick to him, including Malfoy's. "Or have you got something more evil planned for us?"

Malfoy swallows, and Seamus sees his hand go to his wand. "Shut up," he says after a moment. "Just – just sit there and shut up."

Seamus exchanges another glance with Neville and then sits back to watch Malfoy. He paces in front of the desk at the front of the room once or twice, and then stops and hops up onto the desk in a movement graceful enough to catch Seamus by surprise. Malfoy pulls his feet up beneath him and sits cross-legged atop the oak surface, expression brooding and troubled.

He looks completely knackered, Seamus thinks. And besides that, there's the issue of why he didn't want to preside over the detention in the first place – Seamus doesn't know Malfoy well but he'd fully expect him to jump at the chance to lord it over the others, bullying the younger students just for the hell of it.

But no, Malfoy just sits there with his thoughts quite clearly a million miles away. Seamus wants to call him on it but manages to bite his tongue; Malfoy's wand is held loosely in his fingers, his wrist on his knee and hand hanging limp. Seamus can see the bones in Malfoy's wrist where the cuff of his shirt has lifted slightly and stares for a while, wondering how strong Malfoy actually is.

In a way Seamus feels oddly grateful for whatever it is that has Malfoy tied up in knots and acting completely unlike himself. After all, sitting in silence for three hours is one of the better punishments of late.

"See, you are quite clearly insolent because of your Muggle blood," Alecto says, advancing across the room towards Seamus, stopping just in front of his desk and quite clearly trying to intimidate. Her eyes are glittering with malice. "Disgusting behaviour."

"Judging by your behaviour, I'd say you're more Muggle than me then," Seamus retorts, not cowed in the slightest. "Maybe two or three mixed up into one. Frankenstein like, if you get my drift."

He expects a curse but he doesn't expect the backhand, which catches him across the face with a crack like a snapping broom. He's knocked from his chair onto the floor, pain blooming in his cheekbone and shock in his gut at the crude act of physical violence.

The class is silent, stunned breath collectively held. Alecto turns away, point proven, and Seamus looks up and around, holding his palm to his face. Inexplicably, his eyes land on Malfoy. Despite Crabbe and Goyle sniggering away at his side, Malfoy looks as shocked and sickened as the rest of them.

"Sit still," Parvati says exasperatedly, even though Seamus isn't moving. Brow furrowed in concentration, she gently applies some blue salve to the cut above Seamus's brow. Across the room Ginny is checking Neville for bruises.

"I am still," Seamus replies, even as his thumb twitches. "Ouch. Careful."

"If you stopped winding them up in class I wouldn't need to be so careful," Parvati says. By now, she's stopped crying whenever she's asked to heal Seamus's wounds. She just gets on with it, patching him back together as best she can and demanding to know why he can't just keep quiet.

"Can't let them think they've got us all underfoot, now can we?" Seamus says when she asks for the millionth time. "You're far too pretty to be repressed."

Parvati's mouth flickers in a smile as she dabs at the cut. "We should just keep our heads down and get on with it," she says.

"I miss the days when my flirting got you to agree with me," Seamus sighs, and then winces as she jabs at his wound more roughly than she normally would.

"Those were the days when I thought it might get me somewhere," she replies archly, and then her hands and voice go gentle again. "Seamus, please. You turning up in this state upsets the first years."

"Me being a brat is keeping the attention away from the first years," Seamus says, and Parvati's expression is torn between disbelief and gratitude. "Besides, why aren't you giving Neville the same grief? He's playing vigilante, too."

"Playing?" she asks quietly, sadly.

Seamus smiled tiredly. "Oh yeah. I have an imaginary cape and everything."

"I do think you're very brave," Parvati says as she leans back and wipes her hand on her skirt. She really is beautiful, Seamus thinks sadly, though he knows he'll never fully appreciate it, not like other blokes would. She's beautiful even when she's crying, and he can't stand the thought of beauty being wasted in a place like this.

"I think I'm an idiot," Seamus says as she pulls back, wiping her hands. "But needs must."

Parvati sighs and nods and kisses his temple before getting up off the arm of the chair and walking away. Seamus watches her go, wondering if she really understands.

"Curse him," Amycus says, his voice threatening.

Seamus's heart is pounding in his chest and his eyes are watering from where Alecto has a fistful of his hair clenched between her fingers. His head is pulled back so far he can't see the person standing in front of him, but he knows exactly who it is. After all, you'd have to be an idiot to mistake that drawling voice for anyone else. All he can see is the dark ceiling of the classroom, the light from the torches making flickering shadows dance above their heads. His body is tense, waiting for more pain. Seamus isn't scared of pain but they're seriously starting to hand out Crucios like chocolate frogs.

Come on, he thinks fiercely, not sure if his current position would allow him to get any words out. Bring it, Malfoy. Do your worst.

He waits, and waits, and then he hears a word that he wasn't expecting.

"But," Malfoy says, and Seamus isn't daft enough to feel hopeful; if Malfoy doesn't curse him then someone else surely will.

"What?" Amycus snaps.

"I thought he was getting detention." Malfoy's voice holds a definite waver, something that sounds almost like a plea. Seamus suddenly remembers the detention where Malfoy just kept them in silence and the look on Malfoy's face when Alecto had lamped him one, and he can't help but wonder what the fuck is going on it that blond head.

"This isdetention," Alecto says, and pulls a fraction harder on Seamus's hair. He gasps and wobbles dangerously on his knees, his scalp screaming in pain and his kneecaps begging for relief.

"But," Malfoy says again.

"Now," Amycus demands. "Or do you want me to tell the Dark Lord about how little spine you have?"

"No!" Malfoy says wildly. "Don't!"

"Well then," Amycus snaps, sounding frustrated. "Get on with it."

Seamus hears footsteps move closer towards him, echoing softly on the stone floor. There is a long pause, in which his heart beats faster and faster, thumping against his sternum, and Seamus can't quite believe he's about to be Crucio'd by Draco sodding Malfoy, the fourth-year-ferret who no-one ever took seriously until it was too late.

"I'm – I can't, I don't feel well, I'm – I'm going to be sick-"

The hand in Seamus's hair loosens enough for him to look down marginally, just in time to see Malfoy flee the room, a hand clamped over his mouth. Amycus makes to go after him.

"Don't!" Alecto shouts, and her brother stills in place. "Let him run. We'll deal with him later."

Amycus snorts and turns back. "Pathetic."

"He's just weak-minded," Alecto says dismissively. "We can fix that."

"Like they fixed you?" Seamus gasps out, unable to keep his trap shut even at times like this. There is a shout of anger and a second later his body is nothing but pain.

When it ends and he's left panting with his cheek pressed to the floor and his whole body trembling, he's inexplicably thankful that it wasn't Malfoy.

"Run!" Seamus hollers, and he fucking knewthis was a stupid idea, all this drama for a fucking sword that isn't really that important anyway. They all scatter, Ginny and Luna heading in one direction and Seamus and Neville in another. Experience has taught them that it's better to split up when they're running, though with some of the Slytherins helping the Carrows they're often outnumbered anyway.

He thinks he hears a shriek that sounds like Ginny but he can't stop, doesn't stop. He's not scared of the Carrows but he's not stupid enough to let himself get caught. If he can avoid a Crucio he will, because now his bloody feet have started twitching as well as his hands.

"Split!" Neville shouts and dashes to the left along a corridor towards the library. Seamus goes straight on, tearing down the length of the charms corridor as fast as he can, wildly thinking that they'll all be champion sprinters by the time this is over, if they make it-

There's a shout, and Seamus has half a second in which to process the word as a trip-jinx, and then he's hitting the floor on his face, his chin scraping the rough stone. He curses and tries to scramble to his feet again, adrenaline pushing him to just keep going, but before he can even properly get up he feels hands roughly grab his school shirt, hauling him up and pulling him along. He staggers along in the grip of whoever has caught him, trying to get at his wand.

He's half-dragged through a tapestry and then, inexplicably, the hands let him go. He staggers upright and wheels around to abruptly find himself nose to nose with none other than Malfoy, who quite worryingly has his wand pointed between Seamus's eyes.

Seamus tries to push past him and run but Malfoy grabs him again and shoves him back against the wall of the alcove that they're in. The scuffle is short but brief; Seamus is strong but Malfoy is taller and soon his wand is jammed under Seamus's chin, digging painfully into his already scraped skin.

"For fuck's sake, shut up," Malfoy whispers harshly, and Seamus goes still. He slumps back against the wall behind him and screws his eyes shut, waiting for whatever Malfoy is about to dish out and really hoping that Malfoy hasn't found a spine in the last fortnight.

Long moments pass, and he cautiously opens an eye. He's promptly surprised to find that Malfoy isn't even looking at him; instead he's staring intently at the back of the tapestry they're behind, almost as if he's waiting for something.

"…don't know. Was there another?"

Seamus tenses, drawing in a sharp breath of air as muffled voices float down the corridor beyond their tapestry. They're looking for him and all it will take is for Malfoy to draw back the tapestry and then Seamus will also be facing punishment for breaking into the headmaster's office.

"We've got the three, was there anyone else?"

"That'll do. It's the same three as last time anyway, good enough for me."

Seamus waits and waits, and then incredibly, the footsteps start to move away and Malfoy doesn't say so much as a word. He's perfectly motionless, his body still pressed to Seamus's from his earlier attempt at pinning him to the wall, his breathing shallow and rushed.

Realisation hits Seamus with the force of an angry dragon.

Malfoy hasn't sold him out to the Carrows.

In fact, Malfoy has done quite the opposite. Unbelievably, it appears that Malfoy has actually just saved Seamus's arse from certain Crucio.

"What the hell are you playing at?" Seamus breathes, amazed at his realisation.

Malfoy turns his head to look at him and they end up nose-to-nose. Malfoy's eyes widen and he abruptly steps back away from Seamus, though the alcove is small and he can't move more than a foot away. "I-" he begins, and he looks completely and utterly lost, as if he's been sleepwalking and has only just realised what he's done. "I don't know."

"What was that about? Since when have you stopped being one of them?" Seamus demands.

Malfoy stares at him. He only twitches once, and then his face twists and he turns away, pushing through the tapestry and then he's gone, his footsteps fading in seconds. The weight of his actions hang over the alcove, even though he's no longer there.

Seamus exhales shakily and slumps back against the wall again. He runs a hand over his face, not quite believing that he came out of that escapade in one piece. His stomach twists as he thinks of Neville, Luna and Ginny.

He stays in the alcove for quite some time.

"Oi! Malfoy!"

The shout is too loud in the otherwise abandoned corridor, and Malfoy quite clearly hears it. His steps falter fractionally but then he carries on. Head bowed, he quickens his pace and doesn't look around.


Seamus breaks into a run, pulling his wand from his pocket. By the time Malfoy realises that Seamus is after him it's too late; Seamus grabs his shoulder and yanks him back, bringing him to a standstill.

"Get off," Malfoy spits and twists around to face Seamus. His school-bag falls to the floor with a thump and he glares at Seamus through shadow-ringed eyes.

"Calm down, I just want to talk," Seamus says, holding up his hands in a gesture of supplication and taking a step back out of Malfoy's personal space.

"I don't want to talk to you," Malfoy bites out, quickly stooping to grab his bag and holding it protectively to his chest. His eye twitches and if Seamus didn't know better he'd assume that Malfoy was winking at him.

"Last night," Seamus says, and Malfoy tenses and twitches again. "What was that all about?"

"I don't want to talk to you," Malfoy repeats angrily, and turns on his heel to storm away.

Seamus frowns after him. "If you'd stop being such a princess about it, I'm trying to say thank you."

Surprisingly, that stops Malfoy. He slowly turns to look at Seamus, wariness written all over his face. They stand in silence for what feels like forever, though thirty seconds is probably a better estimate. Seamus lets the moment drag out, waiting to see if Malfoy will man up and manage a sentence.

"Don't thank me," Malfoy finally says, looking at the floor. "It's not something that you should thank me for."

"If you had sold me out I probably would have been Crucio'd. Again," Seamus says flatly.

Malfoy twitches, though Seamus thinks that one's a flinch in response to the word Crucio rather than an involuntary tremor. "Yeah, but I shouldn't have had to do it," he says helplessly, and Seamus is gobsmacked because if that means what he thinks it means, it's possibly the smartest thing he's ever heard Malfoy say.

"Are we talking morals or the fact you didn't want yourself to get in trouble?"

Thankfully, Malfoy scowls. "I'm not a complete coward," he snaps, and then he turns on his heel and marches away without looking back.

"Yeah you are," Seamus says to the empty corridor, though he's not entirely sure he believes it anyway.

They don't speak face to face again for a long time. Malfoy does his best to ignore Seamus but Seamus catches him looking his way more and more often as the days pass by. Then again, Seamus only notices Malfoy looking at him because he's taken to watching the git like Harry used to do in sixth year. Thankfully, no-one calls him on it. They're all too busy trying to make it through the days.

Seamus notices that Malfoy looks sicker by the day, wild-eyed and panicked and like he wants nothing more than to vanish. The other Slytherins don't seem to notice. Crabbe and Goyle look happy as trolls in shit and Pansy Parkinson swans around with a superior smile on her face, bullying younger students just as Malfoy used to do.

Seamus can't help but be intrigued by this new, not-so-improved Malfoy, wondering why he isn't playing nice with his Slytherin friends. Surely this is what he always wanted? To be on top of the pile, considered better than anyone else without having to do anything but be born?

Everyone knows that there's a Dark Mark stamped on that pale skin, and whilst Malfoy doesn't appear threatening – in fact, he appears pretty pathetic right now – Seamus knows he has it in him to be downright dangerous, whether he means to be or not.

"Go on then," Seamus shouts, at the end of his tether with the snide commentary about diseased half-bloods. "I don't give a flying fuck."

Alecto points her wand at him. "Behave."

"You fuckin' behave," Seamus retorts, and the class draws a collective breath. Crabbe stands up, looking to Alecto and drawing his wand.

"Be my guest," Alecto breathes and Seamus braces himself mentally, giving Crabbe his best I don't care face. As Crabbe walks forwards, Seamus glances towards Malfoy. Malfoy is staring determinedly in the other direction, and just before the curse hits him, Seamus watches Malfoy swallow thickly, his adams-apple moving in his throat.

The stones of the parapet at the top of the astronomy tower are cool behind his back. Seamus leans against them, letting the cold soothe his throbbing muscles. He's exhausted and right now he misses Dean so badly it hurts more than the bruises. He can't deny that Neville has been an unexpected figure in this mess, a far cry from the scared boy whose worst fear was Snape.

But he's not Dean.

Neville doesn't always understand why Seamus is the way he is. Only Dean knows that Seamus stopped being scared of everything after coming out to his dad in fifth year. After going through that, it seems pointless to be afraid of things, especially when you can't do anything about it.

And anyway, it feels like in the simplest of terms, kowtowing down to Snape and the Carrows would feel like losing. Having an easy ride isn't important to Seamus. He feels he'd be as guilty as the actual Death Eaters if he just sat back and let them get on with it.

Seamus breathes in and out deeply, turning his face towards the stars. Hogwarts feels like a faded memory already. The castle they currently live in can't possibly be Hogwarts.

There's a soft noise from the direction of the stairwell and he instantly sits up, hand going for his wand. He hasn't imagined it; he can now clearly hear footsteps on the stone, winding up the spiral staircase.

He hastily gets to his feet and quickly edges over to the doorway that leads up onto the top floor, hiding just around the corner so he's out of sight. The steps get louder and louder, Seamus counts down from ten and then a figure appears at the top of the stairs, one hand on the railing.

He grabs the figure by their collar and yanks them around, pressing his wand to their temple, and then realises in disbelief that it's Malfoy.

"What the fuck are you doing up here?" he asks in amazement, the tip of his wand still pressing into Malfoy's skin. Malfoy's is nowhere in sight.

"What the fuck are youdoing up here?" Malfoy counters, his voice cracking. "Get off."

Seamus lets him go and Malfoy steps back, reaching for his tie and pulling it straight. He slips his hand into his pocket and Seamus would bet against leprechaun gold that his fingers are now curled around his wand.

"Surprised you can stand to come back up here," Seamus says, and Malfoy flushes.

"Well I can," he bites out, and then seems to shrink a little, shoulders slumping. "No-one thinks to look for me up here."

Seamus eyes him carefully. "Why are you trying to hide? You're one of them."

Malfoy looks down at his feet. "No, I'm not."

"Well, you certainly got us all fooled with the Dark Mark and the killing Dumbledore thing," Seamus says brazenly, and Malfoy's head snaps up.

"I didn't," he says fiercely. "I didn't mean to-" He breaks off, now looking like he's about to cry. He swallows convulsively, clenching his jaw.

"Why're you so upset?" Seamus asks in mild disbelief. "Surely this is what you've always wanted? You know, to be the best pure-blood in town, You-Know-Who's little protégée-"

"It wasn't supposed to be like this!" Malfoy shouts over him, and there's something wild in his face. "You think this is what I wanted?"

Silence falls, the weight of Malfoy's admission hanging in the air between them. Seamus isn't as shocked by the revelation as he should be; all the signs were there but it would have been stupid to assume. He watches Malfoy carefully, waiting for more, and right on cue, Malfoy twitches.

"Nice twitch you've got there," Seamus says, unable to help himself.

Malfoy stares at him. "Almost matches yours," he says finally, and the comment is so unexpected that Seamus laughs.

"Crucio-twitch?" he asks.

Malfoy nods, eyes wide and expression a little vacant. "Something like that."

They go quiet once more. A breeze ruffles their hair, and after a long while Seamus pockets his wand. Malfoy watches him do it and then slowly pulls his hands from his pockets, folding his arms across his chest. The tension between them fades and they eye each other curiously, not sure how to proceed now the socially acceptable routine of insult-hex-curse has been taken out of the equation.

"So. Hiding?" Seamus asks, clearing his throat.

Malfoy nods. "They want me to go on patrol."

"Why don't you want to go on patrol?"

Malfoy shrugs. The silence stretches out again. Seamus has no inclination to break it so instead he turns and walks to the edge of the tower, leaning on the wall and looking out into the darkness. He can hear the distant sounds of the lake and the trees of the forbidden forest rustling and creaking, but he can't see anything but inky blackness that stretches on and on. It makes him feel like the world is so much bigger than everything that is happening here. He's not sure if it's a comforting thing or not.

"Why do you keep winding them up?" Malfoy suddenly asks from behind him. "Are you some sort of masochist?"

Seamus laughs shortly. "No, I don't get off on being in excruciating pain on a daily basis," he says. "But I don't want anyone thinking I'm scared of them."

There's a pause and then to Seamus's surprise, Malfoy appears at his side, standing next to him with pale hand`s resting on the edge of the parapet. He doesn't look up at Seamus when he next speaks. "You're not scared?"

Seamus shakes his head. "No," he says truthfully.

"How?" Malfoy asks, and the question is simple but filled with so much more.

Seamus shrugs. "I'm just not."

They run out of words again but neither seems to mind. They stand side-by side in the darkness for a long time, watching the sky above them. It's strangely peaceful, and Seamus is curious that it can feel as such when there's a Marked man at his side. Although, he has to concede, it looks like there's more to Malfoy than just the Mark.