Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. And I never will. Unfortunately.
Author's Note: Written especially for Someone aka Me, Laura, on the Gift-Giving Extravaganza 2013 Forum.
This is also written for the As Strong As We Are United Competition, Some Things Are Better Left Incomplete Competition (I caught a glimpse of -), Greenhouses Competition (Aster - write a romance), Hogwarts Classes Competition (Transfiguration - write about a Gryffindor), Quidditch Position Competition (Beater - write something over 1500 words), and the Big Brother Competition (Use five of the given prompts - I used 'please', "You can't expect me to believe that.", 'innocent', 'dare', and 'Genre: Angst')
I'm running away. The Ministry is rounding up all the Muggle-borns, and they're going to make us go before some idiotic Muggle-born Registration Commission. I have absolutely no idea what the hell that's all about, but it's definitely not something I want a part of. Also, I'm not allowed to go back to Hogwarts as long as my blood status is Muggle-born. And since it is, and that really can't change, I can't go back. Of course, with Dumbledore gone, I doubt Hogwarts will be the safe place it was before, but still. I wish I could go back anyway - at least everyone would be there. Especially you, of course - what would I do without my best friend? I'd be lost if our roles were reversed, if you were running away and I was going to Hogwarts.
Anyway, this will be the last letter I send you for a long time. I'll be hiding out, and there won't be any way to contact me, for my own safety - and for yours, since you could probably get in trouble for aiding a Muggle-born or something stupid like that. I'll hopefully meet up with some other Muggle-borns, though - I can't be the only one who's not going before the Muggle-born Registration Commission thing. I'll stay safe, Seamus - and then, at some point, we'll see each other again, because damn it, this war is not going to go on forever. And when it ends - because it will end, believe me - I'll come find you.
Please, Seamus, I'm begging you not to do anything stupid. I know Hogwarts is presumably going to suck. I know the Death Eaters are moronic idiots who can't tell their heads from their arses. And most of all, I know that you have a slight tendency to get fired up about things, and then do things you shouldn't. Been friends with you for six years, you know? I know you well. And I know that this letter isn't really going to stop you from doing something you shouldn't, since you do stuff in the moment without thinking about it, but still. I'm just begging you to be careful - I like you in one piece, thank you very much.
I really don't know how to end this letter. Be careful and safe, Seamus - I know I will be, or at least I'll be trying to be.
Seamus stares at the parchment in his hand. It's been months since Dean sent that letter; now Seamus is actually at Hogwarts, and Dean is who-knows-where. Who knows if he's even alive? It's not like his death would be publicized if it happened; he would be just one more dead Muggle-born, probably killed by Snatchers. It hurts to think of Dean dead, though; even just nervous thoughts about him being dead, terrible mental images of his corpse, make Seamus feel queasy.
He's kept that letter. It's the only letter from anybody that he's ever been bothered to keep; everyone else's, even Dean's, have all found their way into the wastebasket - or under Seamus's bed, which is basically the equivalent of a wastebasket - once he's finished replying. This is different, though, this letter; after all, if something absolutely terrible happens, and this is the last letter, the last words, of Dean Thomas, Seamus wants to have it with him. He wants to have a memory of Dean, something to remember this boy - his best friend who possibly could have been more if this stupid war hadn't happened - by.
It's become a ritual by now, taking out the letter at night and reading it before he falls asleep. By now, he nearly has it memorized. It's not a particularly long letter, at least by Dean standards, but Seamus always takes a while to read it, sometimes whispering the words to himself, savoring each one. Some lines he likes more than others; those lines beat a rhythm in his brain. Especially you. I'll come find you. I know you well. I like you in one piece. And then, the one that he loves so much, but also hates, because it tantalizes him with the possibilities of more-than-friendliness. I'd be lost if our roles were reversed, if you were running away and I was going to Hogwarts. Do best friends say that to one another?
The door to the boys' dormitory opens suddenly. Seamus first expects Neville, but then he remembers that Neville is down in the common room, trying to catch up on all of the work he missed when he had seven consecutive days of the Carrows' detentions. He'll be down there a while, Seamus knows. The figure in the doorway is undoubtedly female, and as she steps inside the room, it becomes apparent who came to visit him. "Lavender," Seamus says, looking at her, trying to figure out if he could put the letter away without her noticing it. It would become instantly apparent that he was hiding it if he shoved it out of sight, which would make her more curious. "Er. Hi."
"Hey, Seamus." Lavender sits down, cross-legged, on the same bed as him. He vaguely notes that her nightgown is very low-cut, but it doesn't have as much effect on him as it would have a few years previously. Now, his mind is focused almost entirely on Dean.
"Lavender," Seamus repeats, "Don't want to be mean, or anything, but I'm just a little curious why you came to visit me at -" he checks his watch -"eleven-thirty at night."
Lavender sighs. "If you must know, Parvati and I had a bit of a disagreement, and I thought I'd just give her some time to cool down." She nods toward the piece of parchment in Seamus's hand, and his heart rate speeds up. "What's that?" She cranes her neck to peer at it, and Seamus hastily stuffs it in his pocket.
"It's nothing," he says quickly.
She looks disappointed and suspicious at the same time, an expression that Seamus didn't even know was possible. "I could have sworn I caught a glimpse of Dean's signature on that."
"That was me mam's signature," Seamus says, and Lavender's eyes narrow even further. Seamus's accent, thick in his early years, has toned down now, only coming out when he's nervous or stressed, and can't control it as well.
"You can't expect me to believe that," Lavender says. "I've seen your mum's signature. It's way different - I swear, I saw the name 'Dean' on that letter. Seriously, Seamus, I don't know why you're hiding it - for Merlin's sake, Dean is missing, and you're his bloody best friend. If Parvati was nowhere to be found, and I had one of her letters, I'd keep it with me, too."
"Fine," Seamus says, although he doesn't remove the letter from his pocket. "It's from Dean."
Lavender nods solemnly. "Knew it." She sighs slightly. "We all miss him - none more than you, of course, but still." Seamus's heart rate picks up again at her words. How can she know what I feel about him?
"W-what do you mean?" he stammers, and she looks at him strangely.
"You're his best friend," she replies, and he wants to hug her for not saying 'you were'. 'Were' is much too final, too 'in-the-past'. "Of course you miss him more than the rest of us. Neville, Parvati, me...we were just Dean's friends. You and him were more than friends." She realizes what she's said seconds too late; her face blushes a deep pink, and Seamus has to fight to not blurt out 'I wish.' "I mean," Lavender says, "you two were best friends. Like brothers, almost." She seems a little surprised that Seamus isn't ribbing her about what she said, but he doesn't, and it doesn't take long for her face to go back to normal.
"I know," Seamus says quietly. "I miss him, Lav. And I miss the past, y'know? When we were all innocent, just little kids instead of soldiers in a bloody war." He sighs. "Neville's downstairs in the common room - he won't come up until two, I bet, because he got behind on so much homework. Was tortured seven days in a row. Anthony, Susan, and Fay are probably sneaking down to Madam Pomfrey's right now so that they can steal some more of her potions. Romilda Vane's forced to sleep in the dungeon tonight as part of her punishment, and I'll be surprised if Morag MacDougal doesn't accidentally get herself caught in an attempt to help." Seamus shakes his head. "This ain't Hogwarts anymore, and Merlin, it's horrible."
Lavender's eyes had nearly filled up with tears at the mentions of what her fellow students were up to. She blinks quickly, composing herself. "I hate this," she says. "It's just...everything looks so familiar, like it should be the same, but it isn't. And I know what you mean - I miss my first few years here, before everything got so dark." She looks wistful and nostalgic; Seamus is sure the same expression is mirrored on his own face. "Back when we'd sit in the common room, Dean and Parvati and you and me, and dare each other to do stupid things or bet on the fate of this year's Defense professor. Before You-Know-Who returned and everything changed." There's a fierce look on her face now. "I hope Harry does come back at the end of the year. I hope he comes back, and I hope we fight against those idiot Death Eaters and win. This can't go on forever."
Seamus hopes not.
When Harry does end up returning, a few months after Seamus and Lavender's conversation, Seamus is happy. The students will get their chance to fight back, after all. Neville uses his D.A. coin to send a message to all the old members of Dumbledore's Army as well, those who were there the first time, but are gone now - Colin, Luna, Angelina, Alicia, Katie...the list goes on. Dean. Seamus shakes that thought out of his head, because tormenting himself with the possibility is too painful.
Then Dean walks through the portrait hole, and Seamus is ecstatic. He doesn't give a thought to anything, even the fact that the Room of Requirement is crowded with people. He runs over to Dean and embraces the taller boy, and they hold onto each other for a little too long to be completely platonic.
They've both changed. Both boys are leaner than they were the year before - and neither one was hefty to begin with - and Dean is taller, probably around six foot one now. Seamus is well aware that he looks like a mess; his face is bruised and cut from his last detention, and the scar on his shoulder, peeking out of the top of his robes, is just one of many. "Merlin, Seamus," Dean breathes, "what happened?"
"Death Eaters - the Carrows. Detention's different now," Seamus replies. "You all right?"
"I'm fine," Dean says, waving the question away. He looks better than Seamus expected him to - thin, yes, but not injured in any way Seamus can see. Dean holds himself well, his eyes scanning the room, alert and focused with the sharpness of somebody who's spent months on the run and in hiding. "Nice place." Dean gestures around the room, and Seamus nods absentmindedly.
"Neville's got a talent for the place," he says, wishing that he could fold himself into Dean's arms again. They fit perfectly together. He wants to say more before the battle officially starts, tell Dean something - even if he couldn't tell Dean how he felt, he could at least say 'I've missed you'. It's too late, though; Harry's started explaining things to the D.A., looking harried and tired, and they have to pay attention to him or they'll be clueless. Seamus wishes that his reunion with Dean didn't come at this particular moment. He wants them to have hours alone, catching up on what's happened the past year, telling each other everything that they don't know, but there's no time for that.
The time before the battle starts is a blur of Holy shit, Dean doesn't have a wand and What if I die and What if Dean dies, because for all his Gryffindor bravado, Seamus really doesn't want to be killed here tonight. He believes in the cause wholeheartedly, and he's going to fight like a madman, but he wants to see this through to the end. He wants - he needs - to have more time with Dean.
The battle begins, and it's chaotic and insane. Seamus sticks close by Dean, needing to be with him and knowing that he's the only person who can properly protect Dean. Everyone else is going to be fighting for themselves and their own lives, and Seamus is the only person who will be able to fight for both their lives. After all, he cares as much about Dean as he does about himself, if not more. If Dean dies, Seamus will be devastated; there's nobody that he's closer to than Dean. The other D.A. members are all friends, but Dean is more than just a casual friend.
There's way too much going on, and Seamus ends up dueling with a Death Eater while Dean stands nearby, dodging the occasional curse from said Death Eater but unable to help. He'd only be killed or hurt if he got in the way, and he knows it, but he's right there just in case. That, Seamus thinks, is Gryffindor bravery - Dean doesn't have a freaking wand, but he's in the middle of the battle anyway, probably the only wandless person there.
Seamus is a pretty good dueler. He's never been the absolute best in the D.A. - that title went maybe to Ginny or Neville or even Morag MacDougal - but he can certainly hold his own. He quickly realizes, though, that this - his first real duel - is incredibly different than dueling one of his friends in the Room of Requirement. There, the worst they would give each other is Stunners. They would never practice with anything really serious, at least on each other; there were dummies for the darker spells.
The Death Eaters, though, don't hold back. The one Seamus is dueling tosses around Unforgivables as though they're the easiest spells in the world - perhaps, to him, they are, since the Unforgivables are based almost as much on intent as they are on power. It takes all of Seamus's concentration to dodge them - damn the fact Unforgivables can't be blocked with Protego - and then, suddenly, the Death Eater shouts, "Crucio!" and it strikes Seamus right in the chest. He falls, the now-familiar feeling of the torture curse sweeping through his body, leaving him gasping on the floor as agony wracks his form, trying to control his body, trying not to scream, trying not to look 'weak' in front of Dean...
It stops very quickly, though, and Seamus sits up, surprised, panting for breath, already drawing his wand, and promptly realizing he doesn't need to. The Death Eater lies on the floor, his wand a few feet away from him. Dean sits on top of the man, fighting like a Muggle with hard punches that always land their mark. Dean's taller than the man, and while the Death Eater is overweight from months of living comfortably, Dean is wiry and lean and strong, and easily winning the fight. The Death Eater is obviously inexperienced at Muggle fighting, and vainly tries to reach his wand or land half-hearted punches on Dean, neither of which works. Eventually, his body can't take the assault anymore, and he blacks out. Dean grabs the man's wand, the beginnings of a triumphant look on his face. "Got a wand," he says, holding it up. "I officially won it from him, right?"
"Think so." Seamus shrugs. "I don't really know much about wands, but since you knocked it out of his hand and knocked him out, I think it's yours."
"Good." Dean gives it a few practice waves, and then extends his hand, helping Seamus to his feet. "You all right?"
"Believe me," Seamus says, realizing how close he's standing to Dean, "I've felt worse." Dean lets go of Seamus's hand several seconds after they're both standing, looking mildly embarrassed; Seamus is sure that Dean would be blushing furiously if he were as pale as Seamus.
Dean raises his eyebrows. "What the hell? Where would you have felt the Cruciatus before?"
"Hogwarts has changed," Seamus says, sending a Stunning Spell at a Death Eater trying to sneak up on them. The man falls backwards, his head striking the wall. "A lot. The Cruciatus Curse is used for detentions now, and, well, I've gotten loads of detentions."
"Of course you have," Dean replies. He hasn't made a move to step away from Seamus, even though they're standing oddly close to one another. Seamus's heart is racing, and he looks up at Dean's face, trying not to stare at the other boy's lips for too long. "Seamus," Dean says quietly, softly, looking down at him. The corridor that they're in is empty - thank Merlin - and while they can hear the fighting in other parts of the castle and grounds, no other Death Eaters come to disturb them yet. "I've missed you," Dean says simply, and Seamus feels a rush of affection. Many boys would have been afraid to say something like that, for fear of sounding weak or whatever. Seamus is glad Dean isn't one of them.
"I've missed you too," Seamus says. "And there were times I was glad that you weren't at Hogwarts, because it was absolute hell this year - but then there were other times I wished you were, dammit, because we haven't seen each other in months. And I...I don't like going months without seeing you."
Dean nods. "You basically just said everything I wanted to say, really." They're still standing close together; a few more inches, and their bodies would be pressed together. Seamus knows that they should be fighting, not having a conversation in the middle of an empty corridor, but he hasn't seen Dean for months and right now, Dean is a little higher up on his list of priorities. The battle's not going to be over in ten minutes. They have time. "Look, Seamus," Dean says slowly, "in case we don't survive this - or in case one of us doesn't - there's just something I want to do. And if we both survive this, then afterwards, you can ignore this happened, if you like. I just want you to know something about me."
Dean's lips meet Seamus's, and it's everything Seamus ever thought it would be. His arms twine around Dean's neck, pulling him closer, and Dean embraces Seamus, their bodies so close together it would be difficult to slip a piece of parchment between them. They kiss hungrily, desperately, because there's a chance this first kiss will also be their last, and Seamus wants to make it memorable, make it perfect. The only reason they stop is for breath, and they pull away at almost the same time, their arms still around each other. Seamus looks into Dean's eyes; he knows Dean so well, and he can read him easily. Dean's expression is a mixture of surprise and happiness and love, in the midst of the battle, and Seamus wishes they could just stay there forever, in that empty corridor. "You're not disgusted," Dean says.
"That would be really hypocritical of me," Seamus replies.
Dean smiles widely. "Now I have even more motivation to survive the battle."
Seamus nods. "Exactly. You better survive - you'd be a prat if you kissed me and then went and got yourself killed." He keeps his voice light.
"We should go," Dean says. "We've got a battle to win."
They fight not just for themselves but for each other as well, a team working in perfect harmony. They cover each other's backs; they notice when the other starts to tire. They know each other so well, and that's what makes them such a dangerous pair; they know what the other is going to do. Seamus loses count of how many Death Eaters the two of them best, and when the battle finally ends - when Harry Potter beats You-Know-Who in the middle of the Great Hall - Seamus is one of the ones who cheers the loudest. He's relieved; he's safe and alive. Dean's safe and alive.
He's glad everyone's looking at Harry, because seconds after You-Know-Who falls, Seamus pulls Dean into another kiss, and they stay that way for a while. A few of the D.A. members - Morag and Romilda, especially, who are standing nearby - notice, but they don't say anything. Seamus is overcome with joy; there are so many things to be thankful for. The D.A. and Order of the Phoenix beat the Death Eaters. You-Know-Who is dead. Seamus is alive and relatively unhurt - so is Dean.
Most of all, though, Dean loves him, and that may be the greatest victory of all.
Just a couple little things I'd like to make note of:
In my headcanon, Madam Pomfrey is not allowed to heal the students' detention-related injuries unless there's a threat of them being fatal; that's why Anthony, Susan, and Fay went to steal potions from her, since the task of healing students fell, well, on other students. Those three are the students' Healers, really (Anthony for Ravenclaw, Susan for Hufflepuff, and Fay for Gryffindor). Also, Fay Dunbar is a character from the video games who made her way into fanfic. She's a minor character who is seen as one of the other Gryffindor girls in the Trio's year.
Morag was going to try to help Romilda when Romilda was forced to sleep in the dungeons; that's because I ship Morag and Romilda, and wanted a little nod to them.
I can't really write Seamus's accent well, which is why I put that it only comes out in times of great nervousness or stress. I can actually see that being the case, since he spends most months out of the year with people who have English accents as opposed to Irish ones; his accent is bound to slip away a bit.
I think that's it - thanks for reading!