Pairing: Dean/Seamus, mentioned Neville/Hannah and Seamus/Lavender
Rating: hard R
Warnings: graphic references to sex and masturbation, American spellings, un-Brit picked
Prompt: You disappear for a few years and everything changes.
Summary: It took Seamus Finnigan three years, nine months, and twelve days to realize that he preferred boy bits to girl bits, and that he preferred Dean Thomas's bits best of all.
A/N: Written for slashfest round VI. Thank you to trubbleclef and shes_gone for the last minute betaing and suggestions and hand holding. All mistakes are mine and mine alone.
This is a really imperfect fic, and part of me wants to keep rewriting until I'm completely happy with it...but I think it is what it is. I had fun writing it, so I hope everyone enjoys reading it. [ETA: Sorry, I'm just being a wibbly coward. Ignore me!]
Some things take a long time to come about.
For instance, it took Madame Rosmerta ten years to save up enough Galleons to open a second pub, the Golden Phoenix, in Hogsmeade village. It took Neville Longbottom two years to get up the nerve to ask Hannah Abbott out on a proper date. It took Ron Weasley three minutes and fourteen seconds to realize that the sexual prowess potion he was testing for the shop was actually a puking potion, and four and a half hours before he was able to look at a piece of food without vomiting.
It took Seamus Finnigan three years, nine months, and twelve days to realize that he preferred boy bits to girl bits, and that he preferred Dean Thomas's bits best of all.
This is a rough estimate, of course, because there were a couple of years of denial and confusion that came before, especially during sixth year when Seamus learned exactly what Dean could do with his hands, which was quite a bit more than most of the girls their year. But it all started in earnest on the day Dean left for his Muggle Relations training in Singapore and Lavender offered solace in the form of a grope session in the broom closet of the Eagle's Talon. She continued her therapy sessions, every afternoon for four months, before she realized that most blokes don't mope for so long over their best mate moving away, and dumped him spectacularly in a scene involving a used pair of knickers, a bowl of rice pudding, and about thirty bewildered onlookers.
But Seamus is pretty thick, which is why it took another three years, five months, and twenty-six days to realize what Lavender had only suspected.
And it wasn't until Ron mentioned that Dean was coming back to London that all the pieces started coming together, so rapidly that Seamus couldn't process them all at once and found himself in the loo at the Ministry with his pants around his ankles and his hand wrapped around his cock, furiously wanking to almost four years of sexual tension and repressed memories and unspoken desires. Four years of lacy bras and smooth legs and floral perfume. Four years shattered like a full pint of ale that'd slipped through his fingertips and collided with the wooden floor below.
Apparently absence makes the cock grow fonder. Or something.
On the day that Dean was due back, Seamus, Harry, and Ron Apparated straight from the Ministry to the Leaky Cauldron, where Seamus got a head start on everyone and had knocked back two pints before either of the others had finished one of theirs.
"What's the hurry?" asked Ron. "You'll be pissed before Dean gets here!"
Seamus decided that this sounded like an excellent idea and ordered another pint. All day, he'd been a nervous wreck, imagining what it would be like to see Dean again after so many years away. He wasn't entirely sure yet what he was going to say to him, or how he wanted to say it. Despite his memories of sixth year fumbling and a few post-war shags, and the growing collection of gay porn under his mattress, Seamus was still getting used to the idea that he preferred clackers to giblets and didn't know how on earth he was supposed to say it out loud, especially to the owner of the clackers he fancied best. Plus, he really had no idea what to expect from Dean. As the day wore on, and the girl at the desk next to his caught him talking to his pencil jar no less than three times, Seamus was starting to wonder if he was really cut out for this whole knobjockey thing after all.
"Hey!" Seamus looked up just as Neville and Hermione appeared in the doorway of the pub, with Neville grinning like a little boy on Christmas morning. "He's here!" he announced excitedly.
Seamus's heart leapt into his throat as Dean stepped through the doorway. He was taller than Seamus remembered, just a little bit heavier. He was wearing a cream-colored sweater over dark jeans, and his hair was shorter than it was before, and he looked so fucking gorgeous that Seamus's mouth went dry, despite the two pints of beer.
"Dean!" Ron shouted and stood from his chair so quickly that he almost turned it over. Dean grinned, and slapped him on the back and pulled him into a quick hug. He did the same with Harry and then turned to Seamus, his smile fading just a bit as he hesitated. Seamus's heart was pounding so roughly that he was afraid it was about to crack a rib.
"Let's get you a pint," he said quickly, because suddenly the idea of hugging Dean in front of all of their friends was making him feel a bit queasy. "Another pint?" he called out to the barmaid, and then looked back at the others. "A round for everyone then?"
"Nothing for me," said Hermione, draping her robes over the back of her chair before she took her seat. "I have to be in early tomorrow. Can you believe they've scheduled the Challinor hearing for seven A.M.?"
"That's tomorrow?" asked Harry, looking panicked. "I thought it was Monday!"
"They changed it. Didn't you get the memo? I sent it to you after lunch."
"Must've got lost in that mudslide accident on the fifth floor." Harry sighed as the barmaid set a pint in front of him. "Shit."
"Anythin' for you, love?" the woman asked Hermione.
"Oh, get one," said Harry, as Hermione started to shake her head. "I'll bring us some hangover potion."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "All right, just one, please," she told the barmaid, and then said to Harry, "You haven't got any hangover potion left because Ron used it all last weekend when he went out with George and Lee." Ron opened his mouth to reply, but she beat him to it. "I just finished a batch; I'll bring some for you in the morning."
"There was only a bit left anyway," Ron muttered into his glass. "Hardly did me any good."
"Anyway," Hermione said loudly, turning to face the others, "Dean, tell us about Singapore."
Seamus looked up at Dean, who was sipping his beer quietly and taking everything in. "Oh," he said, setting the glass down onto the table. "It was great, actually. I shared a flat with these two blokes that were going through the program with me. One of them had already been there for a few months, so he showed us around at first – showed us the clubs and the restaurants and pubs…"
Seamus watched Dean as he told them about his favorite restaurants, and about the pastry stand down the street from his flat, with the woman that saved a fresh yam kueh for him every morning. And he told them about the art museums he visited, and the festivals. In some ways, it was like meeting him again for the first time. There was something more masculine and mature about the texture of his voice, something so reassuring about the way his fingers folded around the pint he was holding in his left hand. Seamus didn't know how someone could be so familiar and so utterly unfamiliar all at once.
"Did you do any drawing?"
Dean looked up at Seamus in surprise. "Yeah, a bit. Didn't have much time during the day, but…" He offered a nervous smile. "Saved a few pieces. The ones I didn't hate."
Seamus nodded and tried to smile, but it felt more like a grimace, so he took another swig of beer and looked down at the table. Perhaps later Dean could show him the drawings, after everyone else cleared out.
"Tell them about Quidditch," said Ginny, nudging Dean casually with her elbow. "Tell them about the match you saw, between…oh, who was it? The one with the rogue bludger and the—"
"Oh!" Dean exclaimed. "The Stonewall Stormers?"
"Yes!" Ginny grinned, and Seamus watched uncomfortably as her fingers curled around Dean's wrist. "Tell them what the chaser did when she got hit. Oh, this is a good one," she told the others. "Tell them, Dean."
Seamus didn't hear much of the story – something about a biased referee giving a bad call and then having to regrow the bones in her left leg – because he couldn't take his eyes off of Ginny, who was still clutching Dean's arm like it was a life preserver and she was floating all alone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He hadn't realized that the two of them had kept in touch, or that they'd become so friendly again after they broke up sixth year. Of course, he hadn't exactly kept in touch either (with the exception of a parcel of Honeydukes he'd sent about a month after Dean left), so it really wasn't fair to begrudge Dean his connection with home…but why did it have to be Ginny? Did he still fancy her? Shite. After nearly four years of Seamus snogging girls only to figure out that he really preferred blokes, had Dean spent the last four years snogging blokes only to find that he didn't really like it as much as he'd originally thought? Seamus felt his stomach clench with dread, and he took a deep swig of beer to wash the bitter taste out of his mouth. "Another," he croaked when the barmaid came to collect their empty glasses.
"…and then the Ministry had to get involved, because it turns out it was a bribe. I think they're still trying to sort it out, actually."
"Oh, the Ministry," said Hermione, whose cheeks were rosy from the two beers she'd worked through as Dean had talked. "What is their Ministry like? I've seen pictures, but—"
"The Ministry?" Ron echoed, scrunching his nose up at her. "No, Dean, tell us about the women!"
Seamus nearly choked on his beer. He saw Dean's eyes flicker over him briefly before he looked back at Ron. "Well, actually—"
Seamus didn't want to hear about Dean snogging some long-legged slapper in a see-through top, and he especially didn't want to hear about how he'd abstained because Ginny was waiting for him back home. "No!" he said loudly.
Everyone turned to look at him. Dean narrowed his eyes in confusion as he waited for Seamus's explanation. "Tell us more about Quidditch," Seamus said quickly. "About the Singapore…"
"Slingers," Ron finished for him.
"Yes, the Slingers," said Seamus, as if that's what he'd been thinking of all along. "Good team."
"Actually, they've lost eight of their last ten games," said Ron.
"Singapore Slingers?" Hermione asked, frowning. "Like the drink? That's ridiculous. Why would they name a team after an alcoholic beverage?"
"Actually, it's the other way around," said Dean. "They named the drink after the team. See, the guy that invented it was a wizard, a big Quidditch supporter. In fact, originally the drink was so popular because the man that invented it used to add magically-enhanced gin."
Hermione's face lit up at this bit of history. "You know, I was reading about him the other day! Did you know that it was the British businessmen that brought Quidditch to Singapore in the first place? Back in 1819 when—"
"Look what you've started, Dean," Ron said accusingly. "You should know better than to talk about that rubbish when she's had something to drink. Now she'll never be quiet."
Hermione's icy glare could have formed a glacier from a cup of hot tea. "You'll regret being so rude when you wake up tomorrow morning and feel like your head is going to explode and I didn't leave any extra hangover potion for you."
Neville burst out laughing, and kept laughing even as Ron turned to glare at him. "What?" he said. "It's funny!"
"Careful, Neville," said Dean, grinning wickedly. "Ron knows where you live."
"So?" said Neville. "It's Hermione I'd be worried about."
None of them lasted much longer after that. Hermione, Ron, and Harry paid their tab and took off rather quickly, with Hermione giving Dean a messy kiss on the cheek and making him promise to show her all of his photographs from the trip at a later date. Then Ginny remembered that she had to wake up early as well, and Dean offered to take her home. Before they disappeared, Dean turned to Seamus and offered a hesitant smile. "See you around then, eh, Seamus?"
Seamus, who was pretty well plastered by then, managed a weak nod. "Yeah," he said, glancing over at Ginny quickly. "Around."
Dean paused like maybe he was going to say something else, then nodded. "Right." He stepped back and grabbed Ginny's hand, and they disappeared through the front door.
"Just you and me, huh?" said Neville, and Seamus realized for the first time that he wasn't the only one who'd had a few too many beers.
"Looks like it," Seamus muttered.
"It's great having Dean back, isn't it?" Neville gushed. "I can't believe how long it's been."
Seamus clunked his empty glass onto the bar. "I want another beer," he said firmly. "You want one, Nev?"
"Yeah!" Neville motioned for the barmaid. "Two more," he told her.
"Actually…" Seamus looked up as the woman paused expectantly. "Feck beer. I need some firewhiskey."
Seamus woke early on Saturday morning, which is to say that he woke before noon. His room was far too bright, and the flat itself was far too quiet, despite the rhythmic pounding of blood in his ears. He groaned and turned over on his side, curling his body around the pillow tucked under his outstretched arm and closing his eyes against the rays of sunshine pouring in through the window facing out on the street.
But sleep was not to be had. There was something tugging at his stomach, and not just the usual Saturday morning nausea, but the feeling of arriving three minutes late to Potions and then remembering that he had an essay due and it was too late to copy from anyone. Finally, with a great deal of effort, he crawled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom in search of hangover potion.
"Shite," he muttered to the cupboard, which was empty save for his toothbrush and a package of razor blades. As he brushed his teeth, he remembered those first few days after Dean left for Singapore and Seamus kept finding his things strewn about the flat – books and magazines, souvenir drinking cups, socks with the West Ham logo embroidered on the cuffs. He remembered how quiet it was without Dean there, and he wondered how he could have been so stupid that he didn't recognize the feeling for what it really was.
Neville was sitting in his usual corner at the Leaky when Seamus slumped down into the chair next to his. "Morning," he said cheerfully, shoveling a forkful of eggs into his mouth. "How're ooh 'eeling?"
Seamus grimaced. "Don't guess Hermione let you borrow some of that hangover potion, didn't she?"
Neville shook his head and pulled a small green vial out of the front pocket of his shirt. "I always keep some at the house, just in case. Here," he said, handing it to Seamus. "You can have the rest. I have more at home."
Seamus uncorked the vial and sipped carefully, biting back his gag reflex as the peppermint hit the back of his throat. He'd had Neville's potions before, and they always left him feeling a bit light-headed, even when they fulfilled their intended purpose. Hermione, whose potions were some of the purest Seamus had ever used, said Neville was overly fond of the organic fertilizer he used for his plants, which led Seamus to wonder exactly what Neville was growing in his greenhouse.
"Ugh," he said, setting the vial on the table between them. The nausea was all but gone, and his head wasn't throbbing quite as loudly. "Thanks."
"No problem," said Neville. He took a sip of his tea, and then his face broke open into a smile. "Look, Dean's here."
Seamus looked up in time to see Dean stepping off the bottom step of the staircase, looking clean and smart in a light red polo shirt and jeans. "Morning," said Neville as Dean approached the table. "Want some toast?"
Dean chuckled and took a seat beside Neville. "Uh, no, thanks." He looked up at Seamus and nodded politely. "Seamus."
Seamus nodded back. "Hello."
"Any plans for the day?" asked Neville, mopping up the last of his eggs with a piece of buttered toast. "Ginny said you were going to start looking for a new flat."
Seamus flinched at the mention of Ginny, and also of the new flat, because part of him had been hoping that Dean could just move into his old room at his flat. Or into Seamus's bed…although he wasn't sure either of them would be ready for that, if Dean wanted to, which he obviously didn't.
"Yeah, Ginny said they just opened up a new building a few blocks from the Ministry," Dean replied. "Wizard-friendly. I thought I'd stop by to take a look."
Neville swallowed the last mouthful of toast and placed his napkin on the table beside his empty plate. "Well, good luck then. I'd go with you, but I'm meeting Hannah at the book shop in a few minutes." He stood from his chair and dropped a handful of coins onto the table. "But maybe we could all have dinner sometime this week?" He glanced between the two of them, expression eager. "Without the girls this time, so it's like we're back in the dormitory."
Dean offered him a friendly smile. "Sounds great, Nev."
Neville grinned and clapped Dean on the back, and then disappeared through the pub's front door.
"You eating breakfast?" asked Dean, after a moment of awkward silence.
"Uh, no." Seamus reached up to scratch his neck. "Don't think I can eat nothin' just yet."
Dean nodded understandingly. "Well, if you have a minute then, I've got something for you up in my room."
Seamus furrowed his brow in confusion. "Something for me?"
"Yeah. I mean, it's nothing big, but I saw it and…" Dean shrugged. "Dunno."
"Yeah," Seamus answered, absurdly happy at the idea that Dean had thought about him while he was gone. "Yeah, okay."
Dean led Seamus up to his room on the second floor. It was clean and almost bare, except for a large trunk and two neatly folded shirts lying on bed. Seamus remembered Dean's patient exasperation with the other boys back at Hogwarts, when they'd leave dirty socks and wet towels on the dormitory floor.
"It's in here," said Dean, crossing over to the trunk. He lifted the lid and pulled a small parcel from the top, handing it to Seamus. "It's really not much, but it reminded me of that summer when we saw the Irish play Newcastle…"
Seamus ripped open the paper and pulled out a carefully folded necktie. It was emerald green, like the grass of the Quidditch pitch, and was buzzing with players on broomsticks. One of them, a Seeker chasing a tiny Golden Snitch, was wearing robes the color of the Kenmare Kestrals.
"Thanks," Seamus said quietly, looking up at Dean. "It's…"
"I know it's kind of silly, but maybe you could wear it under your robes or something." Dean pursed his lips together in an embarrassed smile. "Or when you have to visit your mum."
Seamus let out a laugh that sounded like a choke, because suddenly there were too many words in his mouth and he didn't know which ones to say first. And of course the ones that came out were: "So, you and Ginny are shagging."
Dean looked like Seamus had slapped him across the face. "What?"
Seamus swallowed. "Nothin'. I didn't…I didn't mean—"
Dean blinked. "I'm not shagging Ginny. Why would you think that?"
Seamus was so overwhelmed with relief that it took him a minute to come up with an appropriate response. "Well, you know…last night. You came in together." He frowned. "She knew all about your Quidditch matches. You never told me about those!"
"Yeah, cause she actually kept in touch," Dean snapped back. "Unlike other people I know."
"I wrote you," Seamus pointed out.
"You sent me a box of chocolates!"
"With a note!" Seamus shot back defensively. And it'd taken him an hour to write it, too. He'd used up entire stack of bar napkins and had ended up with a beer-stained coaster that read: 'Enjoy the chocolates. From, Seamus'.
Dean shook his head. "I don't know why we're arguing about this now."
"Because it still matters," Seamus said firmly.
Dean looked at him for a long moment, expression pained. "Everything's different now, Seamus," he said quietly.
Oh. Oh. Seamus's stomach clenched with sudden understanding. Of course things were different; how could he be so bloody stupid? If it wasn't Ginny, it was someone else, and if it was someone else then it certainly wasn't him. He felt the back of his neck prickle with sweat and something so all-consuming that it didn't even have a name. "Oh," Seamus said out loud. "Right."
"I'm twenty-three years old," Dean continued. "I'm not interested in a drunken shag with some bloke who's going to wake up the next morning and pretend it didn't happen."
"Oh," Seamus said again, with far too much enthusiasm than was appropriate. "So you still like blokes then?"
Dean looked at him like he'd suddenly grown an extra head. "Well, of course I still like blokes, Seamus. What was I going to do, grow out of it?"
Seamus felt his cheeks burning with embarrassment, but before he could come back with the appropriate retort, the rest of Dean's words caught up with him. "Hey, I never pretended it didn't happen."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Might as well have."
Seamus swallowed. "Well, you're not the only one that's changed. Things're different around here, too."
Dean eyed him carefully. "Yeah? How?"
Of course it was right when the words were really important that Seamus couldn't say them. He thought about those nights spent wanking to the image of Dean's dark hands trailing through the line of sandy brown hair that disappeared into his jeans, and the way his heart leapt into his throat when he saw Dean walk through the doorway of the Leaky Cauldron. And before he could really think it through, he stepped forward and kissed Dean on the mouth.
He didn't expect Dean to respond, and he almost didn't. But just as Seamus was about to pull away again, he felt Dean's mouth open up under his, and their tongues slid together in a way that made Seamus's stomach flood with warmth. His mouth tasted like peppermint, but he smelled like something else altogether. Like clean soap and thick brown paper and Dean. Dean wound his fingers through Seamus's hair, gripping his scalp with strong fingertips, and Seamus breathed heavily into his mouth, trying to taste as much as he could. Fuck, how could his body not have recognized how much he'd missed this?
Suddenly Dean pulled away, looking at Seamus with a serious expression on his face. His lips were moist and swollen, his eyelashes fluttering in surprise. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out.
"Okay," Seamus said breathlessly, to break the tension, "maybe some things are the same after all."
"No," Dean said slowly, never tearing his eyes away from Seamus's. "Not everything."
"Better?" Seamus asked hopefully, cocking an eyebrow.
Dean nodded. "Yeah, I think so." Then he leaned forward and captured Seamus's mouth with his own.
Three years, nine months, and twenty-seven days.
Some things are worth waiting for.