The Test of the Heart is Trouble

The first time Seamus heard Fred's jingle on the Wireless about Wheezes' Grand Reopening, he gaped disbelievingly at the radio before shutting it off with a savage snap of his wand.

"Oy! I was listening to that match, y'know!" Dean bellowed, but Seamus had stomped off to another room, muttering about bloody thankless Weasleys and ginger-haired blokes whose bollocks should've been hexed off.


"Turn the bloody thing back on yerself!" Seamus yelled back, nearly ruining the fag he jerked out of its packet and set to his lips. He'd taken two satisfyingly bitterhot inhales when he heard the Ballycastle/Green Knights match emanating again from the living room.

Fred was going to reopen his shop, alone. Fred'd not even had the fucking decency to owl him and let him know he'd been working on it, though Seamus had assumed that was what he'd been up to. Malcontent borne of righteous fury burned in Seamus. He had the wicked hope that Fred would have night after night of his vivid nightmares and awake from them — alone — crying out for George, and then hoping for the comfort of the one who'd cared for him more deeply than a brother: Seamus.

He wouldn't be there, either.

Fred had ditched him after the War, saying it would be for the best, that they should move on, forget the chilling atrocities they'd endured and inflicted. To Seamus' mind and heart, it had been a vivisection, brutal and traumatic. He'd never given so much of himself to somebody else like that, especially someone he admired that much. Never before had he comforted another bloke that intensely, caring for Fred through the long days and longer nights after George had been killed.

And now… He lit a second cigarette from the first, flicking the first one off of their balcony. Breathing deeply, he exhaled a stream of smoke through his nostrils, willing himself not to think of playful lips, an obscene tongue in his ear promising filthy passions to come…

"Get a fucking grip," Seamus grumbled angrily at himself. "Obviously he doesn't miss you. You deserve better than that spotty-arsed prick. You were used, Finnigan. Get on with it."

He'd been so caught up in his mumbled tirade that he jumped when he heard Dean's voice behind him.

"If you want to go to the opening, I'll go with you. Moral support and all that," Dean offered with an apologetic smile.

"Ah, you're me best mate. Ta," Seamus said warmly, turning around and toeing at Dean's trainers so he'd know how close he was. "Ale?"

"I reckon."

As Dean settled awkwardly into a chair, Seamus Accio'ed two bottles from their cold box. At times like this he really wished Dean, too, was queer— instead, he was merely blind, and a decorated War hero, as many of them were. Dean tried to understand Seamus' attraction to blokes, his lust for cocks and arses and chests that fit so taut and flat against his own. Dean tried too hard, though Seamus adored him for it.

"So, what do you say?" Dean persisted, crossing a lean, long leg across his knee, his fingers grasping around the ale once Seamus placed it in his hand.

"Not going," Seamus growled, though his anger was reverting to a deeply rooted, self-pitying resentment. Dean was the only person who knew just how close he and Fred had become during those months at the end of the War, and Seamus' pride insisted it stay that way. "I'm sure the arsehole's not shed any tears over me. He can have his bloody reopening and picture on the front of the bloody Prophet by his bloody self."

They drank in silence for a few moments until Dean gazed in Seamus' direction, his unseeing, pearlescent eyes roving slightly in their sockets. "Can I bum a cigarette?"

"'Course. Sorry."

Dean nestled the cigarette between his full lips, closing his eyes as Seamus cast an Incendio. Seamus felt guilty, sometimes, at his unhindered ability to ogle his best friend, especially since Dean only fancied birds. He had no worries about Seamus' orientation, even calling out from time to time that he knew Seamus was perving on his arse, and to stop it. Seamus invariably retorted that Dean only wished that was the case. In truth, Seamus had long ago surrendered to his unhealthy lust of Dean's indecently erotic, slender fingers. Not that it mattered, of course.

"Do you think he'll come around?" Dean asked, his expression earnest.

Scorching anger flashed in Seamus' chest, and he wanted to punch something. Futility washed over him seconds later, however, and he polished off his ale instead. He'd asked Dean to perform enough healing spells on his hand as it was.

"No. He's not said a word about us being together, not fucking once," Seamus said moodily, Accio'ing another two beers. "Better off not being around someone who can put on that much of an act. Me, me fucking heart's always been on me sleeve."

"I know. Even I can see it," Dean chuckled, and Seamus couldn't stop laughing weakly in response. "You know that you deserve better." He raised his elbow to establish the height of the railing before tossing his fag over the side.

"'Course I do. He just, well, he was just so…" Seamus' voice trailed off. It didn't matter how Fred had seemed to crave him, needed him, told him again and again how he'd've gone totally batshite without Seamus, without their nearly ruthless snogging and desperately passionate shags. He'd lied through his teeth, or for whatever reason he didn't want people to know about them, or maybe he'd simply taken advantage of Seamus and discarded him once things were back to a fucked-up imitation of normal. Ultimately Seamus had decided it didn't matter; Fred was treating him like shite, and Seamus was ignoring him in turn. But during those few months, things had been euphorically different.

"Like a mortise and tenon," Seamus said finally, shrugging even though he knew Dean wouldn't see it. "We fit together. Was bloody brilliant, no matter this tripe he's pulling now."

"Like a what?" Dean said, looking confused, scissoring his second and third fingers as he nonverbally requested another cigarette.

"Mortise and tenon. Seamless slot and groove joint. Ye make 'em doing old school carpentry. Did a bit 'o that in summers with me cousin Anson. The things slide right in, no nails or anything. We were like that."

"Too much information," Dean said with a mock shudder, before he took a drag.

"Not like that, ye pervy bastard." Seamus clocked Dean lightly on the knee.

Except that they had fit together memorably well that way. Maybe Fred still wanked and thought about him, about Seamus kneeling between his knees, Seamus' tongue sliding feverishly around his narrow cock. More than that, though, Seamus had held him together. He'd lost his mam a few months prior; he knew the acrid flavour of loss, knew that no amount of firewhiskey or even shared saliva in a hot mouth could dull its presence.

"There are some things you just can't joke about. We understood that."

Seamus leaned back in his chair, resting on the back two legs, arms on the railing. He looked up at the raspberry sky, thought of the snatched moments of peace they'd had out on patrol, the commitments and pledges he'd made, willingly.

Fred Xavier Weasley couldn't even be arsed to owl him. About anything. Even to meet up for a couple of pints, like you would with a friend. No; the War was over, and Seamus evidently too awkward or too painful to keep on with, even for a casual fuck. Seamus rolled that sourness around his palate before opening his mouth to breathe in the heated air, which couldn't dampen the taste.

"No matter what you're thinking, I reckon he'll notice if you're not there," Dean said, apparently trying to instill some macabre hope in him. "I sure as hell don't know what I'd do without you."

Seamus gnawed on his bottom lip for a bit, the finality of it all bruising him with something that felt a lot like betrayal.

"Some people never really know what they're missing."

Interlude: Snow

"What do you mean it's snowing? You're bloody having me on! It's April!" Dean growled, but Seamus wouldn't be deterred.

"Yes, it's snowing. Come outside, you berk, if you don't believe me. Come on," Seamus insisted, pulling Dean up from the couch where he'd been lying down, listening to some obscure Wizarding book about werewolves in Scotland in audio form.

"I was comfortable, y'know," Dean muttered, shaking Seamus off. "And I know where the door is. I can get around without your help."

"I know. Git," Seamus said with a smile as Dean navigated their furniture flawlessly, though he did keep one hand out in front of him.

They went out onto the small porch where the uncharacteristically cold and quiet air dampened the usual hubub of a London Friday night. Dean paused where he stood, his sightless eyes looking left and right while Seamus just stared upward into the night, blinking when the flakes fell onto his face. He stuck out his tongue, catching what flakes fell on it before they melted.

Dean had shoved his hands into his pockets, but upturned his face, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths through his nose. "Bloody hell," he said under his breath. "It's not supposed to snow this time of year."

The night was muffled in a hushed way only made possible by snow, encouraging Seamus' chatty nature to be quiet as well. He was enraptured by the swirls and mini whorled patterns made when the slight breeze danced in the airy dusting, and he wished he had the kind of eloquence to describe it to Dean, even though he could probably envision it in his mind's eye well enough. It seemed natural to be almost motionless, simply watching the unexpected return of winter.

"There's not that much, is there?" Dean asked quietly, pulling a hand from his pocket to hold it out, evidently wanting to feel the faint snowy caress.

"No. It's beautiful, though." Seamus made a slight scuffling with his feet, letting Dean know he'd moved away to the edge of the railing. "Doubt it'll stick, but it's right gorgeous, falling pretty steadily. Really small flakes," he added, trying to add a bit of visual for his best friend.


Dean took a hand and rubbed at the little bit that had clung to his forehead and eyebrows, a faint smile tugging at his lips. "Pretty odd."


Seamus shivered, thrusting his hands up into his armpits, but unwilling to go back inside just yet.

"Are you supposed to make a wish or anything with something like this? Like a shooting star?" Dean asked, turning to face Seamus.

Seamus gave him a look of disdain and rolled his eyes, even though he knew Dean couldn't see it. "No. But the next one I do see, I'll give you my wish. I already have mine."

Dean's brows furrowed. "I find that hard to believe. Fred's still being an arse. You're not getting any, though I'm sure you could if you wanted."

Seamus made a rude noise. "Could if I wanted, sure. Thanks for that." He walked past Dean, heading back inside their flat. Dean followed with a last deep inhale and exhale, his breath hovering visibly for a few seconds until it vanished into the chill. "I'd always wished for happiness, to be around someone who actually wanted to be with me. I mean, I'm quite a catch, but things haven't always worked out," he said pragmatically, though the bruising on his heart from his unexpectedly short, but torrid time with Fred was still quite raw. "You put up with me."

Dean's lips quirked to the side as he made he way into the kitchen, heading for the pantry with the teas and coffee. "Yes, I do. Ought to be sainted, I suppose."

Seamus snorted as he closed the door, feeling oddly at peace despite the strange weather and his definite solo romantic status. "Yeah. Saint Thomas. 'Fraid that title's already been taken." He put on the kettle, finding some ancient hot chocolate while Dean sniffed at a few of the tea bags until he found an herbal raspberry one and placed it on the counter. "Still, we've a good life, you and me."

"Only you could get heartbroken and become a sentimental poof," Dean said with a wide smile, edging backward in anticipation of a friendly clocking Seamus was only too happy to provide.

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