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?"
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?"
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."