How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends.
—Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Dean Thomas had thought, after three years as roommates and best friends, that he understood Seamus Finnigan and had finally got used to how much energy his mate had. At school, based on what Seamus had been eating that day and his general activity level, he could predict within twenty minutes when Seamus would hit the wall and either collapse where he stood (necessitating a carry/push upstairs—good thing he was small) or fall into a funk and lament over his lot in life (necessitating a pep talk, which was fine as Seamus always gave one right back, not to mention on other occasions as needed).
But those three years had left him woefully unprepared for sharing a room in a tent with a boy who had consumed his weight in sweets, crisps and other junk and whose team was about to play in the final of the World Cup. Mrs. Finnigan had grown so exasperated with her only son that she'd given up and put up a silencing charm—fine for her; she was outside the room. Dean was still inside and it was nearing one a.m. with no relief in sight.
Dean was sitting on the bed, sketching nothing in particular because he was so tired, while Seamus talked a blue streak and did tumbles on the floor in front of the door. Then he twisted his body and sprung in such a way that he landed, feet first, on the bed.
"Oi, watch it!" Dean growled.
"Wasn't gonna hit ya," Seamus said as he jumped on the bed.
"Man you have got to calm down," Dean said, finally giving up on drawing. He closed his sketchbook and put his pad and pencil box on the bedside table.
Seamus's jumping slowed to a bounce as he thought. "Well, you know what puts me right to sleep," he said, grinning.
"Aw, Seamus," Dean said, flipping onto his back. "I don't wanna watch you wank, man. Besides, we don't have anything."
Seamus raised his eyebrows. "I do." He collapsed onto the bed and reached over the side for his satchel, rummaging around a bit before sitting up again. He handed Dean a flat box.
"What's this?" Dean asked.
Dean scowled. "All pictures move."
"This one goes for ten minutes and talks and everything," Seamus said. "My cousin Danny gave it to me." He paused, then whispered, "It's a porno!"
"Yeah?" Dean asked. He flipped it over. "How d'ya work it?"
"You need a wand. I was gonna wait til we were back at school but now we don't have to share it with anyone else. Good thing mum put up that silencing charm, eh?"
"Seamus, we can't use our wands."
He shrugged. "I'll just nick Moira's. She's an awful sound sleeper. Y'wanna?"
Dean smiled. "Yeah."
While Seamus slipped out to his sister's room, Dean turned the box over in his hands. Surely it would be no different than reading skin mags, which they'd done since late second year. Seamus didn't need to know that lately Dean had been thinking of Professor Lupin more than any of their female classmates, didn't he?
Seamus carefully closed his sisters's door and snuck across the living room of the tent. This was going to be fucking brilliant, the perfect end to a perfect visit with his best mate. He had a stiffy already just thinking about it. Certainly Dean didn't need to know that lately he'd been thinking a little less about Lavender Brown and a little more about Barry Ryan.
He slipped through his own bedroom door and flourished the wand. "I've got it!"
"Brilliant," Dean said, scooting back on the bed. He slid the box toward Seamus. "Do your thing."
Seamus placed the wand near a knot in the corner of the wooden box. "Alohamora." The top of the box slid back, revealing what looked like a picture frame. In the photo was a naked, muscular man with sandy hair.
"A bloke?" Dean asked.
"Well," Seamus said, "the girl will probably come right along."
The man was running his hand along his nearly hairless chest, pulling his nipples into stiff peaks. Seamus peeked at Dean, who seemed to be watching with, if not interest, at least not disgust. Seamus swung around to sit next to Dean, so he wouldn't be watching the moving picture upside down.
Another man, taller and leaner with ebony skin, joined the first man on the screen. He placed a large hand on the blond man's chest, then leaned in and kissed him.
So that's what it looks like, Seamus thought. He glanced up at Dean out of the corner of his eye. Dean was staring at the small screen, his expression unreadable. Seamus decided to stay quiet.
The men on the screen were properly snogging now. The picture pulled back to show that they were naked from the waist down, too. The black man had turned his back to the screen and his arse was high and firm, like Dean's. Seamus didn't think the blond man looked much like him; he wasn't that buff.
The black man's hand slid down the blond's chest and abs, then slid further down. Seamus bit his lip to keep from gasping. The blond man did moan, despite his neck being bent nearly backward by the force of the black man's kiss. They turned so they were both sideways to the screen; now Seamus could see that the blond had his hand between the black man's legs as well. They were still kissing, but Seamus was only vaguely aware of that; he couldn't keep his eyes away from what their hands were doing. Time seemed to slow down, stretch out, until finally both men came, one after the other. The screen went dark.
Seamus, realizing that he'd been leaning forward, sat back on his haunches. "I think Danny's having a joke. Must have seen they looked like us and couldn't resist."
"Yeah, but where did he get it?" Dean asked.
"D'ya think he's a ponce?"
"Dunno." Seamus paused for a moment, biting his lip, then said, "My Uncle Mark is."
"The artist? The one who lives in London?"
"Yeah, he caught hell from Gran but Da won't hear a word against him, not from anyone." Seamus grinned. "Came home from the pub with a few black eyes that month."
Dean nodded. He was sure that if he turned out to be gay, Seamus would do the same for him. "D'ya think all artists are gay, though?" Dean asked.
"Uncle Mark says most of them aren't," Seamus replied.
Dean nodded. An entirely separate thing, then.
"Y'know who is?"
"Who?" Dean asked.
"Barry Ryan." Seamus sat back for effect.
Dean blinked. "Puddlemere United Barry Ryan? Keeper for the Irish National Team?"
Seamus nodded. "So, yeah. You can't tell."
"Guess not," Dean replied, thinking.
After a bit Seamus said, "So, I'd only admit this to you, but I've got a stiffy now."
Dean let out a breath, relieved. "Yeah, me too. 'Course, I get them in Defense Against the Dark Arts, so."
"Yeah," Seamus said. "Guess it's just our age. Well, if I'm gonna sleep …"
"No, I mean, er, yeah," Dean said, wincing at his inarticulateness.
Seamus took the picture, which had now closed itself back into a box, and put it back in his bag, pulling back out a tube of lotion and a towel.
"You're prepared," Dean said, holding out his hand for a squirt of lotion.
One corner of Seamus's face pulled up into a lopsided grin. He set the cream aside. Seamus, when he thought about it (which was once, the first time he'd wanked at home and found he missed the company), thought he and Dean had probably jacked off together about fifty times. By now they had it down to a routine. Towel, lotion, not really looking at each other but not really avoiding each other either.
Wouldn't take much now, Seamus knew, and he wanted it to go as quickly as possible. Dean was going fast, too, he could tell. Seamus closed his eyes, biting his lip and thinking of how the muscled boys in the picture box snogged and stroked each other. He imagined kissing the dark man's full lips. He could almost see a dark hand sliding down his chest and between his legs. He felt it coming and stroked a little harder, clenching his teeth out of habit as the orgasm hit him. As his breathing slowed, he opened his eyes.
Dean had finished at some point—they didn't race anymore; that was sort of stupid—and was wiping his hand on a corner of the towel. "Will you sleep now?" he asked.
Seamus blew an errant hair out of his eyes. Dean was a real mate, putting up with Seamus the way he did. "Yeah," he replied, taking the towel for himself as Dean turned out the light.
Seamus put the towel on the floor and slid under the covers. For the first time that night his mind was quiet, and between the cozy darkness and Dean's familiar breathing, he finally fell asleep.