Katie was the first to sound the alarm.
“Oh, Da, no.”
“What?” Seamus asked, looking at himself in the mirror. “These are new trousers and I think they fit me quite well.” He turned so he could check out his arse. “And I’m still slim enough to avoid that middle-aged untucked shirt look.”
“It isn’t the trousers,” Katie said. “It’s that shirt.”
“I like it,” Seamus said, running his hand over the turquoise and purple paisley print. “It’s lively, and matches my eyes.”
Katie rolled her eyes in the manner of teenage girls and, rather than answering, leaned out into the hall. “Jules! Disaster!”
“Not everything you don’t like is a disaster, Katie,” Jules said as she walked into the room.
Katie pointed to their father, and Jules shuddered.
“Right, Da, do you want us to start our sixth year at Hogwarts under a shadow of humiliation?” Jules asked.
“How on earth?” Seamus said.
“They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re Jules Finnigan. Isn’t your father the one who dressed like an idiot at Harry Potter’s fiftieth birthday party?’ My fellow Hufflepuffs might not care but the Gryffindors will eat Katie for breakfast.”
Seamus shook his head. “I hardly think—”
The girls didn’t wait for him, but instead shouted, “Dad!” in unison.
“What is all this? Shay, darling, I thought you were going to wear the orange pullover?” Dean asked.
“I dunno,” Seamus said. “It might be a bit too warm in all that crowd.”
Dean walked over and stood behind Seamus, looking into the mirror, his hands on Seamus’s shoulders. “Hermione requested us to be early and we don’t have much time so I’m going to be blunt. As your best friend, your husband, the father of your children, and the man who greatly enjoys sharing his bed with you, I must tell you: You look like your father.”
Seamus’s eyes widened. “No!”
“Yes,” Dean said. “Look at this pattern, Seamus. What on earth possessed you?”
“Oh, God,” Seamus said, closing his eyes and quickly unbuttoning the shirt so Dean could slip it off his shoulders. “Age?”
“That’s why you have us, Da,” Katie said, taking the shirt from Dean.
Jules handed him the orange pullover that had been laid out on the bed. “I’m sure Aunt Hermione will increase the cooling charms for you.”
“I’ll ask her particularly,” Dean said. “There, that’s my handsome man.”
Seamus scowled. “Don’t start flattering me now,” he said. “I know on a good day I can aspire to distinguished. How’s the hair?”
“Excellent,” Dean said. “Now we really must go.”
Jules watched her sister tossing the shirt into her room. “Are you going to burn it?” she asked.
“Not exactly,” Katie said, smiling.
Which is how, a week or so later, Seamus found a brand-new turquoise and purple paisley pillow on the chair in his office and he had to admit, that was likely the best use for it.