Third year wasn’t much different from first or second, except for the fact that it was completely different. The class schedule was pretty much the same, the great hall provided the exact same meals, and the Gryffindor boys’ dorm was still the same. Except maybe the dorm wasn’t exactly the same. Because during first and second year, Dean Thomas shared a room with his four best friends. During third year, Dean Thomas still shared a room with his four best friends, but now he had a massive crush on one of them.
Originally, Dean just thought that he looked up to Seamus. That he admired the boy’s confidence and humor, but then he really couldn’t rationalize his ‘admiration’ of Seamus’ freckles or the way his lips twitched when he was trying not to laugh during class. His crush really hit him over the summer though, when he was away from Seamus.
Dean didn’t really know when he had started, but by the end of summer, his new art desk was covered in drawings and paintings of a pale, freckled, Irish boy. And now Dean was back, standing in the dorm, and watching Seamus enthusiastically unpack.
“And then the entire shed just went up in flames! Woosh!” Seamus was moving his uniforms from his trunk into the drawers by his bed. He moved quickly, bouncing up and down as he told his story, effectively destroying the neat folding job that his mum had so carefully done. “But I swear it wasn’t my fault! The shed totally looked like it was made of metal!”
“Merlin, Sea, you’re like a walking fire hazard.”
“Am not!” Seamus responded. He had finished transferring his uniforms and was now sitting on his bed. He was still bouncing, full of energy that Dean couldn’t help but find insanely adorable.
Dean laughed at Seamus’ indignation and moved over to his own trunk to start unpacking.
“You can go down to the great hall if you want.” Dean said. They didn’t have to be downstairs for another half hour or so, but the rest of their roommates had already headed down, excited to start the opening ceremony.
“No. I’ll stay. I’ll help you unpack.” Seamus jumped off of the bed, he came to stand right next to Dean, looking down at the chest. Dean was hyper aware of Seamus’ shoulder touching his. His whole arm tingled with heat. He looked over at Seamus, from this close he could see every single freckle on Seamus’ face. He hadn’t noticed that Seamus had freckles on his ears too. All over them, they were just as covered as his nose, or his hands.
Dean was infatuated with Seamus’ hands. Half of his drawings were just of the long thin fingers and the freckle covered skin. Seamus’ fingers were boney, the knuckles pronounced and hard. His palms, though, were soft. Unlike Dean’s hands which were covered in calluses from painting and drawing. He couldn’t help but find it funny that one of the reasons that his hands were so callused was from drawing Seamus’ soft hands.
“Well?” Seamus spoke, knocking Dean out of his head. “Are we gonna stand here all day, or are you gonna open your trunk?”
“Uh, yeah. Sorry.” Dean mumbled, kneeling down and popping the lid of the trunk.
“Seriously Dean? You’ve got a chest inside of your chest?” Seamus laughed. Sitting on top of his uniforms was a small wooden box that Dean knew contained his sketchbook and all of his drawings and paintings from over the summer.
“Uh. Yeah, just let me...” Dean went to move the box out of the chest and slide it under the bed quickly before moving onto the uniforms. He transferred them into the drawers like Seamus had done a few minutes ago (Dean, however, kept his clothes neatly folded). Seamus focused on unpacking Dean’s school supplies and setting them on his desk.
Working together, they finished quickly and headed to the opening ceremony,
“You know how I spent the break, what’d you do over the holiday?” Seamus asked on their way to the great hall.
“Nothing as interesting as blowing up a shed, that’s for sure.” Seamus laughed which made Dean smile. He liked making Seamus laugh. “I uh, I did a lot of drawing and some painting.” Dean finished, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Awesome! Can I see some of them? What did you draw? Anything cool?” Seamus rattled off questions about the drawings and what else Dean did during the summer and “did you see the Puddlemere/Harpies game?” and whatever else came to his mind. Dean just smiled. He nodded or shook his head when prompted, but was sufficiently content to just listen to Seamus talk for hours. Of course, he didn’t talk for hours, it was only a few minutes before they had arrived in the great hall.
Dean loved the opening ceremony and was ecstatic to see all of his friends, but couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that he now had to share Seamus’ attention. Still the ceremony was fun, the food was fantastic, and the sorting was way more fun to watch then it had been to participate in. The night flew by and before he knew it, Dean was back in the dorm filled with the anticipation of classes starting tomorrow.
The morning was hectic as Dean had come to expect from the first morning of term. Dean was busy pulling on his vest and straightening his tie when Seamus burst out of the bathroom, toothbrush still between his teeth, tie around his head, shirt only halfway buttoned, and his hair sticking up in every direction.
“Seamus! Come on, we’re gonna miss breakfast.” Neville chastised, his hair already brushed down, his uniform neat and clearly ironed.
“Yeah, yeah I just gotta…. find my…. Where’s my vest?”
Dean sighed, “You guys go on ahead, I’ll make sure he gets to class without setting the dorm on fire.”
“Hey!” Seamus yelled.
“You sure?” Harry asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine, you guys go.” The obligatory niceties out of the way, Harry, Ron, and Neville quickly left the dorm, afraid Dean might change his mind. By this time, Seamus had finished brushing his teeth and his tie had migrated from around his head to around his neck.
If Dean spent a bit too long staring at Seamus’ disheveled hair and his sideways smile as he hopped on one foot to shove his shoes on, could anyone really blame him?
“Dean, you don’t have to stay, you know that right? I’ll be fine, I’m not a child.”
“You sure about that?” Dean asked, pointing at the other boy’s tie which was crooked and on the verge of becoming untied. Seamus looked down and attempted to fix the issue but succeeding only in making it worse. Dean chuckled, walking over to him and pushing his hands away, “Here. Let me.” He reached for Seamus’ tie.
Dean realized very quickly that this might not of been his best idea. He tried to focus on the tie, tried to remember what his father had said about tying the perfect Windsor. But he could feel Seamus’ breath against his face, and he knew that if he just looked up, he’d be close enough to kiss his best friend. Shit, no. He wasn’t going to kiss his best friend. How would Seamus react? Maybe Dean would ruin everything and Seamus would never talk to him again. No, right now, Dean just needed to finished with this damn tie.
“There.” Dean said, gently tightening the tie and quickly fixing Seamus’ collar.
“Dean?” Seamus whispered, and Dean is sure he must have imagined the soft blush beneath his freckles. Dean stepped away, trying to regain some composure.
“You, um.” Dean cleared his throat, shaking his head. “You put your vests in the third drawer from the top, by the way.” Dean looked around the dorm avoiding eye contact with Seamus. He didn’t respond immediately, but quickly enough shook his head like Dean had done seconds prior and began to move towards the drawer.
“I knew there was a reason I kept you around.” Seamus joked, his smile not quite reaching his eyes. The two remained silent as he pulled on a vest, ran his fingers through his hair, and shrugged his robes on. Dean couldn’t help but wonder if he had messed everything up, if somehow Seamus knew and was completely weirded out. Dean wouldn’t blame him if he was. When he thought about it, Dean came to the conclusion that it was pretty weird. How many 14 year old boys obsessively drew their best friend? Dean was pretty sure the number had to be pretty low. Seamus, of course, was the one to break the quiet, slapping Dean’s shoulder as he ran passed him to the door.
“Race ya. Last one there is a rotten egg!”
Dean smiled, chasing after the boy, and he couldn’t help but think about painting that soft blush under the freckles. The one that he must have imagined
“God, I didn’t think Binns could get anymore boring!” Ron’s complained, dramatically falling on his bed as the boys returned to the dorm after dinner.
“He’s not that bad” Dean said, although he had to admit that he had spent most of the class looking at Seamus and not paying attention.
“He’s definitely that bad.” Seamus replied. Dean already knew how Seamus felt about History of Magic, the boy had almost fallen asleep at their table.
“Can you believe he assigned a 12 inch essay on the first day?” Ron continued to complain, the other boys grumbling in agreement as the got ready for bed. Dean pulled off his vest and tie before pulling the small chest out from under his bed and climbing into the bed with it. He sat with his legs crossed, pulled his sketchbook and pencils out of the chest, and quickly closed it before anyone could see the other sketches inside. Flipping to a clean page, Dean looked around him and began a rudimentary sketch of the dorm, humming a bit and listening to the other boys talk.
Dean was deep in his art, drawing the curtains on Harry’s bed, when Seamus sat down on the bed next to him and brought him out of his thoughts.
“Oh. Hi Sea.” Dean felt like he was standing on the edge of a cliff, staring at Seamus, who was sitting so close. The rest of the room no longer seemed to exist. “What’s up?”
“It looks nice.”
“What?” Dean murmured, distracted by the green flecks in Seamus’ light blue eyes. Dean had never been able to draw them from memory. He couldn’t get them just perfect, which seemed a disservice to the boy himself. Over the summer, Dean had spent days up in his room trying to find the right blue. He mixed dozens of different shades with no luck; the green flecks just made it harder. They were almost unperceivable unless you were standing close to Seamus, making drawing his eyes solely from memory completely impossible.
“Dean. Your drawing, it looks nice.” Seamus murmured, but he wasn’t looking at the drawing. Seamus was looking right at Dean. But Dean definitely wasn’t leaning in. And he definitely wasn’t lightheaded. And he definitely wasn’t looking at Seamus’ lips. And he absolutely was not about to kiss his best—
“Oi! Dean? Are you gonna take a shower tonight, or can I take the bathroom?” At the sound of Ron’s voice, Seamus quickly pulled away from Dean, almost tumbling off the bed. (And Dean definitely wasn’t disappointed).
“You can have it Ron.”
“Thanks mate.” Ron said, throwing a towel over his shoulder and entering the bathroom. Dean looked back to where Seamus had been, but the pale boy had already moved away and was climbing into the bed next to Dean’s. Seamus threw a quick ‘goodnight’ over his shoulder before drawing the curtains around his bed closed. Dean let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. This was getting ridiculous; all Seamus had done was compliment his drawing. Yet here he was imagining what it would be like to draw constellations on that freckled face. Sighing, Dean began to change out of his school clothes and finish getting ready for bed. He said a quick goodnight to both Harry and Neville, then climbed back into bed closing the curtains behind him. He had completely forgotten about the sketch of the dorm until he sat on it.
“Lumos.” Dean whispered. He set his wand down next to him on the bed, a soft glow filling the small area. He sat up and looked at the forgotten drawing, it wasn’t bad for a first try. He really did need to work on his perspective a bit, and the curtains didn’t look quite right, but for now, he was content with it. He looked down at the end of his bed where the small box filled with his drawings sat. After spending two days with the actual object of his affection, Dean was sure that the paintings that had seemed so close to perfect would now be revealed as completely and utterly inadequate. Still, he had to put his sketchbook back, which meant opening the damn chest.
“This is stupid. Open the box Dean, they’re just paintings.” Dean encouraged himself quietly before quickly reaching down the length of the bed and pulling the box close to him. He opened the box and immediately went to put the book back in but stopped himself. On top of the many drawings from over the summer sat a close up attempt at Seamus’ eyes. Dean grew frustrated as he looked at it, eventually pulling it out and replacing it with his sketchbook. He closed the box and sat the drawing on top of it, staring at the strange eyes. It wasn’t a bad painting of eyes, in fact, Dean thought it was quite good. Someone was looking back at Dean from that paper, it just wasn’t Seamus.
Dean spent the rest of the year trying to draw Seamus’ eyes. He would doodle them when they were in History of Magic and spent all hours of the night painting in his bed (the house elves weren’t very happy about the many blue paint stains on his blankets). He knew that if he could just look at Seamus while he painted he could get them right, but asking his best friend to pose for him so that Dean could paint his beautiful eyes seemed like a clear giveaway to Dean’s feelings about the boy. No, Dean wouldn’t get Seamus’ eyes right until their fifth year.
Fifth year was absolutely nothing like any year that preceded it. The boys had all grown tremendously over the summer. Dean had finally grown into his limbs, and the gangly kid from fourth year was no more. Dean was tall, and he had hit the gym over the summer. He came back to Hogwarts for his fifth year almost unrecognizable. And Dean wasn’t the only one. Ron’s shoulders had broadened and his nose no longer looked out of place on the plain of his face. Harry had finally gained some height and weight so that he didn’t look quite as malnourished as he had at the beginning of the past four years. Neville was still a bit behind the other boys, his baby fat refusing to fall off of his cheeks, but he had stopped parting his hair down the middle, which was, in Dean’s opinion, a huge improvement.
And then Seamus. Dean had not been expecting fifth year Seamus, and really, it wouldn’t have mattered if he had expected it because nothing could have prepared him for seeing Seamus on September 1st.
Sure, Dean had seen Seamus over the summer, they had gone to some quidditch games and some muggle football ones as well, but the end of summer had done Seamus wonders. He wasn’t quite has pale as Dean had come to expect, but his freckles were still prominent across all visible skin. His shoulders had filled out and his jaw had sharpened. Seamus was breathtakingly handsome, and, for Dean, this was a horrible development.
When Dean first saw Seamus on platform 9 ¾, he couldn’t even begin to process all the changes. Seamus didn’t seem to have the same problem. Immediately upon seeing his best friend, Seamus charged towards him, pulling him into a tight hug. Dean took a few seconds to come back to reality but when he did, he excitedly reciprocated the hug.
Seamus had never been afraid of physical affection. Over the last two years Dean had become acutely aware of this. At first he savored it, every moment of contact with Seamus made him feel like he was floating on air, but more recently the casual touches only made him feel guilty. He thought that if Seamus knew about his feelings, he would stop touching Dean at all, let alone giving him huge hugs and crawling into his bed on cold nights (“I can’t get the window over my bed to shut, shove over would ya?”). And immediately after that thought, Dean would feel another wave of guilt for thinking so little of his best friend. Seamus Finnigan was one of the most loyal people that Dean knew, and of course he wouldn’t shun Dean completely for his feelings, but their friendship would almost certainly still suffer.
But on September 1st waiting to board the Hogwarts Express, Dean let himself just enjoy the hug, completely engulfed in Seamus. Yeah, he had a crush on Seamus, but the Irish boy was also his best friend, and during small moments like this, Dean momentarily forgot about the crush part and just hugged his best friend.
“Merlin Dean! It’s been ages!” Seamus declared, pulling away and slapping Dean’s shoulder. Dean just laughed at that.
“I saw you a month ago Sea.”
“Like I said, ages!” Seamus repeated, and the boys laughed together, boarding the train.
Dean could not fathom why he had decided that the grassy patch beside the black lake was the best place to do his divination homework. On top of how unseasonably warm it was, Dean had also forgotten to stop by the dorm to drop off his robes and vest. A bunch of Hufflepuffs were playing some sort of magical variation of frisbee about ten metres away from him and, while Dean was intrigued by the unique sport, he found himself increasingly distracted from his homework as they played. But, in the end, walking back to the castle alone would be boring and far too much work. He was already out here, he might as well make the best of it. He ended up taking off his robe and using it like a picnic blanket. He took off his socks and shoes before rolling up his pant legs and dipping his feet into the cold water of the lake.
Dean was starting to make actual progress on the essay when he first saw them. Across the lake, Seamus had just begun an attempt to teach Neville, Fred, and George how to play muggle football. The latter three kept going to pick up the ball before Seamus would scold them and kick it in way of demonstration. Seamus was much more appropriately dressed for the weather than Dean was; he was wearing a tight white t-shirt and sport pants emblazoned with the Gryffindor logo.
Damn the essay. Dean decided that he had worked on it plenty for the day. He folded the used parchment back into his bag and pulled out a new piece along with his drawing pencils. He started sketching, making quick glances across the lake at his subject matter every minute or two. He wanted to capture Seamus’ laugh, head thrown back, hair flying around his face, mouth open, and eyes sparkling. Dean sketched a rough outline of the pose and began. He was working on the muscles in Seamus’ neck when he heard a roar of delight; across the lake, Fred had finally figured out the game and was gleefully kicking the ball to George. Dean couldn’t help but smile as a game finally started to form. The boys were suddenly serious, no more jokes, this was about winning.
Even from across the lake, Dean could see Seamus’ face of concentration; Dean knew from past encounter with said expression that Seamus’ tongue would be poking out of the corner of his mouth and his eyebrows would be furrowed. He would squint his eyes and occasionally, when he was really hyper focused, his ears would wiggle. Dean absolutely loved that. He looked back down at his drawing, then across the lake again before deciding that he probably should just make his way back up to the castle. He needed a cold shower anyway.
When Dean got back to the dorm, it was empty. He went over to his bed, pulled the small chest out from under it and put it on top of the covers throwing his new sketch on top of the closed lid. He grabbed a towel and headed towards the bathroom to take a quick shower and let the piece rest for a bit. He’d come back to it after.
“Shit!” Dean winced as he stepped into the shower, quickly turning the heat down. The water cooled, and Dean relaxed into the spray. He turned his head up to the stream, letting the water hit him in the face as he tried to get Seamus out of his head. It really was a problem, he couldn’t remember the a time when his thoughts hadn’t revolved around his best friend. Groaning, Dean turned off the water, wrapped the towel around his waist, and left the bathroom to grab some clothes.
Seamus was standing alone in the dorm. He had his back to Dean. His hands were full of colored parchment. Dean looked over to his bed, the chest lay there, wide open and empty. His heart fell.
“Seamus?” Seamus whirled around, megarly attempting to hide the artwork behind his back.
“Merlin Dean! I didn’t see you there. I was just-- I mean..” Seamus gave up trying to hide the artwork and instead moved over to Dean’s bed and began placing the paper back into the box before closing it and taking a step back. “You’re um, you’re really talented.”
“Seamus, it’s not what it looks like. They’re just drawings.” Dean attempted to cover. He was standing by his bed now too. He took the box and quickly shoved it under the bed. Mortifyingly, Dean realized that he was naked but for the towel around his waist.
“Yeah. Just drawings.” Seamus repeated. He seemed to notice Dean’s predicament, his cheeks and ears quickly turning fiery red. “You don’t have any clothes on.” He commented dumbly.
“Yeah, showers’ll do that to you.” Dean joked, trying to shift the focus away from the drawings. He pulled open his drawers and yanked out some clothes. “Imma just go get dressed.” He mumbled before rushing to the bathroom. As soon as the door shut behind him, he started freaking out. Shit shit shit. He found the drawings. He knows everything, he probably hates you. Damn it Dean. Why’d you even leave the box on your bed in the first place, you’re so stupid. Dean took a deep breath and pulled his shirt over his head before turning to the mirror. “Calm down.” He whispered, “It’s gonna be fine, just pretend it never happened.” Taking another deep breath, Dean opened the door, a fake smile plastered on his face. Seamus was sitting on his bed now.
“So uh what did--”
“Dean, I just thought--” Both boys started to talk.
“You go ahead.” Dean said sheepishly.
“It’s not important. I just thought I should, no I mean… What I’m trying to say is I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal, just some drawings.” Dean mumbled quickly. He desperately wanted Seamus to just drop the subject and forget everything he had seen.
“Yeah, just some drawings.” Seamus paused. He stood up and took a half step closer to Dean. “Some drawings of me. Actually, quite a lot of drawings...of me.” Dean cringed trying to think of some explanation to get out of this awkward situation.
“Well yeah.” He chuckled nervously. “You’re my best friend.”
“And you’re mine.” Seamus took another half step forward, now less than a foot away from Dean. “You’re really talented, Dean.” He whispered, grabbing Dean’s hands from his sides.
“Uh, yeah thanks.” Dean breathed. Seamus was so close to his face, he didn’t know what to do. Seamus leaned closer to Dean, he could kiss him from here. Seamus lips were so close, and they looked so soft. Dean wondered what they would feel like if they kissed. Would Seamus just barely touch their lips, or would he grab Dean’s face and kiss him until the rest of the world disappeared?
“Dean?” Seamus murmured.
“Yeah?” Dean responded, still looking at Seamus’ lips.
“Kiss me.” Dean didn’t know if he had heard the other boy correctly. Did Seamus just tell him to kiss him? Dean didn’t care if he was hearing things, he leaned in and finally, finally, kissed Seamus. It was better than anything that Dean had ever imagined. Seamus let go of his hands and reached up to wrap his arms around Dean’s neck.
Dean slowly pulled away, keeping his eyes closed for a few seconds, afraid that if he opened his eyes, it would all have just been a dream. He heard Seamus laugh and opened his eyes.
“What are you laughing about?” Dean asked, starting to laugh a bit himself
“You um..” Seamus was still laughing, making it a bit hard to understand him. “Why do you draw my hands so much?”
“Shut up!” Dean exclaimed, softly hitting Seamus’ shoulder. “You have nice hands. They’re...soft.”
“Whatever you say.” Seamus laughed, resting his forehead on Dean’s. “Just kiss me.” And Dean did.