“Weird,” Seamus murmured a mug pressed against his lips. He sat on the bench in their small kitchen, still in his blue plaid pyjama pants and a threadbare grey shirt, leaning against the wall behind him. In front of him his cereal got soggy in the colorful bowl on the dark wooden table. Dean hummed, knew exactly what Seamus was talking about. How could he not?
Seamus gaze was fixed straight ahead, pinned to the tear-off calendar above the sink, just behind Dean. Sunday, 2nd May ‘99, it said.
Dean was leaning against the kitchen counter, the worktop a light grey stone and the cabinets a dark rustic wood. His best friend looked tired. Dean slowly grabbed his own mug off the counter and went to sit on the chair to Seamus’ right. He didn’t speak, just sat there waiting for his best friend to speak again.
Faint voices and shoes on cobblestone carried from outside the tilted kitchen window into the silence of their flat.
“They are wizards, too,” Seamus said after a few moments. He was referring to the people on Diagon Alley just outside their window.
“They are,” Dean agreed.
“They are cowards,” Seamus exclaimed, his voice an angry broken whisper, “Why don’t they care? Why didn’t they fight with us?”
Dean wanted to hug his friend but knew that Seamus wasn’t easily calmed right then.
“Seamus,” he whispered, looking up from his own mug, gaze settling on his friend, “They didn’t know it was happening. They care. Of course they do, but life goes on,” his voice was quiet, barely audible. He blinked stray tears out of his eyes, looking at his mug again, his fingers tracing the rim.
“When it was over,” he resumed, unable to say ‘the running away’, ‘the battle’ or ‘the war’, “I went to my Mum’s place. I stayed for months. They’d missed me. Of course they did and I had to tell them what had happened. It was horrible, it was over but i could see that they were still scared for me.”
Dean took a shuddering breath, “And then a few weeks passed and everything was so normal again. I watched a West Ham match on the telly for the first time after it and their socks were red instead of striped and I almost lost it.” A desperate little laugh escaped Dean’s lips.
“Everything kept going on. While I was away and after then, too,” he whispered.
Then his eyes met Seamus’. For a moment time seemed to stop and then Dean was scrambling out of his chair and into Seamus’ arms, tears streaming down his face.
It was ungainly, Dean was all long limbs and a lot taller than his friend but then he was in Seamus’ lap and Seamus was holding him, his arms closing around Dean and running them up and down his back. Dean grasped Seamus’ shirt, his back curling into the slighter frame of the man beneath him, his head not quite resting on the Irishman’s shoulder. He had assumed Seamus was the one in need of comfort but now he realised he needed it, too. He sobbed as Seamus whispered soothing words into his ear, rubbed calming circles into his shoulders.
“Hey Dean,” he whispered, “it’s okay, shh, it’s okay. It’s over, we’re okay.” He was crying too.
It took them some time to calm down again, Dean’s tears having left a wet patch on Seamus’ shirt, his eyes feeling puffy. Still, Dean didn’t move away, the other’s hands resting on the small of his back. Instead he reached behind himself and handed Seamus his lukewarm coffee, silently mourning the loss of one of the Irishman’s hands on his body. Then he retrieved his own mug.
Outside it had begun to rain, the drops a calming pitter patter against the window and cobblestone.
“Thank you,” Dean said slowly.
Seamus smiled, “No problem.” He took a sip of his coffee and made a face, “It’s cold.”
Subsequently, he reached for the wand lying to his left on the bench and performed a heating spell.
“You too?” he asked, tapping his wand against the other’s mug.
Dean hummed in agreement.
They drank in silence until Seamus spoke up again, “Sorry, can you move? You’re getting heavy.”
“Of course mate,” Dean replied and shifted onto the bench, besides him Seamus stretched out his legs and then drew them up against his chest, resting his chin on his knees.
“I miss Lavender”, he murmured.
“Me too,” Dean replied.