“I’m skipping Chem today,” Dean tells his lunch table, doing his best to sound casual. It works about as well as an elephant trying to walk on its tiptoes would. As in, not even close to at all, just like everything else in his life.
“Since when do you skip?” Pansy Parkinson mocks from across the table, sipping on a coffee he knows she made the barista remake twice. He’s pretty sure she made the barista cry too and usually, he’d ignore her, but today he can’t help but wince.
Hermione rolls her eyes at Pansy, but softens her gaze when she meets his. “Dean, this is unlike you... is something wrong?”
Dean sighs, touching the corner of his eyebrow that still hasn’t grown back. It’s not Seamus’s, his pyromaniac of a lab partner’s fault — well, it is mostly, but he knows that other boy didn’t do it on purpose. What he does know is that boys like Seamus are trouble he can’t afford. Not if he wants to get into a critically acclaimed art school and change the world through his art.
“Just not feeling well,” Dean says with a shrug, forcing an easy smile to his face. Ginny Weasley looks ready to call bullshit on him, and Draco and Harry look at him oddly, but something on his face must give away how pathetic he is, because Ginny merely smirks at him and returns to her french-fries.
The thing is, he and Seamus have history. Well, not history like history — Dean highly doubts that Seamus Finnegan, the school’s favourite troublemaker, the boy who once blew up a math classroom in third grade, would ever look at him that way. Dean doesn’t even know if he would want Seamus to look at him that way — he dated Ginny once and it wasn’t that bad, she was just too wild and he drifted off into his thoughts far too much for her liking, but she was genuine and they remained friends after. That meant something to him, despite it all.
Problem is, Dean doesn’t know if it means jackshit now.
“Missed ya yesterday,” Seamus says with a grin, sliding into the seat beside Dean and tossing his backpack down with a distinct lack of grace. It makes a thumping noise when it hits the ground, and Dean grimaces. “Were you sick or something, Thomas? Lav was sick too, must be something making the rounds.”
Dean shrugs, staring at the clock in poorly disguised desperation. The clock seems to slow down, every sound a mocking one. “Something like that, yes. I’m better now, I think.”
Seamus gives him a once over, looking a little concerned. Luckily, Dean is saved from his questioning by the arrival of Professor Snape, who looks bored and horrified by their presence simultaneously. Dean wishes he was that good at emotion and promptly scoots away from Seamus as soon as that thought hits him. It’s a cold day in hell when Severus Snape, the chemistry department’s most hated teacher, seems like a sentimental icon.
“Mr. Thomas, is there something unsatisfactory about the presence of Mr. Finnigan?” Snape asks with a glower, his jacket flying behind him as he points at the growing gap between them.
Seamus frowns at him and Dean promptly wishes the ground would open up and swallow him. This is one of those time were he thinks the sweet release of death may just be the preferable option. Luckily for him, however, Snape moves on, choosing to pick on Harry Potter. Draco Malfoy, sitting smugly beside him, looks satisfied with that decision.
“Did I do something, Thomas?” Seamus demands, looking a little hurt. He works as he talks, pulling the necessary materials towards them with a distinct lack of grace.
Dean grabs one of the filled lab tubes before it falls of the table, takes a deep breath before he answers. “You’re dangerous to be around sometimes,” he confesses.
“Is this about your eyebrow?” Seamus asks, his hand shooting out to touch the gap of hair where the hairs used to be, stroking it unconsciously. Dean turns every shade of red under the umbrella, but luckily, Seamus seems distracted. “I apologized for that. I’m still sorry, mate. But I didn’t think you considered me dangerous just because some chemicals didn’t react too well with me..”
Dean digs his nails into his thigh. Beside him, he can feel Seamus’s body heat and it makes him burn. “It’s not that — you’re just, um.. nice. You’re loud and funny and I can’t concentrate sometimes, but I need a high average for university and you…”
Blushing, Dean drops his glance from Seamus’s face and chooses to stare at the dirty floor. Unluckily for him though, his curiosity and masochism win over and he peeks up.
Beside him, Seamus is grinning, dimples appearing on the sides of his mouth from sheer delight. “I’m distracting… huh. Well, you’re a little dangerous yourself then, Thomas.”
Whistling cheerfully, Seamus returns to the chemistry lab, but Dean can’t focus. When the lab blows up around them, evidently, he blames himself this time.
“You know I like girls, right?” Pansy Parkinson asks him out of the blue during lunch. Five conversations halt around them and Pansy rolls her eyes at the rest of the table. “It’s like, not a secret. Girls shag better than guys, especially at this age. Like, have you ever see — “
Dean winces. “Yes! I know… you and Ginny are together. We’re friends, Pansy, whether you acknowledge it or not. I know about your relationships.”
At that, Pansy gives him one of her few real smiles — a little too sharp, white teeth gleaming even in the fluorescent cafeteria lighting. “Then why are you scared of coming out, darling? You’re in good company.”
“I’m not afraid,” Dean says instantly without realizing what he’s just confessed. “I… I just don’t know what to say. I’m tired of trying to explain things I can’t understand myself. Girls… they’re pretty and Gin was nice — “
“Haven’t heard that ever,” Ginny mumbles under her breath, but she bumps his shoulder reassuringly anyways.
“I just can’t fall in love with them. But boys — Seamus — it’s different. But we went to elementary school together and he blew up my eyebrows and — “ Dean stops at the look of alarm on Hermione’s and Harry’s faces.
“He’s right behind me, isn’t he?” Dean says, wincing. Ron looks at him sympathetically, more than a hint pitying.
“I am,” Seamus confirms.
Dean sinks deeper into his chair and prays to any god out there, pointedly not turning around. The silence drags on until Seamus slides onto the chair beside him, nudging him with his shoulder. Draco looks rather put out to be moved, but even he watches with rapt eyes as Seamus leans in until he’s so close Dean can feel him breathe.
“You called me dangerous and you were right,” Seamus confirms. “But I want to give this a try, and Thomas — “
“Dean,” Dean corrects without thinking and is rewarded by Seamus’s smile for the second time that day.
“Is that a yes?” Seamus asks, eyes wide.
Around him, an entire table holds their breath and waits for a verdict, but Dean has eyes for Seamus only. Seamus Finnigan, who flirts with him during classes, who blows up everything around him, who’s a walking disaster just waiting to happen.
“Hell yes,” Dean says.
Maybe he’s a little dangerous too.