Divorce was the best thing that could happen; all the yelling and crying would finally stop.
Seamus flinched as the kitchen door slammed. He pulled his sheets over his head, squeezing his teddy-bear. He wasn't sure why his parents were angry this time, but the sound of their loud voices made his head hurt.
"I'm warning you, Nora, I'm not coming back this time!"
"Fine by me, Thomas. You can go stay with that hussy of yours if you want! I bet you love that she's 'normal,' don't you?"
"For goodness sake! It meant nothing!"
The clatter of pots and pans echoed throughout the house. His head continued to pound, but he didn't dare go ask for the special medicine his mother usually gave him for his headaches. Instead, he used his sheet to wipe the tears that were now trickling down his cheeks and waited for the shouting to stop.
The sound of a plate smashing filled his ears. "It's over. Just get out!"
Another door slammed, followed by the sound of his father's car roaring out of the driveway.
"Can't even say goodbye to your own son! Useless sod!"
He waited underneath the sheets as his mother came marching up the staircase. When she opened the door to his room, he peeked over the sheets to see that her eyes and the tip of her nose were red.
"Are you sleeping, Seamus?" she whispered, feeling along the wall for the lightswitch.
Seamus quickly wiped at his eyes again as light flooded his bedroom, not wanting his mother to see his tears. She seemed to always get angrier at his father whenever the eight-year-old cried.
Her eyes widened when she saw him, though, and she rushed over to his bed. Seamus wriggled over so that she could sit down.
"Did you hear all that?" she asked.
"I wasn't trying to listen," he said, wiping the dribble of snot from his nose.
His mother sighed and fished a tissue out of her pocket. Handing it to him, she then wiped a lock of his sandy-brown hair from his forehead.
"We didn't scare you, did we?"
He shook his head quickly, only to wince when it made his head throb. "I-I wasn't scared," he said. His mother wrapped her arms around him, and he leant his head on her chest. "Where did Daddy go?"
He tipped his head up to look at her, only to see his mother's lip quiver. "He… He's gone to live somewhere else for a while. Your father and I might be getting a divorce."
He'd heard that word before, but he wasn't quite sure what it meant. He knew his cousin, Fergus, said his parents got a divorce and that all Aunt Aisling's and Uncle Matthew's fighting stopped straight away.
"Is that like what happened to Fergus' parents?" he asked.
"Yes, like that," she said, pressing a kiss to his forehead.
It seemed to make his headache ease, and he snuggled further into her. His mother and father wouldn't fight anymore, and all the yelling and crying would stop.
"I know it sounds scary, but you have to be brave for me, okay?" she said. Seamus looked up into her watery blue eyes. "It's a bit like ghouls; they may be scary, but they're not dangerous. It might be something new for both of us, but we'll be okay."
Seamus gave her a small smile, and she pressed another kiss to his forehead. This time, his headache didn't give him any trouble.
Divorce was a good thing; he now had more freedom to do what he wanted.
"Seamus, have you finished unpacking yet?"
With a sigh, he looked around the room. His new bedroom was far smaller than his other bedroom, and there were no floorboards to hide his favourite toys under. Icky, white carpet covered the floor instead, matching the ugly, girly, pink wallpaper.
It made his head hurt, and he felt tears begin to well up in his eyes.
"Do you need some help?" his mother asked, entering the room with a smile.
Seamus wiped his sleeve over his eyes and glared at her. "I want to go back to our house," he said.
His mother's smile faded and her shoulders dropped. She walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off.
"We can't go back to our old place, I'm afraid. It's far too expensive to afford by myself," she said.
"We don't even have a telly anymore."
"Your father wanted it; I guess he thought we wouldn't need it."
Seamus sighed and folded his arms across his chest.
"Come now, stop pouting. You promised me we'd both be brave, remember?" his mother said, sitting on his bed. "I know it's tough, but you're forgetting all the good things."
"Like what?" There was nothing that could be good about their situation.
"Well, for a start, you can now decorate your room how you want," she said.
He glared at the pink walls. He had always wanted a room that was decorated in his favourite colours, green and gold, but his father had never had the time to fix his old room up for him. Last year, after his mother had suggested she'd change them with her wand, his father had gone out and bought a can of green paint. He'd gotten called into work the next day, though, and the can had remained sitting in his wardrobe ever since.
When he didn't answer, his mother patted the bed. "We're also not that far away from where Fergus lives. You'll be able to visit him more often, and even use the Floo."
Seamus shrugged, but inside, he found his heart lifting. His cousin hadn't been allowed to Floo all that often as his father had always complained about the marks the ash left on the carpet. Unfortunately, Fergus had lived too far away to travel by broom or car.
"And, do you know what the name of our new town is?" His mother was grinning again.
In a matter of seconds, his anger disappeared and his heart swelled. Kenmare was where his all-time favourite Quidditch team, the Kestrels, lived. He had been dying to see one of their games for years but had never been allowed to go.
This time, his mother didn't need to pat the bed; Seamus ran over to her and bounced on it, a grin on his face. She wrapped her arms around him and rocked him back and forth.
"That's better now, isn't it?" she said.
Seamus nodded. He wished his father would be able to go with them to a game, but at least he was finally going.
Another thought struck him, and he turned to his mother. "Mammy?"
"Does that mean I can get a dog now? You said I couldn't 'cause Daddy was all-aller—'cause he sneezed all the time, but he's not here now."
His mother gave him a gentle tap on the thigh. "Cheeky bugger. Maybe," she said, pulling him in for another hug. "We've got to get this room better though, don't we?"
Divorce was a good thing; he was learning new skills.
Not for the first time that day, his stomach grumbled. Seamus clutched his hands over it as he walked into the kitchen. He was getting another headache, too, from not eating all day, and it didn't help that the smell wafting from the kitchen was akin to dragon dung.
"Mammy, I'm hungry."
"Okay, pet, dinner's almost read—damnit!"
Seamus flinched as his mother pulled a tray out of the smoking oven and promptly dropped it. The pan made a great clattering sound on the tiles, sending charred pumpkins and potatoes across the floor.
"Damnit! How in Merlin's name am I supposed to work this thing?" she said, kicking the machine. She winced and then starting hopping around the kitchen, clutching her foot. "Stupid Muggle contraptions."
He had been about to sit down, but upon seeing his mother so angry, he promptly pushed his chair back in.
His mother looked at him with wide eyes. "Sorry, Seamus, I'm not angry at you. Your mammy is just having some trouble working this… thing."
Seamus looked at the oven. There were lots of dials, nobs, and buttons, and he wasn't sure which one should be pressed first. His father had always done the cooking, especially nice Sunday roasts and potato pies.
As he thought about the delicious food his father used to make, his stomach rumbled again.
His mother gave him a small smile and dusted her hands together. "No need to fret; we'll use this as a learning experience and try to cook ourselves."
He was still a little apprehensive, but he walked over to his mother anyway and accepted the small apron she conjured for him. She gave his shoulder a squeeze and helped him fill up a large pot of water.
"How does soup sound?"
Together, the pair of them went about peeling and cutting up potatoes, carrots, leeks, and other vegetables—much to the young boy's displeasure—as well as some meat.
"Can I stop stirring now—oops."
Seamus looked up at his mother with wide eyes. In his haste to finish stirring, he had splashed some of the soup all over the stove. He braced himself for the yelling to begin, remembering how his father always hated it whenever he made a mess.
"Nevermind," his mother said, wiping up the mixture. "There, now time to light the stove and get this thing cooking."
He blinked a few times before his face broke into a wide grin. He placed the spoon back in the pot and, still smiling, clapped his hands together.
He jumped back as a small flame roared in the stove.
He stared up at his mother, his mouth hanging open. She hadn't touched any of the dials on the stove, nor had she waved her wand.
She clapped and wrapped her arms around him. "Your first accidental piece of magic! Oh, I knew you were a wizard, I just worried that you'd be like—oh, well done, precious!" she said.
"I'm a wizard… I'm a wizard! Oh, I'll go tell Daddy!" His heart pounded with the news, and he ran from the kitchen. As soon as he entered the living room, however, he remembered he was in another house and his father wasn't there. "Oh."
His mother walked over to him and slung her arm across his shoulders. "Come on, let's finish this soup. I bet it'll be the best soup we've ever tasted."
Seamus swallowed his disappointment and smiled at his mother. He'd tell his father another time, and right now, the smell of the soup was making his headache disappear and his mouth water.
Divorce was a good thing; it seemed to make everyone happy.
"Seamus? Are you ready?"
Seamus buried his head under his pillow, ignoring his mother's calls. Perhaps if he stayed there long enough, he wouldn't have to go.
Unfortunately, his mother had other plans.
"Seamus, your father's here," she said, walking into his room and tugging down his sheets. "Come on, up you get."
"I have a headache," he said.
It wasn't really a lie, either. The familiar pounding in his head was back, the prospect of spending the day with his father making him feel worse and worse. The last two weeks had been peaceful without his parents fighting, and he wasn't ready for it to start anytime soon.
"Come now, some fresh air will do you good!"
His mother all but dragged him out of bed, and before he knew it, he was standing by the front door with his father.
"You'll have him back by six?" his mother asked.
"Of course." His father gave her a small smile and clapped his hand on Seamus' shoulder. "We'll have fun, won't we, lad?"
Seamus looked at his mother, who gave him an encouraging nod. It was strange enough that his father was smiling; it was even stranger that she was, too. Neither appeared to be angry, and when his mother gave him a hug and led him out the door after his father, she gave them a friendly wave.
His headache seemed to dissipate and calmness overtook him.
It remained that way throughout the day as they toured his new apartment. His father showed him his bedroom, a spare room Seamus could stay in if he wanted to, the kitchen, the lounge room, and even took him down to the building's pool. All of his father's neighbours were nice, too, especially one blonde lady, Siobhan, who gave his father a friendly peck on the cheek when she saw him.
"How about some lunch?" his father now asked, heading into the kitchen.
Seamus hovered by the stove as his father oiled a pan and got some sausages out of the fridge. He wanted to tell his father what he had learnt that week, but he knew he didn't like him helping.
Still, he had promised his mother to be brave, and he took a deep breath. "Guess what? I learnt how to cook," he said.
"Really now?" his father asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I can even light the stove!"
He looked at his father, sure he'd tell him to leave, but the man nodded. Grinning, he then focused his attention on the stove, and clapped his hands.
Frowning, Seamus clapped again. The stove remained unlit, not a single flame popping up. He wrinkled his eyes and continued clapping.
His father soon stepped in and grabbed his hands so that he'd stop clapping. "That's enough, now, mate. Maybe another time."
The dark-haired man then twisted the dial on the stove and a small blue flame appeared underneath the pan.
Seamus' shoulders dropped and he stepped away from the stove. His head began to throb as he tried to figure out what had gone wrong. Why hadn't he been able to do magic? Was it because his father lived in an all-Muggle building?
His father continued frying the sausages, using a pair of tongs to flip them over. He didn't appear angry that Seamus hadn't been able to light the stove himself, and when he turned around, he gave him a smile.
"Why don't you help me by setting the table?" he said.
Seamus stopped trying to mull it over and nodded instead. Like magic, his headache disappeared, and soon, his smile was back as he helped his father.
"Alright, mister, time for bed. Did you have a good time today?"
"Yep." Seamus squeezed his bear, yawning widely. He had spent another day at his father's place, and although he'd had a lot of fun, he was definitely tired. "Siobhan showed me how to play chess."
His mother paused as she pulled his quilt cover over him. "Siobhan?"
"Yeah, Daddy's new friend. She always comes over for lunch and sometimes sleepovers."
"I see…" His mother's smile had faded slightly, but when he looked up at her, she quickly gave him a kiss. "Well alright, young man, off to sleep you get. We'll have some adventures of our own tomorrow, okay?"
"Ok. Night Mammy."
Another yawn escaped his mouth and he snuggled further into his bed. When he closed his eyes, though, he couldn't seem to sleep, his mind reeling over the day's events. He'd really had a fun time, and he couldn't wait to go back to his father's place to play more games.
After a few minutes, he threw back his covers and slid out of bed. Perhaps if he got a glass of milk, he'd be able to sleep better.
He tiptoed from his room into the hall, his bear in his hand. He didn't get too far, though, as he heard a sniffle. Freezing on the spot, he saw that there was a pool of light shining from underneath his mother's door.
He listened as another sniff came, and slowly, pushed the door open.
His mother was sitting up in her bed. She was holding a silver picture frame as tears slid down her cheeks.
"Mammy? What's wrong?"
She jumped slightly as he waddled over to her bed. "Seamus, you should be asleep."
She moved over so that he could climb into the bed with her. Once he was under the covers, he looked at the frame in her hands. It was a picture of her and his father on their wedding day, sharing a cheeky kiss.
"I just miss the old times, that's all," she said, trying to give him a smile.
Her lips quivered, though, and more tears welled in her eyes. Seamus wasn't sure why she was crying—she had told him she was happy that his father was gone—but as he watched her, his own eyes grew watery. He blinked the tears away, knowing that they caused his head to hurt. Sure enough, as a few escaped his eyes anyway, he found the spot behind his eyes start to ache.
His mother took out a crumpled tissue to blow her nose, and he could see her hands shaking. He needed her to stop crying.
"G-ghouls just look scary, remember? We have to be b-brave," he said.
His mother gave him a watery smile. "We'll be fine, love, we'll be fine," she said.
Her hiccoughs said otherwise. She didn't say anything else for a while, simply running her nails up and down his arm.
"You're right, love. Come now, I'm fine; I'm happy. You should get some sleep, alright?" she finally said.
Seamus nodded, but when she pressed a kiss to his forehead, the headache was still there. He closed his eyes, hoping that it would make his mother stop crying if he went to sleep. He could still hear her sniffling, though, and he squeezed his bear.
Divorce was never a good thing. He didn't think the crying would ever stop.