After dinner Katie and Julie went upstairs to finish packing, leaving their fathers and aunties to linger over wine and coffee on the porch.
"Thanks again for coming to dinner," Seamus said. "I don't think I would have been able to handle Dean's oncoming meltdown on my own."
"Me?" Dean replied. "You'd best look in the mirror, mate."
"I'm sure it will be a big change for both of you," Parvati said. "For everyone, really, now that the cabooses papooses are off to Hogwarts."
Pansy shook her head. "Cabooses papooses indeed! You sound like Molly Weasley."
"But that's what they are," Parvati replied. "The last of the cousins to go to school. The last of our friends' children. They'll be the last ones we take Christmas shopping. Just you wait, you'll get sentimental about it soon enough."
Pansy sniffed and looked away, out into the garden, but she wasn't fooling any of them.
"What I want to know is, where has the time gone?" Seamus asked. "It seems like yesterday that we were that age, with Hooch trying to teach us to fly a broomstick and the two of you sniping at each other."
"And the two of you already making eyes at each other," Pansy said.
"Stop it," Parvati said. "We're not old, not at all. In fact, I think we should go out dancing tomorrow night. Keep you two from brooding."
"That," Dean said, "is a very good idea. And I think we have some music around here someplace." He went back into the house and within a few minutes the kind of dance music that Seamus remembered from the club Heaven that first summer--or at least, something that they played at their wedding--came blasting out of their wireless set-up.
Dean danced his way back out onto the porch. "Still got the moves, yeah?" he said, pulling Seamus onto his feet. The ladies followed, pushing the chairs out of the way, and they lost track of time, dancing together to song after song as the sun sank lower in the sky.
Then the music suddenly stopped, and they were brought back to the present by two girls standing in the doorway, arms crossed.
"Oh my god, Dad," Katie said. "Promise that you won't do anything embarrassing while we're gone."
"Why just me?" Dean asked.
"Da's a lost cause," Julie explained.
"Hey!" Seamus said.
Pansy stepped forward. "Think of it this way," she said. "Now you won't see the embarrassing things they do, and they won't see the embarrassing things you do."
And then very suddenly, as if understanding what was to happen tomorrow at Platform 9 ¾ for the first time, Julia's expression crumpled and she burst into tears, wailing as she ran into Seamus's arms. "Daaaaaaa!" she wailed.
Katie lasted only a moment more before burying her face in Dean's chest. "You have to k-keep him from wearing those shirts," she said through her sobs.
"And going out with paint on his face," Julia added.
"We're all going to be fine, even if we do embarrassing things," Dean said. "Aren't we, Da?"
"We are," Seamus said, kissing Julie on the top of her head. "Our meltdown just arrived a little bit ahead of schedule is all."