by Sara

Dean shifted uncomfortably, blinking his way into wakefulness. A spring poked into his back from the torn cushions on which he rested. He stretched and sat up, glancing at the pew behind him. It was empty, as were the rest of them. He stood carefully and looked around the interior of the crumbling church in which they had taken shelter. Sunlight streamed in through the paneless windows and lit everything in gold; the few statues that remained intact seemed almost alive. For a moment Dean let himself feel comforted by the stone angels and benevolent-looking saints. The moment passed, and he set out to search for the rest of the group.

"Good morning."

He looked toward to the front of the church, where Harry was walking out of the small, splintered door to the right of the pulpit. "Hey. Where is everyone?"

Harry pointed upwards. "Bell tower. Good place for a lookout. We're talking strategy and all that. I just came down to get some food."

"Right." Now that he was listening, he could hear the quiet chatter of everyone upstairs. "Seamus up there, too?"

"No, actually. He went out. Not sure why. Are you looking for him?"

Dean grinned wryly. "I'm always looking for him."

"Out back, last I saw."

"Thanks." Dean waved and walked out.

The church was several hundred years old, and the property in the back had served as a cemetery for awhile. Dean navigated carefully through the overgrown grass, trying to avoid tripping over broken headstones. A few rogue patches of wildflowers had sprung up over the years. He paused in front of a large, dusty white marble angel. The wings were outstretched and chipped, the eyes closed, delicate mouth curved downward in mourning. He ran a hand along the carved folds of her gown, wishing for the first time in a long while that he had his sketchpad with him. Purple and yellow pansies were growing at the base of the statue, tiny and bright. He resisted the urge to read the inscription. He'd given the grave yard a cursory inspection when they first arrived, and hadn't found anyone that had lived past their early twenties.

It was a sizable plot of land, but there weren't exactly a wealth of places to hide. He frowned, squinting against the sunlight. There was a small copse of trees at the edge of the cemetery. He headed for it, trying to make as little noise as possible, hoping irrationally that he wasn't disturbing anyone. There was a large weeping willow in the corner, thick strands of leaves preventing him from seeing in. Carefully, he pushed aside the leaves that blocked his view.

Seamus lay on his back in the thick grass. Sunlight wove through the leaves of the tree, casting long, dangling shadows over him. His eyes were closed, his hands folded across his stomach in a rare moment of repose. A breeze sprang up, ruffling the leaves and sending the shadows fluttering wildly over his skin, coloring it in sunny gold and shadowy gray.

"You may as well come sit down," he said softly.

Dean blinked, startled. "I didn't think you were awake," he said quietly, and walked over, stepping carefully over cracked headstones. He sat down next to Seamus, leaning back against the tree trunk.

"Just thinking." His eyes were still closed.

"What about?" Dean asked, idly threading his fingers through the grass. He could see the church spire through a break in the leaves, the burnished gold glinting. The high stained glass window was mostly shattered, but jagged edges remained, brilliant reds and greens sparkling defiantly.

"This." Seamus opened his eyes, blinking as he adjusted to the light. He waved an arm, indicating the surroundings. "The war. My life. Everything."

"Feel like sharing?" Dean ventured.

Seamus shrugged. "Feel like listening?"

"Of course."

"I always thought I'd have more than this," he said. "I mean, you grow up and you have all these ideas, goals, things you want to do with your life. I thought I would get out of school and have some sort of career. Find somebody. Get a nice flat in Dublin, maybe, work an easy job until I figured out something better to do. Something. Anything. I didn't think that I would leave Hogwarts and find myself fighting a war."

"None of us did," Dean said quietly.

Seamus nodded. "We've been fighting for three years, Dean. This isn't fair. We're all still just kids. Barely twenty, most of us, but we're expected to save the wizarding world and the Muggles and everything else and it's not fair." He stopped, closing his eyes again. "It's not fair," he whispered.

"The war isn't going to last forever, Seamus," said Dean.

"What if it does? What if we just keep fighting these battles, and no one ever wins or loses?" Seamus said, voice edging on desperation.

"You know that's not-"

"What if Voldemort wins? What are we going to do then? We'll all die, and all this fighting will have been for nothing, and we'll never have lived, really. All we've known is this goddamned war. He'll win, and we'll never get a chance to find out what could have been." Seamus looked at the ground. When he spoke again, his voice was hoarse. "And what if we win?"

"Then we'll all live happily ever after, I guess," Dean said lightly.

"Nothing will be the same," Seamus continued, ignoring Dean's attempt to brighten the mood. "What are we supposed to do when this ends? How are we supposed to live a life that isn't this?"

"I don't know," Dean said honestly, reaching out and placing a hesitant hand on Seamus' arm. "We'll just have to try."

"What if we die tomorrow?"

"Seamus." Dean tilted Seamus' chin up and looked him in the eye. "We're not going to die tomorrow."

"You don't know that."

"The hell I don't. Nothing is going to happen to you, not if I can prevent it. Seamus, listen to me." He slid his hand to Seamus' shoulder, gripping firmly. "You're going to be okay. Both of us are. The war will end soon, and we'll be fine, and then we can finally be done with all of this. Get something resembling normal lives and never worry about these things again."

"How can we ever have normal lives? We're not normal, Dean. Even if we win, we won't have anywhere to go." He indicated the grounds around them. "We're hiding in an abandoned churchyard, for God's sake. Finding refuge in a cemetery. We're twenty years old and we've seen people die, if not killed them ourselves. This war has fucked us up irreparably."

Dean closed his eyes, exhaling deeply. He took Seamus' hand in his own. "You'll always have me," he said, softly, then raised his head and looked Seamus in the eye. "You know that, right?"

"Will I?" He lifted his hand, pressing his palm flat against Dean's. Slowly, their fingers intertwined until their hands were locked together. "You'll move on after this. You'll stay here and I'll go back to Ireland and we'll never see each other again." Seamus' grip tightened.

"There's no way," Dean said vehemently. "You're my best friend, Seamus, and I'd rather die right here than never see you again."

"Don't say that."

"It's true. I can't imagine my life without you in it. You're the best person I've ever known, and that's the truth. Seamus. Look at me."

Seamus bit his lip, and looked up.

"I'll never leave you. Not here, not ever if you don't want me to. I promise you that."

"Dean," Seamus said. At a loss, he closed the distance between them and pulled Dean into a fierce hug, holding him tightly. "I'll never leave you, either," he pledged, lips moving against Dean's skin. "Never."

Dean clutched him tighter. "Say it again," he whispered.

Seamus pulled back a slight distance, arms still wrapped around Dean. "I'll never leave you," he said in a hushed voice, and placed a kiss on Dean's forehead.

"Promise?" he asked, cupping Seamus' face, thumbs stroking his warm cheekbones.

"I promise," Seamus said, and kissed Dean gently on the lips.

Dean pulled back a little, and stared at him for a moment. "Why'd you do that?"

"It seemed like the thing to do," Seamus said, moving away but not releasing his hold on Dean. "Was it-" He stopped, swallowing nervously. "Was it okay?"

"Yeah. I just never. I mean, I never thought that you. That we." Dean shook his head.

"I did." Seamus looked at the ground, and Dean couldn't remember ever seeing Seamus act even remotely shy. "I just never thought that you did. I never thought." He forced himself to look up and face Dean. "I never thought you would kiss me back."

"Hey." Dean wrapped his hand around the back of Seamus' neck, fingers twining in his hair. He pulled Seamus closer and kissed him, hesitantly at first. His eyes slid shut and he kissed Seamus harder, a thorough exploration of his mouth, trying to learn everything with a kiss. When he finally broke away to catch his breath, he couldn't bring himself to move back; instead, he rested his forehead against Seamus'.

Seamus placed his hand over Dean's heart, feeling the beat speeding up beneath his palm, matching his own erratic pulse. "Can we- I mean." Seamus shook his head. "I just need to touch you."

Nodding, Dean leaned back against the grass, pulling Seamus with him. Their lips met again, and they tugged at each others clothes, buttons sliding open, fabric slipping off skin. Slowly, Seamus kissed his way down Dean's chest, fingers gliding over hipbones before dropping to fumble with Dean's zipper, finally pulling it down and reaching inside.

"Dean?" Seamus asked, voice low and urgent. "Is this okay?"

Dean drank in the sight of Seamus, flushed and golden in the light, sandy hair mussed and eyes dark with desire. "Yes. God. Yes." He watched as Seamus slowly took the length of him into his mouth, nearly crying from the warmth of it, the feel of Seamus. Everything else disappeared, the war, the church, the cemetery around them, the few long strands of leaves that hung down and tickled his bare skin. There was just this, and it was everything.

"Seamus," he gasped as release hit him; it was like falling, like flying, like drowning, and he never wanted it to stop. He laid there in the thick, green grass, vision blurred and kaleidoscopic as Seamus kneeled over him, hands traveling up his sides and to his shoulders, their lips meeting again and again in quick, wet kisses. The world slowly came back into focus, and he reached downward, only to be stopped by Seamus' hand. "Don't you want me to-" he started.

"It's okay," Seamus said, grinning sheepishly. "I already. Um." He nodded. "Yeah."

"Oh!" Dean thought that over. "Just from- me?"



Seamus grinned again, mischievously this time. "Don't worry, you'll get your chance soon enough."

Dean smiled back. "Bet on it."

With a contented sigh, Seamus settled against Dean's chest. He yawned.

"What, no conversation afterwards?" Dean said archly.

Seamus snuggled closer, throwing an arm over Dean's stomach. "Something you want to say?"

"Nothing you don't already know."

Seamus smiled against Dean's skin. "I love you, too."

"Good," Dean said, wrapping his arms around Seamus.

"I can sleep now?"

"Go right ahead." He closed his eyes. A second later, he opened them back up and looked down at Seamus. "I love you."

Seamus raised an eyebrow.

"Just trying it out," Dean said.

"Sounds good on you," Seamus said. "If you feel like you need more practice, though, I'd be glad to listen."

"I know. Later."

"Right." He smiled sleepily up at Dean, then closed his eyes.

Dean shifted closer, smiled back, and did the same.


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