Eight Ways From Sunday by Clio
Summary: A sixth-year ensemble comic romance. It could be standing before you, needing a bit of a push. Or sitting beside you, waiting for you to let go. Perhaps it's sneaking up from behind, hoping you will turn around. But sometimes, love falls from a clear blue sky, and you just have to catch it. How do you decide which is the right path, when you're only sixteen? Seamus/Dean, Harry/Hermione, Draco/Ginny, Ron/Padma.
Categories: Works in Progress Characters: Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Other Characters, Ron Weasley
Compliant with: GoF and below
Era: Hogwarts-era
Genres: Humor, Romance
Warnings: Slash
Series: None
Chapters: 15 Completed: Yes Word count: 69953 Read: 40074 Published: Jan 24, 2010 Updated: Feb 01, 2010
Chapter 10: Do You Want to Know a Secret? by Clio
Author's Notes:
"Miss Pommery," George Kittredge, Mike Connor and C.K. Dexter Haven are from The Philadelphia Story (MGM, 1940).
Many thanks to my betas Ray and Luna for their patience and to Erato and Pandora for listening to my endless iterations on this plot and giving me so much encouragement and feedback.
Do You Want to Know a Secret?

If I had met you on some journey
where would we be now . . .
would you have taken me upstairs
and turned the lamplight low?
would I have shown my secret self
and disappeared like the snow?
—Suzanne Vega, "Some Journey"

9 November 1996

Jack walked down from Gryffindor Tower with Seamus and Neville. He was excited to finally find out who Jackie really was, but he was also concerned that once she knew who he was, everything would change.

Jackie came from the hall to the prefect's bathroom shortly thereafter. Jack thought she looked as beautiful in her jumper and jeans as she had in her orange dress. She walked right up to him and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Seamus was making one of his usual speeches, but neither were paying much attention. Finally, he handed over the key to the room and they were on their way.

They proceeded to Hogsmeade in silence. Once they reached the streets of the village, Jack found his voice.

"Well, I don't know about you," he admitted, "but I'm nervous as anything."

Jackie smiled. "Me, too. We should try to think about something else. Do you have anything you need to get while we're in town?"

"Well, I do have a friend I need to get a flatwarming gift for. He just moved in with his boyfriend but I have no idea what I should get them." He looked at her cautiously. If she had a problem with homosexuality, best find it out now, rather than when he brought her home to meet Sirius and Remus.

Jackie raised one eyebrow. "Are you talking about Oliver Wood and Percy Weasley?"

"How did you know about them?" Jack asked, surprised. "They weren't together at school."

Jackie covered quickly. "I overheard someone talking about them in the Great Hall the other night. I'm happy for them."

Jack sighed in relief, thinking quickly himself. "I used to play Quidditch against Oliver. Nice fellow."

Jackie thought for a minute. "Let's go into Dervish and Banges. I'm sure we'll find something in there."

An hour later, they emerged with a Jackie-approved magically heating and refilling kettle. They went to the post office, where he sent it to Oliver and Percy along with the letter of congratulations, while Jackie busied herself browsing postcards. Errands done, they raided Honeydukes and Zonko's and browsed through a few other stores before heading over to the Hogsmeade Inn.

Once inside the room, they removed cloaks and robes and sat on the edge of the bed, looking out the window at the setting sun. "Three hours to go," he said, trying to conceal how nervous he still felt.

"Exploding snap?" Jackie suggested, holding up the cards she'd just purchased.

Jack nodded, and they slid back on the bed to play. After a few minutes, Jackie said, "Jack, I just want you to know that I'm not usually as wild as I was a few weeks ago."

"Oh, I didn't think you would be, not all the time. You weren't on our first date," Jack replied mildly.

Jackie bit her lip. "Er, well, I'm not usually that forward, if you know what I mean."

Jack chuckled. "I wasn't expecting to have sex with you in this room, if that's what you're worried about. Don't misunderstand; I was hoping. I just wasn't expecting."

Jackie relaxed. "Would you settle for snogging?"

"Can I raise you to heavy petting?"

"Only if you ask nicely."

Jack brushed the cards off the bed with a sweep of his arm. He crawled toward Jackie and took hold of her shoulders, pulling her toward him and kissing her firmly. "Nice enough?" he asked.

"Keep asking," Jackie whispered, removing his glasses and putting them on the side table.

Jack eased Jackie down onto the bed and lay on top of her, raising himself up from her body with outstretched hands. They began to kiss slowly, each kiss deeper than the last until their tongues were entwined. Jack broke away and began a trail of kisses along Jackie's jaw to her ear. He sucked her earlobe into his mouth and bit it gently, eliciting a soft moan from Jackie. She had one hand on the back of his head, running her fingers through his hair and the other hand was on his back, slowly untucking his shirt. He released her ear, grinning to himself and moved his mouth down to her neck.

Her jumper was in his way; it had to go. He sat up on his knees and gazed down at her. Her hair lay in a fan across the pillow and her lips were kiss-swollen. She looked up at him through narrowed eyes, almost predatorily. "Why did you stop?" she whispered, her voice hoarse.

He reached down to the bottom of her jumper and began to slide it up her body, kissing the pale skin as it was revealed to him. She lifted her body up and he slid the jumper over her head and tossed it on the bed. He moved to kiss her again but she put her hands against his chest and demanded, "Shirt off now." He grinned and quickly pulled his partially untucked shirt off without losing eye contact with Jackie.

She smiled lustily and ran her hands along his shoulders then moved them down to his chest, feeling the soft hair and the firm muscles under her fingers. Her thumbs brushed against his nipples and she heard him moan softly. Encouraged, she raised one finger up to his mouth and he dutifully sucked it in, circling her fingertip with his tongue before allowing her to pull it out again. She ran her wet finger around one nipple, while pulling slightly on the other one, feeling them hardening under her touch. She then reached around to his back and pulled him towards her for a kiss.

The sun had set and the room was growing darker. Jack and Jackie were little more than silhouettes to each other now but neither moved to turn a light on.

Jack slid down Jackie's body slightly, cupping her breasts in his hands and placing a long wet kiss in her cleavage. He could feel her hands tracing patterns across his shoulders and neck. He squeezed her breasts slightly then moved his mouth over one of them, kissing the nipple through the satiny fabric. She arched up into his touch, gasping. Then she whispered, "Take it off, Jack."

It was so dark in the room now, he couldn't read her expression. Jack pushed himself up by the heels of his hands but hesitated for a moment. Hadn't she just said—

Jackie sat up on her elbows. "Why did you stop?" she whispered.

"You said earlier that you didn't want to do this," he replied.

Jackie found herself smiling. A sixteen-year-old gentleman? Who would have thought? "Don't worry. I'll tell you when to stop." She smiled at him. "I can take it off myself, if you like," she offered.

"I think I can handle it," he said, kneeling up to free his hands.

As he reached behind her, she put her hands on the back of his neck to pull his face closer and looked him in the eyes. "Are you sure you can handle it, Jack?"

He looked back at her in the dim twilight. He couldn't see the color of her eyes, but he could read what they said to him. This was no game.

"Yes, I'm sure," he answered, sealing it with a kiss.

Ron and Padma sat at a table at the Three Broomsticks, chatting happily, when Ron looked up to see Seamus approaching them.

"Can I borrow Ron for a minute?" Seamus asked nervously. "I promise to bring him back directly."

Padma nodded. "You two stay here. I think I see my Quidditch Captain across the way." She rose to leave and Seamus turned to watch her walking toward where Dean and Kevin were sitting.

"What could you possibly have to say to me that you couldn't say in front of Padma?" asked Ron testily.

Seamus sat down, rubbing the tops of his thighs with his hands. "Well, you know how Harry's been going out with this new girl but he won't say who she is?"

Ron nodded. "Yeah, he told me about that."

"And you know how Hermione has this new mystery man?" Seamus began to fidget with the salt shaker.

"Yeah. What about it?" Ron asked, a bit impatiently. He looked over to where Padma sat.

"Well, they've been dating each other. Only they didn't know it until tonight because I gave them each an appearance charm." Seamus paused, continuing to play with the salt shaker. "I just wanted you to know before they came in here together." He looked up, hoping Ron wasn't too annoyed at the secrecy.

"Yeah, Dean and I already figured that out." Ron looked over at Seamus. "Was that all you had to tell me?"

Seamus was astonished. "Um, yeah, that was all."

Ron smiled. "Well, I certainly appreciate your letting me know; that was quite thoughtful of you. Do you think you could send my date back over here for me?"

"Sure, Ron." As Seamus got up, he had a sense that Ron was laughing at him. He walked over to the nearby table where Padma was sitting with Kevin and Dean, feeling a little humiliated. This wasn't the best feeling to have when facing your own true love and his boyfriend.

Padma looked up. "All set? Well then, I'll go back to my bloke. See you guys later." She rose and walked back over to where she had been sitting with Ron, while Seamus remained standing in front of Dean and Kevin.

"So, where's your date, Seamus?" Kevin inquired, a bit nastily.

Seamus ignored Kevin's tone, for Dean's sake. "No date today," he answered, still preoccupied with how Ron and Dean had figured out his scheme. "Unless you count Sirius and Remus; they're supposed to be here soon."

"Why are they in town?" Dean asked, concerned. He knew that Sirius and Remus were helping Dumbledore.

Seamus shook his head very slightly. "They're here to see Harry. Ron says you already figured out why."

"All that cloak and dagger stuff you've been running around doing. Did you really think you could keep a secret from me?" Dean smiled at Seamus, shaking his head, then glanced at Kevin. Immediately he stopped smiling and stared at the table. There was an awkward silence.

Seamus looked from Dean to Kevin, and felt a wave of hostility from the other boy. He narrowed his eyes in response.

Then he turned to look out the window. The sun had just set, and the streetlamps shone brighter in the twilight. He saw his escape. "Oh, there's Ginny and Draco. I've been looking for them. Well, see you two later, then." As Seamus walked out the door, he wondered what he was thinking, getting into some territorial pissing contest. If he lost Dean to Kevin, it would be no one's fault but his own.

Ginny and Draco walked hand in hand along the street in Hogsmeade, each in a contemplative mood. At first, Draco had been coming around to the Gryffindor common room fairly frequently, not only to see Ginny but also to escape his fellow Slytherins. Antagonizing Ron had been a fun side project but Dean was right; it bothered Ginny too much to be really pleasurable. Frankly, he was wholly unused to caring about the effect his actions had on anyone around him. The few girls he'd dallied with had fallen at his feet and catered to his every whim. To say that his relationship with Ginny was different was an understatement. He felt like a juggler, trying to balance his own imperious, solitary nature with the rush he got every time he made Ginny smile.

Now Quidditch season had started in earnest, and he had a team to rebuild and a cup to win. He still felt a loyalty to Slytherin House, even if its current residents had nothing but loathing for him. His evenings were spent charting Quidditch plays rather than practicing hexes and his rage toward his father had begun to recede as more positive activities filled his days. Not just academics and Quidditch, but also scouring Hogwarts for those vacant classrooms and hidden nooks made for snogging. After the contentious post-Halloween practice, he thought it wise to stop behaving like an honorary Gryffindor. He was just as much a Slytherin as any of them and he refused to let their attitude alienate him. Besides, they were really just kids, romanticizing evil. They had no idea what the Death Eaters were actually up to. He hadn't understood himself, until they came knocking on his door.

He felt Ginny squeeze his hand. "What are you thinking about? Quidditch again?" she asked, curious.

Draco shrugged, trying to sound casual. "Nah. Mostly what you look like naked."

"Hmm, well, as long as it's me."

"Actually, you and Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown. Sort of a Witches of Gryffindor thing."

Ginny was about to make a smart remark when she heard Seamus calling her name. She turned to see him walking up to where she and Draco stood, near the Three Broomsticks.

"Hey, glad I found you. Can I talk to you for a second?" Seamus asked. "There's something I need to tell you."

Draco looked at Seamus in something of a panic. He hadn't quite gotten around to telling Ginny about their afternoon at the Hogsmeade Inn, but he'd thought Seamus would give him a little more time to do it than three weeks. At his questioning glance, Seamus shook his head almost imperceptibly and Draco relaxed.

Ginny narrowed her eyes. "What have you been up to, Seamus?" she asked.

Seamus sighed. "Well, you know Hermione's mystery date?"

Ginny nodded.

"It's Harry. Sirius and I decided to use an appearance charm to try to get them together." Seamus scanned Ginny's face. "I should have told you before but, well, you had other things on your mind at the time." He glanced at Draco.

"Do you think it will stick?" Ginny asked calmly.

"Looks like," Seamus replied. "Unless they get freaked out, but somehow I don't think that will happen."

Ginny held Draco's hand a little tighter, and brought her other hand up to rub her fish pendant. "Well, it doesn't really affect me, does it? Thanks for telling me."

Seamus nodded, relieved. "Sure."

Draco frowned as he looked at Ginny but her face remained blank. Beyond her, he saw two men walking toward them, holding hands. They looked familiar, but he didn't recognize them as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin until they were almost upon him.

"Seamus!" Sirius sang out. "Have we missed the unveiling?"

Seamus looked at his watch. "We have about fifteen minutes until the charm wears off."

Remus walked over to Ginny and enveloped the girl in a hug. He whispered in her ear, "How are you doing?"

"Fine, thanks," she replied. As she pulled back, she remembered her manners. "You remember Draco."

"Of course." Remus reached to shake Draco's hand, then said sincerely, "I was sorry to hear about your mother. I knew her at school. She was a kind woman."

Draco thought saying "that must have been before my father got his claws into her" might sound a bit churlish, so he settled for, "Thank you, Professor Lupin."

Remus shook his head. "Not professor anymore." Quickly dispelling any awkwardness, he pulled Sirius closer and said politely, "I don't believe you've met my friend, Sirius Black. Sirius, this is Lucius and Narcissa's boy."

"Yes," Sirius nodded, shaking Draco's hand. "I'd know that hair anyplace."

"Technically, I'm not Lucius' boy anymore. Emancipated minor and all that. Not to mention the obvious," Draco replied dryly.

Draco's determined expression reminded Sirius of another fatherless boy of his acquaintance. "The choice comes to everyone, sooner or later."

Then Seamus spoke up. "I hate to interrupt but we should probably head over to the Inn."

Sirius put an arm around Seamus' shoulders. "Did he tell you about our splendid plan? Brilliant, that's what it is."

Remus rolled his eyes at Sirius, then said, "We should really get going. We'll see you later, I hope?"

Ginny nodded. "We'll be around." She took Draco's hand and they moved down the street.

After a moment, Draco cleared his throat. "Gin?"


"Why was Seamus concerned over your reaction to this Harry and Hermione thing?" he asked tentatively.

Ginny sighed, annoyed with the topic. "Really, Draco, all of Hogwarts knows that I had a crush on Harry at one time."

"Well, to be honest," he said awkwardly, "I wasn't paying that much attention. You were just another one of Potter's annoying sycophants to me then." Draco smiled slightly. He stopped in front of the alley next to Zonko's and turned Ginny to face him. "How long ago was 'at one time'?"

Ginny narrowed her eyes. "Why do you ask?"

"Just trying to get the timing straight."

Ginny looked at Draco silently for a moment. "If you're asking me if I am with you because I can't be with Harry, the answer is no."

"So, if he came around now—"

"If he came around now, I would say thanks but no thanks." She took Draco's other hand and pulled him closer, speaking to him with tender reassurance. "I'm not a Snitch, Draco. He can't just come swooping in and grab me out of your hands." She leaned toward Draco and kissed him. "And what's the cause of this unprecedented lack of confidence, anyway?" she asked warmly.

Draco winced. He had sounded jealous. "I got used to the sex, is all," he replied lightly.

"We haven't had sex yet, idiot."

Draco felt steadier on his feet; Ginny's smile always had that effect on him. "You won't be able to resist me for long," he teased.

"I'm doing pretty well so far," she replied.

Gently, Draco steered Ginny so that her back was against the wall. "Don't be so sure of that." He gave her the sort of kiss that was meant to chase any lingering thoughts of Harry from her mind—or thoughts of anything else, for that matter.

Ginny caught her breath, then said, "Do you smell chips?"

"Hungry again?"

She nodded. "Also, I think we should get out of the habit of snogging in alleyways. It isn't the classiest image, you know."

After Seamus left, Kevin asked, "Can I get you another drink?"

Dean turned back to Kevin. "No, I'm fine, but I think we need to talk."

Kevin sighed, pushing away his empty glass. "I think I know what you're going to say. You don't have to say it."

"I'm sorry. It isn't you, it's me." Dean winced at the cliché.

Kevin turned to Dean. "You bet it isn't me. You're in love with that best friend of yours."

Dean sat, blinking his eyes in surprise. "I—"

"You know what his reputation is, don't you?"

"Those are just rumors."

Kevin pressed on. "No smoke without fire, Dean. Has he ever told you who he dates?"

"I don't ask," Dean said slowly.

"I may be speaking out of turn here but I don't think he deserves you. I wouldn't like to see you get hurt." Kevin rose to leave but Dean grabbed his arm and pulled him back into the chair.

"You listen to me." Dean's voice was low and calm but it growled with anger. "Seamus Finnigan is a good man. Do not talk about him like that."

Kevin twisted from Dean's grasp, shaking his head. "Since you won't listen to reason, I guess you just need to get him out of your system. When he's through with you, well, you know where to find me." He got up and walked away from the table and out the door.

Dean slouched down in his chair. Was it so apparent to others how he felt about his best friend? Then why didn't Seamus seem to know? He'd been all but unrecognizable while he was dating Justin: skittish, meek, willing to do almost anything to keep the other boy happy. Dean wanted to believe that after this past summer in Ireland he had his old friend back but people change. He couldn't reconcile the rumors with the Seamus he knew but then he couldn't reconcile the Seamus that had dated Justin with the Seamus he knew, either. Dean closed his eyes as his thoughts chased each other round and round like a tiger spinning itself into butter.

Seamus, meanwhile, sat on a bench outside the Hogsmeade Inn with Sirius and Remus.

"And where's Dean?" Sirius asked.

"At the Three Broomsticks with his new boyfriend. You were right, Sirius, he wasn't going to wait forever." Seamus slumped against the back of the bench.

"I can't imagine this boy holds a candle to you, Seamus."

Seamus leaned his head back over the bench, looking up at the darkening sky. "Are you kidding? Kevin Entwhistle is the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain, which means he's clever and has an incredible body. He's even kind. To top it all off, he's completely beautiful."

Sirius looked at Remus, who nodded. "I'm afraid he's rather reminiscent of a Nordic god."

"Hey!" Sirius objected. "You mean to say that you were scoping out the students while you were here?"

Remus rolled his eyes. "I'm not blind. Would you rather I'd carried on with Severus?"

Sirius shuddered.

"I don't mean to interrupt," Seamus said, annoyed, "but weren't we talking about me?"

"Sorry," Sirius said, putting his hand on Seamus' shoulder. "Got it bad, have you?"

"Thanks to you, yes I do. I thought I could just ignore it but that doesn't seem to work. It doesn't help that half of Hogwarts thinks I'm the original slut boy, including Kevin."

"Why?" asked Remus, confused.

"No one breaks up with Justin Finch-Fletchley and gets away with it. So he told everyone he knew that I was sleeping around. I figure defending myself would just give credence to the rumors, so I don't bother." Seamus sighed, sounding defeated. "I never thought Dean would believe them. I mean, he knows me better than that." He leaned his head back and wailed, "This is awful!"

Sirius nodded sympathetically. "You'll just have to wait it out. He'll give you another chance, I'm sure of it. Just make sure you don't hesitate, this time."

"Well, how did you do it? You two were friends first, right?"

Sirius winced. "I am not one to be emulated."


"No," said Remus dryly. "Nearly making the object of your affection into a killer because you were in a jealous snit is one way to get his attention, but I wouldn't recommend it."

The sun had set but the candles in room 204 had not been lit; the current inhabitants had abandoned exploding snap for games of another kind which generally did not require light. Suddenly she pulled away from him.

"What is it? Is something wrong?" he asked.

"Your hair. We've changed back. I recognize your voice." Her mind raced, trying to process what was happening. She pulled his hand up to her head. "You know this hair. You don't need to turn on the light to know who I am."

Harry raised his hand to Hermione's head and his eyes flew open. "Wow," he said, as if in a daze. "No, I know who you are. Although, now that I think about it, I always did know."

"So did I," Hermione admitted, glad for the cover of darkness. "I think we've gone past the 'should we stay friends' discussion, don't you?"

Harry nodded. "A bit late for that." He turned to the bedside table and put on his glasses, which had also changed back to normal. Then he lit the candle next to the bed.

In the light, Hermione suddenly remembered she was wearing only her jeans and they were undone. Feeling shy and exposed, she pulled her legs up to her chest, covering her breasts with her hands.

Harry turned from where he sat bare-chested on the bed and watched as Hermione curled herself up into a ball. "Put your hands down, Hermione," he said gently.

She looked at him for a moment, afraid to reveal herself, fearing she'd already revealed too much. Then he smiled at her and she put her hands down.

He reached over and pushed a strand of hair back from her face. "Why didn't you ever let me see how beautiful you are, Hermione?" he asked sadly. "Why did you have to hide behind someone else's face?"

"Couldn't I ask you the same thing?" she said defensively.

"My situation is different. You know that." He kissed her softly. "Why haven't I ever seen that side of you before?"

Hermione leaned back against the headboard of the bed and reached for Harry's hand. "Seamus calls her Miss Pommery 1926."

Harry, who'd slid over to sit to her, scowled. "Seamus has seen you like this?"

"That summer after fourth year, when Seamus and I were faffing about in London." She looked at Harry, smiling. "I was quite the party girl, if you can believe that."

"Believe it? I saw it in action. But why—"

"This place. The war. Ron. Miss Pommery wasn't the girl he wanted to go out with." Hermione sighed.

Harry snorted. "Ron would be terrified of Miss Pommery. Bloody hell, I was a little scared of her, myself. What does the war or Hogwarts have to do with it?"

Hermione suddenly felt as though everything she'd shrugged off over the last few weeks as Jackie had landed squarely on her shoulders. How can I possibly be Jackie if Jack is Harry? she thought frantically. "There's so much to get ready for, so much to do. I have to be focused, I have to be strong for—"

"For me?" Harry asked quietly.

Hermione nodded. She didn't trust herself to speak. She drew her knees up under her chin and buried her head in her hands.

Harry wrapped his arms around Hermione, pulling her head down onto his shoulder. He whispered gently in her ear, "Hey. You don't have to be anything for anybody. I don't want you driving yourself insane, cramming yourself into a box. That isn't going to help me or anyone else. Especially you."

Hermione sniffled. "But Ron—"

"Hermione, you're just as guilty of trying to get Ron to be something he wasn't as he was about you. I think you sell him short, sometimes." He looked down at her. "These are just excuses, you know, me and Ron and the war. You have to stop hiding."

Hermione sat up and wiped her eyes, nodding. Harry was right. If she couldn't be all of herself around him, then what good was any of it? She took a deep breath. "Okay. No hiding," she agreed. "You know, Seamus said that, too."

Harry's eyes flew open. "Seamus! I bet he's waiting around for us to emerge so he can gloat. That little bastard." He turned to Hermione and smiled. "So, are we going to do this?"

Hermione cocked her head. "Kiss me again."

Harry, deciding he had nothing to lose, gave her the most scorching kiss in his arsenal.

"Well," breathed Hermione, "I guess we'd better do this, hadn't we? I mean, it would be a shame not to, wouldn't it?"

Harry nodded. "As long as you promise to trot Miss Pommery out at regular intervals." He gave Hermione another kiss, then released her and sat up to pull his shirt back on. "Who's her escort, by the way?"

Hermione, who was also dressing, stopped and thought for a moment. "As I recall, she rejects George Kittredge, who isn't right for her at all, and Mike Connor, who could be good for her but is better for someone else, in favor of C.K. Dexter Haven." She pulled her jumper on over her head and slipped on her shoes.

"I guess that makes me Dexter, doesn't it?" Harry winked. "Well, Miss Pommery, shall we face the music?"

"After you, Dexter." They donned their cloaks, grabbed their packages, and left the room.

As they walked out to the street, they could see Seamus sitting on a park bench opposite the Inn, as Harry had predicted. But he wasn't alone. "I should have known you were behind this!" shouted Harry.

Sirius laughed. "Well, you don't seem too unhappy about it."

"You're lucky," Harry teased.

"No, I'm perceptive," Sirius replied, exceedingly pleased with himself. "Come on, I'll buy the drinks and you can thank me." He and Remus led the way to the Three Broomsticks.

When they entered, Harry and Hermione went to look for a table while Sirius and Remus went to the bar for the drinks. Seamus scanned the room and saw Dean, sitting alone. He walked over to the table.

"All right?" Seamus asked, concerned.

Dean looked up. "Sure, I'm fine."

Seamus looked around the room. "Where's Kevin?"

Dean shrugged. "He left. I ended it. It wasn't what I wanted."

Seamus closed his eyes in thanks. Trying to sound sincere, he said, "I'm sorry it didn't work out, Dean."

"Really?" Dean replied with a mirthless chuckle. "I'm not."

"You look sad. Come join us."

"No, I think I'll head back to school. I'm not much fun tonight."

Seamus put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "Come on. You can mope later. We'll have a big pity party for our pathetic single selves back in the room."

Dean looked up to see Seamus smiling down at him. "Okay, I will. Thanks." He smiled back.

Sirius and Remus watched the encounter from where they sat with Harry and Hermione. "Where's Dean's new boyfriend?" Sirius asked, confused.

"Oh, they broke up," Hermione said dismissively. "Good thing, too. This whole Seamus and Dean thing is driving me to distraction. I wish they'd get on with it."

Remus laughed. "Says the girl who needed an appearance charm to—"

"Okay! So I'm a hypocrite!" She shook her head as the others laughed.

"What's the joke?" Seamus asked as he and Dean pulled some chairs up to the table.

"Me. But never mind me, look over there." Hermione nodded to where Ron and Padma were sitting . . . with Ginny and Draco. Granted, Draco and Ron were sitting as far apart as possible and they didn't look overjoyed but at least they weren't screaming at each other.

Remus nodded. "Good for her." At Sirius' questioning look, he said, "What? You think you're the only matchmaker around?"

Sirius leaned back a little, staring at Remus. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"

Remus smiled slightly. "I aim to please."
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