Seamus Finnigan clambered into the relatively empty Gryffindor common room. Other than two first years studying in the corner, the only person in there was Dean Thomas. It was the Christmas holidays so Seamus had expected the quiet.
Dean sat on the sofa in front of the glowing fireplace, a number of sketchpads sprawled on the seats next to him as he drew the dark view from the window. The fire sent a glow around him, making him even more gorgeous than usual as it picked out every little perfect detail.
Any other time Seamus would have stopped to admire his friend's work but today, with his cheek throbbing, he collapsed into a scarlet armchair with a huff.
Briefly, Dean looked up to Seamus cradling his cheek and went back to his drawing. "What happened this time?"
"Padma Patil, that's what happened," the Irish boy groaned.
"Pick-up line?" The conversation was so common, Dean nearly didn't have to ask.
"'Hagrid's not the only giant in this castle, if you know what I mean.'" Both boys winced. "Probably not the best choice. Maybe that's why she slapped me."
Dean shook his head sadly.
"I haven't been able to get a girl for a whole month! What if I'm losing it?" Seamus sounded scared.
They sat in silence – bar the cracking of the fire, the scratch of Dean's pencil and the quiet chatter of the first year's – for a moment. It wasn't awkward silence; the boys were far too familiar to each other for that. When you're best friends, and have lived together for five and a half years like this pair, things are never awkward. That's one of the things Seamus liked about Dean, amongst other things such as his humour, kindness, and flawless good looks.
After a moment, Dean started to speak again. "Dude, you need some new pick-up lines."
"I think I've used them all up."
Dean put down his sketch pad, itching for a challenge. "I'm sure I can think of one you haven't."
The smile that broke across Seamus' lips was somehow evil. "Try me. Bet I could tell you exactly who I used it on, where I was and when it was."
"'Going to bed? Mind if I Slytherin?'" Dean started with a common one amongst Hogwarts students.
There was no pause for Seamus to remember. "Pansy Parkinson, fourth year, outside the Great Hall. Got me a hex did that one."
The next one came up pretty quick, though Dean did want to ask what the hell Seamus had been thinking. Pansy Parkinson? "'You're defiantly a witch because I've fallen under your spell.'"
"Susan Bones, second year, Lockhart's class."
"'I'll make-'" Dean started but Seamus silence him with a wave of the hand.
"Little gits are listening in." He turned his back and glared at the first years, after realising they had stopped talking. "Didn't anyone tell you it's rude to listen in?"
The pair ran off to their dormitory and Seamus turned back to the task at hand.
He glared at Dean, and Dean glared back, both wanting to win this playful competition. The lines and answers started to come in quick-fire.
"'I'll make you moan like Myrtle.'"
"Hannah Abbot, third year, outside Myrtle's toilets, of course."
"'You're good a Quidditch, wanna ride my broom?"
"Angelina Johnson, fifth year, right over there." Seamus pointed a stubby finger to the middle of the room.
"'Come here, I'll show you a real patronus.'"
That one was answered to, and so where the many others that came after that – fifteen more, to be exact. Dean had started to run out of lines and started using muggle ones. Somehow, Seamus knew them too so Dean started making them up.
"'You're so beautiful I forgot my pick up line.'"
That one made Seamus smile and laugh. "Sorry, darling. That's been happening a lot recently."
"Yeah, right, you can't even get a girl."
Wiping a fake tear from his eye, Seamus replied, "That's a low blow, Dean Thomas. And what if I actually have a reason I haven't picked anyone up?"
"What? What do you mean?" The confusion was clear.
"For the last few months it's been different. I had a different target, not Lavender or Romilda or any of that lot, someone who I really wanted, so I haven't been trying as hard. That lot are bitches anyway, don't you agree?"
Nodding his head, Dean had a thought. If it wasn't that kind of girl Seamus was after… it must have been someone completely different. "Is it Luna? She's different."
Followed by deep, brown eyes, Seamus stood and circled to stand behind his friend. "No, Dean. Not Luna. Someone… I didn't expect to fall for, though it was painfully obvious at the same time."
"Not obvious to me!" Dean complained, eager to find out his best mate's new crush.
"All in good time," Seamus chuckled. "Now, I still have one more pick up line. It's the best one."
"What is it?"
Unexpectedly, Seamus draped his arms over his friend's shoulders. He lowered his head and rested his chin on the other boy's shoulder so that he could whisper in his ear. "Kiss me, I'm Irish."
Peeling the arms from his neck, Dean muttered, "Good one, that'll work."
Seamus sighed and walked back around to sofa to look Dean in the face. "Dean, you don't understand."
"Then explain!" He leant his head against the back of the sofa as he gave up on guessing.
"Merlin, have never had to spell things out for you before." The complaint was deserved, Seamus felt he was already making things clear enough without making it awkward. "Pay attention, Dean. Kiss me, I'm Irish." He said again, slower this time, and then leant in closer to say it once more. "Kiss me, Dean."
After a moment of contemplation, Dean grabbed best-friend-though-maybe-more's hand and pulled him onto his lap.
The pale skin of Seamus' cheeks flushed with colour and the smile that broke across his lips was simply adorable. "Thank god you understand."
Brushing Seamus' bottom lip with his thumb, Dean smiled back. "Of course I understand. I'm sorry if I was a little slow, it's just not everyday your best mate comes out to you and then asks for a snog." The red cheeks brightened.
Placing his hand under Seamus' chin Dean pulled him closer until their lips met. It was only a short kiss but that was all it seemed to take. Instead the boys leaned against one another, forehead pressed against forehead. Gazing into each other's eyes, they knew they had found what they were looking for. All those times they had tried picking up girls, all those times they'd failed, it was because their attempts had been half-hearted. They had always know what they wanted, deep down, and never tried hard enough.
"Dean?" A wave of happiness washed through Seamus as he said the name. It was as if the word was now his, and he would look after it well.
"Dean, is that a wand in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" He joked, hoping that was the last pick up line he would ever use. He'd had enough pick up lines to last a life time.