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Originally Posted: May 31, 2006

“Ya’ve got ink on your nose.”

The quill stopped scratching its way across the parchment. There was a pause before Hermione finally looked up to stare at the boy who was sitting across the table from her. “I do not,” she whispered confidently.

Seamus grinned. “Yeah, ya do.”

She scowled at him and his dimples before she reached up to rub her nose. She tried looking at it but just gave herself a headache. Once she was content that she would have wiped away any such ink spots, she looked back at her homework.

“You didn’t get it.”

“That’s because it’s not there,” she said as she decided to just ignore him. She wasn’t exactly sure why Seamus was in the library that evening since he didn’t have any books or homework with him. He’d followed her after dinner and sat down at her favorite table in the back without even asking. For the last hour, she’d had to deal with him staring at her with that ridiculous grin and laughter in his blue eyes. She just knew he must be plotting some sort of mischief, but couldn’t be bothered to even care that much.

“I’ve never lied to you, Hermione,” he told her firmly. “Not starting now.”

She looked up at those words and arched a brow. Despite her best efforts, though, she couldn’t think of a single time that she was aware of Seamus lying to her. “Why are you here, Seamus?” she asked finally. “You are aware that this is the library, right?” She followed her last question with a pointed look at the empty table in front of him.

“Is it?” He gasped loudly and looked around in exaggerated awe.

“Sssh,” she hissed despite knowing that they were far enough away from Madam Pince and any students to be overheard.

“I wondered why there were all these rows of books,” Seamus confided with that infuriating grin as he leaned back in his chair and stared at her.

“You’re going to tip that chair back and fall on your arse,” she informed him primly.

“Nah, I’m right good at balancing,” he told her matter-of-factly.

“Just be quiet. I have homework,” she muttered crossly when it became evident that he wasn’t going anywhere.

There were a few minutes of peaceful silence, though Hermione couldn’t concentrate on her parchment because he was staring. She kept looking up to find his gaze on her, usually accompanied by a cheeky grin or sometimes a thoughtful expression. It was bothersome. Besides, she was preoccupied with the question of whether she had ink on her nose or not.

“He’s a right bloody prat.”

That comment pulled her out of her thoughts. She looked at Seamus curiously. “Who?”

“Who do you think?” he asked with a wry smile that didn’t look nearly as infectious as his grin. She was surprised to realize that she missed the dimples.

“Well, there are many boys at this school that could qualify for such a vague comment. Shall I make a list or will you tell me who you have in mind?”

“There’s only one that has ya hiding in this place.”

“I’m not hiding. I’m doing homework,” she corrected before she glanced at the open book in front of her.

“He’s not worth it, ya know? ‘sides, I think he fancies Harry.”

“What?” she squeaked as she looked up at him with wide eyes. Instead of a teasing smile, he looked serious.

“I share a dorm with them. He sure as bloody hell doesn’t look at Lavender like I’ve seen him looking at Harry,” Seamus told her softly. “Ya didn’t know?”

“I---but---“ For once, words truly failed her. Ron fancied Harry? Had she been so wrapped up in her own feelings for Ron that she’d completely missed the signs that he had inclinations for his own sex? God, and they said she was the smart and observant one!

“Don’t reckon he knows yet, either. Just a way they look, I guess. Suppose I could be wrong, but usually ain’t ‘bout those things.”

“Aren’t. I’ve never thought about it, honestly. I mean, he’s snogging Lavender all over the castle,” she said quietly. “This is the only place they avoid.”

“So it’s become your favorite place. Not that it wasn’t before,” he added with a nod. “Yeah, I’m not bright like ya but I’m not stupid, either. Noticed that, I did. ‘s why I’m here now.”

Hermione wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but her mind was focused on the idea of Ron fancying Harry. She rapidly analyzed various memories but came to no definite conclusions either way. “Do you really think he does?”

“Yeah,” Seamus admitted with a shrug. “Maybe he likes both?”

It was odd, but the idea of losing the idea of having Ron to Harry didn’t feel as awful as the reality of losing him to Lavender. “Is that why you’re here? To tell me about Ron?” she asked as she met Seamus’ gaze.

“Nah. He’s not something I think about a lot,” he said with a hint of that cheeky grin back. “Knew ya were kinda upset and thought ya might need a friend.”

“Oh.” She hadn’t expected that answer. She blinked at him, feeling awkward for some reason as she shifted in her chair.

“I also brought ya this,” he offered as he slid a chocolate chip biscuit across the table. “Saw ya leave before dessert and thought chocolate might be good for ya. Always makes me Ma smile.”

“I lost my appetite,” she confessed with a sheepish smile as she thought back to dinner and how Won Won was snogging Lavender. She picked up the biscuit. “Thank you.”

“Ah, there’s that smile,” he said triumphantly. “I knew it had to be there somewhere. Just been hiding out in the library with ya, I guess.”

“You’re impossible,” she muttered as she felt her cheeks flush at his antics. She broke the biscuit in half and slid part of it back to him. “Eat this so you’ll be quiet and I can finish my homework.”

He picked up the biscuit and she blushed even more when his fingers brushed against the top of her hand in a way that was decidedly not accidental. She nervously licked her lips and tried to figure out what was going on because this was just not expected. Seamus was not the sort of boy that sat in libraries and offered biscuits as comfort food and stared at her like this. No one was that sort of boy since Viktor had left, in fact.

“She’s not half the woman ya are,” he murmured softly. She glanced up and was surprised to see that his cheeks were red and he seemed shocked at what he’d just said.

“I, uh, well, um, thank you,” she stammered as she looked at him and noticed little things she never had before. Like the way his eyelashes curled slightly at the end and were a lighter sandy color than his hair and the freckles on his cheeks and the way his ears stuck out just slightly at the top which possibly explained why he kept his hair long on top and the way his bottom lip was full and his upper lip was thin and slightly chapped and…she blushed when she realized she was staring at his lips and quickly looked down at the biscuit.

He coughed and shifted in his chair before he said, “Ya’ve still got ink on your nose.”

She focused on him and smiled shyly. “Would you show me where?”

“Yeah,” he whispered before he leaned across the table and gently brushed his finger over the tip of her nose. “Right there.”

She licked her finger, reached up and wiped the spot he indicated. “Better?”

“Got it all,” he confirmed as he sat back in his chair and stared at her again.

Hermione looked back and impulsively asked, “Would you like to go into Hogsmeade with me Saturday, Seamus?”

His eyes widened and he lost his balance right before his chair fell backwards. She got up and rushed over to help him up, hoping that Madam Pince hadn’t heard him. She knelt on the ground by him and had to smile when he looked up at her and grinned. “Yeah, I would,” he said before he’d even sat up again. “I’d like that a lot.”

“I told you that you’d fall on your arse if you weren’t careful,” she reminded him as she nodded at the chair and his current position.

“Nah. Just fell for you,” he told her with a cheeky grin and wink.

“That was awful,” she informed him as she groaned. Her smiled softened the words, not that he seemed to care what she was saying.

“This needs to come out more often,” he murmured as he reached up to trace the curve of her lips with his finger. “I’ve missed it.”

When he dropped his hand, she smiled at him as she said, “I have a sneaky suspicion that you’ll see it a lot more now,” before she helped him up. She blushed when he touched her hands and found an excuse to lean against her, but she didn’t mind when she felt his slender body against hers. When she sat back down, she didn’t even bother to look at her homework. Instead, she sat there with flushed cheeks as they just stared at each other and smiled.