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Originally Posted: Dec 3, 2008

“Yer staring at me, Hermione.”

Hermione blinks and realizes that Seamus is right. She has been staring. He’s looking at her curiously but also smiling, so she doesn’t think he suspects anything. “Sorry. I was lost in thought.” It isn’t an actual lie. True, those thoughts were about him, but she doesn't have to be specific.

“Were yeh now?” He wipes down the bar in front of her and smiles. “What sorts of thoughts be distracting you when I’m singin' meh heart out to impress? Not every evenin' that I let people hear me singin' a proper Irish song.”

“I think the woman with ‘golden locks of hair’ was suitably impressed,” she says, nodding at the other end of the bar to the witch who is practically drooling over Seamus. She scowls at the woman before she stabs a cheese covered chip with her fork.

“Oi! Since when have you known me to fancy birds like that?” He makes a face and playfully frowns at her. “I prefer natural women, meself. Brunettes. With curves. And you didn’t answer my question, lass.”

Of course she hadn’t. It’s pathetic enough that she’s developed a crush on an old friend without adding the humiliation of confessing about it to him. Seamus isn’t her type at all, not that she actually has much of a type, despite Ginny’s belief that she has a ‘thing’ for Quidditch players. Whatever her type is, though, she knows that Seamus isn’t it. He’s charming, flirtatious, playful, and many other things that she isn’t. Besides, she likes men who are tall, built, and have dark hair. Not slender, fit men with sandy blond hair and mischievous blue eyes.

“Hold that thought,” he mutters before he goes to fill a drink order. She lets her gaze move over his back, lingering on his bum as his denims pull taut across it when he leans down to get a clean glass. When she realizes that she’s staring, again, she looks at the file she has open before her, not that she plans to actually get any work done right now.

While he’s busy, she could easily make her escape. She can leave quietly, and he’ll forget about their conversation by the time she comes back tomorrow night. Visiting the pub has become practically a nightly ritual since she started to develop this ridiculous infatuation for the bartender. Since she now stops in several times a week instead of just once a week like before, she’s certain that Seamus must suspect. That’s why he flirts so much and tries to make her blush constantly.

“Now, are yeh planning to fawn over me and ask me to sing yeh a song yet?” He grins when she looks up at him. He winks as he leans against the bar. “Or do you need more time before you’re ready to make a request?”

“I can’t think of anything that would surpass the recent performance of Red is the Rose,” she points out thoughtfully, telling herself not to blush even as she feels warmth across her cheeks. “Besides, I don’t fawn.”

“Course you don’t.” He reaches out and moves his finger along a curl of hair that’s resting against her cheek. She finds it difficult to breathe when she feels the rough pad of his finger glide across her skin. “You flatter, though.”

“Finnigan! Two pints!” A gruff voice calls out from down the bar.

Seamus curses under his breath before he drops his hand. “Right. Gotta work. Just-stay here.”

She reaches for her glass of pumpkin juice and takes a drink, needing something cool to combat the heat that seems to have taken her over. The nightly flirting with Seamus is different tonight, though she isn’t sure how. He isn’t as playful as normal. Instead, there’s tension and a seriousness that scares her. When he comes back down to her corner, she shifts on her stool. “I think I should probably go. It’s getting late, and I’ve got to finish reviewing this case before work tomorrow.”

“Runnin' away again,” he murmurs before he smiles wryly. “Yeh stay later other nights.”

“Yes, well, I have work,” she says, deciding to ignore the accusation that she’s running away.

“One more song.” He steps back and waves his wand to start music playing. She listens to him start to sing about summertime coming and blossoming heather while several other patrons familiar with the song join in. Instead of walking along the bar and engaging with his customers like he did earlier, he keeps his gaze on her as he liltingly asks ‘will ye go lassie go’.

When he finishes, there are applause and more drink orders. He tosses a towel to Ellie, the other bartender, and walks around the bar. She turns the seat of her stool until she’s facing him when he’s standing beside her. “That was very nice,” she says softly.

“Nice,” he repeats as he leans an arm against the bar and stares at her. “Are yeh impressed then? I’m handsome, clever and a bloody great singer. Right good catch, if I do say so meself.”

“You just did,” she points out, smiling slightly even as her belly twists in knots.

“Why do you come in here every night, Hermione?” he asks suddenly. The playful smile is gone, and he’s looking at her with an intensity that she’s not used to seeing from him. He leans closer to her. “We’re friends, yeah? Known each other a bloody long time. Wouldn’t want to bollocks that up or anything.”

“I wouldn’t either. I mean, we are definitely friends, Seamus. There won’t be any, uh, messing that up.” She avoids his question because she can’t think of an appropriate answer that wouldn’t be admitting things she doesn’t want him to know.

“Right. Okay then. Guess that means I can finally do this.” He leans forward and presses his lips against hers. She stiffens in surprise before she sways toward him. She hears him groan before he grips her neck and licks her lips, nibbling until she parts them. He deepens the kiss, and she nearly falls off the stool as she moves closer to him, kissing him back with everything she’s got.

When he pulls away, he stares at her. She blushes and can’t believe that she’s just kissed him. Not only did she kiss him, but she did it in a crowded pub where anyone could see. What’s got into her? A very naughty voice points out that nothing has got into her before flashing some vivid images of Seamus doing just that, which makes her blush even more. She ignores that voice and focuses on him and what they’ve just done. “Finally?” she asks, watching him lick his lips as he moves closer.

“Been thinkin’ ‘bout doing that for ages. Was better than I expected,” he says as he moves his thumb over the back of her neck. “Am off work Thursday. Wanna go out?”

For ages? Why didn’t she know that? She’s an observant person. She certainly should have noticed if the man she’s infatuated with wants to kiss her. Thoroughly. She stops chastising herself when she hears him ask her out. “Like on a date?”

“That okay?” He looks hesitant for a moment, unsure of himself in a way that she hasn’t seen before. “Dinner and maybe dancin’ after. You like to dance.”

“Yes, it’s okay,” she tells him. She does like to dance, though she’s surprised that he’s paid enough attention to her to know that. She smiles as she nods. “Dinner on Thursday sounds good. But, Shay, are you sure? I mean, this changes things.”

“Think that kiss changed things, lass,” he says with a cheeky grin. “Am sure. Wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t, yeah?”

“You’re probably right about that.” She reaches up to brush his fringe back from his forehead. “Thursday is perfect.”

“Great. Thursday. A real date. With you. Bloody hell. This is brilliant. Right. Better get back to work.” He kisses her quickly before he runs his fingers through his hair and goes back behind the bar. When he looks up, he winks at her. “Yer staring at me, Hermione.”

She leans her elbows on the bar and slowly smiles. “I know I am, Seamus.”