jeongguk knows something is wrong the moment he steps into the classroom. or—maybe not wrong. just different. he’s used to his students chatting for the minutes that stretch between when they arrive to the classroom and when jeongguk calls for their attention, used to having to tell a certain group of slytherins to put away the marvel comic books; just because they’re in muggle studies doesn’t mean they can claim that reading muggle comic books instead of doing their work counts as studying. of course, he’s glad they’re taking an interest in muggle culture, but there have to be a few parameters.
but when jeongguk walks into his classroom on a bright tuesday morning in the beginning of december, not even said group of slytherins are reading comic books. in fact, the classroom is oddly quiet—other than a few giggles when he pulls the door closed behind him and begins the trek up to his desk. jeongguk’s eyebrows furrow as he walks past the rows of sixth and seventh year students, all sitting attentively at their desks rather than talking or milling about. they’re all quite well behaved, at least when it comes to him; jeongguk knows he can be a strict professor at times, but the students respect him so he usually doesn’t have to worry about handing out detentions.
but this is just… odd. once he gets to the front of the classroom, he turns around and furrows his brow at the group of students.
“why do i have a feeling that someone is about to jump out of my desk and throw a pie in my face?” jeongguk asks, making a few students giggle. he’s not sure whether to take that as a good sign or not. “seriously, what’s going on? you’re all uncharacteristically quiet this morning.”
this group of students isn’t the pranking type, he knows. the best part of teaching students in the last two years of hogwarts is that the class sizes are small enough to encompass all of the sixth and seventh year students who want to take any given class—muggle studies in jeongguk’s case. so he gets to develop close relationships with all of the students who have chosen to take his class, and he knows them well. he knows lachlan harris likes to knit in his spare time, and he knows archibald hamilton won’t hesitate to throw a harmless hex at anyone who doesn’t call him archie.
he also knows that elise renault has a hard time keeping anything a secret if she’s asked directly about it, so jeongguk chooses to round on her; she’s sitting near the front with another ravenclaw girl, and jeongguk taps his wand against the textbook in his hand before he turns to her.
“miss renault,” he begins, and she straightens up immediately. “i can trust you, can’t i?”
“of course, professor jeon,” she says.
“good. is someone going to jump out of my desk and throw a pie in my face?”
elise shakes her head quickly. “it’s nothing we’ve done, sir,” she says. “it was here when we arrived.”
“it?” asks jeongguk, still confused as his eyes sweep the other students’ faces. all of them look positively enthralled with whatever is going to happen next, anticipation clear in their expressions. he wishes they would look this excited about muggle studies on any given day, but he supposes he’ll take any opportunity to make class exciting. sometimes he finds the material dry as a bone, considering he’s a muggleborn and therefore none of this is new to him, but the students who didn’t grow up around muggles tend to find the strangest things fascinating: spark plugs, or car parts, or rubber ducks. wizards tend to be easily amused.
one of the students, a ravenclaw named rudy king, points to jeongguk’s desk. when jeongguk turns around, he notices something he didn’t before—it’s a small package placed in the middle of the desk, wrapped in parchment with a tiny green bow on top. jeongguk stares at it.
“open it!” someone crows from behind him.
“it could be dangerous,” jeongguk says, although he does approach his desk and puts the textbook down on top. after a moment, he flicks his wand and casts a spell to scan the package for any signs of danger; he has no reason to believe someone would leave him a suspicious package, but just in case. the last thing he needs is to end up in the hospital wing when he’s trying to prepare his students for the end of term exams.
when the spell brings back nothing suspicious, jeongguk reaches out and picks up the package. he turns around and leans against the desk, watching the students as they stare at him with anticipation. it’s strange having this sort of power—although it’s a power he tends to have on a daily basis when he teaches. as much as he loves imparting wisdom and knowledge on his students, he thinks part of the reason he decided to become a hogwarts professor was because he likes having people listen to him. he can’t help being a slytherin, even at the age of thirty; that sort of thing sticks with a person their entire life.
anyway—“are you going to open it?” asks penelope johnston.
“who’s it from?” asks antoinette lowe.
“what is it?” asks connor jameson.
“alright, calm down,” says jeongguk, bringing the little package up to eye level. he inspects it, turning it in his hand with the rapt attention of the students on him. “i’m not sure i should open it. we do have class to get to, and the longer we waste with this gift, the less time we get to talk about electricity.”
that causes a quiet uproar from the students, all of them protesting in favour of opening the gift. it makes jeongguk smirk, just a little, and he lowers the package. “fine, fine!” he finally calls. “i’ll open it, but only if all of you promise to get your essays on electricity in to me on time this friday. no exceptions. james major, i’m looking at you.”
“what did i do?” the boy mutters, but everyone else is agreeing loudly, just wanting jeongguk to open the damn package already.
to be honest, it’s not the first package he’s gotten on his desk. he’s sure the students know it, too, and that’s why they’re so determined for him to open it and find out what it is—and who it’s from. and maybe jeongguk is more than a little curious himself, knowing that keeping it aside would just distract him during class. once the students have agreed to hand in their essays on time, leaning forward in their desks, jeongguk slips his thumb under the flap of the parchment and tears it open.
the classroom is silent as jeongguk opens the package, and then the little box inside. he peers inside the box, staring at the item there. after a moment, he says, “ah.”
“what is it?” someone practically shouts.
“pop quiz,” says jeongguk as he reaches into the box and pulls out the item in question. it’s small, barely half the size of his pinkie. he holds it between his thumb and index finger, showing it to the class. “anyone want to tell me what this is and what it’s used for?”
immediately, someone’s hand shoots up. jeongguk nods to the student—tatiana gray, hufflepuff and head girl. the smart one. “that’s a battery, professor jeon,” she says. “batteries are used to power things like electronics so that they can be used without having to connect them to a larger power source. like… torches.”
jeongguk grins. “very good, miss gray. now, does anyone have any idea why someone would leave me batteries?”
that one has a less enthusiastic response, although something in the students’ expressions tells him that they all have an idea and just aren’t willing to say anything. because this isn’t the first package he’s gotten like this—and certainly not the first random and somewhat useless muggle item he’s gotten as a gift. it’s a recurring theme, actually.
wooing techniques, or something. that’s what he’s heard some of the seventh years call it.
“well, it’s…” begins elise. “it’s from professor min, isn’t it?” several students burst into giggles again, although the somewhat nervous kind. it’s muffled, as though they’re trying not to giggle.
jeongguk just raises an eyebrow. “and what makes you say that?”
“who else would it be from?” asks elise. “he’s been giving you gifts since the beginning of the year, and last year, as well. i wrote to my sister and she told me he was giving you gifts when she was in school too—”
“you’ve written your sister about me?”
elise’s cheeks flare. “that’s not—not what i meant!”
“she’s right, though,” pipes up rudy. “professor min has been leaving you gifts for ages. even though they’re all kind of useless, but… they’re all muggle things, which is really sweet if you ask me. considering you’re the muggle studies professor.”
“there’s no name on the package, though,” says jeongguk. “how can we be sure?”
“please, professor jeon,” sighs penelope. “it’s obvious that professor min is in love with you.” jeongguk has to clamp his teeth down on the inside of his cheek to keep himself from doing something silly, like grinning. he’s trying very hard to remain professional about this and not make any sort of facial expression that the students will take as poor evidence that jeongguk reciprocates these feelings that they claim professor min has.
still—it has the other students giggling, apparently interested in talking about professor min’s feelings rather than doing anything else. “he’s been leaving you gifts forever,” someone says, “not to mention he’s always offering to help you with things like decorating the great hall for holidays or with the frog choir.”
“and how would you know if he offers?” asks jeongguk.
“he doesn’t make a secret of it, does he? it’s like he wants the whole school to know.”
“a few weeks ago, he spent a whole ten minutes of class time discussing the best ways to ask someone on a date.”
“that has nothing to do with me,” mutters jeongguk.
“remember how he dressed up as superman for halloween this year? even though he’s notorious for being a pureblood who doesn’t understand the first thing about muggle pop culture?”
“and you’re the one slytherin professor he won’t get into arguments with about house rivalries.”
“sometimes i just watch him at dinner and he literally has heart eyes every time you say something.”
“plus, it’s very suspicious that he always sits beside you at meals anyw—”
“alright!” exclaims jeongguk. “that’s enough.” the class falls silent, staring at him from their desks. and jeongguk—might be just a little red in the cheeks. but it has absolutely nothing to do with the situation and all of the evidence that the students are presenting to him. he’s known for years that the students suspect that there’s something going on between he and the defense against the dark arts professor. he knows that he and professor min tend to be at the head of the rumour mill, especially when they do something like this. but most days, he tries to ignore the fact that his students are trying to pry into his personal life all of the time.
jeongguk gives a little huff, setting the batteries beside him on the desk and smoothing down the front of his robes. “might i remind you that you’re here to learn magic and make friends and grow into upright young citizens of the wizarding world, not gossip about your professors’ love lives?” he asks.
some of them have the good sense to look sheepish. most of them, though—it’s clear they really give zero shits about that. jeongguk takes the opportunity to walk around the desk, trying to get a hold of himself, too; it’s had to contain all of the fondness he feels at times like these, but when he’s put under the magnifying glass of his students, he has to attempt to control himself. anything could be taken as a hint or a clue, even if it’s misconstrued. he remembers being a student in this very castle and how he thrived on drama, too, especially if it involved a professor. who knew that only a decade later, he would be the one fuelling said drama?
“i advise you to focus on your studies,” he tells the students. “can we at least do that for the next hour?”
there’s a little scuffling. someone murmurs, “yes, professor.”
“thank you,” says jeongguk; he doesn’t want to seem harsh, but sometimes he thinks the students have gotten a little too comfortable with him. they’re not friends, although he certainly wants to see them succeed and hopes that they feel free to converse with him about more than just classes or exams. “besides,” he adds. “if it is from professor min, he sure has a terrible sense of what muggle items make for good gifts.”
a few people laugh. even when he grabs his textbook and calls for the students to open to the correct chapter, he hears someone mutter, “i think it’s cute. he’s trying his best. and a bad gift doesn’t change the fact that he clearly has a crush.”
jeongguk does his best to actually pay attention to his own class, ignoring the damn batteries on the desk. but he still can’t stop thinking about it, hearing his students’ words in the back of his mind—it’s obvious that professor min is in love with you.
as a student himself, he would have given anything to hear words like that; min yoongi was just the older gryffindor student that jeongguk had begun to hero worship the moment he walked through the front doors of hogwarts and saw yoongi trying to convince his pet toad to ribbit the latest celestina warbeck hit. (in hindsight, it might be ironic that jeongguk now leads the frog choir. but he’s not going to think about that one too deeply.) despite their four year age difference, he and yoongi did become friends—with yoongi as more of a mentor than anything for jeongguk, especially as he lasted through such turbulent events as failing his first exam, being rejected by a girl, missing home. puberty. but that four year age difference did mean that jeongguk spent more time in hogwarts without yoongi than with him, and it wasn’t until yoongi graduated that jeongguk realized the admiration he had for yoongi was leaning a little more toward the romantic side.
or, in other words: jeongguk had a Big Gay Crush on min yoongi.
the fact that the both of them are now professors at hogwarts, and no longer at an age where four years is a big deal—well. it might be fate. might be irony. might be something much crueler, although jeongguk prefers not to think about that. there’s just much more to the story than his students know, although he did once come across a group of fifth years tearing through old hogwarts yearbooks to find both he and yoongi. they seemed to have gotten stuck somewhere in the class above yoongi, though, mooning over the now-famous actor kim seokjin.
(jeongguk neglected to tell them that said now-famous actor kim seokjin tutored him in charms for a year and hadn’t even pulled out his wand once the entire time, instead choosing to teach jeongguk about using his other charms. as a twelve-year-old, jeongguk hadn’t quite been sure what blowing kisses had to do with trying to pass his exams, but he hadn’t failed the class, so maybe seokjin had been onto something.)
still—the students gossip. the students appear to be more interested in jeongguk’s love life than even he is, which doesn’t bother him most days. it’s just hard being scrutinized for everything he does, especially when it’s in relation to yoongi. he can’t even say a word to the other professor without hearing someone giggle from across the room, and he can only imagine what comes after—the student running to their friends, screaming you’ll never guess who i saw canoodling in the commons!
there’s really no way to escape it, unfortunately. but jeongguk spends the rest of the morning trying not to think about what the damn batteries mean—because they’re right. yoongi has been leaving him gifts for years. he has been offering, very loudly at times, to assist jeongguk with whatever professor duties he has. he did dress up as superman for halloween this year, and as abraham lincoln last year, and marty mcfly the year before, complete with a hoverboard that was really just a skateboard charmed to float.
yoongi does, for all intents and purposes, appear to have as big of a Big Gay Crush on jeongguk as jeongguk had on him in the latter years of his hogwarts education.
the problem is: if jeongguk thinks about min yoongi for longer than necessary, he’ll get absolutely no work done and show up to class looking like a flustered mess, not the thirty-year-old professor that he is. he’s a man. he’s professional. he can deal with getting a little attention from who is undoubtedly the most attractive, charming, and endearing person jeongguk has ever had the misfortune of having to work within close proximity to. he almost misses the short stint he worked at the leaky cauldron the summer after he graduated, and that had been filled with butterbeer stains and old men leering at him when he walked by. (although yoongi did show up on the weekends and did nothing but send jeongguk into very intense bouts of gay panic, so. maybe this is just a recurring theme in his professional life.)
after spending the morning avoiding the gift and all thoughts of min yoongi, however—jeongguk approaches him at lunch. it’s also true that they tend to sit beside each other at meals, although that has less to do with personal choice and more to do with the fact that that’s where the defense and muggle studies professors are meant to sit, and he’s not wont to believe the headmistress did it on purpose because she thinks he and yoongi ought to fall in love over yorkshire pudding.
“professor min,” says jeongguk as he slips into his seat at the head table, already eying the roast beef that has been set out for lunch. it’s only in part because he doesn’t want to look at yoongi, who has his hair styled extra perfectly today and always looks devastatingly gorgeous. jeongguk suspects that yoongi might actually be part veela.
“professor jeon,” says yoongi, voice an octave lower than it should be. jeongguk shivers just a little, turning to give yoongi a grin. even now, it’s hard not to see yoongi as he was as a teenager, insisting that jeongguk squeeze into the gryffindor table with him despite being four years younger and a slytherin. yoongi always had a way of making hogwarts feel like home.
“good classes this morning?” asks jeongguk, reaching for the food in front of him.
“ah, yes,” says yoongi. “a second year cried about vampires, so that was fun to deal with.”
jeongguk almost rolls his eyes. “you know you’re fantastic with the little ones,” he says. “honestly, i can’t stand them half the time, so i’m glad only those third year and older can take my class. meanwhile, you’ve practically adopted the entire first and second year classes.”
“it’s not that hard to be nice to them, you know. they’re just like tiny adults. and you’re good with people.”
jeongguk almost flushes, turning away from yoongi’s stupid grin to focus on his lunch instead. “not like you,” he murmurs. the truth is that yoongi is kind almost to a fault, and soft on the younger students, and helpful. he was always meant to be a professor, and jeongguk knew it simply from the way that he dealt with other students when he was in hogwarts himself. yoongi is the one who lets students get away with things too often, who isn’t afraid to take part in their pranks and teach them swear words in korean. it’s why all of the students love him, although why they work hard in his class, too. jeongguk might be a little jealous.
speaking of which—there’s a distinct sound of tittering to the left, and whispers that sound a little pointed. jeongguk looks up from his plate to see some of the sixth and seventh years from his class this morning looking directly at him and yoongi, whispering. he sends them an incredulous look and they quickly look away, although they don’t stop laughing.
it’s a reminder, anyway.
“aren’t you going to ask me about my classes?” asks jeongguk, spearing a potato with his fork and shoving it in his mouth as he turns his attention back to yoongi—who is caught mid-sip of his coffee and almost chokes on it when they make eye contact.
it’s all the confirmation jeongguk needs, although he didn’t actually need it. no other professor takes such an interest in muggle devices, and certainly none of them leave him gifts. (it’s for the best—most of the teaching staff at hogwarts is on the other end of seventy years old. the only other younger professors besides he and yoongi are women, and while jeongguk can certainly appreciate them, he’d have to gently let them down if they ever tried to woo him—for more than one reason.)
“yes,” says yoongi once he’s recovered, putting his coffee down. “how were your classes this morning?”
“they could have gone better, if i’m being honest,” sighs jeongguk, spearing another potato. “i had a very lively discussion about automobiles with the fifth years just before lunch, but my newt level class was a mess from the very beginning.” he watches yoongi’s face turn a little red, although yoongi is resolutely not looking at him, instead seeming very interested with the salad on his plate.
“is that so?”
jeongguk hums in agreement. “it seems we were all distracted by a package that mysteriously appeared on my desk before class.”
yoongi’s eyebrows rise, but he’s still picking at the salad. “huh.”
“where’d you get the batteries from, professor min?”
now—he sees yoongi’s lips quirk upward just slightly. jeongguk has spent enough time with him over the years to know his tells, and jeongguk has always been good at reading people to begin with. he knows that this crease between yoongi’s brows means he’s confused, and he knows this flare of his nostrils means he’s irritated but won’t admit it. he knows this half-crooked grin means that he’s hiding something that he’s sheepish about. he knows it means he’s trying very hard not to seem as fond as jeongguk was this morning, too.
maybe they’re both a bit shit at hiding it.
“i have no idea what you’re talking about, professor jeon,” he says, clearing his throat and casting a quick glance at jeongguk. “i don’t even know what batteries are. i’m a pureblood, you know.”
“i know it was you. and apparently so do the entire sixth and seventh year classes. they think you’re in love with me.”
yoongi chose the wrong moment to put something else in his mouth, for this time, he does choke—on the roll that he was eating. jeongguk watches in mild amusement as he coughs a few times, and then reaches for his glass of water to clear his throat. after all that, and with a red face, he turns back to jeongguk.
“and what do you think?” he asks.
jeongguk grins. “i think if you want to flirt with me via muggle objects, you should choose some that i’m actually going to use,” he says. “it’s cute, of course. but what am i meant to do with a battery?”
“you can sell it,” says yoongi. “unless it’s a dead battery. then it would be free of charge.”
jeongguk stares at him. yoongi grins. “do you even understand what that means?”
“no, but it was in this muggle joke book i bought in hogsmeade last weekend, so i thought i’d try it out. did it work?”
“depends what you’re going for,” says jeongguk. what he doesn’t say is—if yoongi is going for showing off his extensive knowledge of the muggle world, then no. but if he’s trying to make jeongguk grow exceedingly fond of him to the point of his chest hurting a little—then yes. very much yes.
in any case—he lets it go for the rest of lunch, casting an occasional glance at the group of students who were watching them earlier. he would like to have a public conversation with yoongi without worrying that someone is going to assume yoongi is trying to propose to him, but there’s not much he can do about it, other than try to have a sit down with them about it. yoongi might have better luck—he’s the head of gryffindor house, after all, and so the gryffindors have to listen to him by default. then again, yoongi would probably be more likely to encourage that sort of behaviour for shits and giggles, so it might be best not to bring it up to him in case jeongguk’s plan backfires.
instead he’s just mindful—of how he speaks, acts, looks. it’s hard when he and yoongi have so much history between them, when he has old habits that aren’t exactly professional and probably shouldn’t be done in the workplace. he just has to remember to keep his hands to himself, to be aware that his students are always watching him and more than willing to misconstrue anything he does or says.
still—once the lunch hour has finished and most of the students have filtered out of the great hall, jeongguk reaches out to catch yoongi’s sleeve at the door.
“genuinely, they think there’s something going on between us,” says jeongguk, a little more hushed—a little more seriously. “they’ve been watching us like hawks. just as a warning, i guess, if you don’t want anything to be misinterpreted and torn apart by teenagers.”
yoongi just grins at him, tilting his head a little. “trust me,” he says. “i’m not trying to be subtle about my intentions.” and then he slips his arm out of jeongguk’s grasp, throws him a wink, and disappears out of the great hall.
he leaves jeongguk to stand there for a minute, shaking his head to himself. yoongi did that when they were younger, too—left him a little out of sorts all of the time, trying to understand exactly what he meant by things. leaving jeongguk second-guessing most times.
apparently not everyone feels like that, though, for it only takes that minute for penelope johnston to walk past him with a, “see? totally in love with you.”
“go to class, miss johnston,” jeongguk calls to her.
“go on a date with professor min,” she calls back. “and i have a spare!”
⋆ ⋆ ⋆
sometimes yoongi wonders why he ever decided to take on so much responsibility in his job. maybe it was inevitable—he was a prefect and head boy during his time as a student at hogwarts, not to mention the leader of several different clubs and organizations, all while maintaining the highest grades he could. the headmistress had practically begged him to become the new head of gryffindor after the old one retired four years ago. yoongi had remembered fondly the days of being a gryffindor student, the comradery between students, how helpful his head of house had been in helping him decide which classes he should take, what career path to pursue, and even other problems outside of academia.
how hard could it be?
that’s what he’d thought then, anyway. now—yoongi wants to throttle at least four different students a day. thankfully, most of the gryffindors are well behaved and like him enough not to try talking back to him or disobeying whatever orders he gives them, and they do feel comfortable enough to come to him with problems. yoongi prides himself on being likeable but tough when he needs to be, and on being a damn good defense against the dark arts professor. he’s good at what he does. sometimes he just thinks he’s going to go grey at the ripe old age of thirty-four because he’s had to tell seren jones and franklin baudelaire to stop fucking making out in the alcove beside the gryffindor common room entrance thrice this week alone.
they’re young, hormonal, in love, blah blah blah. yoongi still doesn’t want to see it.
and no, he isn’t bitter. there are just rules in place, and one of those is students keeping their hands to themselves.
“but professor—” he hears as the portrait of the fat lady shifts aside for him.
“i don’t want to hear it!” yoongi calls over his shoulder. “i’ll give you detention, baudelaire, don’t think i won’t!”
normally he doesn’t threaten such things. it’s usually a good chat that he’ll threaten, figuring that most problems can be solved by actually figuring out the root cause rather than forcing a student to write lines or scrub at cauldrons. but he’s not quite in the mood today. december always makes him feel a little jumpy.
he puts the snogging couple out of his mind, though, as he enters the gryffindor common room. even after all of these years, it still feels like home. these were the days of sneaking namjoon into the common room for late-night talks about philosophy and politics, of pouring over muggle books in hopes of understanding some sort of it—of trying to convince himself that the overeager slytherin with big eyes and a bigger heart blushed when yoongi asked him a question because he had a medical condition, not because he was half in love with yoongi even at the age of thirteen.
look how that turned out.
“hello, professor min!” someone calls from one of the tables, giving him a wave.
“mr. ramsey,” yoongi nods. “how’s the thestral research coming along?”
“it’s going well, sir!” the boy calls back. “thank you for pointing me in the right direction.”
“my pleasure,” says yoongi, moving through the common room. “mr. park. miss jameson.” he nods to each student he passes. “good work in class this morning, miss cavanaugh. mr. kim, please don’t put that in your mouth.”
“sorry, sir,” the boy mutters.
yoongi finally gets to the notice board on the other side of the room, littered with notices and advertisements. the quidditch tryout notice is still up from the beginning of the year, and yoongi pulls out his wand to vanish it along with other old notices that aren’t relevant anymore. once he’s cleaned up the board, he pulls out the new notice that the headmistress handed out to each head of house to hang up. with another flick of his wand, it tacks itself to the board, right in the middle.
“a new notice, sir?” yoongi turns his head to see archie hamilton at his side, pointing to the board.
“winter festivities,” agrees yoongi. “we’ll be having a week-long carnival of sorts right before the christmas break, to celebrate a semester well done. cookie decorating, snowman making contest… snowball fight, even.”
“wicked,” breathes archie. “will you be participating, sir?”
“what, you want an excuse to hit me in the face with a snowball?”
“of course not, sir!”
“i want that excuse,” someone else chirps from behind him, and yoongi turns around with a slight smirk on his lips to see claudia wickham, a sixth year, lounging on a sofa. “it’ll be payback for that time that you told leilani hunt that i had a crush on her.”
yoongi tilts his head. “didn’t you?”
“well—yes, but that’s not the point! she wouldn’t stop giggling at me for a week after that.”
“aren’t you dating now?”
claudia sinks back behind the sofa, giving yoongi an excuse to let out a chuckle. “anyway,” he says, clapping his hands a few times to gain the attention of the students in the common room. “like i said, we’ll be having a week-long run of winter holiday festivities before the end of term, and i expect all of you to participate. yes, even you seventh years who have a very terrible case of senior-itis. the professors and prefects will need help with setting things up and running some of the activities, so i also expect you to at least consider signing up to help.” he knows how students are—there are the few that will gladly lend a helping hand wherever they can, but most of those are already prefects, having been chosen for the role precisely because they have that kind of attitude. the rest of them… well.
the students blink at him.
“i’ll give out house points,” he adds, and then several students are already jumping up from their seats to rush to the notice and sign up where they can. if there’s one thing that will always get these kids to do things, it’s house points and the promise of gaining an edge over the other houses. yoongi understands, of course—he remembers the rivalries well as a student, and still feels it now since he’s back at hogwarts and the head of gryffindor. as much as he tries to be fair, he still can’t help believing gryffindor is just inherently better than all of the other houses.
pleased with a job well done, yoongi leaves the students to fight over signing up for activities and instead takes a tour through the rest of the common room and dorms. he’s not the sort of head of house that runs the house like a tyrant, but he does want to make sure that the students are following the rules and are getting the help they need when they need it.
he speaks to a few students about their upcoming exams and essays, offering some advice to the younger students who have never gone through a round of final examinations before. someone asks for his advice on what book to read next, which he’s also happy to help with. it’s only once he gets to the far corner of the common room, where a group of older girls have gathered, that things start to go a little different from usual.
he’s used to the gossip of the students, used to the cliques that tend to form although hogwarts has a zero bullying policy, especially between different blood statuses. as a result, he’s wary of groups of students whispering in a corner, although when he gets closer to this group, he notes that they don’t seem to be whispering about other students.
in fact—he hears his own name once. and then he hears jeongguk’s.
“what’s the hot gossip today?” asks yoongi as he sticks himself right in the group, pulling up a stray chair next to where the group is sitting on the ground. all of them stop talking immediately, startling when they look up to see him sitting there grinning at them. normally he does like hearing about the gossip—it’s not becoming for a professor to fuel the drama with students, but it’s like having his own soap opera, so he can’t help it.
“um,” says one of the girls. “nothing.”
“really?” asks yoongi. “there’s always some gossip. i only heard half of the story about penelope and noel having a go in potions, so i want to hear the other half. we had to stop at the good part yesterday.”
“penelope and noel are old news, professor min,” says cory davies, rolling her eyes. “we’re honestly getting sick of them dancing around each other. it’s clear they like each other but they won’t admit it so they keep getting into arguments instead. why would you want to argue with someone you like, anyway?”
“don’t ask me,” says yoongi. “i’m not the resident love guru around here. you’d have to write to witch weekly about it. that new columnist—what’s his name? jimin something-rather?”
“he’s so dreamy,” someone sighs. “i’d rather ask him about how to date him, not some smelly, cocky teenage boy who doesn’t know what he’s doing with his wand. honestly, professor min, you should have seen charlie major last week. i tried asking him for help with charms and he tried to conjure flowers for me but got the spell wrong so he ended up hitting me in the face with seaweed.”
yoongi snorts, although he knows charlie major and that sort of thing might have actually been on purpose. “boys are terrible, i agree,” says yoongi. “don’t even bother with them.”
“but you’re a boy.”
“i’m a man,” yoongi corrects. “and you’re not allowed to flirt with me.”
“speaking of flirting…” yoongi turns his attention to one of the girls on the other side of the circle: candour richmond, a seventh year. somehow, he knows what she’s going to say before she says it, whether because of their whispers earlier or because jeongguk warned him about it but three days ago. someone in the circle giggles. “professor jeon needs your help with the frog choir.”
yoongi stares at her. “is that so?”
“yep,” she deadpans.
“yeah, he does,” agrees georgia valkyrie. “we were supposed to tell you that he’s looking for you in the great hall. for the frog choir.”
someone giggles again. yoongi knows for a fact that jeongguk doesn’t need his help with the frog choir—mostly because it’s the middle of the afternoon on a friday, and frog choir practices are reserved solely for sundays when all of the students in the choir are able to attend. not to mention yoongi has tried to assist him with practices in the past and has since been banned because he tried to teach some of the frogs how to rap some korean song he had recently gotten into it. yoongi didn’t see the problem with it, but there had been first and second years shouting i’ll send you to hong kong with my tongue technology! for several weeks afterwards and jeongguk wouldn’t stop glaring at him over dessert at dinner, so.
so he knows what they’re doing. he knows because he’s used to the rumours and gossiping about him and jeongguk from the students—even from some of the staff. and maybe yoongi doesn’t do anything to stop those rumours, rather fuelling them every other day, but it’s fun. jeongguk spent years as a teenager trying to gain yoongi’s attention however he could, even when yoongi was out of hogwarts and living in london and learning about education so he could come right back here, so maybe he’s just… returning the favour. in front of the most ruthless audience he could imagine.
and who is yoongi to deny them their attempts to send this plot reeling forward into the next act?
“well,” says yoongi with a wry grin. “we shouldn’t keep professor jeon waiting, should we?”
“absolutely not, sir,” agrees candour. “but maybe don’t tell him that we told you he needed help.”
“didn’t you just say you were supposed to tell me he needed help?”
a vague sense of panic filters into the air.
“yeah,” says antoinette lowe. “but… it was the boys who were supposed to tell you. and they told us about it because they were too lazy to actually tell you, so we don’t want professor jeon being upset that the boys didn’t do their jobs.”
“right,” says yoongi, trying to keep himself from grinning too widely; they’re trying their best, so he does have to hand it to them. someone more gullible than he might just fall for it. “like i said—boys are useless.” with that, he gets up from his chair and puts it back where he got it from and then salutes to the group of girls. “ladies, enjoy your afternoon. i have to teach some frogs how it’s done.”
he doesn’t even bother going to the great hall, knowing jeongguk won’t be there. and of course he doesn’t have to go see jeongguk at all, but he has other important matters to discuss. instead, yoongi makes a beeline for the staff commons, where there thankfully won’t be any students to listen in and try to make something out of nothing. then again, he can’t be sure about the other professors either. he suspects that one of the older professors might have been the one to start the rumours of him and jeongguk in the first place.
he finds jeongguk at one of the tables in the commons, doing what appears to be grading papers. yoongi takes a moment to watch him as he heads for the coffee instead, pouring himself a mug before he meanders toward the table and pulls out the chair opposite jeongguk. he has his own papers to be grading, but he figures he can do it later.
yoongi sips at the coffee, reaching out and grabbing one of the finished papers—“thomas edison and the invention of the lightbulb,” he reads, cocking an eyebrow. “sounds fascinating. oh, or maybe not. a poor on this one? tough cookie.”
he lowers the paper to see jeongguk looking up from the paper he’s grading, reading glasses low on his nose and an incredulous expression on his face. “she got edison and einstein mixed up,” he says, “spent the entire paper talking about physics, and then ended by quoting something neither of them said.”
“c’mon, jeongguk,” grins yoongi. “muggle studies is hard. anyone could get it mixed up.”
“i’ve been teaching them about electricity and edison for three weeks,” deadpans jeongguk. “either i’m a terrible teacher or she wasn’t listening.” yoongi can’t help but grin, although he knows the pain of it; he likes to think that he’s a good professor and most of his students seem to do well in his class, although there are the odd few that appear to be thicker than rocks no matter how he tries to help them. one of his students once handed in a short story they’d written about a forbidden romance between a vampire and a werewolf instead of an essay, and he’s still not sure if it was an accident or not.
(it was actually pretty good. he showed it to jeongguk, who slashed it up with red ink because of grammar mistakes, but they both agreed that the plot was well thought out and the emotion conveyed in the writing was spectacular. he’d given her an average, anyway.)
yoongi puts the paper back in the pile, reaching for his coffee again. “shouldn’t you be in the great hall, though?” he asks.
jeongguk doesn’t even look up. “why would i be in the great hall,” he mutters. and then, under his breath—“how many fucking times do i have to tell you that electro does not count as a prominent figure in the history of the electricity industry?”
“who’s electro?” asks yoongi.
“why am i supposed to be in the great hall?” jeongguk asks, finally looking up. he looks stressed out, even more so than usual; being a professor is by no means easy. living in a castle with the same students all year certainly isn’t easy. yoongi likes to think that he makes this kind of thing more bearable for jeongguk, especially at times like these.
“few little lion cubs told me that you were,” says yoongi, grinning now as he leans back in his chair and sips at his coffee again. he reaches out for another paper, flipping through it casually. “said you needed my help with the frog choir.”
“you’re banned from the frog choir.”
“and yet you asked specifically for me. it was urgent. life or death, i’d venture to say.”
he reads through a few lines of the paper, sipping loudly at his drink. he waits for jeongguk to catch up with what’s happening, knowing it’ll come—he’s a smart person, although he’s always been a little slow to the uptake on a few things. things like people trying to flirt with him, for example.
then—“those little shits,” sighs jeongguk. “i told you they were up to something.”
yoongi grins over the top of the paper. “they really think there’s something going on between us,” he says. “although i think they’re getting tired of watching us fumble around each other or something, so they’ve decided to take matters into their own hands.”
“isn’t this a violation of something? some student code?”
“it’s harmless fun, jeongguk,” he says.
“hyung,” says jeongguk. yoongi lowers the paper. despite living and working in britain, they’ve maintained that part of their korean culture—only between them of course, as between they and the other few koreans that they managed to find during their years at hogwarts. but it’s how he knows jeongguk is serious.
“it’s not that big of a deal,” he says. “honestly, it’s better than them having breakdowns about their own relationships every two seconds and messing up their grades. and you can’t deny that we’ve done nothing to put the rumours to rest in the past few years.”
“you’ve done nothing,” argues jeongguk. “i’ll have you know i’ve tried my best not to add fuel to the fire.”
“i thought you liked getting gifts.”
“batteries, hyung,” says jeongguk.
“i’ll work on it,” says yoongi with a shrug. “i think the kids are conspiring, though. they genuinely want us to get together, so they’re not going to stop at faking frog choir practices.”
jeongguk groans, putting his head in his hands. yoongi resists the urge to reach over and run a hand through his hair, mostly because the table is too wide and he doesn’t want to stretch, but—he knows jeongguk has always been a private person. it’s why they’re in this situation to begin with.
“i don’t like them prying,” says jeongguk, muffled by his hands.
“why don’t we give them what they want for a little bit?” asks yoongi. “just until the end of the semester. if they want something, we’ll play along. and then we can turn it on them and show them that it’s not very nice to meddle like this and maybe they’ll stop.”
jeongguk lifts his head again, giving yoongi a deadpan stare. “why do we need to go through all of that trouble when we can just tell them to stop?” he asks. yoongi just grins—he’s always liked having a bit of fun. he remembers being a student; at the time, he’d even given into some rumours that there was something going on between two professors. it turned out to be untrue, but those few weeks of watching their every move had been exhilarating. he can only imagine what kind of entertainment the students (and he, for that matter) will get out of seeing jeongguk and yoongi playing right into their hands.
“please?” asks yoongi. “it’ll be fun.”
“i don’t know why you’re not the slytherin,” says jeongguk. “this is positively mischievous. but… fine. i’ll play along. but just until the end of the semester, and then i’m telling all of them to butt the fuck out.”
yoongi grins, triumphant. he puts the paper down and gets out of his seat, putting the coffee away before he returns the table—jeongguk’s side this time, to lean down and press a kiss to the top of his head.
“where are you going?” asks jeongguk—almost sounds like a whine.
“i have some students to gush about you to,” says yoongi, ignoring the exasperated look jeongguk gives him in favour of heading toward the door. “mind if i talk about how perky your ass is?”
“hyung!” jeongguk calls, and yoongi just laughs as he leaves the room. “yoongi-hyung! min yoongi, don’t you fucking dare!”
⋆ ⋆ ⋆
jeongguk does his best. he really, really does; despite feeling uncomfortable with people prying into his personal life, he thinks that yoongi probably has a good point with this plan. it’ll be fun to play into the students’ expectations of them only to turn it on them at the end as a lesson. the only problem is that jeongguk has been trying to hide his feelings for yoongi for so long that he’s not entirely sure how to go about peeling back those layers anymore. or maybe he should just pretend, as though yoongi is some mystical figure in literature that he likes. maybe he should just tell yoongi not to do it, because he knows that yoongi will listen to him if he presses.
even if he doesn’t. min yoongi is a very, very weak man when it comes to jeongguk.
but the truth is that most of him has been getting tired of holding his tongue or his breath or all of his fondness. maybe allowing himself to feel it for once will do him some good—although he’s worried that he’ll like it too much and not be able to put a lid back on it once the semester is over. maybe that’s yoongi’s plan all along. maybe he really should be the slytherin between them.
in any case—the next time jeongguk hears yoongi’s name mentioned in one of his classes, he resists the urge to be the professor he usually is and remind the students to do their work instead. listening to his students gossip during class can be entertaining at times, but he wants to make sure that they are learning rather than spending their time talking about other people. yoongi has been a topic of discussion more than once, and not always in relation to jeongguk. halloween was a horrid affair, considering yoongi wore fucking spandex and several students in jeongguk’s class called him the horrible D word that he will never repeat in relation to yoongi.
this time, though—this time, when jeongguk is sitting at his desk as his students work in pairs to do a short assignment on electricity (he’ll be glad when they can finally move on; honestly, he’s a muggleborn and even he doesn’t understand how electricity works) and he hears yoongi’s name whispered between a few students, he merely lifts his eyes from the book he’s reading. it’s a mix of students near the front row: elise renault, rudy king, nick whitwell, and lorraine piper. good students, of course, but he knows they’re one of those friend groups that can get into trouble if they’re in a group together.
jeongguk must have overlooked that.
he strains to hear them, not wanting to use a spell for that sort of thing—but they’re not overly quiet, anyway.
“he was definitely giving heart eyes yesterday at dinner,” whispers rudy. “we should order extendable ears from weasley’s and use it to figure out what they’re saying.”
“they probably talk about boring professor things,” argues lorraine. “since they’re professors.”
“it looks like professor min is quoting shakespeare sonnets about how beautiful professor jeon is,” says rudy. “seriously, do you guys not see how he looks at him?”
“why are you looking at professor min anyway?” asks nick. “i’m beginning to think you’re the one who has the crush and not the professors.”
“well,” huffs rudy. “you can’t deny that he’s unreasonably attractive.”
“and also twice our age.”
“look, would you rather i have a crush on professor binns? he’s dead. and a ghost.”
“i have a crush on professor min, too,” says elise. “he is really nice on the eyes.”
jeongguk takes his chances—he’s probably going to regret it, but he just thinks about what yoongi does look like, especially at dinner when he’s leaning over to jeongguk and grinning at him like that, all open and wanting and listening with rapt attention as jeongguk tells him a story about classes. jeongguk could talk about escalators or airplanes for hours and yoongi would look at him like it’s the most interesting thing in the world. despite yoongi’s apparent preoccupation with muggle devices, jeongguk is inclined to believe that reaction has less to do with the story and more to do with the storyteller.
“i know, right?” he says, having gotten up from his chair and wandered toward the group of students. all of them startle as he appears directly beside them, elise physically jumping several inches out of her seat. they stare at him with wide, wide eyes.
“you know… what?” nick ventures to ask.
“professor min,” says jeongguk. “he’s really hot.”
there’s this horrible silence afterwards, where he feels as though he’s made a horrible mistake. then jeongguk realizes he might have spoken a little louder than he intended, because the silence is not only coming from the group of four students in front of him, but the entire classroom. after a beat, he turns around to see every single student in the class staring at him as though he’s grown a second head.
“what?” he asks. “it’s true. i know all of you are thinking it, so why can’t i think it?”
“it’s just,” begins elise from behind him. “we thought you were trying not to let us pry into your love life.”
“all i’m saying is that i enjoy looking at professor min,” shrugs jeongguk, trying to ignore the red that’s steadily creeping up his neck. he really can’t deal with having this much attention on him when he’s talking about yoongi, but—if he thinks about the way he gushed about yoongi as a teenager, he can just make this into some sort of performance. “did anyone see him at breakfast this morning? he’s done something new with his hair, hasn’t he? the—parting in the middle thing. makes him look especially rugged.”
still, no one says anything. this might just backfire before he and yoongi really get anywhere with it.
then, quietly, from the far corner of the room—“he has a nice forehead,” says a voice. when jeongguk looks, he sees tatiana gray—surprising, somehow, considering she rarely ever joins in on the gossiping. when the other students look at her, she shrugs. “if we’re all admitting that we have crushes on professor min, i might as well, too.”
“see?” asks jeongguk. “i’m not the only one.”
“this is so weird,” someone whispers from behind him.
“you know, he’s dyed his hair a few times,” says jeongguk, wandering back to his desk as casually as possible. hopefully, he’s not blushing too terribly. “back when he was just a young lad out of school. it was pink once, and mint… blonde, of course. my personal favourite was when he dyed it this nice, dark red colour. really made his lips stand out.” jeongguk sighs as wistfully as possible—not entirely fake, since he’s not lying. every time he saw yoongi in hogsmeade, he seemed to have a new hair colour, and he’d let jeongguk run his hands through it, marveling at the freedom that someone out of hogwarts had. yoongi’s hair is black now, a professional colour. but jeongguk still remembers fondly the colours that came before it.
“really?” asks rudy, and jeongguk nods as he sits back in his chair. “do you have pictures? i bet the mint looked really nice.”
“he looks more regal with black hair,” tatiana argues. “those bright colours look nice on a younger person because you can get away with it, but once you get to a certain age, i think it’s better to have a more natural colour. makes him look really professional.”
“are we all going to ignore the fact that he said the red hair made professor min’s lips stand out?”
someone gasps—“he’s thinking about lips! that means you want to kiss him. right, professor jeon?”
jeongguk blanches, cheeks immediately darkening. “alright, that’s enough chit chat,” he says, clearing his throat awkwardly. “time to get back to work!”
“i said back to work,” jeongguk says, a little more forcefully. his cheeks are still red and he’s sweating all the way down to his socks. it turns out that he can’t just talk about yoongi like that without getting flustered, and maybe it’s partially because he’s not used to doing it, especially with students. but it’s also stirring up all of those feelings he had as a teenager, which were new and exciting and all over the place—much different from the feelings for yoongi he has now. he doesn’t think he’s called someone hot for seven years.
but if jeongguk wants the plan to work, he has to do his best to stick with it. so he plays along with the students; when he hears them gossiping about him and yoongi, he doesn’t tell them to stop or deter them in any way. rather, when he ‘catches’ them gossiping about him, he’ll just make a cryptic comment or wink, not deciding anything either way. and it works, amazingly—it’s surprising what saying absolutely nothing can do to fuel someone’s perceptions or rumours. it’s still strange hearing rumours about himself, but he does his best not to want to squash them the moment they appear.
he plays along with the other things the students do, too, since it becomes increasingly obvious that they’re trying to set him and yoongi up together—he’ll try to help one of the older students with homework only to end up in a ten minute conversation where said student details something that yoongi has said about him, from praising his teaching skills to reminiscing about how he’s had a crush on jeongguk for years. of course, all it takes is a follow-up conversation with yoongi to confirm that he certainly didn’t say any of that to the students, but he’s happy to swoon over the words if the students think he’s being genuine.
jeongguk hears of yoongi’s attempts to add fuel to the fire, too—along with continuing to give him useless muggle items as gifts, he keeps loudly proclaiming his love for frogs and singing and frogs that sing. he’s caught promoting the slytherin house for things several times, and then runs off into the night every time someone questions him about it, although he’s certainly not subtle that he’s doing it because of jeongguk. it’s a little ridiculous and jeongguk isn’t sure it’s believable, but of course the students eat it up. they seem more and more delighted every day to see that their plans appear to be working. once, jeongguk catches a pair of seventh year boys predicting that jeongguk and yoongi will come back from the christmas break an official couple, if not married.
jeongguk’s not entirely sure what to make of that.
but as the days begin to pass, jeongguk finds that it’s actually fun to do this. he’s been so worried about keeping his personal life under wraps around the students that there’s something exhilarating in showing something for once. not to mention he and yoongi spend an inordinate amount of time together giggling about things they’ve heard students say, or planning some other faucet of the elaborate prank. jeongguk feels like a teenager again, sneaking off with yoongi to converse while making sure at least one of the sixth or seventh years see them so that the student can run back to their friends with the latest gossip that professor jeon and professor min are totally sneaking off to make out in the empty classrooms!!!!
but he still does have a job to do. once the third week of december hits, it’s time to begin preparations for the winter festival. jeongguk, as usual, is spearheading a portion of the planning, including decorating. he’s taken it upon himself to decorate the great hall for christmas and halloween every year, so he’s happy to continue with the winter festival.
not only that, but it’s a perfect opportunity to further his and yoongi’s agenda.
“it’s looking really good, everyone!” jeongguk grins as he takes a step back from the massive christmas tree he’s been decorating, surveying the rest of the great hall. he has a handful of older students helping him, as it always goes easier with more than one wand—plus it’s an excuse for them to practice some of their magic. “miss gray, did you get those poinsettias from the greenhouses?”
“yes, professor,” says tatiana. “they’re just sitting outside.”
“good,” says jeongguk. “can we get a few people to bring those in and begin setting them up? i’m thinking mostly up at the front here, near the head table. if they’re elsewhere, students will likely just knock them down.”
a few of the students take his instructions and head down the hall toward the doors to get the plants. meanwhile, jeongguk turns back to look at their work; there are a few massive christmas trees near the front and back ends of the great hall, as well as red and gold banners hanging over the windows. they’ve decorated the head table with christmas decorations, as well as parts of the house tables. once they’re finished, jeongguk will cast the spell to make it snow to add a final touch, but it’s shaping up well.
he eyes the students that are working; a handful are dragging in the poinsettias, while others are decorating one of the trees on the far end of the hall. jeongguk turns back to one of the trunks of decorations that they have yet to open and takes his chance, quickly approaching it. he opens it just enough to slam the lid back down and let out a very manly shriek.
“professor jeon?” someone calls from across the great hall.
“um—it’s nothing!” he calls, pitching his voice a little higher to make it sound like he’s deathly afraid. “there’s just—i think there might be a boggart in this trunk.” a few students gasp, but he’s glad that they’re across the hall so that they won’t be too fearful, or worried about getting in front of it. not that a boggart can do much real damage anyway, but he knows for a fact no one likes coming across one.
“are you sure?” tatiana calls from the middle of the hall, a poinsettia still in her arms.
“yes,” says jeongguk. “don’t come over here! i don’t want any of you getting caught in this. it would be best if all of you left while i handle it.”
“we can help you, professor,” someone else calls, and jeongguk swears under his breath. of course they would want to help him; these students are old enough to know how to deal with boggarts and be willing to help a professor in need, but that’s going to backfire on him.
“no!” he calls. “it’s okay, i can deal with it.” then, after a second—“or… if there was someone who was really good at defense against the dark arts, it might useful.” he pauses as the students stare at him. “i mean, like really good. like… the person who is the best at defense against the dark arts in the entire castle.” still, they stare. fucking hell, he’s really going to have to spell it out for them, isn’t he? he opens his mouth and then—
“oh!” exclaims another student, a fifth year. “oh, oh, yeah. we’ll get professor min!”
jeongguk tries not to react to that with a fucking finally, just giving them an apologetic grin as he says, “that would be lovely, thank you. and hurry, i’m worried there might be more than one boggart!” despite the students having offered to help him, there’s a swiftness to which they put down the decorations and race out of the great hall to find yoongi—even tatiana gray.
the truth is that jeongguk can deal with a boggart on his own. he’s dealt with them before and it’s hardly a difficult creature to handle. asking for help makes him feel a little silly, but if he’s going to make this whole act as believable as possible, then he doesn’t mind it. besides, the students seem keen to believe that he’s telling the truth, too, their giggles trailing after them as they run out of the great hall in search of yoongi.
it only takes a few minutes, but then the doors are opening again and yoongi is hurrying in, wand already out as he calls, “jeongguk? are you okay?” there’s so much concern on his face and in his voice that something warm bursts inside of jeongguk. he wants to grab yoongi and kiss him square on the face for it, for how he tries to take care of jeongguk even in the simple things—offering him the parts of breakfast that he knows jeongguk likes most, or offering to grade quizzes for him when he’s had a long week. and this: coming to his rescue even with the smallest things.
but—jesus. that’s not what this is supposed to be about.
“no!” he calls when he spots a few students at the doors, pointing to them. “stay outside! we need to be careful.” he can see how disappointed they are, not because they want to see professors battling a boggart, but because they want to see professor jeon and professor min battling a boggart. still, he waits until the door shuts with the students on the other side to turn to yoongi, who has since arrived at his side and is reaching out for him.
“jeongguk-ah,” he begins, all that worry and need.
“there’s no boggart,” says jeongguk quickly. “i was lying. i just—wanted an excuse for them to think i needed you.”
yoongi’s hand stops where it’s halfway between them, his expression frozen. then—“jesus, jeongguk, you gave me a heart attack. they came running into my classroom screaming that there was something wrong with you and you needed me immediately. i was under the impression that you were about to die.”
jeongguk can’t help but snicker at that, not because it’s funny that yoongi was worried, but because the students evidently wanted to make sure that yoongi got there as soon as possible and didn’t say something like he can deal with a boggart on his own, can’t he?
“it seemed like a good idea,” says jeongguk.
“why didn’t you just tell them that you needed help in general? you’ve been pestering me about helping decorate the great hall for holidays for years.”
jeongguk shrugs. “this was more fun. and you’re here, aren’t you?”
yoongi frowns at him. jeongguk is well aware that there are a handful of students, probably more with every second, pressed against that door and listening in for any signs that something is happening inside. so he just grins, knowing that yoongi can’t stay upset with him for long. never could.
eventually, yoongi lets out a little sigh. “do we have to make it believable that i actually saved you?” he asks. then he pockets his wand and shouts, “riddikulus!” of course, nothing happens, but that’s what the students are probably waiting for. it makes jeongguk giggle.
“what would your boggart take the form of, anyway?” asks jeongguk curiously; it’s not often that anyone runs into them unless it’s deliberate in training. yoongi, teaching students about boggarts every year, encounters them much more often than the average person, and thus likely sees his worst fear a lot more often. jeongguk doesn’t even know what his would be, although he could guess.
“i guess you’ll just have to find a real boggart to find out,” says yoongi.
“i hope it’s me dying,” says jeongguk. “can i tell them that’s what it was? there’s no way they can take it any other way than that you’re disgustingly in love with me and i would be the worst thing for you to lose.”
yoongi looks at him a little funnily, out of the side of his eyes. jeongguk feels like maybe that might actually be his boggart, but—there really is no way to find out without a real boggart. and he did check inside the trunk: it’s just full of decorations, no mysterious magical creatures in sight.
“sure,” yoongi says finally. “only if i can tell them that your worst fear is being bald.”
jeongguk blanches. “that’s not romantic at all!”
“no, but it’s hilarious,” he grins, and then reaches out and tugs on the fringe on jeongguk’s forehead. “remember when you had to face a boggart for the first time? you were so small. and terrified.” jeongguk’s cheeks flare with embarrassment; he had been thirteen to yoongi’s seventeen at the time, and he doesn’t remember much, probably because he’s tried to block it out of his memory. all he really remembers is that the boggart had been something to do with his mother, something about werewolves. he’d cried in yoongi’s arms for half an hour after class, and wouldn’t leave yoongi’s side for the next week. yoongi didn’t seem to mind, though, ruffling his hair or offering him his portion of dessert at dinner to make him feel better.
it hadn’t been until years later that jeongguk learned yoongi had actually cut class that day to take care of him, and had cut a number of other classes over the week when he saw that jeongguk wasn’t handling the aftermath well. he’d been given a harsh round of detentions and more than one lecture from the headmistress herself, because yoongi was head boy and meant to be the exemplary student for everyone else.
but he chose to take care of jeongguk instead. maybe that’s why he came so quickly this time, knowing that jeongguk might have been in trouble.
maybe jeongguk isn’t sure what to do with the way his heart keeps skip skip skipping a beat every time yoongi looks at him.
but—he just laughs, refusing to think about all of that. “i was thirteen, hyung,” says jeongguk. “can you blame me? and if i remember correctly, the first time you dealt with a boggart, you almost pissed yourself.”
“how would you know?” scowls yoongi, dropping his hand. “you weren’t even in hogwarts then.”
“seokjin-hyung has told me many times,” he says—a favourite dinner story of seokjin’s actually, especially when he’s had a few drinks.
“clowns are terrifying, okay?” argues yoongi. “especially the magical ones with the moving faces and everything.”
jeongguk giggles again. “aw, professor min,” he pouts. “you don’t have to be embarrassed.”
“good, i told you not to be.”
there’s a thump at the other end of the great hall, and jeongguk startles to remember that they’re not entirely alone—it sounds like someone accidentally knocked into the door, although it hasn’t quite opened. jeongguk realizes that it’s been a while since yoongi entered, which means the students are going to start getting suspicious.
which—might not be a bad thing, actually.
jeongguk turns back to yoongi as he gets a new idea, chewing on his bottom lip. “you wanna try something?” he asks. “give ‘em something to really talk about?”
“what do you have in mind?” yoongi asks, brows furrowing. jeongguk beckons him forward, walking until they’re half-hidden by the christmas tree that he hasn’t finished decorating yet. then he reaches forward and starts running his hands through yoongi’s hair to mess it up, ruffling the strands and pulling a little. “what are you doing?” asks yoongi, swatting at him, but jeongguk just messes his hair up a little more, than turns to his clothing and flips half of the collar of his shirt up, tugging so his robes are a little wonky.
he does the same with his own, messing up his own hair. and then he reaches out and gently knocks yoongi’s glasses askew.
yoongi stares at him, confused.
jeongguk grins, mischievous. and then he calls, a little louder than necessary so the students on the other side of the door can hear: “oh! is that mistletoe?”
“what are you doing?” hisses yoongi, alarmed, but jeongguk reaches out for him and yanks him back behind the tree the moment before the doors to the great hall burst open and noise echoes into the room. just as quickly, jeongguk shoves yoongi back into the view of the door, now with his hair and clothing a little worse for wear, not to mention the glasses. yoongi looks like he’s gotten caught in headlights, staring first at jeongguk and then turning to look at the students.
he’s not entirely sure it’s acting—but yoongi immediately hurries to fix himself as jeongguk steps out from behind the tree and gasps at the sight of more than just a handful of students from earlier hurrying into the great hall and staring at them. even though they didn’t do anything, the blush that creeps upon his face is very real, and he quickly smooths down his hair before giving yoongi a quick shove toward the door.
“sorry,” he says, more to the students than anything. they’re already whispering to each other, excitedly, having caught yoongi and jeongguk in the act. jeongguk clears his throat. “th-thank you for the help, professor min.”
yoongi turns around to look at him, and here, out of the view of the students—there’s something shining in his eyes. something that looks a lot like love.
“my pleasure, professor jeon,” he says, and jeongguk swears he hears someone actually swoon. then yoongi turns and hurries out of the great hall, leaving jeongguk to face the onslaught of students that stare at him. some part of him has to wonder if this is violating some ethical code with the school. at least peeves will appreciate it.
“well, what are you all standing around and staring at?” he asks. “if you’re here, i assume you’re all going to help with finishing the decorating.” jeongguk claps his hands twice. “hop to it!”
the winter festival goes well. jeongguk and yoongi take every opportunity to be seen together, flirting obscenely while maintaining their professor duties as well; jeongguk runs a few of the activities, and yoongi takes part in a snowball fight that ends up being just he against a whole hoard of students. he gets a bloody nose from a snowball to the face that was more ice than snow, and although everyone is horrified, it’s a good excuse for jeongguk to dramatically run from the sidelines to make sure he’s okay and heal him with a simple episkey. he hears a few seventh year girls cooing as jeongguk drags yoongi away with the elbow.
the last few days of the semester don’t just mean year end exams and students buzzing to get out of the castle and go home for a few weeks, but the final quidditch game of the semester, too. as a former slytherin quidditch player himself, jeongguk always gets a little too into the games, making sure that he’s decked out in green and silver to support his house. he likes to give the team a pep talk before games, too, even though he’s not their coach. but he’s basically their adoptive coach, so it’s fine.
he can’t help being competitive when it comes to quidditch—and he can’t help being extra competitive when the quidditch match is against gryffindor. the centuries’ old rival is still alive and kicking, although jeongguk would argue that the slytherin house has a rivalry with everyone because they’re just the best at quidditch. being on the top means that everyone underneath them wants to see them fail, and the slytherin team has been doing well this year so jeongguk isn’t about to let them lose to gryffindor.
beyond the general rivalry, though—it’s yet another perfect opportunity for some acting. or maybe not entirely acting, since he and yoongi have gotten into many heated arguments over quidditch and the house cup in the past, but he’s going to argue with yoongi on purpose this time—a staged argument, more or less. no one will find it sus that the two of them are arguing about quidditch in the first place, knowing how much house pride both of them have.
nothing like a little lovers’ quarrel to add angst to this story they’re spinning.
they wait until the middle of breakfast, where most of the students will have shown up for a meal before the big game. slytherin and gryffindor games are always packed, and the last game before christmas is always big, which means jeongguk is counting on the great hall being full for this. he peeks inside as though he’s peeking out of the curtain at a theatre, and then turns back to yoongi with a grin. “give me five minutes before you come in,” says jeongguk. “make it look natural. also, i need some pumpkin juice.”
yoongi nods, his grin matching jeongguk’s. he holds out his hand, and jeongguk slaps his against it, and then heads into the great hall.
after five minutes, once jeongguk has sat at the head table and had his pumpkin juice and begun buttering some toast he’ll probably never get to eat, he sees yoongi walk into the great hall, too. he has his own gryffindor gear on, and high fives some gryffindor student near the door before he heads down the middle aisle toward the head table.
halfway down, yoongi calls out, “who’s ready to see some slimey slytherins get their asses handed to them today?” immediately, there’s an uproar from the students—gryffindors banging on the tables and calling their support, while the slytherins boo yoongi and call out that it’ll be the gryffindors losing. beside jeongguk, another professor lets out a sigh, like she knows what’s about to come next.
“c’mon now,” adds yoongi. “we all know gryffindor is the superior house. we have harry potter’s blood in our veins! the greatest seeker that ever lived!”
the students roar again. jeongguk lets it go on for a minute or so, yoongi continually bolstering gryffindor house to the displeasure of all of the slytherins, and about half of the ravenclaws and hufflepuffs, too. it’s only when yoongi says, “if anyone wants to have a go about it right now, let’s go. i’ll take on any of you,” that jeongguk takes his chance.
“can someone please contain him,” mutters the professor at jeongguk’s side.
jeongguk stands up. “okay,” he calls, trying to stop himself from grinning like an idiot as the great hall immediately falls into silence. he nods at yoongi. “i’ll take you up on that.” everyone stares at him, and then back at yoongi, and then at him. it’s like being part of some theatrical performance except better, because everyone thinks it’s real.
“um,” says yoongi. “anyone else?”
“c’mon, professor min,” says jeongguk, making his way around the head table and down onto the floor where yoongi is standing. he stops ten feet away, crossing his arms as the students continue to stare. “you said anyone.”
“i didn’t mean you,” says yoongi, hushed but not hushed enough. there’s some whispering, no doubt students saying something about how yoongi won’t fight jeongguk, which has to mean something. right?
ah, to be young and naïve again.
“if you’re not willing to defend your blasphemous claims that gryffindor is superior to slytherin, then i’ll just have to assume that you do think slytherin is better,” shrugs jeongguk. “don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk, min.”
to the right, someone whispers, “oh, shit.”
at the same time, jeongguk and yoongi say, “language.”
jeongguk tilts his head at yoongi, cocking an eyebrow as he waits for an answer. the truth is that he and yoongi could actually argue about this for hours, although they both know it’s all in good fun. it must be killing yoongi to not at least give in a little and say something mean, but that’s not how this is supposed to go. they’re supposed to show the students that no matter how yoongi will rile up the other slytherin professors and will squabble with students about his house, he’ll always go soft on jeongguk. which—is true for the most part. just not normally when some part of his pride is at stake.
“well?” asks jeongguk. “aren’t you going to tell me how gryffindor can do no wrong because of your precious potter blood? or are you going to admit that the slytherin team has been consistently pulling bigger scores and shorter snitch catch times than gryffindor for years.”
a murmur ripples through the crowd of students. he thinks he hears someone yell something that comes out muffled as another student drags them back down to the bench and slaps a hand over their mouth.
he sees yoongi’s nostrils flare, just a little. jeongguk is enjoying this so much.
after a second, yoongi takes a few steps forward, leaning so he’s closer to jeongguk when he says, quietly, “i don’t want to argue with you.”
“why not?” asks jeongguk. “am i not a slytherin? am i not worthy of arguing with you?”
“no, it’s—” he says, and then glances sideways at the nearest students staring at them. “i don’t want to argue with you. i—i can’t argue with you.”
“because you know i’ll win?”
“jeongguk,” says yoongi, even lower. out of his periphery, jeongguk can see students from the outer tables standing up and leaning over as they try to catch the rest of the conversation. it’s really hard not to break, but jeongguk knows this will catapult this prank the final step that they need—the proof, in front of the entire school, that min yoongi sees him as different. that he treats jeongguk differently.
to his other side, someone whispers, “oh my god. he’s in love.”
jeongguk smirks. “alright,” he says with a shrug, and then spins on his heel and begins walking back to the head table. “take this as a lesson, dear students. one: professor min’s bark is much worse than his bite. two: he’ll fight anyone but me, for whatever reason. and three—” he turns around again, grinning at all of the students staring at him. “slytherin is definitely going to send those gryffindors back to the little leagues.”
in the midst of the uproar that follows—students arguing about it, others cheering, and everyone heading out of the great hall to the quidditch pitch to watch the game and put jeongguk’s theory to the test—yoongi comes to sit beside him at the head table. he doesn’t say anything, probably because he knows there are going to be plenty of students watching them and trying to read their lips. but under the table, hidden by the golden tablecloth as part of the christmas decorations, yoongi takes his hand. squeezes it. and jeongguk feels warm all over.
⋆ ⋆ ⋆
strangely—or perhaps not, considering yoongi’s mischievous streak—he’s disappointed to find himself waking up on the morning of the second to last day before christmas break. he loves getting a few weeks away from the students, getting to visit his family and celebrate the holidays, not to mention he can actually get out of the damn castle and go on vacation if he wants. he loves not having to worry about getting up early, about grading papers, about taking care of first years who are homesick.
but this year—it’s a little different. this year, christmas break means that his little scheme with jeongguk is ending, and there’s something horrible about that. although it’s just meant to be a joke, he’s found that it was all rather fun. even though he didn’t do much different, continuing with sending gifts and talking about jeongguk in openly affectionate terms, it was thrilling to have jeongguk reciprocate for a few weeks. to stage fights in the great hall and have students pester him to help jeongguk with something, to hear wild rumours flying around about them.
he knows that they have to stop it, that all of this was just to show the students that stopping it is the point. but part of him wants to ask jeongguk to continue it, to let him pretend for a little longer. because going back to how they were before, going back to not being able to be open about how he feels—it might just hurt more than he intended.
but for the past few days, jeongguk has been talking non-stop about how excited he is for the scheme to be done. it’s taken a lot out of him because he’s not used to being so open about it, at least in front of students. and yoongi could never ask jeongguk to put himself in an uncomfortable situation like that, not after having agreed to this for only a month.
the last days of the semester also means the last days of the winter festival. for the afternoon, the students are having a competition on the grounds in their houses to build a snowman or do an obstacle race or something—he’s not entirely sure, since he’s not in charge of it. yoongi is planning on taking the two hours the castle is empty to nap, or finish the last marking he has to start off the break the right way.
unfortunately, that’s not what happens.
after he watches the last students leave the castle and he turns to head to the staff commons, there’s a panicked shout of, “professor min!” yoongi turns in a hurry to see elise renault running toward him.
“miss renault?” he asks. “what are you doing? you’re meant to be outside with the other students.”
“i know!” elise gasps, finally reaching him. “but there’s been—an accident! sir, you have to come with me, quick.” panicked, yoongi is quick to hurry after her when she turns and runs back the way she came, down the corridor that leads to the staircases. he has no idea what kind of accident she could be talking about, but it might be anything; he’s had to deal with a myriad of things in his time as a professor, and even more since he’s become the head of gryffindor.
“what’s going on?” he asks, but elise just shakes her head, evidently too panicked to answer him, and they hurry down the corridor until they reach one of the halls before the staircases. there’s no one there, and he assumes they’ll keep going, but then elise stops.
“there,” she says, pointing to—a broom cupboard along the wall.
“what?” asks yoongi.
“there’s someone stuck in there, professor!” she says. “i think they’re hurt.”
confused, yoongi pulls out his wand and takes a step forward, only for elise to lunge for him and snatch his wand out of his hand. “el—” he begins, but that’s when rudy king appears from behind the cupboard and opens the door before elise physically pushes him inside. he’s so startled that he doesn’t even think to resist, stumbling into the cupboard as the door bangs shut behind him and the lock clicks into place.
“this is for your own good!” elise shouts through the door.
“we won’t let you out until you’ve admitted your feelings!” rudy shouts. then, some giggling. a slap that sounds like a high five, and footsteps retreating.
in the silence and the darkness of the cupboard, yoongi can only stare at where the door closed. the cupboard is small enough that he has to hunch over to stand, and he can feel brooms and buckets at his feet, blocking his way. but—that’s not the part that he’s worried about. it’s what elise and rudy said. it’s the fact that he can hear breathing.
it’s not hard to understand.
after a second, he ventures to ask, “jeongguk?”
“hi, hyung,” says jeongguk.
yoongi sighs, letting his head fall sideways against the door. “fucking little shits,” he groans. “did they steal your wand, too?”
“yeah,” says jeongguk. “this is grounds for so many detentions.”
silence falls. and then yoongi lets out a giggle, unable to help it—jeongguk joins in, laughing from the other side of the cupboard. it’s the most ridiculous situation he’s ever been in as a professor, and that’s really saying something. the cupboard is small, so he can feel jeongguk’s feet pressing against his, and it’s dark, and neither of them have their wands. feasibly, they have two hours until rudy and elise come back and let them out, although they could probably yell loud enough for one of the other professors to hear them.
but—there are worse people to be stuck in a broom cupboard with for two hours. and if yoongi is being honest, they kind of asked for it. they’d been playing into the students’ plans to get them together for a whole month, teasing them constantly. if yoongi was a teenager and wanted two people to admit their feelings, he’d probably lock them in a broom cupboard, too.
yoongi fumbles around to find a bucket before turning it over and sitting down on it, saving his back. he giggles again, and then asks, “do you happen to have something to light?”
“i don’t just carry matches around, hyung,” says jeongguk. he’s nothing but a voice in the darkness, and yoongi reaches out for him, wanting to find him; his hand connects with one of jeongguk’s knees, and he slides his hand up to his thigh before he finds jeongguk’s hand resting there, tugging on his fingers.
“you’re the muggle studies professor,” says yoongi. “you should be required by law to carry around matches at all times.”
“i don’t, unfortunately,” says jeongguk. “we’ll just have to sit in the dark.”
“i don’t like your face, anyway.”
“shut up, you love my face.”
“that’s what they want me to say.”
jeongguk giggles. his fingers tangle with yoongi’s, and this is—it’s really ridiculous. it’s stupid. they really should bust out of here and get the students in trouble, but yoongi honestly doesn’t mind. they’ll get in trouble in some form, and hopefully that’ll help deter them from doing this far in the future. he and jeongguk will have to reveal to them that they’ve been playing along the whole time to keep this from happening again. but for now—he doesn’t mind. he doesn’t mind having some time with jeongguk, all alone in this castle. he would like to see jeongguk’s face, but he can last for two hours without it. he gets to see jeongguk’s face every other day, anyway.
“really, though, what are we going to do in here for two hours?” asks jeongguk.
yoongi thinks about it. he feels like a teenager, strangely, being locked in a broom cupboard—it was always a joke that students would make out in broom cupboards, although it’s definitely happened more than once. he was never one of those, choosing not to focus on relationships when he was in hogwarts. so maybe he’s just getting the experience now.
maybe that’s why he says, “we could make out.”
if he could see jeongguk’s face, he’s sure it would be one with those big eyes of his, lips parted in shock. then he hears jeongguk laugh. “we’re not teenagers, hyung.”
“that’s what broom cupboards are for, gukkie. c’mon, it’s what they want. and aren’t we supposed to help the students achieve their dreams?”
even though he can hear jeongguk snorting and tell that he finds all of this stupid, he still feels jeongguk shuffling around in the cupboard, and then jeongguk is sitting right there, sliding into his lap with his legs on either side of yoongi’s. he fits right there, pressed chest to chest as his hands find yoongi’s face in the darkness, still giggling.
“this is wrong on so many levels,” he says.
yoongi just grins, tilting his head back. “no one has to know.”
“the whole point is that they do know.”
“are you going to kiss me or not?”
he can feel jeongguk’s breath on his lips, feel his fingers holding yoongi’s face so, so carefully. and jeongguk doesn’t even bother to answer in words, just leans down and kisses yoongi like that—in a cramped broom cupboard, set up entirely by their students. it’s not the best place he’s kissed someone. it’s not the best place he’s kissed jeongguk. but he likes it anyway—because it’s jeongguk, because he loves jeongguk, because jeongguk kisses him soft and sweet and holds him just the same.
yoongi slides his arms around jeongguk’s waist, pulling him even closer as he presses back, eager in their movements. he can feel jeongguk grinning into the kiss, something chaste despite the implications of what making out in a broom cupboard entails. but yoongi has always liked this better—likes when jeongguk trails his fingers over yoongi’s skin, curling into the hair at the nape of his neck and playing with the strands. likes when he can kiss jeongguk’s cupid’s bow, and the mole under his bottom lip, and the tip of his nose. likes when jeongguk giggles like that, peppering a few more kisses on yoongi’s lips before he moves to the rest of his face, tracing it in the darkness with his lips.
cheeks, eyelids, nose. yoongi tilts his head back and lets jeongguk kiss him wherever and however he wants, because he’ll always want what jeongguk is willing to give him. it’s how he’s always been, since he realized jeongguk was more than just the scared first year he’d decided to take under his wing.
eventually, jeongguk comes back to his lips. presses one two three more kisses there, with yoongi’s hands splayed on the small of his back. and then he leans back a little on yoongi’s thighs, and even in the darkness, yoongi can see that smile he fell in love with—bunny teeth on display, nose scrunched up, eyes crescent moons. even now, all of these years later, yoongi feels like it’s the first time.
they still have an hour and forty-five minutes left.
“we’re going to have to tell them, you know,” says yoongi, leaning against the wall of the cupboard. jeongguk toys with the collar of his shirt, smoothing it down. wanders back up to his face, playing with his glasses. “jeongguk-ah.”
“do we have to?” asks jeongguk; yoongi can hear the pout in his voice. “it’s going to make everything so much worse.”
“you just like being mysterious, don’t you?”
“can’t we tell them only part of the truth?” asks jeongguk. yoongi taps his fingers against his back, considering it.
“i’ll say i’m married,” says jeongguk. “i just won’t say who i’m married to. and if those kids have any brain cells, they’ll stop harassing us about each other.”
“or they’ll tell you to get a divorce and be with me.”
“they won’t know that.”
jeongguk has a good point, though. the only way they’re going to get the students off of their back once and for all is by admitting something. and neither of them would be lying, per se. just… omitting information that the students don’t actually need to know.
in any case—yoongi tilts his head up and leans forward until he can find jeongguk’s face with his, bumping his nose into jeongguk’s chin at first before he repositions himself and kisses jeongguk properly. it’s nothing more than a peck, maybe a consolation for asking jeongguk to do all of this in the first place. but it was fun. it was fun because none of it was actually acting, just pulling aside the curtain on their relationship for a month.
“what do you want to do for christmas?” yoongi asks then, figuring being stuck in a broom cupboard with his husband will have to make for some productivity.
jeongguk groans, dropping his head on yoongi’s shoulder. “i thought you were going to decide.”
“this is supposed to be an equal relationship.”
“do we have to see my parents?” mumbles jeongguk. “i love them, but my god, if they unsubtly ask about kids one more time, i’ll actually turn their dog into a goldfish.”
yoongi snorts, rubbing at jeongguk’s back. “maybe we should have a kid, then.”
“and what, raise it at hogwarts?”
“good point. i already have seventy kids.”
“if you count the slytherins, it’s a hundred and forty.”
“why are the slytherins my kids, too?”
“what’s mine is yours.”
yoongi snorts. “we have to see your parents, though,” he says, going back to jeongguk’s earlier question. “it’s christmas. but we can conveniently plan a little vacation or something so we can only visit for a day. how do you feel about… bali?”
jeongguk hums. “that sounds nice. it’s always so cold in england.”
“okay,” says yoongi. he turns his head to press a kiss to the side of jeongguk’s face. “you and me, bali. no students watching our every move. no batteries.”
jeongguk giggles. “no batteries,” he agrees.
⋆ ⋆ ⋆
the whole thing ends much in the same way it began—with a gift, and the muggle studies newt class. this time, though, the gift isn’t from yoongi, although jeongguk will certainly get plenty of those once they get home. this time, the gift is from the class; sometimes the students will leave him gifts for christmas, or even for his birthday if they happen to know the day, although it’s often the older students who have spent more years with him. jeongguk likes knowing that he’s made enough of an impression and they like him enough to give him anything at all, especially when he’s meant to be the one giving them something, namely an education.
in any case, they ambush him after the final breakfast of the year, just outside of the great hall as other students mill about to grab their trunks before heading out to the hogsmeade station to leave for london. it’s the entire class—rudy and elise and tatiana and nick and penelope and archie and all the rest. no doubt they’ve all been briefed on how rudy and elise managed to lock him and yoongi in the broom cupboard, and did come back once the competition was done to let them out. they didn’t look at all sheepish about what they’d done, but yoongi lectured them for five minutes anyway, even though elise was staring at his lips in a way that clearly was not a professor crush way and was clearly an oh my god they were totally kissing in there way.
now the students crowd him, wishing him a happy christmas before antoinette lowe hands him a package wrapped in parchment with a green bow, much like the ones yoongi gave him.
“don’t open it yet,” she says. “you have to wait until all of us are gone.”
“alright,” says jeongguk, somewhat suspiciously—he doesn’t really trust them, but in any case: “thank you, all of you. i’ve really enjoyed this year so far, so make sure that all of you have a nice christmas break and come back for another semester of fun and hard work. i’m expecting you to finish this year strong, especially you seventh years.”
“don’t remind us,” someone mutters.
“can i get a hint about the gift, though?” he asks.
no one jumps at the chance. then tatiana gray says, a little hesitantly, “well, you should use it with another person… you know, like on a date. if—if that’s what you want to do, i mean.”
that’s even more confusing. then rudy adds, “you should use it with professor min. it’s not like—gross, obviously, it’s just a date thing.”
“ah,” says jeongguk. he tries to keep himself from blushing at that; he still has no idea what it is, but he can only imagine what the students have bought him to use on a date with yoongi. maybe a nice sweater, or some sort of muggle card game that they think yoongi will be enthralled to play with him. (and he will be. but that’s beside the point.) it’s all very lovely, of course, except they’re misguided—or he wants them to think they’re misguided. so now is as good a time as any to let them down gently.
“that’s really, really thoughtful of you,” says jeongguk, watching all of their hopeful faces. god, he feels a little terrible, but he knows he needs to do it. “but, um—i think all of you need to know that… well. i’m married.”
he’s not sure he’s ever seen a group of teenagers look so disappointed in his entire life. some of them just freeze and stare at him, but he sees a few dreams actually die right before his eyes. rudy king is staring at him like he’s just been told he only has a few days to live. some of the girls near the back of the group let out a loud shout of surprise after he says it. someone mutters, “but… they were so cute together.”
jeongguk frowns. “i’m sorry,” he says. “i know you all had your expectations and i’ll admit… i kind of played into them for a bit, because i thought it would be fun to give you what you wanted. but i have to be honest and the honest truth is that i’m married, and i have been for four years now.”
“then… why don’t you wear a ring?” asks penelope.
“it would honestly invite more questions,” he says. “my husband doesn’t mind.”
“wait, but how is your husband okay with you living here for ten months out of the year?” asks james major. “i wouldn’t be happy with that.”
jeongguk grins. “he loves me,” he says. “you’d be surprised.”
he knows they have more questions—many more questions, but they really don’t have time for that conversation now. when they all get back from the christmas break, he’s sure he’ll be bombarded during the first class of the year and get absolutely no work done. and jeongguk doesn’t mind answering their questions, as long as the rumours stop and everyone learns their lesson.
“i’m so confused,” mutters someone. someone else is still talking about how he and yoongi were so cute together. jeongguk finds it all very, very ironic.
“but again, thank you for the gift,” he says. “and you should all probably head to your dorms and get ready to leave, if you’re going home for the holidays. i don’t want to be responsible for delaying the train.”
“but wait, sir—”
“have a happy christmas, everyone!” calls jeongguk as he turns away, giving them a wave over his shoulder. honestly, that went better than he was expecting. no one started crying, although he wouldn’t expect sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to do that sort of thing, anyway.
and then he spots yoongi walking across the entrance hall toward him. he pauses, knowing that his entire class is still standing behind him, conspiring about what jeongguk has just let them know. and he just knows from the way yoongi looks at him, with a slight smirk on his face, that he’s just going to ruin whatever jeongguk did.
“professor jeon,” says yoongi as he gets close enough, and the chatter behind jeongguk ceases.
“professor min,” says jeongguk, trying to keep himself from grinning. he sees yoongi glance over his shoulder to the students, and then gives him a wide grin before holding out his hand.
“ready to go?” he asks. “i booked the portkey to bali, so all we need to do is last through a few days of family stuff and then it’s nothing but sun, baby.”
jeongguk considers it—considers what taking yoongi’s hand will actually mean. and he and yoongi have been hiding their marriage for four years, and the few years of their dating before that when yoongi was a professor and jeongguk was still working on it. it just seemed natural not to disclose that sort of thing to their students, and it’s been plenty of fun to listen to the rumours, to sneak touches and looks here and there, to play with the expectations of everyone around them.
and he does have to wonder—if it’s only jeongguk’s muggle studies class who witnesses this, who else is going to believe them?
yoongi grins at him. so jeongguk grins back, and reaches out for his hand, threading their fingers together. as yoongi tugs him back the way he came, there’s a sharp gasp from behind him. jeongguk turns over his shoulder to see the shocked faces of his students watching him go.
“oh my god,” someone says. “are they—”