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Of Chaos, Magic & Kisses

Chapter Text

 

With the light of the early afternoon falling on his face through the windows in the hallways, the boy looked tranquil and relaxed as he leaned against the pillow separating two windows. The corridor was deserted as he waited opposite from the door of the classroom. Quiet voices could be heard from it, not loud enough to actually understand, but it filled the area around the door with a comforting murmur, occasionally interrupted by the caw of a raven. 

 

They must have been practising silencing charms again. It was common practise to revise this specific spell before moving on to voice alteration spells – a louder voice, a different tone, different pitch, or an imitation of another voice. To understand how to do it you had to understand how the basics of the spell worked. 

 

The boy thought back to last year, when he practised the spell. One of his classmates had accidentally converted his voice into the raven’s voice and cawed at the whole classroom excitedly, before the teacher, Professor Kim Chungha, returned his original voice to him. The boy himself had succeeded in turning his voice loud instead. Extremely loud. He winced at the memory.

 

He glanced at the door. The lesson should be over any moment now. He relaxed his stance against the pillar a bit more and directed his eyes at the entrance of the room. A stray lock of his parted hair fell on his forehead, right above his dark eyes.

 

They were very beautiful eyes in a handsome face. Combined with his tall and lean build, strong from years of hard Quidditch training, it was understandable to any outsider why many eyes lingered on the boy when he walked through the castle.

 

The bell rung. Rustling could be heard in the classroom. The door opened and students started to trickle out. The boy’s gaze grew more intense, searching as he looked at the students, eyes flitting over heads and faces.

The first few girls started whispering to each other, stopping close to the door in small groups. School heartthrob Kim Yohan stood outside their classroom, apparently waiting for someone, if his wandering eyes were any indication. His gaze swept over the onlookers, until it fixed on someone.

He straightened his stance and took a step forward, the light from the windows illuminating him from behind, smiled and waved. An adorable, happy smile with bunny teeth and crinkling eyes. 

 

“Yooohoooo!” his loud voice rang through the corridor. In just a moment’s notice he turned from handsome and chic to cute and energetic, basically bouncing on his feet in excitement.

 

More confusion arose among the students. “Yoho,” a quiet voice said. 

 

A few students turned around. Cha Junho tried to make his way through the door – a difficult task, considering all the students piled up in it. He had his hand lifted in a similar manner to Yohan, just without the smile, face expressionless instead. He squeezed through the students and approached the waiting boy in the hallway. 

 

“You’re finally done for today!” Yohan said, smiling even brighter and looking a the smaller boy. Their height difference wasn't big, but still enough for Yohan to look downwards.

 

“You know, you could’ve just waited in the library instead?” Junho said quietly, raising an eyebrow at the other’s excitement. His face remained impassive even as he uttered the question.

 

“Nonsense. I told you I’d wait for you after class. Let’s go!” Yohan threw an arm over Junho’s shoulder and started pulling him down the corridor, chattering excitedly about his day. A tiny smile appeared on the smaller boy’s face as he was dragged along with Yohan.

 

They went to the library, Yohan talking and gesticulating all the way there, occasionally greeting passing students and teachers. Junho remained quiet for most of the time, replying in short answers or nodding and humming in agreement.

 

Yohan didn’t mind – he was used to it by now. At first, he thought the other disliked him and his talking. But with time he learned that Junho just needed time to recharge. He was more of an introvert that Yohan, who was very extroverted and a social butterfly. Junho preferred to keep to himself, not as energetic and social, with a face that was expressionless at most times and a quiet voice when he talked. People often called him a robot, but Yohan knew he was all but a robot.

 

He just needed some push of energy. Give him some time and a person providing his required dose of conversational energy - and suddenly he seemed to change into a different person. Class exhausted him, Yohan knew, and so he just went on talking as usual until they reached the library. By that point Junho had started smiling in earnest and his replies had gotten longer.

 

They entered, greeted the librarian Mrs Bae and quietly went to their favourite desk in the troll section: Near a window, hidden among bookshelf and usually avoided by students. Trolls were no one’s favourite subject, with their endless brawls and small wars going on; It was a tiring study. The upside was that hardly anyone ever came here. They could chat (quietly or the librarian would descend upon them like an offended Hippogriff) and have time for themselves.

 

Usually the two boys met at their table, talking about their day and complaining about homework (mostly Yohan), study quietly (Junho) and exchange comments and anecdotes. It was unusual for Yohan to pick Junho up after class - hence the confusion of Junho’s classmates. 

 

And of course his greeting. Junho almost snorted at the memory: It was an inside joke between them after watching 'Frozen' together during the holiday (recommended by the movie's probably most enthusiastic fan: Jinhyuk). Yohan had laughed at the shop owner’s greeting from the movie. He had laughed so hard he fell of the sofa, even though it was beyond Junho as to why this particular scene was so hilarious. But he just went with it when Yohan started greeting him like this. So it stuck.

 

Junho shook his head and went back to his work, pushing the memories away. He noticed how instead of concentrating on his potions homework he had stared straight ahead into Yohan’s face. The latter looked at him and smirked.

 

“Like what you see?” he asked with a smug tone and a twinkle appearing in his eyes.

 

“Shut up and continue with your essay.” Junho shot back.

 

“Oh come on, don’t be shy, you know…

 

“Excuse me…?” a small voice interrupted them from the side. They both turned around. About 3 feet from their table was a girl, awkwardly standing there with her hands clasped behind her back. Junho did not know her: A Hufflepuff, as the pin on her robes indicated, and younger then them he would guess. She seemed nervous, unsure of how to act and looking down. He blonde hair cascaded over her shoulders and her her expression shy, slight creases visible on her forehead.

 

“Can we help you?” Yohan asked, smiling slightly in an attempt to calm her. It failed, apparently, as the girl turned scarlet red and looked away quickly. 

 

“I just… wanted to give you something.” she elaborated, her voice almost  whisper. Junho looked at Yohan and slightly raised an eyebrow. Yohan just shook his head, almost unnoticeable. They both looked at the girl again. 

 

She seemed to have made up her mind and approached their table, pulling out a letter from behind her back and offering it to Yohan. 

 

“Please accept this!” A baffled Yohan took the letter from the girl’s shaking hands and looked at her questioningly. She smiled slightly, turned around and ran off. Junho was pretty sure he heard a squeal somewhere.

 

When he directed his attention at his friend again, the latter was already reading the letter. His eyebrows furrowed slightly and he bit his lip, looking worried. When he finished he looked up. Junho raised his eyebrow again, the question remaining unspoken.

 

“I really don’t like this.” 

 

“The usual?” Junho asked. Yohan nodded, looking towards the window. Junho wondered how he was still that flustered every single time this happened. Yohan was his closest friend but he was also the school heartthrob. He had a tall and strong physique, a handsome face, promising Quidditch abilities and was a hardworking student as well (they probably never saw him choke on spaghetti after laughing too much whilst eating. Junho did though).

 

He was confessed to all the time. According to little Dohyun’s calculations he was at an average of 1.68 per month. The kid had an admirable knack for arithmancy and maths, he was never wrong. So at least one confession per month, starting from Yohan's third year (he hit his first growth spurt during summer break) and continuing until now, in his sixth year. 

 

Junho had been witness to most of these confessions as he and Yohan hung around each other frequently, even though the former was a year younger. And Yohan never got used to it. How, Junho would probably never understand. But emotions and their expression had never been his forte. He sighed.

 

“What are you going to tell her?” he asked his worried friend. Yohan turned to him, looked at the latter and sighed. 

 

“I’ll have to reject her.” Relief flooded through Junho, but he ignored the feeling. Yohan rejected all confessions. Understandably, as most were from people he was neither close with nor knew him on a personal basis. And even the few he knew he rejected. Junho was glad about it. He wasn’t sure if he was able to cope without Yohan. Or share him. No, no, wrong thought.

 

“She’s only a third year after all, and without the letter I wouldn’t even know her name. She probably thinks she likes me because of Quidditch….” Yohan trailed of and his ears became flushed. Junho grinned.

 

“Like… hero worship?" he asked teasingly. "For Gryffindor’s Quidditch wonder? The amazing Kim Yohan?” He noticed the flush reaching Yohan’s neck now and trailing towards his collar.

 

“Stop it, I’m no… whatever.” He was quiet for a moment, Junho's eyes never leaving him. “Stop looking at me like that! Ugh, I hate this. They always look so disappointed and I never know what to do about it, especially when they cry. I mean I couldn’t just hug them, so I just stand there and feel sorry? But it’s really awkward.” 

 

“I empathise with your suffering, oh great destroyer of hearts and teenage dreams. You really go through unthinkable torture.” Junho’s smile could be heard through his words and Yohan looked up at him, the flush having reached his cheeks now. 

 

“People would be really surprised if they knew how savage you are behind your shy and expressionless mask, Junnie.” 

 

The nickname caught Junho by surprise and he looked away, hoping the warmth of his cheeks wasn’t visible outwardly.

 

“Don’t call me that,” he replied. But Yohan just grinned at him.

 

“What, Junnie?” Junho nodded. “But it fits you so well!”

 

“Shut up and think about your rejection.”

 

That did indeed shut Yohan up and he turned to his books again. Junho looked at him for a second, worried he had crossed a line, but Yohan glanced up at him and winked. Shaking his head, he went back to his homework.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Junho arrived at dinner alone; Yohan had to leave for his confession.

 

“She asked me to meet her at the lake before dinner. Wish me luck,” Yohan had said as they descended the Grand Staircase. Junho had looked at him with slightly raised eyebrows and a questioning look. 

 

“I know, luck isn’t what I need. But I still don’t want to make her cry, so maybe I need luck after all?”

 

“Alright, Romeo, stop waxing poetry and meet your ill-fated Rosalind.” Yohan had looked at him, confused.

 

“Isn’t she called Juliet?” Junho had sighed at his friend and pushed him towards the main entrance as they reached the Entrance hall.

 

“I’ll explain later. Now shoo!” He had turned left towards the Great Hall without looking at his friend again and went straight to the Ravenclaw table. After spotting his friend Eunsang, he had sat down opposite of the red haired boy. Eunsang looked at him and smiled. 

 

“Hey, how’s it going?” he asked, smiling and handing a plate to Junho, who promptly filled it with the stew and potatoes they had for dinner today.

 

“Fine. I got most of my homework done, so I got some down time in the evening.” He started eating, his hunger having made itself known right before they left the library. It earned him a ‘shhhhh’ by the librarian and a giggle from Yohan. 

 

“That’s great! Me too, maybe we could play some chess later?” Eunsang asked. He knew Junho preferred solitude and quietness (Yohan being th exception from te rule), but they found a compromise in comfortable game evenings in the Ravenclaw common room. Junho looked up from his food and smiled - an honest smile, with crinkling eyes.

 

“Yeah, I’d like that.” They continued dinner in comfortable silence, Junho going for a second helping and Eunsang starting on a letter after pushing his plate aside. They were interrupted by someone dropping heavily onto the bench next to Junho and slamming their head on the table.

 

Eunsang and Junho both winced; considering the sound of the head hitting the hard and worn wood, this must have hurt. Junho thought back to when Seungyoun had pulled the same stunt and ended up with a nose bleed - Hangyul had taken him to the hospital wing, despite the older claiming it was entirely 'his hot boyfriend's fault and the table had nothing to do with the blood'. Abandoning the memory, he looked at the slumped figure next to him, which started whining about how they hated life and everything with it.

 

“I take it your rejection ended in tears?” Junho asked instead of a greeting, patting Yohan’s back. The latter turned his face towards him, resting his cheek on the table and nodded. His face was squished against the wood, pushing his mouth into a pout and a bruise was forming on his forehead as he looked up at Junho with puppy eyes. He looked rather stupid like this. Stupid but adorable.

 

“You really are pathetic,” Junho concluded and turned from him reaching over the table. Yohan turned his face down again and started whining again.

 

“You’re my friend, you should support me and stuff! Why are you so cold to me….,” he dragged out the last vowel, sounding like a child. Junho turned to him with a plate filled with food.

 

“I am supporting you. With food. Here, eat.” Yohan shot up and Junho handed him the plate. The other put it down and started digging in with unrivaled vigor, seemingly trying to drown his despair in stew and potatoes. Junho reached for his forehead and brushed Yohan’s hair out of the way.

 

“That’s a nasty bruise,” Eunsang commented from the other side of the table, after watching their exchange. Yohan looked like a deer caught in headlights at his statement, cheeks puffed with food and eyes opened wide and round. Junho still had his hand on his forehead. They must've looked rather comedic if the snort behind them was anything to go by.

 

“Not to interrupt your moment, but Yohan, if you don’t hurry you will be late for your session with Kookheon,” a voice interrupted them. Seungwoo, a 7th year Hufflepuff and unofficial father figure of their friend group, had approached them. The older had a soft smile on his features, contradicting the teasing tone of his words. Yohan flinched and his eyes widened.

 

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, I gotta go! Hi hyung, bye hyung, bye Junho, bye Eunsang!” He jumped up and dashed from the table towards the entrance, almost stumbling over his own two feet in the process. Seungwoo turned to the 5th years, still sitting. Junho hummed to himself, rtapping his chin with his hand.

 

“Should I have reminded him that he left all his Quidditch gear at the field as to avoid going up to the tower after training yesterday?” he asked in feigned innocence. Seungwoo looked at him for a moment before he chuckled. 

 

“You really are evil sometimes, Junho." he commented and took a step backwards to peer into the Entrance hall before he turned before he turned back with a grin. "He just dashed up the staircase.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Seungwoo looked at Junho. It really was a strange friendship between Yohan and Junho but beautiful nonetheless. Despite their opposite personalities they complimented each other like puzzle pieces, balancing each other out. 

 

Yohan’s excited character and energy functioned like a charger on Junho; it brought him out of his shell and made him more understanding of his own feelings and  personality. He calmed Yohan on the other side, a respite after his often hectic schedules and without the expectation to always keep up his happy smile. Yohan was cheerful by nature but he, as every other human being, had his bad days, sad moments or moments of frustration. He knew there were many expectations perched on his shoulders; and with it came the pressure to uphold his image. 

 

But Junho accepted and comforted him in his moments of weakness without hesitation, judgment or surprise. Seungwoo had once run into them, 2 years ago, in search of them in the library. When he had gotten to their favourite corner, the table - laden with books, parchment quills and empty candy wrappers (they both had a sweet tooth) - had been void of any people. As his eyes had scanned the corner he had noticed something underneath the window sill. He had carefully rounded the table to see the two boys sitting on the floor: Yohan’s knees to his chest, face buried in Junho’s robes, breathing calmly and seemingly alright if it weren’t for the tear tracks on his cheek.

 

Junho had slowly looked up to Seungwoo’s face and smiled. It was a smile not many got to see. Small but with an indisputable fondness in his eyes. His whole expression was soft and open - vulnerable. Seungwoo sat down next to Junho and glanced at Yohan with a questioning look, then back at Junho. Junho offered him a troubled look, lips stretched thin and forehead in slight wrinkles. 

 

“He came to the library later than usual,” he whispered as to not wake the boy sleeping on his chest. “Apparently someone had dropped their books and Yohan had helped them pick them up, until someone started provoking him in some way. He told me he knew they were talking nonsense but it was still frustrating.”

 

“I noticed he’s been stressed lately,” Seungwoo had added. “That probably pitched in.” 

 

Junho had nodded. “He’s had a lot on his plate and this made him reach his breaking point again. He started pacing and got really worked up until he just sat down at the wall and started crying.” Seungwoo had nodded along. He carefully hadn’t mentioned how Junho said he didn’t reach his breaking point again ; this obviously wasn’t the first time of Junho comforting Yohan. 

 

People might say Yohan was Junho’s pillar but actually neither held the other up. But they caught each other, before or after the fall, and helped each other get up again. They could both stand on their own but depended on each other’s support too. Seungwoo had been surprised for it to be this way. 

 

“Hyung? Hyung?” He was pulled out of his thoughts by Junho waving his hand in front of his face. He smiled at the other boy, signalling his attention. 

 

“As I already said before you spaced out on me, I’m going to leave with Eunsang. Are you coming or not?” Junho might sound sassy but the tiny smile in the corner of his lips told him about the amusement of the other boy, with no actual annoyance. 

 

“No, I haven’t eaten yet, so I’m gonna stay. Have a nice evening, you two!” he replied to Junho’s question and directed a smile at first him and the Eunsang. They both bid him goodbye and made their way towards the entrance of the great hall, whilst Seungwoo spun around, eyes automatically searching the Hufflepuff table for a certain face, until he remembered that he wouldn’t find it. He recognised many but the one person he was looking for was missing. A kind smile and features resembling a Shiba Inu flashed through his mind, bringing a fond and somewhat sad smile to his face. 

 

He tried to shake off his thoughts and looked at the Gryffindor table instead. He didn’t see Jinhyuk but Byungchan was there. He made his way over and plopped on the bench next to the lanky 6th year, who got startled. 

 

“Seungwoo-hyung! You surprised me there!” Byungchan looked at him with a smile. “Not that I don’t want you at our table but why are you here?” Seungwoo looked at him through his bangs, a bashful smile showing his dimples.

 

“It felt a bit lonely at our table,” he said. Byungchan looked over at the table, then back and Seungwoo. 

 

“I know you miss him. Did you hear from him recently?” Byungchan asked, a comforting smile on his face. Seungwoo shook his head.

 

“I haven’t gotten a reply yet but Ophiuchus takes a while to deliver the letters. Understandably, Japan is on the other side of the globe. But still.” He looked up at Byungchan with hopeful eyes. “Did you hear from him?” Byungchan started giggling. 

 

“Hyung, you looked like a Golden Retriever right now, puppy eyes and all. You just needed a wagging tail!” Byungchan snickered and looked up again. “But no, I haven’t heard from him either but he’s also not my boyfriend.” He started giggling again, when Seungwoo blushed and looked down.

 

“Seungsik will reply soon, don’t worry. Now eat some dinner, your stomach has been growling at me since you sat down and it sounds less like a puppy and more like a cerberus.” Seungwoo snorted  and and started on his food. 

 

Just as he had finished a few spoons full of stew, a small body snuggled onto his side. He looked down and saw big doe eyes and heart shaped lips in a face that could only be described as adorable. He automatically cooed and rubbed his cheek against the fluffy black hair. The tiny boy giggled.

 

“Hey Hyung,” Dongpyo greeted him. He seemed tired as he reached for the potatoes, barely grabbing and almost dropping them. Seungwoo took it from him and put some on his plate, adding a ladle of stew after. It earned him a thankful smile as the boy started eating, still close to his side. Seungwoo continued with his dinner but glanced down occasionally at the boy that was like a son to him. He must’ve had an exhausting day - classes always tired him out.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Seungwoo was known as a very affectionate person among his friends. Kind and helpful he always looked out for them, especially the younger ones, had patiently listened to their problems or just played along with their antics. His friendly nature would lead him to contact with many people.

 

He met Yohan this way. The boy had been a first year and got lost on his way to the Great Hall on the first morning. Seungwoo found him when he walked through a secret corridor to avoid a trap Peeves made on the direct route from the Hufflepuff Common Room to the Entrance hall. He exited the secret path and almost collided with a shrieking 1st year who promptly fell on his butt, looking up at him with wide eyes. 

 

“I’m lost,” was all he said, probably still dumbfounded to have run into someone here. It was a very empty part of the 1st basement floor and hardly anyone passed by here. Seungwoo chuckled.

 

“Well, I found you. I can show you the way to the Great Hall if you want to?” He stretched out a hand towards the stunned boy, who suddenly seemed to spring to life and grabbed it, standing up quickly.

 

“You are my saviour! I didn’t know where I was and then the staircase changed direction and I asked a painting and it sent me some way and, yeah, so I ended up here. By the way I’m Kim Yohan, Gryffindor. I’m a first year!” The boy, Yohan, continued rambling, as Seungwoo nodded along, smiling. He started walking with the boy in tow as he chattered on. The surprise on Yohan’s face was almost comical after they rounded the second corner and climbed a staircase just to arrive at the entrance hall.

 

“That was closer than I thought!” he exclaimed and turned to Seungwoo. “I’m really thankful!”

 

“No problem. I’m Seungwoo, by the way, 2nd year from Hufflepuff. Nice to meet you.” Yohan smiled again. 

 

“So Hufflepuffs really are as kind as the others told me. Thank you so much!” Seungwoo smiled and pushed the boy gently  into the Hall - breakfast was ending soon. Yohan bid him goodbye there and they parted ways, until Seungwoo found himself with an armful of Gryffindor when he sat down for dinner. His last class of the day had been potions with the Lion House and he had chatted with Jinhyuk after finishing their potion, automatically following the slightly younger to his table.

 

Now, he had a pair of excited puppy eyes looking up at him from where the body had latched onto his arm - Yohan seemed thrilled to see him and, after introducing Jinhyuk to Yohan, the 1st year told them all about his day. Jinhyuk had laughed at the fondness in Seungwoo’s eyes but had been enamoured by his bubbly housemate in record time too. 

 

From there on, Yohan approached him often, asking for directions and Seungwoo’s advice on a regular basis. The younger became a close friend, one he cherished very much for his personality and brightness, giving as much affection and care as he could to everyone he befriended. When he became friends with Junho, Seungwoo accepted the shy boy with open arms - why wouldn’t he after all? He was adorable.

 

Which is a predicament his friends constantly tease him about. Han Seungwoo loved cute things. Cute people. And not in a creepy way. He just needed a way to release all his affection. So he became like a dragon with gold. He loved it, hoarded it, protected it and took care of it lovingly. The only difference was that his treasure were ‘children’ he ‘adopted’. So less like a dragon and more like an overgrown Golden Retriever. But just like a dragon he had his one treasure he adored most amongst his children.

 

It came during Seungwoo’s fourth year in the form of Son Dongpyo. A lively Gryffindor first year, tiny, adorable, loud, cute, with big eyes and a quick mouth. Seungwoo’s first thought was something along the lines of ‘Must Adopt!’. Not that he would admit this to anyone. But his friend and fellow 4th year at that time ,Jinhyuk, noticed his look immediately when Seungwoo looked at the tiny bundle of a Gryffindor as he spoke to Seungwoo’s housmate Seungsik. Jinhyuk grinned.

 

“You know, Seungsik is tutoring him in Charms.” Seungwoo looked at him, confused what he was talking about. “The little boy, Dongpyo. He’s adorable, but he has way too much energy. So much swooshing and swishing he made the feather explode when practising Wingardium Leviosa.”

 

Seungwoo looked at him, dumbfounded, making Jinhyuk laugh. He looked towards Dongpyo again and met his gaze this  time. He couldn’t help but smile fondly, albeit a bit surprised because Dongpyo looked at him somewhat sceptical and mistrustful before turning around and leaving the Hall. 

 

He didn’t see him again, only in passing, until a few weeks later when he entered the owlery. He had heard some shrieking on the stairs already and arrived at the door to see a scared looking Dongpyo against the far wall and an excited and large black eagle owl fluttering around the doorway, releasing shrieks now and again. One look at the owl made the situation clear to him.

 

“Aristotle, are you scaring people again?” he asked. The owl noticed him and fluttered towards him, circling and landing on his shoulder eventually. He shuhued excitedly, stubbing his beak against Seungwoo’s head and turning his head in weird angles to look at him. Seungwoo chuckled at the bird’s antics until he started picking at his cloak.

 

“Yes, I brought you treats but don’t pick on children again.” Aristotle looked at him and tilted his head. Seungwoo pointed at the still scared Dongpyo. “See that? That’s a no. Don’t scare people, alright?” He held a treat out to Aristotle who took it from him, almost nicking his finger and fluttered up into the timberwork above them. 

 

“Uuuhmm…,” a small voice said beside him. “Thanks for helping me.” Seungwoo looked down at Dongpyo (he really was tiny) and smiled comfortingly at him. 

 

“No problem. Aristotle gets way to excited, but he’s usually really nice to be around.”

 

“You know… you are talking about him like a human. But he’s an owl.” Seungwoo raised an eyebrow, not knowing where Dongpyo was going with this. “Why were you talking to him like a human? I mean he can’t understand you, can he?” Seungwoo smiled.

 

“Don’t underestimate owls, they are much smarter than they might look. You know, just because animals don’t speak it doesn’t mean they don’t communicate with us or understand us.” Seungwoo could see the confusion on Dongpyo’s face. “They just look at different things. Just for comparison, how would you express how you are feeling right now?” 

 

“Well, nervous and scared and I don’t know, what are you trying to tell me?” the boy asked, gesticulating, stepping from side to side and glancing around anxiously. His pitch rose and his voice became louder, laced with confusion and some frustration.

 

“Well, you just used your whole body to express this - you walked around, waved your hands, spoke louder and with a different tone of voice,” Seungwoo explained. “And now have a look at the owls around you. See that old barn owl next to you?” He pointed at a beautiful white and beige owl that sat on a low beam and slowly hopped closer. The beams spanned across the room, enabling the owls to come close if they wanted to. The barn owl flew to a lower beam, on face height with Dongpyo and hoped closer.

 

“That’s Sybil. She’s very sensitive. Listen! Do you hear that?” Quiet shuhus filled the room. “She’s trying to calm you down. Stretch out your arm a bit and don’t flinch,” Seungwoo told Dongpyo. 

 

Dongpyo bit his lips and looked a little indecisive before slowly stretching out his arm in the direction of the owl. Sybil took flight and sailed towards him before softly landing on his shoulder. She was still heavy for the small boy, so Seungwoo grabbed his elbow and steadied him. Dongpyo turned his head towards the owl on his shoulder to look at it. Close up, he could see its soft eyes, looking at him knowingly but without any threat. She turned her head away and out of his vision before he felt something tugging softly at his dark locks, the calming sound of her shuhu filling the room once again.

 

A smile appeared on Dongpyo’s face, his eyes closing as he turned his head to nuzzle into the Sybil’s soft feather. After a moment he looked at Seungwoo, the smile not leaving his lips and his eyes open now. Seungwoo smiled back. It seemed he had earned the trust of the boy.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

A banging sound pulled him out of his thoughts again. He looked up from his now empty plate at Dongpyo who seemed as confused. The boy warmed up to him after their encounter at the owlery, accepting his friendship and affection as a quirk of his character. He had even started calling him ‘Dad’ jokingly; occasions that were hilarious for everyone around because of Seungwoo’s whipped look whenever Dongpyo called him that. Even with their age difference they knew they could rely on each other. Dongpyo probably understood him best, regarding Seungsik….

 

Another loud bang brought him back to reality. What was going on in the entrance hall? He got up from his seat and went towards the door, followed by Byungchan and Dongpyo. The sky of the Hall displayed a beautiful sight of the sunset, pink and violet swirling into each other, with blue seeping into it. Upon reaching the doorway he pulled his eyes away from the ceiling and towards the source of the sounds at the top of the Grand Staircase. His eyes met a peculiar sight.

 

“Is that,” Byungchan asked beside him “the scene from Titanic?” 



Chapter Text

 

  

 

The view in the entrance hall was truly…. special. 

 

When exiting the Great Hall, students found themselves in the entrance hall, with the main gates to their left and the stairs to their right. The entrance hall was an open space with the grand staircase ascending from it to the 1st floor, arching into two balustrades leading to the hallways. Like every other wall in Hogwarts, the walls were hung with paintings and torches every few steps, armours filling nooks in walls and some corners. 

 

Two of those armours were currently hanging precariously over the edge of the balustrade next to the stairs, a few metres left from the entrance to the great hall, above the corridor leading towards the stairs to the lower levels. One armour was standing on the ledge of the railing, arms stretched to the side and leaned slightly forward. A second was standing behind it, trying to hold its waist but slipping because of its polished metal gloves. 

 

The view was further enhanced by Peeves, sailing and flipping through the air around them, playing a horrible rendition of ‘My Heart will go on’ on an off-key recorder. Just as he started the chorus, two voices joined him and belted out the lines to the song, egging Peeves on. 

 

The instigator of this whole chaos looked thoroughly pleased with himself. Lee Jinhyuk waved his wand around a bit to stabilise the enchanted armours whilst grinning at the situation unfolding before him: Yunseong and Donghyun, two 6th years from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had helped him set this up and were now engrossed in doing the back up vocals and free ad-libs to Peeves recorder playing. They were standing some steps to the side of the still swaying armours against the railing, dramatically clutching their hearts and waving their hands to emphasise the dramatic song. 

 

Jinhyuk started chuckling; they were doing a great job. It had originally been their idea to enchant the armour to sing it, but they were unsure about the spell and had come to Jinhyuk instead. The 7th year Gryffindor was known for his constant pranking and competence in conjuring up spells to make them work. He had been amused with their idea and proposed a whole cover of the famous movie scene and what would be better than the entrance hall at sunset, with the light from the main entrance shining through the open doors and right onto the balustrade? 

 

Getting Peeves on board had been easy and Jinhyuk knew where to find him. So here they were. Jinhyuk had enchanted the armours to walk from their respective corner to the railing and had one climb onto it. They were swaying very much by now, Peeves racing through the air, his loopings and turns getting riskier every time, closer to the armours. Jinhyuk waved his wand again to stabilise them and peered down at the entrance hall where students had started to gather to watch the spectacle.

 

He could see his friend Seungwoo emerge from the hall, followed by Byungchan and Dongpyo, who clasped Seungwoo’s hand and gasped in surprise. Byungchan seemed confused for a second, saying something to Seungwoo before a wide grin stretched across his face and he started laughing. Jinhyuk looked at his handiwork – and saw a piece of the armour playing Jack falling. It’s glove. 

 

He tried to recast the spell, but it was too late. The ‘Rose’ armour slipped out of the now loose grip, pulling pieces of the ‘Jack’ armour with it, plummeting towards the ground. Jinhyuk’s eyes widened and he heard Donghyun mutter something along the lines of ‘Oh shit’ as he watched the pieces of metal fall.

 

Suddenly, they stopped, levitating mid-air. Then they slowly started to regain height, reassembling at the same time. The ripped apart ‘Jack’ armour reattached its glove to its arm and found the breast part, re-joining with the lower body on the balustrade. The ‘Rose’ armour landed next to it and stopped all movement, perfectly still.

 

Silence had fallen over the entrance hall as Jinhyuk looked into the wide eyes of his accomplices. Donghyun was staring at the armours with an open mouth, obviously surprised by what had just transpired. Yunseong though was looking over Jinhyuk’s shoulder, lower lips pulled beneath his teeth and his eyes wide. Peeves had vanished.

 

Jinhyuk sighed and turned around in a flourish, robes flying around him and a charming smile etched upon his features. He scanned the hallways behind him until his eyes fell upon the person Yunseong had looked at. Jinhyuk’s smile widened. 

 

Behind him stood the head boy, a Ravenclaw and fellow 7th year. Almost a head smaller and with big eyes, he looked more like an angry kitten to Jinhyuk than an actual threat. He was holding out his wand in front of him, pointed at the armours and adjusted the round glasses perched on his small nose. His eyes fell upon the troublemaker and his gaze hardened.

 

“Hi there, Wooseok!” Jinhyuk greeted him. Instead of answering, Wooseok flicked his wrist and steps could be heard when the amours walked back to their original places. One of them passed Jinhyuk and whacked his head with an iron fist. The boy winced and rubbed the back of his head.

 

“What were you thinking?!” an angry voice asked. Jinhyuk looked up and smiled.

 

“Fancy seeing you here!” he replied.

 

“What. Were. You. Thinking!?” Wooseok emphasised each word by taking a step forward in Jinhyuk’s direction. Jinhyuk heard shuffling behind him – seemed like his two accomplices were retreating. Wooseok ignored them.

 

“Oh come on, the singing wasn’t that bad! I mean, sure, those two could have worked on their harmonisation a bit, but still.”

 

“This could’ve been dangerous! What am I saying - this was dangerous! You could’ve hurt people!” Wooseok was now standing right in front of Jinhyuk. His eyes were on his chin height, looking up at him and narrowed with anger. Jinhyuk held up his hands in defence.

 

“I had it under control.”

 

“No, you didn’t! The armour parts where falling! They could’ve hit students!” Wooseok was getting louder with each word.

 

“I wasn’t-” Jinhyuk started but he was interrupted.

 

 “You weren’t thinking, that’s what you were! You and all your pranks!” Wooseok was almost shouting by now. The head boy seemed incredibly angry.

 

 “Mr. Kim is right. Mr Lee, I will see you in detention tomorrow.” A new voice, quiet but tone indisputable, joined them and Jinhyuk groaned inwardly. One of their Professors for Care of Magical creatures, Professor Im Nayoung, had stepped up behind them. 

 

Her face was expressionless, but her eyes were fixed on Jinhyuk, a silent anger visible in them; she wouldn’t yield to any discussion, her words were final. She turned around and walked down the stairs, dispersing students with a few words. Her long hair was flowing down her back in black waves and she looked both intimidating and beautiful. Students knew about her generally lenient nature, but one should never cross her. 

 

Jinhyuk sighed and turned back to Wooseok, who looked at him for a moment and then turned around, storming off into the castle. Jinhyuk’s eyes remained fixed on his back until Wooseok rounded a corner and Seungwoo’s voice sounded behind him. 

 

“You are an idiot.” There was a faint tinge of amusement lacing his friend’s words and he turned to him, smile spreading over his face again. 

 

“I am. But it was worth it.” 

 

Seungwoo chuckled.

 

“If you say so.”

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Despite his words, Jinhyuk spent the whole next day dreading his detention in the evening. Donghyun and Yunseong had come up in the morning at breakfast to apologise for leaving him alone and offering to speak to Professor Im, but Jinhyuk didn’t want those two to get in trouble too. And if Wooseok hadn’t mentioned them to their Professor, Jinhyuk definitely wouldn’t.

 

Wooseok hadn’t left his thoughts since yesterday evening. He had brushed the whole episode off as a joke on the outside, but he couldn’t forget the slightly younger boy’s eyes. Before he turned around Jinhyuk had seen anger in them, and something resembling disappointment. Replaying the picture in his head, the Gryffindor grabbed his bag and headed to his last class of the day: History of magic with Slytherin. 

 

Upon entering the classroom, he was greeted by the grinning face of Seungyeon, one of his friends from Slytherin. Seungyeon’s happy personality and easy-going behaviour was nice to be around and behind his smiling eyes hid an unexpected insight into people’s thoughts. He immediately seemed to catch on to Jinhyuk’s mood and looked at him questioningly.  

 

“What’s with you today? Did Byungchan put something slimy under your pillow again?” he asked and Jinhyuk cringed automatically at the memory. Byungchan had decided to make him the target of a plan that involved way too much slime (the one muggles were into these days, god knows why) and charmed it to move on its own and grow. The tiny little blob had gone unnoticed in the evening, but Jinhyuk had woken up with his face smashed into neon green goo and had screamed. Very loud and very high. Not his proudest moment or most pleasant memory, especially because he found new goo globs in his hair and around his bed for days, as they continued growing, until Kookheon had taken mercy on him and stopped the spell. 

 

“Naaahh, nothing like that, thank god. I’m just stuck with detention,” he finally answered Seungyeon’s question as he dropped his bag next to the chair and slid into his seat next to the Slytherin. 

 

“Because of the stunt you pulled yesterday? Seungwoo told me about it.” Seungyeon turned to look at him.

 

“Yeah, exactly.”

 

“But you’re usually not bothered by detention. What got your knickers into a knot about it?” his friend asked incredulously.

 

“I… just haven’t slept too much. I just don’t wanna waste precious free time in detention, but I guess it could be worse….,” Jinhyuk answered hesitantly. Seungyeon was right; he usually took detention easy and it wasn’t like this was too bad, considering the furious look in Wooseok’s eyes. But still, there was something on his mind. 

 

Seungyeon opened his mouth to question him further when Professor Ha Sungwoon entered the room. He marched to the front, humming a jolly tune and climbed on his book stack. He was all but tall, but instead of using a pedestal or a table, he preferred a stack of books, that started swaying dangerously whenever Professor Ha became too excited about a topic. As he was a very passionate teacher and historian this would happen often, but somehow the stack would bend at ridiculous angles and still not fall – making their Professor look a bit like a clown in a box, popping up and moving around. 

 

As he started his lecture, most students took notes. Since he replaced Professor Bins (who eventually decided to join his body in the afterlife), the peace and quiet of sleepy History of Magic lessons were gone. Professor Ha’s voice was high pitched and he was way too loud for anyone to catch sleep or be distracted for long.

 

Still, Jinhyuk’s thoughts started to wander.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Back in fifth year he had had a brilliant idea. Well, not just him. Originally, Byungchan had been joking around about charming the Quidditch balls to something different to have them change into a different object every time someone touched them. They figured out, however, that they both weren’t able to cast a spell like this. So a change of plans was made and sparkles in different colours needed to do. 

 

Jinhyuk had slipped into the Quidditch coaches office with no problems at all. Kang Daniel was Gryffindor’s Head of House after all and they all knew when he would definitely not be in his office but off to see Professor Ong of Slytherin. So Jinhyuk snuck through the door and looked for the chest he knew the balls would be kept in. 

 

It was easy to find: a medium size wooden chest in the corner under a window. He grinned and approached the chest, kneeling down in front of it. Upon trying to open it, he noticed it was locked but he quickly solved that with a mumbled ‘Alohomora’ and lifted the lid.

 

The Quaffle was framed by the two Bludgers, which started twitching upon opening, trying to escape their bindings. A quick look over his shoulder assured him he was still alone. He pointed his wand at the quaffle.

 

“Scintillam variatum,” he mumbled. The Quaffle glowed and gave off some colourful sparks. Jinhyuk grinned – the spell worked. He repeated the procedure on the Bludgers and then centred his attention on the little pocket on the inside of the lid where the Snitch was hidden. He carefully stretched out his hand towards it.

 

“Stop!” a voice said behind him. “What are you doing?” The baritone of the voice grew higher and more anxious with each word. Jinhyuk had flinched upon hearing it and turned around now to face the intruder. But he needed all his brain capacity when he saw the other person to keep his face in check. The possibly most adorable being he knew (apart from Dongpyo) was standing in the doorway and looking at him with wide eyes. Jinhyuk inwardly sighed.

 

Kim Wooseok was Ravenclaw’s prefect, in Jinhyuk’s year and absolutely adorable. Whilst Jinhyuk had hit his growth spurt last year, Wooseok was a head smaller than Jinhyuk. He had a pointy face with delicate features, big eyes and a small nose – making him look like a kitten. Jinhyuk didn’t have much to do with him outside of class, where they sometimes had been assigned as partners, but he knew the other boy was diligent and hardworking with a kind nature.

 

Not much kindness was directed at Jinhyuk through those eyes right now as Wooseok stared at him with suspicion. He tried to smile.

 

“Ehm. I was just. I.” Work brain, damnit! “I was….,” he trailed off.

 

“Are you trying to hex the Quidditch balls and sabotage the game?” Wooseok seemed shocked. “But it’s your own house playing!”

 

Jinhyuk lifted his hands and shook his head erratically. 

 

“No, no, no, no, no, I wasn’t doing that, I promise! I was doing something else!” he whisper-shouted. Wooseok didn’t look convinced though.

 

“But you tried to touch the snitch,” he said. Jinhyuk looked at him, not understanding what he was trying to say. 

 

“No one is allowed to touch a snitch before a game, not even the smith that makes it!” Wooseok continued. Jinhyuk still looked lost. Wooseok sighed when he saw his face and came closer, obviously distracted from the situation of catching Jinhyuk in a teacher’s office, fiddling with Quidditch balls.

 

“A snitch remembers the first person that touches it and can be used by them, to be used a storing device or to return to them. It says in the History of Hogwarts the Professor Dumbledore hid the Stone of Resurrection in the snitch Harry Potter caught in his first game so only he could open it…” Wooseok seemed to trail off in his thoughts as he stared at the box where the snitch was still hidden until his eyes suddenly widened. He looked up and pointed a finger at Jinhyuk accusingly. 

 

“You are the Gryffindor’s keeper! You wanted to touch the snitch and enchant it so that it returns to you during the game! This way your seeker can catch it easily by just staying around your goal posts!” Wooseok’s voice was growing louder as he spoke, and he looked back at the door and took a step towards it.

 

Jinhyuk got up and launched at him, clasping his hand over his mouth and holding the boy still with his other arm, pressing him against his body. Steps were audible in the corridor and he tried to calm his wildly beating heart as he listened. The steps became quieter – the person had left the corridor. Jinhyuk sighed in relief and looked down at Wooseok, who was still struggling against his grip. Angry cat eyes met his. The smaller boy was almost going cross eyed as he looked at him. 

 

“You are completely wrong about what I’m doing, honestly!” Jinhyuk pleaded quietly. “I didn’t even know about the snitch thing until you told me and if I had known, I wouldn’t have resorted to something like that anyway.” He almost spat out the last part. If his team was to win, then due to their own ability. 

 

“I’ll explain everything but please keep quiet, okay?” he asked the furious prefect. Wooseok hesitated for a bit, eyes flitting around. After a few moments he stilled and nodded under Jinhyuk’s hand. Jinhyuk smiled and let go of him, taking a step back for his own safety. Wooseok wiped his mouth with his robe and Jinhyuk winced. His hands had been sweaty from nervousness. 

 

“Alright, try to explain yourself,” Wooseok spat. Jinhyuk grinned.

 

“Alright, so I was planning a prank.” Wooseok narrowed his eyes again and Jinhyuk waved his hands around again. 

 

“No, nothing bad! Just something to make the game a bit more colourful!” He took a step towards the chest again.

 

“I charmed the balls to give off differently coloured sparks every time they are touched or change hands. Nothing hurtful, I even tried them! The sparks don’t burn or anything, they just look nice and sparkly!”

 

Wooseok didn’t look convinced, so Jinhyuk pointed at the chest.

 

“Try for yourself! As I understood, the no-touching rule only applies to the Snitch, right?” Wooseok nodded at this. 

 

“Then you can touch any of the balls!” Wooseok still seemed suspicious. Jinhyuk sighed and knelt next to the chest again. 

 

“Alright look.” He lightly tapped the Quaffle with his pointer finger and it gave off blue sparkles. He tapped several times and the sparks changed through the colours of the rainbow, occasionally adding silver and golden into the mix. Wooseok seemed stunned, a small smile slowly spreading on his face. Jinhyuk grinned widely at him, eyes almost vanishing into crescents. 

 

Wooseok approached the chest, crouched down and slowly stretched out his hand. He hesitated for a moment before he touched the Quaffle too, shooting off red sparks. Jinhyuk watched as the smile reached his eyes and he opened his mouth a little, releasing a quiet giggle. Jinhyuk squealed on the inside. Wooseok was adorable.

 

“If I am not allowed to touch the Snitch I should leave it like this. I don’t want to spoil the game”, Jinhyuk said quietly. Wooseok furrowed his brows, forehead wrinkly in thought. He pushed up his glasses and looked at Jinhyuk.

 

“Well, we could…,” he started slowly. Jinhyuk looked at him expectantly. Wooseok cleared his throat and looked at the chest. “We could bind the snitch with a spell, whilst the other casts the sparkle spell. This way he isn’t contaminated by touch but your… surprise would still be complete.” A light red had started to spread on his cheeks and he looked Jinhyuk who stared at him with his mouth agape.

 

“What?” Wooseok asked, face turning scarlet. Jinhyuk closed his mouth and smiled again.

 

“That’s a great idea! Could you do the holding spell and I do the sparkles?”, he asked excitedly, grabbing Wooseok’s shoulder. The smaller boy nodded and looked back at the chest. He pulled his wand out of his pocket and pointed it at the little pocket, then nodded at Jinhyuk.

 

“Open it.” 

Jinhyuk grabbed the little handle and pulled it open just as Wooseok mumbled ‘Consiste’ and the Snitch trying to flutter stopped all movement. Jinhyuk cast the sparkle spell and closed the lid to the pocket holding the snitch again carefully. He smiled and looked at Wooseok.

 

“Are you going to rat me out?” he asked grinning. Wooseok looked torn. Jinhyuk continued. 

 

“Look, I wouldn’t blame you. I was neither allowed in here nor am I allowed to charm the balls. But I wasn’t doing anything bad per se. You decide, I won’t hold it against you.” He really wouldn’t. Wooseok was a prefect and he had caught him in here. He hadn’t called a teacher so far but handled it himself, so he didn’t seem to be someone looking for people to punish. Jinhyuk crossed his fingers secretly. 

 

“I won’t.” Jinhyuk looked at the smaller. Wooseok looked determined. “You weren’t doing anything wrong or trying to harm anyone. I won’t tell.” He looked at Jinhyuk. 

 

“But if I catch you again, you won’t get off as lucky,” he threatened. Jinhyuk grinned and had gotten up, reaching out his hand to Wooseok still on the floor. The Ravenclaw looked at it before grabbing it and pulling himself up and walking to the door, where he turned around. 

 

“I never saw you here. I don’t know anything about it.”

 

Wooseok’s smile seemed amused at the sparkles bursting from the Quidditch balls on the next day, but Jinhyuk saw the glint in his eyes. Their gazes met for a moment and Wooseok nodded at him, before cheering for Hufflepuff, who just scored a goal. Jinhyuk had missed the opponent’s approach, concentrated on Wooseok, and cursed at himself before returning to his goal posts and preparing for the next attack. He needed to win this.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

“Now, while I am aware that not all my student’s take an interest in historical events, it still seems somewhat rude to not react to your teacher standing right in front of you, Mr Lee.”

 

Jinhyuk flinched and looked up from his empty notebook at Professor Ha right in front of him. His books had stretched themselves into an arc spanning across the first few rows, dangling his teacher right in front of Jinhyuk and seemingly unaffected by the pull of gravity. Jinhyuk realised he must have spaced out for a while for Professor Ha to approach him.

 

“I’m really sorry, Professor. I got distracted for a second here.”, he said, trying to sound remorseful. Professor Ha raised an eyebrow at him and sighed.

 

“Weeeeeeelllll,” he drawled while his books re-situated themselves and him at the front of the classroom. “We all have our days where we miss a certain sparkle.” He looked pointedly at Jinhyuk. 

 

“Last chance.” Jinhyuk nodded.

 

“Yes, sir.” He spent the rest of the lesson taking notes but his thoughts returned to the Ravenclaw prefect and current headboy again and again. Their ways hadn’t parted after their joined efforts to charm the Quidditch balls. Well, at least Jinhyuk had tried not to have them part.

 

He had started doing his pranks around areas he knew Wooseok was at just to see him. He didn’t do harmful pranks, just some effects, maybe a little spell here and there, but it attracted attention of the prefects. A certain perfect who had at some point started to let him off easy or just turned around when he saw Jinhyuk fleeing the crime scene and let him pass, even after becoming head boy in 7th year. Jinhyuk was happy about it and it had brought them into little conversations now and then, inside and outside of class. 

 

Jinhyuk pondered over his thoughts when Yohan’s voice interrupted him. 

 

“Hyung, I don’t know what your tea did to you, but the food is not responsible for your detention.” Jinhyuk looked up at Yohan, who was sitting opposite from him at the house table. Somehow, Jinhyuk had apparently made his way from class to dinner without falling down a flight of stairs while he was caught up with his thoughts. “But you’ll be late for detention if you don’t go in a few minutes.”

Jinhyuk cursed and looked at his watch. Quarter to eight. Yohan was right.

 

“What do you need to do?” Byungchan piped in. 

 

“Polishing without magic in the trophy room. To ‘learn to handle metal with care and thought’ it said in the note from Professor Im,” he air quoted. It wasn’t too bad, just lonely and boring. The boys around him nodded, amused smiles on their face.

 

“Well, I’ll be off then, lads.” Jinhyuk stood up and waved at them before making his way towards the entrance of the Great Hall. He trudged up the many stairs to the trophy room and opened it to Professor Im standing at the window, overlooking the premises. She turned around and pointed at a table holding the cleaning supplies before conjuring up an armchair beneath the window and sitting down in it.

 

“Have fun and don’t break anything”, she said before pulling a book out of her robes, opened it and started reading. Jinhyuk went to grab the cleaning supplies. This was going to be a long evening.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

He left the trophy room 3 hours later. Professor Im had conjured a tray of tea and a chair and mumbled something about keeping hydrated after about 45 min, so Jinhyuk had taken a break. He swapped between tea and cleaning; his teacher had been completely engrossed in her book. Jinhyuk probably could have left without her noticing, but he didn’t want to push his luck. So he had bid his goodbyes at eleven and left the room.

 

He was just entering a corridor leading towards the Gryffindor tower when he almost bumped into someone. He looked down at the other person and sighed. Wooseok. The head boy looked up at him.

 

“What are you doing here at this time?” He sounded slightly annoyed and Jinhyuk raised an eyebrow.

 

“I had detention,” he answered the question. “For being irresponsible, remember?”

 

Wooseok sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. 

 

“Listen. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted at you. I was having a bad day, and you just added the last drop. But what you were doing was dangerous and I was worried and just snapped. I should be better as Headboy, but I…,” he started rambling, but Jinhyuk cut him off.

 

“Hey, it’s fine. Really. I understand,” he tried to calm the other.

 

“No, really, I…,” Wooseok started out again, but Jinhyuk cut him off again.

 

“Wooseok, don’t worry. I mean it. I know I was a bit reckless and I’m sorry I made your day worse but I really can’t blame you for snapping. Headboy doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, you are human after all. Not that I mean you weren’t.” Jinhyuk kicked himself inwardly and organised his thoughts.

 

“Okay, ignore that last bit. But the only thing I blame you for is thinking that I would endanger students.” There it was. It had bothered him the whole day and now he had said it.

 

“What?” Wooseok looked very confused. And very adorable. He tilted his head to the left, big eyes focused on Jinhyuk, brows a bit furrowed and lips pouted. Jinhyuk looked down at the display of perplexion and felt the need to grab Wooseok’s face between his hands to squish it. Whilst cooing. Bad train of thought. He focused his attention again.

 

“Did you check the ground floor?” 

 

“Of what?”

 

“The entrance hall.”

 

“No?” Wooseok became more and more perplexed. His eyes flitted around Jinhyuk’s face; he was probably questioning his sanity. Not that Jinhyuk could blame him for that. He observed Wooseok for a second before he made a decision and grabbed the petite boy’s hand.

 

“Then follow me”, he threw over his shoulder, not leaving any room for protest as he took off in the direction of the Great Hall. Wooseok stumbled behind him, spluttering in mild bafflement at his boldness. Jinhyuk had set a fast pace and Wooseok had instinctively held on to his hand, so he wouldn’t trip and fall. Jinhyuk didn’t look, but he liked the feeling of the small hand he was holding. It’s owner, however, had found his voice again.

 

“What are you..? It’s the middle of the night, you can’t just…! Jinhyuk, I’m talking to you!” he hissed at the Gryffindor, who didn’t seem fazed. 

 

“But I got the headboy with me, nothing can go wrong!” he said in a honeyed voice, still not slowing down. “I’m perfectly fine! Oh, here we are!”

 

The had reached the top of the Grand Staircase. Jinhyuk pulled a baffled but tame Wooseok to the balustrade, leaned against it sideways and peered down at the somewhat disoriented Ravenclaw. He reluctantly let go of the other’s hand to hand him a small notebook he had in his robes. Wooseok took it and looked at the cover, then at Jinhyuk.

 

“’Jinhyukie’s favourite secret diary’?” he read in disbelieving tone, tinged with amusement. Jinhyuk cursed.

 

“Ignore that, Dongpyo must’ve taken it again. It’s just a notebook,” he said quickly. Then he pointed towards the floor of the entrance hall. 

 

“Drop it.” Wooseok’s amusement morphed into puzzlement again. 

 

“What?” he deadpanned. “Why would I do that to Jinhyukie’s favourite secret diary?”

 

Jinhyuk felt a faint warmth on his cheeks and was glad for the darkness hiding a potential blush but he smiled slightly at the nickname Wooseok had used. 

 

“Just do it. Trust Jinhyukie for a second here,” he said, searching Wooseok’s gaze. The other still seemed unconvinced.

 

“But why?” he asked.

 

“Just.. for once trust me!” Jinhyuk grabbed the smaller boys arm slightly beneath the wrist and moved the hand holding the notebook towards the railing. He stopped after a few centimetres, keeping his grip loose to give the other the chance to pull away. Wooseok looked at the railing, the notebook and then Jinhyuk’s hand.

 

When he looked up their eyes met. Jinhyuk felt like he was looking at magnets. He didn’t want to look away, but he was almost sure he couldn’t if he wanted to either. Wooseok’s large brown eyes were pulling him in and he took a small step forward before catching and stopping himself. Their gazes kept connected. 

 

He slowly peeled his eyes from the intense look of the Ravenclaw and let it wander over the other’s face instead. The moonlight was falling on them, making him seem paler than he was. His bangs fell down to his eyebrows and his mouth was small, lips plush and there went his concentration again. He looked back at Wooseok’s eyes, noticing a light blush adorning his cheeks now. 

 

“Alright.” 

 

It took him a moment to understand what he meant. Wooseok turned towards the railing and lightly threw the notebook over it in one small movement, taking a step closer at the same time. Jinhyuk followed, standing closely beside him, his body still turned towards the other. 

 

The book fell, turning around a few times until it stopped abruptly two metres above the floor. It hung there, unmoving. Jinhyuk pulled out his wand and waved it. Suddenly, a silver net appeared under the book. It was spanning the whole way from the staircase to the wall next to the Great Hall’s entrance. 

 

“Accio Notebook.” As the small object flew up, Jinhyuk caught the notebook and pointed his wand at the net. 

 

“Discedis.” The net vanished. Wooseok seemed genuinely baffled. It seemed to happen a lot this evening. He slowly looked up at Jinhyuk.

 

“There was never any danger. You did think after all.” He sounded so very surprised, Jinhyuk couldn’t help but let a smirk graze his features. He leaned down a bit.

 

“Well someone once taught me that you should always be prepared and take precautions because one thoughtless mistake can ruin the fun for everybody.” He smiled at a still stunned Wooseok.

 

“Why didn’t you say anything about it?” Wooseok asked.

 

“Well,” Jinhyuk began. “I tried. But you wouldn’t let me. So I had to convince you some other way. Lucky me for meeting you here at this hour,” he answered. Wooseok turned red in embarrassment. 

 

“I owe you an apology then. I acted rashly and I’m really sor-” “I told you it’s alright. Mistakes happen. Glad we cleared this up.” He smiled at Wooseok, who returned it this time. 

 

“I should take you back to your tower now.”

 

“Oh wow, what a gentleman, taking me home after our midnight rendezvous?” Jinhyuk asked grinning. Wooseok rolled his eyes.

 

“Prefect duties,” he deadpanned. “Unless you prefer meeting someone else and earning yourself more detention?” Jinhyuk blanched and shook his head. Wooseok giggled.

 

“Thought so. Let’s go then,” he said and turned around, Jinhyuk hot on his heels. After a moment in companionable silence Wooseok asked: “So, why were those armours balancing there? And what were Donghyun and Yunseong singing?” Jinhyuk stopped and gasped.

 

“You don’t know the cinematic masterpiece of Titanic?!” he asked, feigning shock. 

 

“Wasn’t the Titanic that ship that sank?” Wooseok asked. Jinhyuk nodded. 

 

“There was a movie made about it and there is this famous scene where….” He spent the rest of the way to the Gryffindor tower introducing a surprised Wooseok into the world of the Titanic movie. Only after a loud complaint of the fat lady he bid Wooseok goodbye, turning around with a smile and a ‘See you tomorrow’ to return to his common room. The smile hadn’t left his face since they started walking and was still there when he fell asleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

The door opened and Eunsang looked up from his book to see Wooseok enter the common room. He was smiling faintly, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. Eunsang cleared his throat and startled the older.

“You guys are still awake?” he asked.

Eunsang shrugged. He was curled up on a sofa in a blanket with a book in his lap, leaned against the armrest. Opposite of him Junho mirrored his pose. He had only looked up shortly at Wooseok and then returned to his book.

“I wasn’t tired yet and I guess Junho isn’t either.”

Wooseok nodded at this. “How was patrol? Caught many delinquents?”

Eunsang asked further with a smile. Wooseok shook his head.

“It was quiet. I didn’t meet anyone, even the teachers seemed to have gone to sleep already. And I think I’m gonna head to dreamland too.” He yawned.

“Goodnight, you two! Don’t stay up too late, alright?”

“Alright, mom, goodnight,” Eunsang replied, waving the other off. Junho lifted his head for a moment and smiled at Wooseok before going back to his book. The older turned around and walked towards the stairs leading to his dorm room. When he had disappeared out of their sight Eunsang looked at Junho.

“What are you reading there, you’re so into i-”

Junho lifted a hand, cutting him off in the middle of his sentence. He wasn’t ready for conversation yet.

Eunsang sighed and leaned back. He was used to this: A reading Junho was an occupied Junho until he finished his paragraph or chapter. Eunsang really hoped it was the former, because nothing would come between Junho and his books (except maybe a certain Gryffindor). He was in luck today because Junho closed his book after one more page.

“It’s a fantasy novel,” he answered Eunsang’s question.

“And it’s really interesting! The author invented a whole new world with nothing I had ever seen in fantasy before!”

Junho seemed really excited about it and Eunsang smiled at him. People might call his friend a robot but if you knew him, you knew he wasn’t. He was just shy and quiet at times, not really one for socialising constantly. His friendship with Yohan would remain a mystery to Eunsang forever.

“You should go to sleep soon, we got class early in the morning tomorrow,” he said. Junho sighed and moved to get up.

“Guess your right. Let’s go then.” When Eunsang remained seated, Junho looked back at him, realisation dawning in his eyes.

“You’re going out. That’s why you asked Wooseok if it was quiet.” Eunsang nodded at this. Junho was perceptive.

“Alright then. Take care and don’t stay too long either. He needs sleep too, you know,” Junho said, stretching his arms above his head and popping his shoulder joints. He smiled slightly at Eunsang before grabbing his book and heading towards the dorm rooms too. Eunsang watched him go up the stairs before he threw off the blanket and got up from the soda, heading towards the door.

He exited and carefully made his way down the stairs. It really was quiet. A peaceful quiet rather than a scary one and he started humming slightly as he made his way towards the Muggle studies classroom. He probed the knob and sighed in relief – it was open. They must’ve forgotten to lock it again.

He entered the room, closed the door carefully and turned around. It looked like a regular IT classroom in any school: rows of desks with computers on them, a beamer, some posters on the walls, a teacher’s desk. Only the setting of the castle seemed off. Eunsang made his way to the last row of tables and sat down on the floor underneath the window. He was hidden from anyone coming through the door here and he could easily hide in the shadow of the cables underneath the desk. Eunsang pulled out his phone and looked at the screen, plugging the charger into the socket next to him.

Since the last wizard war against Voldemort in the late 90s, both society and technology had taken such a leap that wizards were forced to be at least somewhat up to date with everything the muggles were inventing. Muggle-borns and Half-bloods were at an advantage compared to pure bloods, but with their time spent in Hogwarts they still missed a lot. So Muggle studies had been relegated to a compulsory subject.

An IT room had been prepared to work with computers and research new technological developments and happenings around the world. Students with phones were able to use them here to have more input. But outside this room, technology still didn’t work. Apparently, the whole IT room was a mirror of a room somewhere else and transported here because technology still wouldn’t work in a separate space in Hogwarts.

Not just the topics had changed – the teacher had too. It had become a tandem lesson shared between two teachers. Professor Hwang Minhyun, a muggle born wizard with profound technological skills, a wide knowledge on what was going on in the muggle world and who was able to fix almost any device. And Professor Kim Jaehwan, a pure-blood born wizard with chaotic tendencies, a specialty for breaking gadgets and items and a very loud voice. He was the reason for Professor Hwang’s fixing skills.

Professor Kim was also a kind of translator for everything Professor Hwang said to make it understandable for wizards with no prior experience. He chose very creative comparisons and sometimes started laughing maniacally when he tried to present something and broke a gadget again. Professor Hwang seemed calmer at first, but he was laughing, chuckling and punning all the time too once he got comfortable with a class. They were a chaotic duo, but they really knew their stuff.

Eunsang had been surprised when he came to Hogwarts to be taught about the muggle world and technology here. He was a half-blood and familiar with most things, but the perspective given was different and interesting to look at. The lack of wizard-muggle-interaction created a kaleidoscope of different impressions and a lot of confusion for wizards regarding the rapid changes in the muggle world. But they tried to keep up.

At the moment, Eunsang was glad for the IT room because of another reason: he had reception. When his phone had some more charge, he pulled up a familiar contact and pressed ‘Call’. The number was dialled and he waited, phone pressed against his ear. A crack signalled the connection.

“Erotic call service centre, hello there.” Eunsang pulled the phone from his ear and looked at the contact – it was the right one. He returned it to its original position whilst muttering a quiet ‘What the hell?’ when he heard a giggle. He smiled.

“Hey, you scared me there.”

“That’s what I was hoping for.” The smile was audible through the voice. Eunsang closed his eyes and leaned his head against the wall behind him.
“Hey, Junghwannie. I missed you.”

.oO°Oo.

Summer after Eunsang’s 4th year at Hogwarts had started out hot and sunny. It was way too warm; England having been hit by a heat wave. The small village he lived in hadn’t been spared either and he was glad his father was able to cast a cooling spell on the house. He would’ve melted otherwise.

Eight weeks of summer holidays had only started when his mother dragged him out of his room on the first day back to meet the new neighbours. They had moved here about a month ago and his mother had befriended them easily. Now they were invited for afternoon tea and Eunsang had to tag along. He didn’t have anything else to do so he couldn’t get out of it (his mother’s stern look at an attempt of whining had shut down any protest) and they went over to the Yoon’s.

They were friendly and easy to get along with, talking in a relaxed and welcoming manner after leading them to the kitchen. But still, it was a bit awkward for Eunsang, especially when he met their son.

He had zoned out for a moment when his mother had started talking about the flowers Mrs. Yoon (“Call me Jiwon,” she had greeted him after a hug) had planted and didn’t register a voice asking, if he wanted tea or coffee, until someone nudged his side. He was left alone in the kitchen with an unfamiliar boy now.

“Tea or coffee?”

“Mmmh?” Eunsang replied confusedly. He looked around: His mother had gone to the terrace with the Yoons already whilst Eunsang had spaced out.

“Soooo?” the boy asked again. He was standing with his back to him, taking cups and saucers out of the cupboard - he must’ve nudged him in passing when he didn’t react before turning around. Eunsang realised he needed to answer.

“Eerr, tea please.”

“Alright.” The boy turned around and looked at him with a smile. He had angular features, a strong nose and fox-like eyes. His brown hair was parted and fell on his forehead. He might have seemed intimidating if not for his smile and the glint in his eyes.

“I’m Junghwan, by the way. I don’t think we’ve met before?” he said, looking straight at Eunsang. He swallowed and felt weightless for a moment, before an unusual nervousness set in. What was going on?

“We haven’t. I’m Lee Eunsang, nice to meet you,” he greeted back and smiled shyly.

“Nice to meet you too, Eunsang. Could you help me take these out?” Junghwan replied and pointed towards the tea dishes.

“Sure.” They both took what they could carry and made their way to the terrace. ‘Awkward,’ Eunsang thought. This was incredibly awkward for him. He didn’t know how to behave and what to say, so he decided he’d just stay quiet from here on until asked something. Good plan.

Eunsang had felt a bit embarrassed and quickly sat down before his mother interjected to tell him (again) how Junghwan was the same age as him, maybe they would get along well.

Junghwan and Eunsang had forced a smile at each other and tried to engage in conversation, but as they didn’t know where to start, it died down quickly until Mr. Yoon (“Jonathan,” he had stated briefly but with a kind smile) started asking questions about Eunsang’s school.

With the rise of the internet, Hogwarts now even had a fake website to give muggle-born students an excuse about their school if asked, and with this well-fabricated lie at hand, Eunsang started gushing about the nature around the school, avoiding subjects and lesson content as much as possible. Junghwan excused himself at some point to attend his piano lessons.

When Eunsang and his mother had returned home he was pleasantly surprised. Except for the awkwardness with Junghwan, they had been extremely nice and welcoming. His mother even asked his opinion over dinner later on and he had told her the same. Her beaming smile had told him all about how relieved she was.

He spent the next day indoors before deciding to go for a walk in the early evening hours when it started to cool down. He followed the main street of the village to the little river and followed the path next to it until he got to the bit were the river was littered with big stones . The water wasn’t too deep so the stones were above the surface and perfect for crossing over or, as Eunsang did, a seat in a the middle of the river. He sat down and looked down into the water. Colourful pebbles littered the riverbed and trouts swam by every now and again. It was peaceful.

He often came here during the summer. The breeze over the water was cooling and it felt freeing to be alone in an open space like this. He didn’t feel lonely here and often took a book with him or his phone to text his friends. Junho was more talkative via text then in person, so he sometimes sat there for hour texting with his friend. But for today he just enjoyed his favourite place, dangling his naked feet in the water and leaned back on his hands.

“Eunsang?”

He knew that voice. Junghwan. Eunsang turned around and saw the other boy at the riverbank, peering over. He waved. Junghwan carefully stepped on the stones and started to cross the river until he was on the rock next to Eunsang’s rock, smiling at him.

“I didn’t know anyone else came here, sorry if I interrupted you,” he said. Eunsang shook his head.

“Don’t worry about it, I just come here when I’m home to get out of the village a bit.” He had originally come here to be by himself for a bit but he made a quick decision.

“Join me?” He looked up at Junghwan, who was still standing on the rock, looking somewhat awkward. The other waved his hands and shook his head.

“I really don’t want to interrupt your downtime! I can leave, don’t worry about it.” Eunsang shook his head at the other’s words, looking amused.

“Sit down, would you? You’re making my neck hurt with me looking up at you all the time,” he retorted.

Junghwan looked stunned for a second, before he sat down slowly. Eunsang grinned and splashed his feet around in the water, feeling relief wash over him. Their first meeting had been somewhat awkward but Junghwan seemed nice and Eunsang didn’t want to scare him off immediately. This was a neutral and comfortable territory, he felt more at ease here.

“So, come here often?” he asked Junghwan looking back at him, before realising what sentence had just left his lips. He looked at the other with a slightly open mouth, looking a bit aghast at his own words, whilst Junghwan looked just as stunned for a moment. Then they both started laughing, Eunsang laying back on the rock whilst Junghwan bowed over his crossed legs and wheezed.

“Oh my god, where did that come from?” Eunsang asked no one in specific, giggles still leaving his lips.
“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to hit on you, don’t worry,” he said grinning, turning his head on the stone into the other boy’s direction. Junghwan beamed at him, eyes scrunched up.

“It’s alright, don’t worry ‘bout it.” He relaxed his face and smirked at Eunsang. “Wouldn’t even be too bad with you doing it.” He winked exaggeratedly and Eunsang started laughing again, the other joining him.

“You did not just say that!” he panted out, ribs starting to hurt from laughing so hard. This was better than he expected but also much weirder. Junghwan seemed to think the same because he started laughing again when their eyes met. Eventually they calmed down and sat in a comfortable silence (in Eunsang’s case still on his back).

Eventually, Junghwan spoke up. “This reminds me of Ravel, somehow.”

Eunsang sat up slightly at that, leaning back on his elbows. “Which one?” he asked. Junghwan looked at him, surprise on his face at Eunsang’s lack of confusion.

“Ondine.”, he answered. “You know the little stream that starts out behind that little copse over there?” Eunsang nodded and Junghwan continued. “It goes through a lot of thickets and down some steps until it flows into the river. But it’s murmuring all the way and it really reminds me of the first part of Ondine…,” he trailed off, seeming embarrassed.

Eunsang considered his words for a second and then hummed in agreement, sitting up completely. He never thought about it this way but Junghwan was right in a way: the stream really sounded like the Ravel piece.

“I couldn’t think of anything the river here reminds me of though,” Junghwan interjected. He had started dipping his finger in the water and was drawing on the rock with it. The heat evaporated the moisture very quickly, but the boy looked unbothered by it.

“Stella del Mattino.” Junghwan looked up at this, eyebrows scrunched in confusion.

“What?” he asked. Eunsang looked back at the water, moving his feet around and watching some fishes flee.

“Stella del Mattino”, he repeated. “It’s a piece by Ludovico Einaudi. It’s name means something like morning star – not really water related, I know – but it just goes back and forth between two flowing melodies and it always seemed to fit. It’s by no means complicated, but it reminded me of the sunset here, the wind when it moves the trees over there around the general peacefulness. I don’t know, it’s just…” He didn’t know how to continue, but excitement spread on Junghwan’s face.

“I’ll give it a listen then! I’ve been thinking about which piece seemed to fit for three weeks now and I got nothing,” he replied to Eunsang. “I was surprised you knew Ravel too! He’s not that known to most people.”

“I love his complexity, even though he was a loony in person,” Eunsang answered him. “I don’t play the piano, but I’ve always loved music. And I had a lot of time on my hands these past summers, so I just listened to a lot of composers and artists." Junghwan nodded at his words.

“My mum signed me up for piano as a child and by now I am so glad – I love playing. Mostly for myself, but it just makes me incredibly happy.” A smile appeared on his face and he looked Eunsang in the eyes.

They had stayed on the rocks in the middle of the river until it was almost midnight, talking about music and their interests. Junghwan had told him about his favourite artists, what he was playing at the moment and they gushed about different styles and pieces they both enjoyed. Eunsang had been surprised at how much they had in common and told the other about his own taste and interest, going off into books at some point, changing topics as they went.

At some point they had ended up at childhood memories when Junghwan had started yawning. Eunsang had looked at his watch and noticed the time, proposing to go home as the other looked really tired by now. Junghwan had agreed and helped him up. Shoes back on feet they had walked through the dark and quiet village, only the stars above them, still talking.

When they had reached Eunsang’s gate, he had turned to the other and smiled again.

“I enjoyed this a lot. I don’t know many I could talk to like this about music,” he had said, searching Junghwan’s gaze, who held it. The other had nodded.

“Maybe we could meet up again?” Junghwan had asked. “We still have a lot of summer holidays left and I don’t really know anyone around here and I really enjoyed this too, so I mean…”

He had taken a deep breath, looking away for a second, before reconnecting their eyes. “Could I have your number? To make contacting you a bit easier I mean.”

Eunsang had smiled and nodded, reaching into his pocket to take out his phone and pull up a new contact to have the other enter his. After pressing ‘save’ and ‘Call’ the others phone had rung, eliciting a smile a smile from him.

“Alright then, I’ll go to bed. I guess I’ll see you in a bit?”, Eunsang had asked with a tilt of his head. Junghwan had nodded at him and smiled.

“I’ll contact you. Sleep well, Eunsang!”

“You too.”

They had headed into their respective houses after that. Eunsang had fallen asleep almost immediately after that, waking up to a new message from Junghwan, asking if he had time in the afternoon.

They had met up this day, and the following. They saw each other almost every day, went to the river, going for ice cream, taking walks through the fields and little wood around the village or met up at their houses if it was too hot.

At some point Eunsang had asked Junghwan to play something for him on the piano, and the other had agreed, playing several pieces until he started playing an old ballad Eunsang knew through his mother. He had quietly started to sing along, scooting the desk chair he was sitting on closer to the piano, to see Junghwan play it. The other’s eyes had widened upon hearing his voice but a smile spread on his face. He joined Eunsang in the second verse, harmonising with him.

They hadn’t exchanged any words after it, Junghwan just starting to play another song and Eunsang sang along again. They went through everything they could find, struggling with lyrics and notes, dissolving into laughter or just randomly belting out off-key ad-libs at some point. It became something they both enjoyed and they sat at the river often after that, singing and enjoying each other’s company in between conversations.

For the first time in a long while Eunsang had felt hopeful. Hopeful about this maybe not melting away with the start of school, hopeful about the connection they shared and hopeful that the fondness in Junghwan’s eyes, when he looked at him, might be a reciprocation of his own feelings. He had had a strict talking to with himself and accepted quickly that he was falling for the slightly older boy, faster and harder than he had expected himself capable of but here he was.

He had been aware that this was probably a mistake but he felt too comfortable around Junghwan, enjoying his presence and how the other had started throwing his arm over Eunsang, how their arms pressed against each other when they sat at the piano together, how the older had taken to calling him ‘Eunsangie’. The nickname had elicited a tingle in the pit of his stomach.

They had been sitting at the piano again, Junghwan playing the new piece he had been learning and refused to show Eunsang until he was done. The first few notes painted a surprised expression on Eunsang’s face – the older was playing Ondine, his fingers flying over the monochrome of the keys, bringing them to life and recreating the story behind the notes.

The song had seemed to be over within just a moment and Eunsang had slowly torn his eyes from the other’s hands, still resting on the final keys to find Junghwan’s eyes already on him. They were rather close, Eunsang on the desk chair again to give the other some arm space, but having been scooting closer subconsciously with time, leaning forward a bit. His position had been mirrored by Junghwan, their faces only inches apart.

They had exchanged no words, only a short eye contact before they had both leaned in. Their breath had mingled for a second before their lips touched, exchanging a chaste kiss. Junghwan’s lips had felt soft against Eunsang’s and they both moved away after a moment. Eunsang had opened his eyes (When had he closed them?) to look at the older for a moment, before leaning in again, capturing his lips again. The older seemed surprised for a second before he had reciprocated the kiss, his hands coming to rest at the juncture between Eunsang’s jaw and neck, pulling him closer.

Eunsang had slowly moved from the chair onto the piano bench, never breaking the kiss, his left hand grabbing Junghwan’s wrist in the process and slipping his right up the others chest over his shoulder to the back of his neck, pulling him even closer. When they had eventually broken away for air, Junghwan had left his hands on Eunsang’s neck, sliding down to his shoulders slowly.

“So I didn’t read the signs wrong,” he had said with a small smile. Eunsang had just smiled back and nodded his head in reply. He was still a bit surprised and breathless, the lack of oxygen making it a bit harder to comprehend the situation. Junghwan had leaned back in again at that, smiling against his lips.

They hadn’t really changed after this, still meeting all the time, singing, talking, taking walks. Their amount of skinship had increased, kisses being exchanged occasionally, hugs and hand holding becoming more of a regular occurrence. One time Eunsang’s mother had come into the kitchen to Eunsang preparing a plate of fruit for them with Junghwan backhugging him, his face tucked into his neck. She had grinned and asked if they were not feeling too hot before leaving the kitchen again, winking at Eunsang on her way out. Junghwan had blushed but Eunsang had just giggled and patted his flustered boyfriend’s hand.

Only the topic of school had weighed heavily on his thoughts. Contact was a bit harder with the lack of technology, so he had brought up the ‘strict school rules about tech usage’. Junghwan had just shrugged and replied that letters were a thing and they could maybe call on occasion. The relief that had washed Eunsang at his words and understanding had been great and had introduced Junghwan to his owl Columbus. Junghwan had been rather surprised at that but had accepted Eunsang’s explanation of a bird training system of his school and greeted the owl, which took a liking to him.

The last few weeks of the holiday had flown by and September had been just around the corner. Eunsang had dreaded saying goodbye, feeling anxious when he went over on the 31st of August to say his farewells to both Junghwan’s parents and his boyfriend in the early afternoon. The Yoons had to go to a birthday on this day and their time was cut short. Eunsang had hugged both Jonathan and Jiwon before pressing a short and sweet kiss to Junghwan’s lips after his parents went to the kitchen (presumably to give them some space), the other’s arms locking around him in a hug afterwards. They separated when Jiwon called for them and Junghwan smiled at him, telling him to not look so glum.

Eunsang had went back home after waving at them from the driveway as they left and packed the rest of his belongings, letting Columbus out of his cage in the afternoon for a while and settling on his bed with a book after dinner. The clock read 10.47 PM when his phone had pinged, showing a message from Junghwan, asking him to open the door. Eunsang had slipped down to the front door to the other standing in front of it, smiling at him. Eunsang had waved him in and signalled to be quiet as they snuck back up, where they had settled down on Eunsang’s bed and Junghwan pulled out his headphones. They had laid there with Junghwan’s head on Eunsang’s chest, listening to music in quiet, revelling in each other’s presence and talking quietly occasionally.

At some point after midnight, Columbus had flattered into the room through the window and went to his cage. Junghwan had lifted his head to look down at Eunsang, caged between the older's arms now, and leaned down to kiss him, slowly and languidly, before leaning his forehead against his for a bit and then getting up to go back home. He reminded Eunsang to write to him when he arrived and tapped his chin, telling him to smile.

Eunsang had been tired the next morning when they drove to London and said goodbye to his parents in a sleepy manner before passing the barrier to platform 9 ¾ and boarding the train, where he quickly found Junho and settled in a booth. The trip to school was uneventful and with the start of the new year Eunsang had taken to writing letters to Junghwan and sneaking into the Muggle studies classroom to call Junghwan occasionally. Only Junho knew about his nightly escapades but never judged him for it. He had figured out at some point that their teachers forgot the classroom quite a lot, so he slipped in whenever he could.

.oO°Oo.
“How are things up there?” Junghwan asked him. A rustling sound told him the other must’ve sat down on his bed.

“It’s going well. Same old at school and with everything. A friend of mine re-enacted this Titanic scene on the stairs yesterday after dinner and it was brilliant, but he got detention for it.” Junghwan laughed at that.

“Did he sing too?” he asked.

“He got two 5th years to sing the song and another guy to play a horrible flute rendition along with it. It was even worse than this version on YouTube,” he laughed. Junghwan laughed louder at that.

“Oh, that’s bloody brilliant! He should’ve gotten you to join them too, the performance would’ve been vocally enhanced,” he teased Eunsang.

“Talking about singing – did I tell you I joined the choir?” the younger said instead. He had eventually built up the courage to go up to Professor Kim Sejeong and ask her about it. She had been delighted and signed him up right away, chattering away about practise times and songs. Her melodious voice had causedthe Hibiscus in the corner to open its blossom.

“You did?” Junghwan asked excitedly. “How is it? Do you like it?”

Eunsang giggled. “It’s fun and I get along with everyone. I’m gonna show you the songs when I’m home for Christmas. Our teacher writes them herself, so you won’t find them on the internet, but they’re beautiful.”

“She writes them herself? That’s impressive!” Junghwan replied in awe. Eunsang hummed in agreement.

“How is everything with you? What’ve you been up to?” he asked the other. Junghwan started telling him about school, new piano pieces and what had happened in their village. They kept talking for almost another hour before Eunsang noticed the time. He needed to go to bed.

Saying goodbye still wasn’t really his forte, but Junghwan’s happy voice made it easier. They promised to write again as soon as possible and Eunsang told him he’d call whenever he could find the time next. After saying their farewells, he listened to the beep signalling the end of the call and got up from the floor.

He unplugged the charger and stored it back in his robes along with his phone before making his way back up to the Ravenclaw tower, luckily running into no one again. The common room was empty, the lights dimmed and the fire almost burned out. He headed up the stairs to his dorm and carefully opened the door. Yunseong was snoring into his pillow, but Junho opened his eyes when Eunsang closed the door and approached his own bed next to his best friend. He nodded at him with a smile and Junho went back to sleep. Eunsang got ready for bed quickly and crawled under his blankets, snuggling into his pillow. He closed his eyes with a smile.

Chapter Text

„Good work, everyone! Now get changed and head back to the castle, alright?” Kookheon’s voice echoed across the pitch, startling Jinhyuk who promptly dropped the Quaffle. Yohan snorted.

“He’s our Keeper, alright, but he really is clumsy at times,” Yuri said beside him, an amused glint in her eyes. “How did he not fall off his broom yet?” 

“Oh, he did! Last year!” Yujin joined them. “He choked on a fly once and ended up hanging onto it with one hand before Kookheon saved him. Luckily it was only like two metres above the field, but still.”

They all laughed at that.

“I remember!” Yohan exclaimed. “It was especially embarrassing for him because Wooseok, Ravenclaw’s prefect, was showing their first years around the castle grounds and the field when it happened and Wooseok cast the spell to empty out his windpipe.” 

Yuri started cackling at that. She had joined the team this year and wasn’t used to the debacle of flying limbs and chaos their Keeper Jinhyuk was on occasion. Yohan didn’t mention that the presence of the pretty Ravenclaw prefect might have distracted his hyung beforehand, causing his experience of choking on a fly. It happens with a gaping mouth.

“Okay, we gotta go. Yohan, you staying here?” Yujin threw an arm over Yuri’s shoulder and looked at the boy with a grin. Yohan nodded with a smile.

“I still got extra training with Kookheon, so yeah. See ya two later, okay?” he replied. 

“Ooooh, right, you gotta train!” Yujin exclaimed. “You know, I don’t envy you. My butt already hurts after two hours of practise, so you either have a really well trained butt or a high pain tolerance.” Yohan laughed at her words, Yuri snorting along. They were both used to her antics.

“Come on then, you big cry baby, let’s get you back then. Later, Yohan!” Yuri waved at him and started pulling her still whining friend with her, heading to the changing rooms with the rest of the team. Yohan turned to where his captain was waiting for him.

He had extra session’s with Kookheon twice a week, training their Quidditch skills. They had both been accepted into the national scholarship for Quidditch, securing them a place0 among the players preparing to join the national team as chasers. For this they needed to train harder and were examined by a coach who came by once a month as well as all their games to check on their improvement.

Kookheon was a year older than Yohan, but he had been accepted into the program during his fifth year already, introducing Yohan to everything later on. The younger had applied during his fifth year too, receiving his acceptance shortly after his O.W.L.’s were finished. Kookheon had been sitting next to him at breakfast when the letter arrived, holding his breath when Yohan exclaimed loudly in excitement and nervousness, startling Jinhyuk into spilling his tea over himself in the process and attracting Seungwoo to their table. 

His hands shook when he opened the parchment and read the first line. ‘Dear Mr Kim, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted…’ He didn’t get further, because Kookheon yelped next to him, smothering him in a hug with Seungwoo and Jinhyuk throwing themselves onto the pile too, showering him in congratulations (and some tea, in Jinhyuk’s case). 

When they finally let go of him, he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around to find Junho, smiling at him with a knowing grin on his face. Yohan beamed at him and held up the letter, to which Junho patted his head and mumbled “I’m not surprised”. It was typical for him to not show many emotions, but the twinkle in his eyes and the way his thumb moved against his collar and neck where Junho’s hand rested told him how much Junho cared. (He had startled the other with a sudden hug and some swaying and jumping around when he found him later on in the library, still studying for his last exam. Junho had returned the hug and laughed, quieting down quickly after when he remembered their location.)

So now he had extra training with Kookheon. They went through different strategies, practised their team play, passes and goals for another 90 minutes before heading to the changing rooms. Yohan was beat, and Kookheon didn’t look any better. They both just took a quick shower and changed into their normal clothes to head back to the castle, stumbling tiredly through the hallways until they reached the Fat Lady and headed into the rather empty common room. 

“I think, I’m gonna head to bed directly,” Kookheon said and yawned. “Don’t stay up too late, alright? And remember, we have first year classes next week!”

Yohan nodded and watched the other go to the dorms before dropping down on the sofa. He had almost forgotten about the first year flying classes at the end of September. Some years ago, their Quidditch coach and head of house had decided to get some help for classes with the first years through the respective house’s Quidditch team. They were to help the first years and tend to them along with the teacher, to give a bit more insight into flying and more people at hand to watch over everyone. 

Yohan sighed. He usually enjoyed them and was excited but right now he was just beat. He closed his eyes for a second.

“You alright there?” a familiar voice asked. Suhwan was sitting in the armchair next to him, looking somewhere between amused and worried. He was a classmate and they got along well, helping each other out and chatting in the evening. Yohan nodded.

“Just tired. I’m not used to the extra practise yet.” Suhwan nodded at that and went back to his astronomy homework, which he had spread out on the table.

“You’ll be fine after a while, I’m sure,” he said, writing down the names of constellations on a map of the night sky. Yohan hummed in agreement. Suhwan might seem disinterested, but Yohan knew he just didn’t want to make a fuss, because it didn’t change anything. He was going to get used to it, he just needed a bit of time. 

“If you need some pointers with the map, just tell me, okay?” the smaller boy continued, eyes still fixed on his homework. Yohan smiled and hummed again – he knew Suhwan offered to help him so he could find some rest and enough time for other things. It was typical of him, taking care in a roundabout way. 

“Thanks,” he said and got up with a smile. “I think I’ll follow Kookheon’s example for now and go to sleep.” He waved at the other and headed towards the stairs, climbing up to his dorm room. When he opened the door, Byungchan was laying on his bed already with a book, reading glasses slipping down to the tip of his nose. He looked up and smiled.

“You look beat, mate. Go to sleep already,” he said and threw a small stuffed animal at him. “This fell out of your bag in the afternoon, by the way, when you headed out of the common room.”

Yohan caught the little toy and looked at it: A red panda, only as big as his palm. He smiled.

“Thanks. I would’ve hated to lose this one,” he said, placing the plushie on his pillow and grabbing his toiletries. “I’ll be back in a sec.” Byungchan pointed finger guns at him with a smile and went back to his book.

When Yohan returned from the bathroom, the other had nodded off over his book, glasses dangling precariously from his ear. Yohan lightly shook his friends, who grumbled and crawled under his covers, taking off his glasses in the process. Yohan put them on the nightstand together with the book and went to his own bed. 

He crawled under the covers and took the plushie in his hands to look at it again. He really didn’t want to lose it. It had been a present from Junho two years ago. They had gone to the zoo over summer holidays and Yohan had loved the red panda’s, cooing at their adorable nature and shyness. 

When they had been in the monkey house near the entrance, Junho had left for a few minutes whilst Yohan was being swarmed by Squirrel monkeys and thoroughly distracted. When Junho returned, he had clasped something in his pocket but waved it off when Yohan inquired about his disappearance. He soon forgot about it until his friend handed him a little wrapped present on his birthday shortly into the school year. In it he found some sweets and a book he had wanted to read, along with the red panda.

“You know, they reminded me of you.”, he said to Junho after seeing the present. His friend had looked at him with a question in his eyes (he wasn’t one for words, especially in the morning) and Yohan nodded enthusiastically.

“They do! They are really shy but clever and they become bolder and more playful when they feel comfortable.” He looked back at the plushie. “Plus, they’re really cute.”

Junho had slightly blushed, mumbling something about not being cute, before heading off to class. Yohan had looked at his retreating form until he had been tackled in a hug by Byungchan. Since then, he always had the plushie with him. It usually hung on his bag strap, but the little string must’ve ripped today. He would repair it in the morning, or ask Junho for help. 

 

.oO°Oo. 

 

He had met Junho in his second year, when the other had just started his first. Flying had brought them together. 

The first years of Ravenclaw and Gryffindor were lined up on the grass outside the castle, each student next to a school broom. In front of them stood Professor Kang Daniel, the official coach and flying teacher, with the Quidditch teams of the two houses beside him. A second year Yohan was bouncing on his toes excitedly beside Kookheon, who was just as calm as always. He didn’t listen to Professor Kang, eyes busy scanning the rows of students, grinning at some people from Gryffindor and then moving his gaze at the row of Ravenclaws. 

A small boy at the end of the row caught his eyes. Most people around him looked either scared or excited but his face was expressionless. A boy next to him looked rather nervous, shuffling slightly. The small boy looked at him for a moment, quirking the corner of his mouth for a moment and then returning to his impassive state. Weird. Maybe he didn’t want to fly? Or he was just not interested in it?

Yohan was sapped out of his thoughts by Professor Kang’s whistle, signalling the start. The first years stretched out their hands over the broomsticks and tried to make them fly up. Some reacted instantly, some were more stubborn. Some poor kid was knocked in the face by one and stumbled back. But they seemed uninjured to Yohan’s relief. He looked around the rows. He threw a thumbs-up to some people who got their brooms up and were now attempting to climb onto them. 

The Quidditch teams had started to go up to people who needed help and Yohan looked down the lines of students to. The small boy caught his eye again. He had gotten the broom stick up and was holding it, his impassive face now replaced with a mask of doubt and insecurity as he chewed on his lower lip. He seemed unsure how to proceed. Yohan marched towards him, deciding to help.

“Hi there! Can I help you with this? I’m Yohan, from Gryffindor, a second year and a chaser. Nice to meet you!” he rambled off in one single breath, beaming at the boy. The petite boy looked at him for a moment before looking down.

“I’m Cha Junho,” he said quietly. “And… I don’t really know how I’m supposed to get on this thing.” He gestured at the broom. Yohan grinned.

“Alright, lower it to your hip height.” They other did as ordered. 

“Now throw your leg over and grab the broom tightly.” Again, the other followed his words. His knuckles turned white with how hard he grabbed the wood.

“Don’t have to hold on for dear life, okay?” he tried to calm the other. “Now try sitting down.” Junho looked doubtful but tried and gasped in surprise. 

“What’s this?” he asked, returning to a standing position, his eyes fixed on the broom stick. Yohan giggled. 

“It’s a magic air cushion that is formed when you try to use a broom stick. It makes the whole thing a lot nicer, because otherwise the wood would be squished between your…”, he didn’t finish his sentence, Junho wincing and nodding in agreement. 

“Alright, try sitting down again and lifting your feet. I’m gonna stand next to you and hold you, if you lose your balance, okay?” he said to the younger. Junho looked up at him and nodded after a moment, grabbing his broom tightly again. It took him a few attempts, but he eventually found the courage to lift his feet. Yohan held him steady by his shoulders and slowly brought him into a hovering position with the broomstick straight in the air before letting go. 

Junho looked at him apprehensively and swallowed. “And now?” he asked.

“Pull the broomstick upwards slowly, then you move up; push down and it goes down. Left and right just the same,” Yohan instructed him cheerfully. Junho nodded and furrowed his brows in concentration. Then he slowly moved the broomstick to the left and flew around Yohan in a slow circle. On his second round he pulled it up a bit, gaining height, but remained in control – until he looked down. His eyes widened and he started swaying a bit, the broomstick jerking.

“Concentrate on me, Junho! Slowly push down and come towards me!” Yohan called and waved, the smile not slipping off his face. He saw the younger gulp again but follow his words after a second. When he got close, Yohan grabbed his waist with one and the broomstick with the other hand, stopping him and slowly lowering the first year to the ground. Junho sighed when his feed made contact with the grass.

“Thanks. I’m not good with heights,” he mumbled shyly, cheeks coloured red. Yohan patted his shoulder.

“That’s alright! If flying isn’t for you, then you don’t have to do it! But at least you know how to operate a broom now!” He grinned excitedly, coaxing a small smile from Junho.

“Great,” a slightly sarcastic voice interrupted them from the side. “So how do I do this?”

They turned around to see the boy next to Junho hang from his broomstick like a sloth, one eyebrow raised in amusement. Junho snorted and Yohan grinned at him. 

“You should probably get down first.” 

After helping the boy - Eunsang, as he introduced himself- with his flying too and sending him off to the circle of first years that were flying rounds under the watchful eye of some 7th years and Professor Kang, he turned back to Junho. The other looked at him with a quizzical gaze. 

“How come you’re already on the team as a second year?” Junho asked, sitting on the grass cross legged. Yohan joined him.

“I showed promise in flying lessons in my first year, so they allowed me on the team for practise but not in the official line up. I was training with them for the past year and now I’m finally allowed to play in games too! I got my own broomstick as a birthday present from my family, so I’m not flying one the school brooms anymore either!” he got more and more excited as he spoke. “I just love flying, the way you see the world from up high, the wind on your face, how quick you are and it’s just so much fun!”

The other looked at him with a surprised expression. Yohan realised he had started to go into his home town accent as he spoke, changing his vowels and pronunciation. 

“Are you from around Durham?” Junho asked with a northern pronunciation he didn’t use before. Yohan’s eyes widened and he nodded. 

“You too?” he asked excitedly, not bothering to speak RP anymore. The younger nodded. They fell into conversation when they realised, they came from the same area, only a few villages and a town apart. Junho was muggle-born and almost didn’t believe the whole story about Hogwarts until the teacher who visited them, Professor Kim Chungha, transformed their table into a deer and back again and conjured up some flowers from thin air. Yohan shared that he was half-half, but his parents had wanted him to have a normal childhood, so they didn’t use a lot of magic at home and most of his friends were muggles.

Yohan complained how they had to go to London first to board the Hogwarts express instead of just heading straight to Hogwarts or adding in some extra stations, but Junho (who had read A History of Hogwarts in preparation) explained the concept behind it. The Hogwarts express wasn’t exactly traveling on official routes - it was a bit like the Knight Bus, just without the location jumps. Instead it used train routes without disrupting the railways system plus an extra part of the tracks leading to Hogsmeade. 

The whole area around the village and the castle was protected by a multitude of spells, which were on extremely high alert during the whole commute time to ensure the safety of the arriving student body and prevent dangerous slip-ins by non-authorised personnel (Yohan had scrunched up his eyebrows at this sentence and Junho had translated it - no dangerous people slipping in). The train itself was both like a key mechanism to start the normal protection spells surrounding the student body as well as a checking system like a security check-in at the airport, magically scanning. 

Due to its magical nature, it had been impossible to enter other stops into it without disrupting the security spells. Students that arrived through a different method (like flying an enchanted car right into the Whomping willow) faced consequences, and so the Hogwarts Express became the standard. Plus, it had bonding experience.

Yohan was impressed, lips in a pout and eyes wide. He looked a bit silly and made Junho smile - he wasn’t too bad of a person and he seemed to just accept Junho’s quiet and reserved nature. Their conversation was cut short by Professor Kang’s whistle, officially ending the class and summoning all students to the ground again.

After collecting all broomsticks, their teacher let them go to dinner with a smile and a wave, which caused Yohan to jump up.

“Thank god, I was seriously starving!” he yelled, startling Junho. “Let’s go!”

He looked at the still sitting Ravenclaw expectantly. Junho raised a brow. 

“Are you waiting for me?” he asked, surprised.

“Sure, who else?” the Gryffindor replied and held out his hand. Junho grabbed it and got to his feet.

“Then let’s go!” he said with as much enthusiasm as he could muster up. Yohan’s smile became wider at this and he started walking towards the castle gates. Junho followed him after looking around for Eunsang quickly but his classmate was nowhere to be found. He shrugged and went after Yohan, who was chattering away again. 

Upon reaching the Great Hall, Yohan pulled him to a stop again and looked around the Gryffindor table until his face lit up.

“Seungwoo-hyung!” He dragged Junho towards two boys at the table, one having Hufflepuff colours on his uniform and the other Junho was sure he saw on the Gryffindor’s Quidditch team outside a second ago. Yohan stopped in front of the Hufflepuff Boy, slamming into the other boy’s back in the process. He promptly choked on his noodles.

“Hyung, meet Junho! We met in flying class and we’re from around the same area actually!” The Hufflepuff, Seungwoo, smiled kindly whilst patting the choking boy’s back, before he turned to Junho.

“I’m Seungwoo, and this fellow here is Jinhyuk.” he said and a still struggling Jinhyuk lifted his hand in greeting. 

“They’re both third years,” Yohan explained as he pulled Junho to sit down. “Seungwoo showed me around and helped me out a lot in my first year. He’s a really nice hyung!” 

He grabbed a plate and started eating. Junho hesitated for just a moment, when his stomach growled and Seungwoo giggled beside him. The older pushed a plate towards him and smiled, looking at Yohan for a second. The 2nd year was glad - Junho seemed to be fine with his friends.

“You should eat.”

Junho had become a constant in his life after their first encounter. He found his way around the castle better than Yohan but he still asked him questions about a lot of things. After he started opening up, he didn’t try to hide his fascination for all the magic around him anymore and became more energetic. It felt like Yohan gave him a boost, whilst Junho grounded him in his wild and energetic behaviour.

They started hanging out a lot, either studying together in the library or visiting each other’s common rooms. Occasionally, Junho came to Quidditch practise but he usually had a book with him. But the whole team adored him after a while, especially the older girl’s - he was rather cute and small after all.

They became close friends, meeting up over summer holidays and relayed their inner thoughts to each other. Junho was the first of his friends that saw him cry, and instead of judging him just scooted closer and put his arm around his shoulder in an attempt to be comforting. It was so awkward, Yohan giggled in between sobs and pulled Junho into a hug eventually. 

Unlikely as they seemed, they became inseparable.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Jinhyuk, you’re staring again,” Seungwoo said with faint exasperation and obvious amusement laced in his voice. Jinhyuk flinched and almost elbowed Hyeongjun into the side, throwing an apologetic smile at the cute boy beside him. 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he feigned nonchalance and grabbed his cup of coffee to hide his face behind it. Nothing happened, nope. Just normal breakfast, as every day.

“You know, he’s looking over here,” Seungwoo continued and busied himself with cutting his third apple into slices to distribute the fruit pieces to the younger boys around him. Jinhyuk’s head whipped up so fast his neck cracked and Hyeongjun winced at the sound. Jinhyuk’s eyes focused on the Ravenclaw table, searching for a second before he found Wooseok who was….deep in conversation with Sejin. Of course.

Seungwoo started snickering next to him while handing some fruit to Minkyu across the table and Donghyun, opposite of him, at least attempted to hide his smile. At least he didn’t comment on it.

“Who were you staring at, hyung?” Minkyu asked, not even having to feign his ignorance. The boy was sweet but a bit oblivious and slow on the uptake at times. Donghyun didn’t even try to hide his amusement anymore and started cackling, adding to Minkyu’s confusion. 

Jinhyuk sighed. “Don’t worry about it, they’re just being stupid,” he told the boy.

His eyes wandered back to the Ravenclaw table and to Wooseok’s face. He was still speaking to Sejin with his hands wrapped around his cup and a kind smile on his face. Sejin was gesturing around and apparently said something funny because Wooseok started giggling. He lifted his hand to hide his giggle but Sejin was gesturing more and more animatedly, almost slapping Yunseong beside him in the face. Wooseok started laughing at that and his whole face lit up, eyes scrunching shut. His smile seemed to split his face and he threw his head back for a moment, exposing the column of his neck.

Jinhyuk couldn’t hear him laugh, but he could imagine his voice, starting in a small giggle and slowly developing into a clear laughter like a bell. A pang of jealousy hit him; he wanted to make Wooseok smile and laugh like that too, hear his voice, see his eyes scrunch shut, with the light of the morning sun falling onto him like this…

A hand waved in front of his face and obstructed his view before shoving a slice of apple between his lips. His mouth must’ve been open. He turned to Seungwoo with wide eyes, apple slice only halfway into his mouth and asked the most appropriate question in this situation.

“Whahau hooing?” Right, there was apple between his teeth. He bit down, chewed on the piece in his mouth quickly, before asking again. 

“What are you doing?” Seungwoo just raised an eyebrow at him. 

“I could ask you the same. What are you doing here actually?” he asked with a quirk of his lips. 

“What do you mean?” Jinhyuk asked puzzled. Seungwoo studied him for a second, before he sighed and pushed another slice of apple in Jinhyuk’s direction.

“I mean, why are you here? You are aware that this is not your house table, right? And even though I know you are whipped, I didn’t think you were that desperate to get closer to the subject of your pining through coming here, but because you wanted to spend time with your best friend.” Seungwoo grabbed his cup of coffee and took a sip before redirecting his eyes at a still dazed Jinhyuk again.

“So why are you here?”

Silence. Jinhyuk’s brain cells eventually connected the words and their meaning and sent out an answer to his mouth.

“Ah, yeah, right! I came here because of the Transfiguration homework!” He looked at Seungwoo with pleading eyes and Seungwoo sighed. 

“Okay, where are you stuck.” Jinhyuk whooped and pulled out his almost finished essay, glad for his friends help. It wasn’t like he wanted to copy his friends work, he just needed some hints. Contrary to popular belief, being the school’s prankster didn’t make him lazy in his school work - quite the opposite. Trying to figure out spells for pranks, ingredients for potions or general strategies required a certain amount of work and he valued what he was taught. Not only did it give him a great arsenal to work with, it was also interesting. His grades might not be stellar in every subject but he got along well and rather tried to figure it out by himself than rely on other people.

Seungwoo talked him through the part of the theory for the spell they had to analyse for their homework and Jinhyuk scribbled down some notes to incorporate in his free lesson later on. Soon, the end of breakfast was approaching and Seungwoo grabbed his bag to go to his first lesson of the day (Charms with Ravenclaw).

Jinhyuk looked up at that and saw Wooseok and Sejin leaving the Ravenclaw table too, heading towards the door. There went the target of his affection, leaving for a class they didn’t share… Wait. Suddenly, Seungwoo’s words from earlier echoed through his head. ‘Even though I know you are whipped, I didn’t think you were that desperate to get closer to the subject of your pining through coming here’.

His head whipped around and he glared at Seungwoo, who only raised an eyebrow at him with a light smile.

“What do you mean pining? And I’m not desperate!” Jinhyuk whined. Donghyun snorted opposite of him before leaving and Seungwoo just fixed him in a slightly sarcastic and amused look, before turning around and leaving too. Jinhyuk turned around and huffed, glaring down at his homework, before shoving it into his bag.

“Hyung?” a shy voice asked. Hyeongjun looked up at him with large eyes, looking incredibly cute and soft. Jinhyuk felt a smile appearing on his face at the adorable view. 

“Yes?” he said. 

“You are somewhat desperate, you know?” the boy told him and Jinhyuk deflated. 

“Whatever,” he grumbled before getting up and heading towards the doors. He needed to get to class.

.oO°Oo.

“Oh, this is gonna be marvelous!” Jinhyuk mumbled to himself as he snuck through the corridor, careful to not be loud and disturb any class that might be in session. He was on his way to the second floor bathroom after having finished his homework just minutes ago during his free period before lunch.

He entered the bathroom and carefully closed the door behind him. A quick look around the room reassured him that he was alone and so he went towards the row of windows in the dim bathroom, pulling out a bottle as he went. The etikett had a familiar banner on it: Three W’s merging into each other, with sparks and a wand around them. The emblem of ‘Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes’.

Jinhyuk looked at the instruction on the back of the bottle quickly and nodded along, before grinning.

“Alright, here goes nothing.” He pulled the cork out of the small bottle and emptied its contents on the floor before he pulled out his wand. 

“Extendi,” he said and pointed his wand at the small green puddle. The concoction didn’t seem to change at first but then bubbles started appearing on its surface. The liquid seemed to gain in depth, colour changing to a muddy green and then brown in quick succession and its surface started expanding to all sides. 

Little pieces of mud started swimming to the surface of the brown liquid, gaining mass as the area got bigger, and small islands formed. In just under a minute, about a quarter of the bathroom floor had been flooded by the developing swamp, expanding under toilet stalls and into every nook and cranny. Some grass and swamp plants started growing on the still developing islands and the water between them got even darker, gaining more depth. 

Jinhyuk watched in fascination. So this was the magical swamp the legendary Weasley twins had left in a corridor after the flourish they created when they left the school during Dolores Umbridge’s time as headmaster. He had heard the stories of staying for quite a while because they were apparently unable to remove it. 

He looked at the bootle again: ‘Improved formula’ it said. So even less likely to be removed quickly. Something wet touched his feet and he released a yelp, jumping back. The swamp had touched his foot. Alright, time to go and leave the swamp; he wasn’t an ogre after all. 

There was just one problem. He was at the window. The door was at the other end of the room. Between them was the swamp. He had made a crucial mistake here. Carefully he approached the swamp again: It was still expanding, but slower than before. It would stop when it had reached all walls. 

Carefully, Jinhyuk tested a grassy island. His foot sank into the mud almost immediately and he pulled it back, taking a step back. His back hit the wall and he leaned against it, breathing deeply. What could he do? The swamp wasn’t too deep (for safety reasons), so if push came to shove he could probably wade and swim through it. But it had a rather nasty smell to it. Bad idea then. 

He looked around again. The window sill. Rapunzel, locked in her tower, it was then. Jinhyuk thought about extending his hair and swinging out of the room for a moment but then discarded the idea. He didn’t think that would work - the ceiling’s were way too high. He took a careful step to the side and climbed onto the window sill, sitting down. 

The advantage of a castle were deep windows with large sills to sit in, something he had always loved about the school. He sat sideways and pulled up his legs, leaning against the wall. The view from here was truly marvelous. He reached over and opened the window a bit - the stench was getting too strong for his taste. 

Sighing, he leaned back again. He’d have to wait for someone to get him out of here. How long would it take? Class was still in session and it was lunch afterwards, but maybe some people would go to the bathroom after class? Hopefully.

He sighed again and prepared to revel in his dramatic self-pity about his current predicament when the door opened, startling him. He turned around, saying the first thing coming to his mouth.

“What are you doing in my swamp?” His eyes met a familiar face with raised eyebrows and a sceptical look. Jinhyuk scrambled to sit up-right and quietly cursed his luck. A Shrek quotation was definitely not the first thing he had wanted to say to Wooseok.

“So this is your work?” he asked from the door. Jinhyuk nodded sheepishly, hand messing through his hair. 

“Then I’ll just leave your swamp then,” the younger replied and started closing the door again. Jinhyuk almost fell from his perch.

“No, wait!” he called. Wooseok looked at him and waited. “Could you… I mean… Would it be possible... “ He took a deep breath.

“I’m stuck here.” Wooseok’s face morphed into amusement at his words. 

“You’re what now?” he asked disbelievingly. Jinhyuk felt heat crawl up his cheeks.

“I’m stuck. I ended up in the corner and didn’t want to swim because it stinks and the Rapunzel hair expansion theory didn’t seem practical, so here I am.” he rambled out. Wooseok looked at him for a moment and then started chortling. Jinhyuk was sure he looked like a tomato by now.

“You are aware that you are a wizard, right?” the Ravenclaw asked. Jinhyuk looked at him quizzically. As far as he knew, he couldn’t make himself levitate. Wooseok chortled again and pulled out his wand. 

“Naviculum apparens!” he called and a small boat formed itself in front of him, big enough for two people. Jinhyuk gaped at that, looking like a fish. Wooseok was sent into full blown laughter. 

“I can’t believe I didn’t think of this.” Jinhyuk said, still in shock over his own stupidity. Wooseok climbed into the boat, still laughing and grabbed the long wooden pole to push himself off and move the boat towards Jinhyuk. He carefully navigated around the islands and plants until he reached the window sill Jinhyuk was sitting on.

“I have arrived to save the damsel in distress,” he said mockingly, a smile still splitting his face. Jinhyuk swallowed his pride and raised his voice to a very high tone.

“Thank you, fair knight! I shall take my leave now!” And he jumped into the boat. Not his best decision. The vessel started rocking from left to right and Jinhyuk flailed around, long arms rotating like a windmill. Wooseok yelped and grabbed onto him, pushing him flat down onto the floor of the boat. 

Jinhyuk’s arms wound around his waist on instinct, pressing the boy against him. Damn, he was tiny. But heavier than expected. He felt his breath against his neck as Wooseok lifted his head from where it was pressed against his shoulder, his mouth stopping next to his ear. He heard him breathe in.

“You clumsy idiot.” Well, Jinhyuk deserved that one. He laughed sheepishly and Wooseok lifted himself on this forearms, before looking down at Jinhyuk expectantly. 

“Are you going to let go anytime soon?” he asked. Jinhyuk realised he was still holding his waist, hindering the other from getting up. He quickly thought about refusing to let go but eventually decided to not test his luck. Wooseok still had a hold on the wooden pole. The Gryffindor let go of the other boy and sat up after him. 

“Maybe jumping into a floating vehicle was not my brightest decision of the day,” he said. Wooseok looked at him with an eyebrow raised in skepticism.

“You rank this as not the brightest decision? Think again.” He got up and proceeded to pull the pole with him, putting it back into the water. Jinhyuk was about to get up and help him when Wooseok fixed him with a sharp look. 

“Don’t. You’d probably manage to capsize us. Let me do this.” He started pushing them towards the door again and Jinhyuk faced forward to escape the glare. An idea hit him. He looked over his shoulder at Wooseok and grinned, then he quickly got up and stood in the nose of the ship, stretching his arms to the side.

“I am the King of the world!” he called, putting a foot on the railing and laughing maniacally. Suddenly the boat jerked and he lost his balance, almost falling over, when he felt arms around his middle holding him up.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Wooseok yelled, still holding him. Jinhyuk got another idea. He snapped his body upwards and leaned forward.

“Jack!” he called in a fake high voice. “Jack, I’m flying!” 

A laugh resembling a hyena sounded from the door and they both looked over. Professor Ha Sungwoon was doubled over at the open doorway, laughing like a maniac. Jinhyuk felt embarrassment crawl up his body, but didn’t have time to think about it because suddenly he was falling and landed in a heap on the floor of the boat, barely missing the railing with his head. He looked up.

Wooseok had dropped him, his arms now slack at his sides and a mortified expression on his face. His eyes slowly lowered themselves to Jinhyuk’s and the Gryffindor gulped. He was in trouble.

 

.oO°Oo.

“I can’t believe you ended up in detention because of me,” Jinhyuk said as Wooseok sorted through dried plants, putting them into separate labeled boxes. Jinhyuk smiled apologetically.

“Would you believe me if I said I didn’t want to get you into trouble?” he asked. Wooseok sighed and his hands stilled. He looked up, eyes searching Jinhyuk’s for a moment before he continued his work.

“As weird as it sounds, I do believe you. You don’t strike me as someone who likes to get others into trouble on purpose.” He looked up again. 

“But seriously, Titanic again? What’s with you and movies?” he asked. Jinhyuk shrugged and looked down at the beatles he was grinding into a fine powder before filling the powder into glass flacons.

After Professor Ha had witnessed their little ‘scene’ he had given both of them detention. Jinhyuk, for obvious reasons, was to sort through Potions supplies for the next three evenings; Wooseok was to join him for the first evening. The older had protested at this and claimed Wooseok had nothing to do with this and was just helping him out. Professor Ha had given him a short talking-to about prefect and headboy responsibilities and handling situations accordingly before looking at Wooseok. The younger’s eyes were hard but he had nodded without protest before excusing himself to lunch.

Wooseok actually agreed with his teacher: he hadn’t acted in any way he was supposed to. He didn’t inform a teacher, he didn’t close off the bathroom and instead of just moving the boat by magic he had thrown himself into this mess. As headboy he needed to set an example for younger students. 

But when he had entered the bathroom to see Jinhyuk in the window sill like a princess waiting for her knight and the surprise on his face, he didn’t think straight. Something about this boy made him throw his rationality out of the window in a heartbeat. 

Theoretically, he shouldn’t like him. Jinhyuk was a troublemaker, Wooseok headboy and prefect. They shouldn’t be getting along. He was supposed to be careless and irrational, doing stupid things. Wooseok should be his polar opposite. But he was aware that this was quite far from reality. Jinhyuk did care, he thought things through a lot of the time and he was neither a slacker nor incapable. He wasn’t arrogant either but seemed like a nice person, apart from his constant pranking. And as hard as it was to believe, he really didn’t seem to be as troublesome as Wooseok had made him out to be. 

He even seemed really guilty about getting Wooseok into detention and had apologised about a dozen times until Wooseok had told him to shut up about it, it wasn’t that bad. And true to his words he had walked over to the Gryffindor table after dinner at quarter to eight and tapped Jinhyuk on the shoulder. 

The other had turned around with surprise on his face which had been closer than Wooseok expected. He wasn’t small per se, the other was just too tall for this world. So when he turned around, Jinhyuk’s face wasn’t as far away as he had expected it to be. He cleared his throat and took a small step back.

“We need to get going,” he said. Jinhyuk nodded and started getting up.

“Where to?” Yohan asked curiously. Wooseok was familiar with the loud Gryffindor - he was a frequent guest in their common room, thanks to Junho. He liked the boy but he wasn’t too sure about the grinning fellow next to him: lanky with a pointy nose and deep dimples on his cheeks with a smile that was way to mischievous to be trusted. He looked like a plotting baby chick. An unusual combination. Wooseok looked at Yohan again.

“Detention. We have to sort through potion’s supplies and we’ll be late if we don’t get going.” He looked at Jinhyuk right as the other pulled his second leg over the bench he had been sitting on. His shoe, however, got caught on the seat of the bench and he lost his balance. Wooseok grabbed his collar with one and his arm with the other hand and pulled him upright with quick reflexes. 

He let go of the other immediately, looking back at Yohan, who looked like a surprised owl at the quick save. The boy next to him whistled appreciatively before he looked at Jinhyuk, who had turned around and tried to appear nonchalant.

“How did you manage to get our headboy into detention, hyung?” he asked and Wooseok’s eyes flicked to the boy’s face before settling on Jinhyuk, who also looked at him with a slight blush painted on his cheeks.

“Let’s not talk about it,” he said and lightly grabbed Wooseok’s arm to push him towards the door. The other boy wolf-whistled at his reaction but Yohan seemed worked up suddenly.

“But hyung, you’re going to miss practise then!” he said with a slight accusation. Jinhyuk turned around for a second and smiled apologetically before heading towards the door, Wooseok beside him.

So here they were, sorting through all these ingredients. It was a boring activity and quiet at that. Wooseok usually didn’t mind quiet but this was getting stifling. He cleared his throat, gaining Jinhyuk’s attention.

“Will you get into trouble for missing practise?” he asked carefully before he looked up at Jinhyuk through his lashes. He didn’t know what reaction to expect but the sad grin on Jinhyuk’s face - he hadn’t seen it coming.

“Nah,” he said. “I told Kookheon and he said it’s alright and that I should just join one of his extra sessions with Yohan to practise with them.”

Wooseok hummed before he registered his words. 

“They have extra sessions?” he asked, lifting his head to look at the other. A proud smile spread over Jinhyuk’s face.

“Yeah. I don’t know if you heard but they were both accepted into this Quidditch scholarship.”

“I know,” he said. Yohan had come to their common room late in the evening the day he received the letter, after the Gryffindor’s had quieted down and he could slip away to meet with Junho at the Ravenclaw tower. Wooseok had been there too, doing homework in front of the fire place when the other boy arrived and Junho went to let him in. 

After inquiring about the excitement he had congratulated Yohan in earnest happiness. He was proud of the boy to have achieved something like this at such a young age, and he had never seen Junho that happy before, a smile lighting up his face and speaking excitedly. After chatting with the two for a bit, he had packed up his homework and bid them goodnight to give them some privacy.

“They have extra hours twice a week and monthly examinations by special coaches so they develop accordingly,” Jinhyuk told him. Wooseok’s eyes widened.

“Twice a week? That’s a lot!” he said. There had to be a huge amount of pressure on both Kookheon and Yohan. He didn’t know Kookheon well but considering Yohan’s happy personality and energetic nature he was impressed. The boy had a lot on his plate. 

“How are they dealing with it? They must be really stressed!” he added. Jinhyuk nodded.

“They try not to show it too much but it tires them out, sometimes more than at other times.” He looked deep in thoughts. “I know Yohan spends a lot of time with Seungwoo and Junho; they’re his stress relief, especially Junho.” He looked up.

“They’re a weird pair, the two of them. But good for each other. Junho grounds Yohan, Yohan energises Junho.” Wooseok nodded at that. He had noticed over the years and he was glad the shy 5th year had a friend like Yohan. He had really started opening up after a while. Wooseok chewed on his bottom lip before he felt eyes on his face. He looked up to see Jinhyuk’s eyes flitting away. The other seemed to be pondering over something, creases on his forehead visible.

“Spit it out,” Wooseok said. Jinhyuk looked at him with a questioning gaze. 

“Whatever you’re thinking about. I can practically hear the gears in your head turning. So just say it,” he elaborated.

“It’s just…” Jinhyuk started. “Okay, this may sound weird but hear me out.” He looked at Wooseok with determination in his eyes and the other couldn’t stop himself from nodding. There was an intensity in his gaze that made him obey immediately.

“Alright, so I think not all teachers are aware of their training sessions. Yohan has only started this year, so he hasn’t experienced it as much, but Kookheon had situations where he had loads of assignments plus his extra sessions plus examinations for the scholarship all in a very short time. I know he wouldn’t ever say anything and Yohan wouldn’t either but I think... “ He trailed off for a moment, looking at the wall before focussing his gaze on Wooseok.

“Listen, I honestly don’t think the teachers are doing it to spite them but they have a lot on their plate. But if no one knows about their extra work, they get everything piled up high and I’m worried they might break under the pressure at some point.” 

Wooseok’s eyes widened. He remembered an evening two weeks ago. He had been sitting in the common room to play chess with Sejin, Seungwoo having joined them earlier in the evening to talk through some prefect business, when Yohan had knocked on their door. Eunsang, who had been passing by, had opened the door for him and Yohan had thanked him with a smile before going straight to the sofa Junho was sitting on with a book, dropping next to his younger friend and laying his head on his lap. Junho had looked up from his book and had put it away before starting to thread the fingers of his left hand through Yohan’s still damp hair (he must’ve showered before coming here), his right hand coming to rest on his shoulder in a comforting way. 

They had talked quietly and Seungwoo joined them at some point, crouching in front of the sofa and running a gentle hand over Yohan’s face. The boy had scrunched his eyes shut and buried his face in the blanket pooled on Junho’s lap, who had leaned over him, the hand previously on Yohan’s arm now reaching around him in a hug. Wooseok had looked away, feeling like he was intruding. Thinking back at it now, Yohan must’ve reached a breaking point then and sought comfort in his closest friends. 

They were only about 6 weeks into the school year but Wooseok knew from experience how stressed N.E.W.T. students were - you had to be hard-working to keep up and finish everything on time if you wanted good grades. And there was no doubt Kookheon and Yohan had shown good results in order to keep their scholarship. 

“So what you’re saying,” he said and focused his attention back on Jinhyuk, “is that the teachers need to be made aware by someone about their situation, so that they might be able to relocate their workload or give them a bit more time.” Jinhyuk nodded.

“And I guess this should be done by someone who isn’t too close to them to make their observation rational and who ideally might be in a position to speak for students needs.” Jinhyuk nodded again, slowly this time, his eyes widening in realisation. 

“I’ll see what I can do then,” Wooseok finished his statement and looked back at his plants. They were quiet for a few moments before he heard the older exhale in what sounded like relief.

“Thank you,” he mumbled, voice sounding a bit choked up. Wooseok smiled at the plants in front of him and continued sorting them. He’d speak to the teachers and the headmaster the next day and try to make them understand. 

Chapter Text

 

“I need your help.”

Sejin yelped in shock. Not because someone asked him for help, he was used to that by now (prefects got asked for help a lot). No, he yelped because the person asking for help had flung themselves at his back unexpectedly, trapping him in something like a hug and a chokehold. Sejin sighed.

“You won’t get it if you don’t let go of me.” The other let him go and Sejin turned around to a pouting face with cute kitten-like features. 

“Seriously, and you call yourself headboy with that kind of behaviour?” he asked with a mocking tone but the harshness of it was cancelled out by his kind smile. Wooseok’s pout seemed to intensify and he dropped onto the chair next to Sejin.

“But you usually like my hugs!” he complained, shaking his arm. Sejin raised an eyebrow. He was used to Wooseok’s behaviour among his closest friends, a stark contrast from his school behaviour but this level of cuteness was unusual. This was important. 

“Alright, so what do you want?” he asked, putting his quill away to avoid dropping ink on his homework. Upon closer inspection he noticed a big blob there where he had attempted to write his next words before he had been ambushed. He’d deal with it later. 

“I need you help in diplomatic matters,” Wooseok said, eliciting a grin out of Sejin. 

“What did Eunsang do this time?” he asked. The fifth year had a habit of bringing a rise out of Wooseok over stupid things. 

One day he pretended to have hearing impairment after his cauldron had exploded in potions and continued to say complete nonsense to everything Wooseok said or repeat random words. It had reached comedic peak when Wooseok had described the word ‘petite’ and Eunsang proceeded to repeat it in various forms of pronunciation, the best being ‘Priki’. Later it had turned out that Eunsang had been to the infirmary right after the incident and had been perfectly able to hear all afternoon. Only Yunseong and Junho had been in on it.

But Wooseok didn’t smile. So it was serious after all. Sejin turned his whole body towards him.

“Alright, what’s going on?”

“Okay, I’ve got this situation where some students are extremely stressed because of their workload and some extracurricular stuff and those two clash all the time. The extracurricular, however, is extremely important for their future and a one-time-only chance. They wouldn’t ask for help or some kind of ‘compensation’ like more time or a different deadline. On the other hand, teachers seem to be unaware of their predicament, so they can’t expect any initiative from their side either. As headboy, I should bring this to the faculty’s attention, but how do I do this without seeming accusatory or biased towards these student?” Wooseok had gotten faster and faster as he spoke and took a deep breath at the end of his sentence. Sejin followed suit.

“Wow.” he said. “That’s a lot to take in. Give me a second.”

Okay, so something they couldn’t drop - relevance was given. A high workload was to be expected, so he couldn’t start there. Accusing teacher was always a bad start, even if they were lenient. Alright.

“Okay, so when do you have your next meeting with the whole faculty?” he asked the other. Wooseok thought for a moment before he replied.

“In two weeks.” Sejin nodded, his right hand adjusting his glasses and coming to rest against his chin.

“Okay, you need to send out owls.” He looked at Wooseok who didn’t seem to follow.

“Tell them there is a situation of utmost importance regarding the well-being of two students. Try to gather them as quickly as possible and explain the whole situation to them, but don’t mention the unawareness of the teachers. This way, no one feels offended. Plus, you should probably add that this has been brought to your direct attention through a close friend of the two students, but not upon their request but his personal concern after observing their behaviour. Plus, with the fact that you pretty much witnessed a break down, you can bring in the factor of utmost importance regarding their mental health.” 

Wooseok contemplated his words for a second before nodding. Sejin took it as his cue to continue.

“Regarding the proposal you have to give for adaptations of their schedule, go with the deadline arrangement or individual arrangement by teachers. They can’t expect any cuts in their syllabus during N.E.W.T.’s but some more consideration of their situation would take a great load off of Kookheon and Yohan.” 

He finished and leaned back against his chair. Wooseok nodded along before his head jerked up.

“Wait, I never mentioned their names. How did you know it was them?” he asked incredulously. 

“Apart from the fact you just cleared up any doubt for me?” Sejin asked with a grin and Wooseok groaned. 

“Well, there are not many extracurriculars that can actually influence your future, so that narrowed it down. Plus it was regarding their health and you didn’t stress that it was their mental health after I started my suggestion, so their physical health could get affected too. There aren’t many here that have the workload of N.E.W.T.s and an important extracurricular, so I could guess it was about Gryffindor’s quidditch players.”

Wooseok seemed somewhat impressed but still confused. 

“But what about the part of someone close to them telling me?” he asked.

“That one was more of a guess,” he admitted. “You seem very serious about it but the nature of the matter is clearly something that slowly developed: stress piling up, more work, etc.. Now, you usually are very aware of what is going on in our house, so it couldn’t be about a Ravenclaw. Another house member must have told you, someone who is close to both of them and noticed their struggles.” Sejin readjusted his glasses again - they kept slipping down his nose. 

“We see Kookheon every other week and he always seemed fine to me, even after starting his extra training last year. He must’ve been hiding it. Now from what I have seen from Yohan I don’t think he wants to worry anyone. But remember, I was there when he broke down in our common room two weeks ago.” 

He looked up at Wooseok now, worry lacing his voice. Wooseok looked shaken himself and Sejin understood perfectly where he was coming from. To see someone as cheery as Yohan like this was surprising in the worst way but he was only human after all. At least he seemed to have some kind of outlet. He looked at the ceiling.

“If I’d wager a guess, I’d say Lee Jinhyuk told you.” Wooseok looked away from him and Sejin chuckled at his friend’s sudden flustered state. 

“He fits the profile: close to both of them, same house, even same year as Kookheon, on the same team with them. Plus, he seems smarter than people might give him credit for.” Maybe the light was playing a trick on his eyes but Wooseok seemed to sport a light blush on his cheeks. Sejin bit back a smirk.

“And you two had detention together - you still haven’t told me how you managed to get there, by the way - and you had to talk about something, right?” His friend’s silence told him he had hit the nail straight on the head. Wooseok looked at him sharply for a second before his face morphed into a look of determination.

“Alright, I’ll follow your plan then,” he said and grabbed ink and a quill from his bag, along with some paper to start writing the letters. Sejin nodded at that and grabbed his own quill again to finish up his homework, a two feet essay on the origin of amortentia and it’s usage. He set down the quill and… hesitated. He felt eyes on him.

He looked up quickly and met a set of eyes for a second, before they looked down. A small smile spread over his face. Cute. Wooseok cleared his throat next to him.

“Is he still watching you?” he asked and Sejin scoffed.

“You make him sound like a weird stalker,” Sejin retorted. “He’s just shy. And still hung up on ‘the incident’, I guess. But he’ll either come around or move on.” 

Wooseok raised an eyebrow at him. “Why do you sound like you are talking about a shy animal?” 

Silence. Then: “He reminds me of a squirrel I guess,” Sejin mumbled. Wooseok looked at him before his eyes moved to the boy, they were talking about, a few tables over. He seemed deep in thought.

“It’s the hair, isn’t it? And the eyes.” 

“....Yeah.” 

Wooseok snorted, grabbed his quill and started writing again. Sejin looked up again but the boy was looking at his book, seemingly deep in thought. Sejin smiled and went back to his work. They sat side by side in silence until Wooseok threw his quill on the table. 

“Alright!” he said energetically, earning him a glare and shush from their librarian Mrs Bae. Wooseok quickly apologised in a more quiet tone and started gathering his belongings. 

“I’m gonna go to the owlery to get these sent off. I’ll see you at dinner?” he asked Sejin. The other nodded.

“I’ll be there. Don’t get in trouble again!” he told Wooseok, which earned him a glare and a short slap to the back of his head, but he just grinned. 

He redirected his attention to his homework but looked up again after a few minutes. The boy had just gotten up and went into the depths of the library, presumably to look for a book. Sejin looked after him for a second before grabbing a piece of paper and his wand, which he tapped against the paper. It started folding and eventually became a tiny squirrel. 

“Go!” he whispered to the animal and it sprinted off over the table, following the boy into the library. 

.oO°Oo.

Tony walked along the shelves, searching for the potions department. It should have been somewhere around here. He turned a corner and stopped. The shelves in front of him were holding tomes, scrolls, and books about nothing other than…. divination. When did this get here?

He sighed and turned around. He either went the wrong way after all or the shelves had swapped places again; both were equally possible. At moments like this he missed the library back at Ilvermony: their library was a big open tower with study platforms on the different floors. And the shelves had been given a stern talking-to about only swapping places on their respective level, which made it easier to find everything. 

He turned around and brushed his hand through his dark red hair, messing up the strands before taking off his glasses to rub his eyes. He would need to search through the library then. A rustling to his left had him look up: a small paper squirrel was clinging to a large tome about tea leaves, head turned in his direction. A smile spread on his face.

“You’re here to save me again, right?” he asked the squirrel. The tiny origami creature was still for a moment before it climbed its way back to the end of the shelves, waiting again. Tony put his glasses back on and went after it. 

“I need to get to the potions section!” he said. The paper squirrel continued climbing along the shelves, leading him into a different part of the library, almost at the other end of the large room. Tony sighed. He really must have gone in the wrong direction after all. Scanning the shelves he found the book he was looking for: An introduction to pain relief potions. He pulled it from the shelf and turned to the squirrel that was sitting on a scroll nearby. 

“I think I can find my way back from here,” he said and the squirrel came closer, sitting right in front of him. He held out his hand in front of the animal and it hopped onto it, climbing up the sleeve of his robes until it settled on his shoulder. 

“Let’s go then.” It didn’t take him long to get lost again. This library was like a labyrinth and he was convinced the layout of the paths changed along with the position of the shelves. He leaned against a shelf on trolls next to a nice study corner beneath a window and looked at the paper animal on his shoulder, going cross eyed at the closeness. 

“Could you get me back? To the desk area?” he asked with some desperation laced in his word. The squirrel immediately climbed off of his shoulder and started jumping along shelves again. Tony followed it with a relieved sigh. He didn’t know how the little thing understood him but as long as it did, he wouldn’t be complaining. 

He reached the desk area eventually and returned to where his work was spread out across a table before glancing at his watch. It had taken him almost half an hour to get back here. A sigh left his lips and he sat down again to continue with his homework. After a while though, his concentration started to waver and he carefully lifted his gaze.

The study area was a wide open space with several long rows of desks for students to study on, chairs on both sides of each table. Two rows down across from him, a boy with pinkish hair had glasses sat, leaned back against the back of his chair with a book in his hands. He appeared to be completely engrossed in his reading, eyes flitting quickly across the lines, fingers playing with the corner of the page he was about to turn. A few strands of his hair fell into his face, but he either didn’t notice or wasn’t bothered by it. His black robes carried the emblem of Ravenclaw, his tie sporting the house’s colour.

He turned the page. The sudden movement snapped Tony out of his revery and he quickly looked down again, feeling a slight blush on his cheeks. The boy, Sejin, was a seventh year and a prefect, one year older than him. Tony had met him on his first school day here at Hogwarts.

.oO°Oo.

He had transferred to Hogwarts from Ilvermorny for his sixth year of school and had arrived in the early afternoon on September 1st, way too early for any students to have arrived at school yet. To avoid a painstakingly long flight from Massachusetts to London and a transfer  onto to the Hogwarts express to spend another few hours to get to Scotland, he had been granted the use of a portkey from school to school.

So he had arrived at Ilvermorny shortly before 2 PM and had been given some final instructions about the travel procedure before he had grabbed the portkey (a cauldron) to Hogwarts. He had arrived extremely early, dropping into the Headmaster’s office only moments later but he had wanted to avoid being late on his first day. 

Portkeys had a nasty habit of being affected by the magnetic field of the earth during transcontinental transport. It didn’t happen too often, but if it came to pass the portkey would compensate the time difference between the two places it was transferring from and to: the wizard or witch was stored in something called a time pocket. It was basically a little nook in the time-space-continuum where the unfortunate magician and his belongings would float around weightlessly for the duration of the time zone difference. 

In Tony’s case this would have amounted to 5 hours, and with his usual luck when going anywhere, his headmaster, Henry Lau, had decided to send him off early and with a lot of snacks and water. For once in his life he was in luck, however, and fell flat on his face only seconds after starting from Ilvermorny.

His fall had been cushioned by mats that covered the whole room and he had looked around confusedly before his eyes had fallen upon a tall man with dark blue robes, black wavy hair and a friendly smile behind his desk.

“I didn’t want you to hurt yourself upon arrival. You never know in which position or on what kind of floor you end up with portkeys. Seems like I was right.” he said with a small chuckle in his voice and stood up from his chair. A small flick of his wand had the mats disappear. 

“I am Hogwarts’ headmaster, Lee Dongwook. And looking at your robes, you are probably our exchange student from Ilvermorny, Yu Jiang Tian, right?” he asked and came around the desk. Tony jumped to his feet and brushed off his robes. He took the outstretched hand of Professor Lee and shook it.

“I am but I actually go by Tony for my first name…” he said quietly. Professor Lee smiled.

“I’ll note it down then, so the teachers know about it. Nice to meet you, Tony, welcome to Hogwarts,” he said, still gripping Tony’s hand. The boy smiled.

“Thank you, Sir,” he replied. 

“Now, shall we get the most important part done?” Professor Lee asked and turned towards a large shelf next to the fireplace.

“We need to get you sorted after all.” An old and beaten hat perked up at that and something resembling a mouth opened just above the rim. 

“An Ilvermorny student, eh?” the hat asked. Tony’s eyes grew larger. Was this for sorting? Professor Dongwook grabbed the hat and looked back at Tony.

“Sit down in the chair in front of the desk, please,” he said and Tony did as ordered. The headmaster sat down in his chair behind the desk again and placed the hat on the table between them.

“This,” he said, “is the Sorting Hat. He will determine your house depending on your personality. Are you familiar with our four houses?” he asked. Tony nodded.

“Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, each resembling characteristics of their founders and symbolised by an animal as their emblem. They have their separate values but should still interact and work together to represent school unity,” he rambled off, surprised at his own words. The headmaster chuckled at his expression and nodded. 

“Correct,” he said. “Now, as our first years will be sorted into their houses later in the evening, you will hear the song our Sorting Hat prepares every year as a greeting but we’ll skip this part for now. I would like you to grab the hat and put it on your head to sort you into a house.”

Tony nodded, worrying his lower lip between his teeth and reached for the hat with slightly shaking hands. He was almost as nervous as he had been at his sorting back in Ilvermorny. Back then, he had been worried none of the houses might want to claim him - now he worried that he might not fit in anywhere. What would they do then? Would he be sent back home? He stared down at the hat in his hands.

“You don’t need to be worried.” Professor Lee’s voice cut through his thoughts. “We never had a student who wasn’t sorted and sometimes it takes a while. But that isn’t something bad - it just means that there are many characteristics in your personality and the hat tries to consider them all. So don’t be too nervous, alright.” 

Tony nodded slowly and gulped. Then he raised the hat to his head. It promptly sank over his eyes. 

“Calm your jumbled thoughts,” a high voice said into his ears and he realised it must be the hat. “Alright, let’s look at you. There’s potential and a will to work hard. But you still haven’t found confidence in your own abilities. You need to be somewhere with acceptance and support, somewhere you feel comfortable without being overwhelmed. Somewhere, where you get to be challenged in your abilities and find joy in it. I think I know where this is….” 

Challenged in his abilities? Confidence? Potential? The hat was speaking in his ear, looking through his thoughts but Tony wasn’t sure what his words meant. Did he not fit in after all? Was he too much of a liability? Was he..?

“Hufflepuff!” the hat said out loud and Tony slumped into the chair in relief. He reached for the hat and pulled it off his head, putting it on the desk with a small ‘thank you’. The hat opened its mouth again.

“You can find friends there and through them you will find confidence. Trust in yourself and your potential.” Tony nodded at his words, still somewhat stunned. He had fitted in somewhere after all. And from what the hat said, Hufflepuff sounded like a good place. Professor Lee smiled at him before taking the hat and standing up to put it back on the shelf. 

“I’m sure you will feel comfortable in your house,” he said. “Now, let’s get some remaining formalities settled.”

The headmaster had sat down back at his desk again afterwards to talk Tony through his subject choices and timetable, a painstakingly long process, before giving him an introduction to the school rules and regulations. Tony had been vaguely familiar with their system before but he was glad to hear about it again. In his nervousness he was forgetting everything he had learned about the school. 

After about 2 hours of organisational matters, a knock on the door had interrupted them and a teacher had come in. She had long dark hair and a beautiful and happy smile, her dark grey robes decorated with tiny flowers at the seams. She came closer and Tony saw that the flowers appeared to be Iris: dark blue, with a yellow centre. 

After greeting Professor Lee, she had introduced herself as Professor Kim Sejeong, the teacher for herbology, and had taken Tony with her to meet his head of house. His luggage would be taken to his dorm by the house elfs he had been told. After shaking the headmasters hand again and thanking him profusely, Professor Kim lead him down a spiral staircase and passed a gargoyle who wished them a lovely afternoon, to which the Professor had replied in a similar manner before dragging a confused Tony through the corridors.

She was talking happily about everything, how she hoped he had a good start, how nice it was to have a new student, how excited she was for the new school year and how her plants were doing great (especially the mandragoras - she had discovered they like Celine Dion). 

Tony felt himself calm down at her melodious voice and started to reply in more detail to the questions thrown at him. Eventually he gathered up the courage to ask something that had been at the back of his mind.

“So… about the house I have been sorted into…” he started off slowly. “How are they?”

Professor Kim looked at him. “You strike me as a Hufflepuff,” she said. “Am I correct?” 

He nodded. 

“Alright, so I’m gonna be honest with you: There has been a decline in house separation and prejudice in the past two decades, but you might still encounter people who look down on Hufflepuff,” she said, slowing her step a bit and seriousness tinging in her voice. 

“The houses are famous for certain characteristics - bravery, wisdom, slyness - but Hufflepuff was overlooked many times. People thought, everyone who didn’t fit in the other three, the ‘sorry leftovers’, were sorted into it. But that wasn’t ever true.” Her voice sounded proud.

“Helga Hufflepuff was known for many things but most notably for her kindness, adaptability and the talent of bringing people together despite their differences. Slytherin and Gryffindor were both rash at times, so she mediated between them. She was able to have all four figure out a standard of teaching. And, as far as I heard, she was one hell of a teacher.”

Professor Sejeong looked at him. “You can be proud to be sorted into this house, into our house. And never, I’m telling you, never once underestimate a Hufflepuff.”

She had stopped in front of a door, determination and dignity in her tone. She smirked and carefully opened the door. The sight made Tony gape. Two women, teachers apparently, were in the room, about 5 metres away from each other and engaged in a heated wizard duel. 

One of them was tall and lean, with a beauty that immediately showed her Veela blood. She whipped around gracefully, long black hair flowing like water, evading a spell and casting one back at the same time, a small smile appearing on her face. Her movements were controlled and she would have seemed effortless if not for the thin trail of sweat on her temple. 

Across from her was a tiny women with equally long hair but in a light brown tone and bangs. She was petite, in every sense of the word, but her magical presence was intense. It was like an aura glowing around her, expanding and retreating according to her movements and spell casting. She moved around like a dancer, bending and flowing through positions at an amazing speed. Her face showed a wide grin but the intensity from her eyes told a different story. She seemed completely unfazed by everything around her until her eyes widened for a second when the tall women had been distracted by Professor Kim and Tony in the doorway. She had let off a flurry of spells in an impossible short time and immediately knocked over the other women, smiling triumphantly. 

The fallen woman had looked perplexed for a moment before she threw her head back and started laughing. 

“You got me,” she said. “As always.” 

The invisible binding holding her had fallen off and she gracefully got on her feet, grinning at the smaller woman before looking towards the door. 

“But I was distracted,” she had continued. The smaller had looked at the door, her eyes widening. 

“And this is exactly what I meant,” Professor Kim had said next to Tony. “Yoojung, I’m bringing you your new student! Tony, this is your head of house.” 

Yoojung’s face had lit up and she had  practically skipped to them, grabbing Tony’s hand as she got closer. She had only reached up to his shoulder but there was still this aura around her, only receding slowly. 

“I am very happy to meet you! I'm Kim Yoojung, head of Hufflepuff and teacher for Defence against the Dark Arts.” She had shaken his hand in flurry, speaking incredibly fast and Tony’s eyes must’ve been as big as saucers. A light chuckle had them turn their attention to the third woman.

“Give him a second to breathe, Yoo, or you’ll scare him off.” She had approached them with a broad smile and had shaken Tony’s hand too. 

“I am Professor Kim Doyeon, I teach Charms. Nice to meet you.” She had looked at the other two teachers afterwards. “I need to get going though, so I’ll see you later at the feast. Welcome to Hogwarts, Tony.”

She had basically floated out of the room. 

“To answer your unspoken question: Yes, she does indeed have Veela blood in her. But don’t worry, she doesn’t use it to influence people,” Professor Kim had said. 

“Now, I guess you noticed how we are all called Kim with last name,” Hufflepuff’s head of house had continued. “We tried to alleviate this problem. I allow students from my house to call me Yoojung, and Sejeong prefers her first name due to personal reasons.”

Tony had nodded - this made it a lot easier. 

The rest of the afternoon his House teacher showed him around the castle, starting from the Great Hall and some of the important classrooms and towers to the lake and the greenhouses, before they had a quick visit to the former keeper’s hut near the forest. Afterwards, it had been nearing 6.30 PM already, Professor Yoojung (it was strange to call a teacher by their first name, even with their title) had lead him to the Hufflepuff common room and dorms. 

They had been cozy and warm, decorated in yellow and brown tones, with a lot of plants in the common area (some even fluorescent) and a cat lounging on the sofa. The animal had been almost white with leopard-like spots all over it and its eyes were looking at them intelligently.

“If you’re looking for Sejeong, I’m pretty sure she went to the library to get some books on Irish beanstalks,” Professor Yoojung had said. The cat had jumped up at her words and left the room. Tony had been shown his dorm room with five beds altogether afterwards, his new robes waiting on his bed. There was a Hufflepuff pin on them already  and a yellow tie next to it. 

After changing out of his blue and cranberry Ilvermorny robes he had put on the new uniform. He hadn’t been used to black before but he liked it. Yoojung had then taken him up the the entrance hall, where students had started arriving, obviously looking for someone. She stood on the Grand staircase to see across the mass of students.

“Ah there he is!” she had called eventually. “Mr Han! Seungwoo!” 

A boy with a kind smile had approached them. He was almost as tall as Tony but had broader shoulders. 

“Hello Professor, nice to see you again!” he said. “Did you have a nice summer?”

“I did,” Professor Yoojung had answered with a grin. “You too, I hope. Now this,” she had pointed at Tony, “is your new housemate. He just arrived here from Ilvermorny and will be in sixth year. Do me a favour and show him around our house a bit. And I know your schedule is full tomorrow morning, but could you hand him over to Sejin for a student introduction, please?” 

The other boy, Seungwoo, had nodded and Professor Yoojung had patted his arm before disappearing into the mass of students. 

“I’m your prefect, Seungwoo.” the other had said. “If you have any questions you can always come to me. Now shall we?” 

He had lead Tony into the Great Hall to their house table and introduced him to some people. The sorting ceremony took place after and the feast had passed in a blur, with so many new things and impressions crashing into Tony. He had fallen into his bed afterwards and slept like the dead.

 

Tony had had come to the Great Hall and eaten breakfast with Seungwoo the next morning before the older had handed him over to another seventh year, but from Ravenclaw. He had introduced himself as Sejin, another prefect. 

Tony had felt like he had been hit in head: the other was pretty, in an adorable and studious kind of way. He had started introducing Tony to the student body organisation, extracurriculars and the prefect system for a while before giving him some tips about subjects and what he could expect from certain teachers. 

“Any more questions?” he had asked as it neared the end of first period, as they both had their respective classes right after. Tony’s mind had been jumbled at the sudden question. He had listened attentively to the older boy but an embarrassing amount of brain power had gone into marveling over the other’s voice and kindness (and his cuteness). 

He had been taken aback and his brain was still trying to decide between “You’re really pretty” and “I am bad at introductions”, which were both not the best ideas to say, when he blurted out a mixture of both.

“You’re pretty bad at introductions.” His eyes widened just as the bell rung. Sejin’s eyebrows had shot up at his words. Tony had scrambled.

“I mean, no, I didn’t mean to, what I wanted to say, was…” he almost fell off the bench, gesturing around. Sejin had stood up and taken his bag.

“I need to get to class. See you around, I guess.” And with that he had left. Tony’s head had fallen onto the table. Nothing like a wonderful first impression on his first day, was there?

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Seungwoo entered the library with a significant lack of energy. Autumn had arrived in Hogwarts a few days ago and had turned both the temperature and the weather to a less inviting state: Rain had started two days ago and hadn’t properly stopped at any point, changing between a downpour with thunderstorms to a constant drizzle, cooling the air outside considerably.

The cold and damp air was creeping in through windows and open doors and again he was grateful for the magic protecting most rooms and main corridors to keep their warmth. But it was still not completely adapted to the rapidly cooling temperatures - and especially not to the constant dreariness that came with the rain. 

Okay, maybe there were also other reasons for Seungwoo’s gloomy mood: he hadn’t slept too well, one of his favorite plants had chosen to drop all its blossoms and throw off its leaves early, leaving him with an empty stem instead of a green plant on his bedside table, he had gotten wet on his way to the greenhouses for herbology today and slipped in the mud. And he missed Seungsik.

The last feature was probably the biggest factor adding to Seungwoo’s mood. The weather last year and the years before had been just as bad but his mood had been better. Especially last year he had had the other by his side, always making him smile with his antics and a source of comfort - a feeling that was reciprocated. But right now Seungsik wasn’t here. 

“Hyung? Do you want to sit down? Or do you need to get going again?” a soft voice asked him and he returned back to reality. His feet had carried him to the study area of the library and he was standing in front of a table with Tony on the other side of it. The American boy smiled shyly at him.

Seungwoo nodded at his housemate with a soft smile and dropped his bag on the table before taking a seat opposite of Tony and taking out his astronomy notes and book together with his writing utensils. He stared at the notes for a moment before he remembered he wanted to do some revision. His thoughts really were all over the place today.

“You seem a bit off your game today, Seungwoo.” Tony remarked but it didn’t sound questioning or judgmental. He was simply stating a fact.

“If you want to take a nap, I can wake you up after half an hour or so if you want me to.” He must look really tired for the other to make this offer after he observed his behaviour for less than five minutes. Seungwoo decided to take him up on it. 

“I think I should really sleep a bit. If you could wake me?” he asked with puppy eyes for good measure. Tony threw him a kind look and nodded at him. Seungwoo thanked him with another smile and bunched up the scarf he kept in his bag in case he got cold (it was Seungsik’s) and buried his nose in the soft brown material. 

It didn’t carry the other’s smell anymore but the memories tied to it remained. Seungsik had wrapped it around his neck during a quidditch game last year: It had been extremely cold but sunny and Seungwoo had underestimated the temperature - especially the icy wind. After looking at him shiver for 10 minutes in the stands, Seungsik had taken off his scarf to wrap it around Seungwoo’s neck. He had pulled him closer to him to wrap him in it until only the upper half of his face was still visible and folded up the collar of the thick coat he was wearing to protect his now bare neck. 

Seungwoo’s protests had been muffled by the wool around him but his boyfriend had glared at him and told him to shut up and watch the game. Seungsik just didn’t want to deal with him being sick and whiny and needy. The older had shut up at that but scooted even closer to Seungsik, taking his hand and lacing their finger’s together. The scarf had been wandering between them ever since.

Seungwoo closed his eyes and let himself be carried away by sleep in the warm and quiet library. The only noises were pages being turned, books scraping softly across shelves and the light breathing of Tony opposite of him. Soon, he slipped into dreamland.

It felt like only a few moments when Tony softly shook his shoulder to wake him, but he knew that the 30 minutes had been both effective and well deserved. He felt somewhat rested when he lifted his head from his scarf and stretched his arms. His joints popped satisfyingly and he smiled at Tony before rubbing his eyes for good measure.

“Thanks for waking me,” he said, voice slightly raspy from sleep.

“It’s fine. I was entertained by enough stuff here anyway, so don’t worry about it.” He gestured at the various books and notes spread across the table top, but his eyes fixed on a point over Seungwoo’s shoulder for a moment before he looked back at the older Hufflepuff. Seungwoo had an idea what - or who - he had been looking at and glanced over his shoulder. 

His hunch was proven right when he saw Sejin sitting two table rows away, nose buried in a book and glasses slipped down to the tip of his nose. He looked back at Tony with a cheeky smile.

“I can see what kept you occupied,” he said. The younger blushed violently and looked down at his books, quickly covering his red cheeks with his hand and almost stabbing himself in the cheek with the quill he had still been holding. He ended up with a splash of ink on his right cheek. Seungwoo chuckled and waved his wand at Tony, mumbling ‘Tergeo’ in the process to clean the younger off.

“Hyuuung…” Tony whined, despair laced in his voice. Seungwoo knew about his crush on the older Ravenclaw and why he was so desperate but he also knew that Tony didn’t have to worry. Sejin had told him he wasn’t mad at him, so he could approach the older if he could find the courage and try to at least befriend him. The chair behind them scraped across the floor and Tony’s eyes followed the movement behind Seungwoo again with barely concealed puppy eyes.

“He likes Earl Grey with an extra splash of lemon,” Seungwoo said. The other looked at him confused. 

“Sejin,” he elaborated. “He goes to the Great Hall in the afternoons when he has time, around 5, to have a cup of tea before he goes to his common room. I join him sometimes. That’s how I know.”

Tony still didn’t seem to follow what he was getting at. Seungwoo sighed, a fond expression painting his face.

“He’s not mad at you, you know? Just slightly amused.” The other’s eyes widened at his words. “He surely wouldn’t mind if you joined him for a cup of tea and a chat in the Great Hall.” 

It took some seconds for his words to register, the American boy jumped up and started grabbing his stuff hurriedly. Nervousness was practically radiating off him as he looked at Seungwoo once more with a smile on his face.

“Thanks for telling me, hyung. I’ll see you later!” he said and started hurrying towards the library exit. When he opened the door to the corridor and vanished from Seungwoo’s view, a tiny owl fluttered through the slowly closing door, coming straight in his direction. 

It landed on Seungwoo’s back and shuhued, bobbing up and down. The bird was small enough to fit into his palm, with large eyes and  a white and black breast, contrasting the dark brown feathers on his back and head. Seungwoo smiled and caressed his head and soft breast feathers. 

“What are you doing here, Osiris?” he asked. The tiny owl screeched loudly and he flinched and hurriedly grabbed it in his hands to hide it under the table just when Mrs. Bae looked around the corner, eyes narrowed at the noise. He smiled at her innocently and tried to muffle the chirps of the tiny owl in his hands. When she couldn’t find any obvious source of intrusion or noise, she returned into the rows of shelves.

Seungwoo let out a breath, he didn’t know he was holding, and brought his cupped hands up to his face, revealing the tiny owl on his palms. It had sat down there, obviously feeling warm and comfortable. 

“You are getting me into trouble again,” he whispered at the owl. “You gotta keep quiet, okay?”

Osiris tilted his head to both sides and clicked his beak a few times, as if asking what he meant. Seungwoo sighed and carefully put him onto the end of his scarf. 

“Stay there and be quiet,” he said and turned to his astronomy notes. He really needed to get some studying done as N.E.W.T.s were getting closer.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

It was in his fourth year at Hogwarts when he got to know Seungsik. He wasn’t completely unfamiliar with him - they were in the same house after all - but he had never spent time with the other outside of class or maybe ending up doing some homework together with the other boys from their dorm room. 

So he was surprised to enter the owlery not only without being greeted by a greedy and cuddly Aristotle, but also to same owl sitting quietly on a low beam with his eyes closed, whilst someone pet him. He recognised the boy in front of him, stopping in his tracks. Maybe he was here to send off a letter. Should he come back later to give him some privacy? But this was the school owlery after all, he didn’t need to leave.

Before he could decide on a course of action, a loud screech sounded through the tower and Seungwoo found himself with a face full of feathers. He spluttered and waved his hands around, already knowing who had attacked him with affection. He caught the tiny body between his fingers and spat out a feather that had found its way into his mouth before looking at the perpetrator. A tiny pygmy owl with dark brown feathers on his back and a light front was shuhuing contently in his loosely clenched fist: Osiris. Before he could say another word, a weight placed itself on his shoulder and a big tawny owl landed on his shoulder, slapping the back of his head with its slapping wing.

Seungwoo almost stumbled at the unexpected weight and threw a disapproving look at the owl on his shoulder.

“Seriously, Elphaba?” he said drily. “I know you want treats but this won’t get you to them faster.” 

A chuckle sounded in front of him. He looked back at his housemate and was met with a smiling face, lips stretched wide and eyes in crescents. The boy was strongly resembling a Shiba Inu, something he had noticed before. Seungsik looked at him, smile still on his face, and pulled his hand from Aristotle’s feathers.

“They really do like you. It’s amazing,” he greeted him, glancing at the owls around him. Seungwoo opened the hand he was still holding Osiris with and the small owl flattered up and landed on his head, claws digging into his scalp a bit and grabbing onto strands of his hair. He took a step towards Seungsik.

“They do, I don’t even know why. But they just…” Osiris had started slipping on his head when he started walking and was grabbing onto his hair hectically, flapping his wings and screeching excitedly. Seungwoo tried to (unsuccessfully) look up his forehead at the tiny troublemaker.

“Hey careful up there, I don’t wanna end up bald!” he called and looked back into Seungsik’s direction but his eyes focussed on the window behind the other. An owl was coming closer quickly, a familiar face looking at Seungwoo, sailing through the open window past Seungsik towards Seungwoo. And slammed straight into his stomach. 

Seungwoo felt the air leave his lungs at the impact and almost doubled over in an attempt to catch the new owl, causing Osiris to start struggling for balance again and Elphaba flapping her wings too, slapping his head several times. 

“Alright, shooo! Get off, go away for a second you little monsters!” he called and waved his arm around, careful not to hit the owls. Elphaba took off and landed on a beam above Seungsik elegantly, whereas Osiris tumbled through the air before the Hufflepuff caught him in his hands. He hooted a thanks at him. 

Seungwoo took a deep breath and looked down at the disoriented owl in his arms before he went towards the wall next to the window and sat down. He lifted the owl up to his face carefully and it playfully nipped at his nose. He smiled and inspected the bird, looking for damage. The legs seemed fine when he patted along them, stretched out the wings carefully to look for broken feathers or indications of an injury. 

The owl didn’t flinch at any of his touches and he caressed its head before taking a closer look at the eyes. They were bright yellow, but with a thin grey veil over them, a bit irregular in colour and spanning both iris and pupil on either side. Seungwoo ran his finger through the incredibly soft feathers at the neck juncture and sighed.

“Is she injured? Did she hurt herself when she slammed into you?” Seungsik was crouching in front of him, looking at the owl in Seungwoo’s lap worriedly with Osiris holding on to his shoulder. Seungwoo looked at him for a second before shaking his head. 

“She’s fine for the most part, nothing broken. But look at her eyes.” Seungsik leaned over Seungwoo’s lap to peer at the owl. He pulled his head back and looked up.

“This grey stuff seems like it shouldn’t be in her eyes,” he said. Seungwoo nodded at his words and carefully put the owl down on his robe in his lap. It sat down like it would in a nest and closed its eyes. Seungwoo continued running his fingers over its feathers. 

“Dani is our family owl. She’s had eye problems for a few years now, but I guess we really have to treat this completely. This is called a cataract, it can appear in both humans and animals. But we can treat it with magic.” he explained. “I’m gonna have to take her to Professors Im and Yoon - they’ll know what to do.” 

Seungsik nodded. 

“So that’s why she, Dani, slammed into you? She couldn’t see very well?” Seungwoo chuckled at that. 

“Partly. But she also likes to slam into people, though usually with less force. It’s her way of saying hello. If she were a human, she’d probably tackle people in a hug.” Seungsik laughed at that and grabbed Osiris, who had just fallen off his shoulder. 

“You rascal, stop making fuss over there!” he said without real anger. “Your feet and legs are just too tiny and short!”

Seungwoo snorted at that, earning him a raised eyebrow and amused smirk.

“Just throw him into your hood, he likes it there.” he advised the other. “And his legs are not exactly short.”

Seungsik looked at him with doubt in his eyes. Seungwoo smiled mysteriously and whistled in two soft sounds. Sybil came from her perch high up in the beams and landed on the floor next to him. He scratched the feathers next to her beak and grabbed a treat from his pocket to hand it to her and give Seungsik some too. Osiris squawked from the hood he had been thrown into and Seungsik dropped a treat into it, offering a second to Dani, who didn’t even open her eyes but just opened her beak like a fletchling. 

“Now, observe!” Seungwoo announced. “The legs of an owl. Pardon me, madam.” He spread out his fingers and moved his hand underneath the owl, pushing up the feathers until the legs became visible. They were about twice the length of the usually visible part. It looked comedic, like an owl imitating an owl, and Seungsik started giggling.

Seungwoo let go of Sybil and patted the gentle old barn owl again before handing her another treat. She fluttered up into the roof again and Seungwoo looked at Seungsik, who was still grinning. 

“Unexpected, isn’t it?” he chuckled. The other nodded and scratched the sleeping Dani in Seungwoo’s lap before dropping onto his bum too, sitting cross-legged.

“Definitely," he replied. “You really do have a knack for animals and plants, don’t you? All magic creatures we handled since starting Care of Magical Creatures last year loved you and your plants always survive in herbology.” He played with a strand of straw, his fingers fiddling with it. 

“And the owls just adore you. It’s amazing. I heard about it before but I thought the extent was exaggerated. But now…” he continued, looking up at Seungwoo with his Shiba Inu smile. Seungwoo looked taken aback at that.

“What do you mean you heard about it?” he asked. 

“I tutor Dongpyo, you know,” Seungsik explained. “And he kept gushing about you after you ‘saved’ him from that big guy over there, so I knew he just wanted cuddles when came right at me.” He pointed at Aristotle. Seungwoo hummed in understanding. 

“They are just easier to understand and they understand me just as well,” he said but Seungsik looked a bit lost. “The owls I mean.”

“That’s a really admirable characteristic,” the other said after a moment. His eyes were cast down and he seemed lost in thought.

“You think so?” Seungwoo asked with raised eyebrows. He hadn’t expected this reaction. 

“Yes. Many people think they have to prove everything through words and grand gestures and even though this might be nice sometimes, they forget about just simply enjoying someone’s presence or just being there, always behind them. No words needed, just a silent understanding.” 

Now this was definitely unexpected. Seungsik had hit close to home with that - Seungwoo was a person that communicated through actions and body language a lot. He could be talkative too, but he preferred the presence and comfortability of a wordless understanding he developed with people he was close with. Someone who he didn’t have to explain his actions or behaviour to. 

Owls definitely fell into this category, animals in general. They communicated differently and Seungwoo understood this specific way. It was simpler but with miniscule details that took time and patience to understand. Seungsik didn’t strike him as someone who was as animal-inclined as him but he definitely understood the sentiment.

A slightly awkward silence stretched between them, with Seungwoo unsure how he should react to. He lifted his head to look up at Seungsik and opened his mouth when a deafening screech stopped him. 

Osiris had climbed his way out of the hood he had been in and was now loudly demanding attention. Seungwoo and Seungsik exchanged a look. Then they burst into laughter.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

They ended up bringing Dani to Professor Im to get her treated. The teacher took her in carefully and told Seungwoo that she should be fine by the end of the week before shooing them off to get to dinner. They continued talking on the way there and sat down together.

Their friendship developed easily from there. Seungwoo discovered Seungsik’s love for Astronomy. The other had practically all constellations and every single star memorised and knew the legends to most of them. He had started naming the nameless school owls after a while and introduced Seungwoo to his owl, Ophiuchus, an Ural owl with a very strong will. 

They came into each other’s lives like puzzle pieces, fitting seamlessly. Jinhyuk and Seungyeon easily included him into their conversations and Seungwoo already got along with Wooseok and Sejin through from Ravenclaw, but he got to know them better through his new friend. Yohan immediately jumped at the opportunity of a new hyung and Dongpyo and Byungchan joined in into the excitement.

Seungwoo had been curious how Junho and Seungsik would get along and he was pleasantly surprised. They quickly discovered they had the same kind of sassy humor with Seungsik being more talkative than Junho. But instead of possibly undermining the other’s confidence with this, he became more of another source of energy for the younger Ravenclaw. Seungsik started sitting next to the other, occasionally putting a hand on his arm or shoulder and subtly including him into any headassery their friend group was talking about now. Whenever the younger seemed nervous, he glanced at Seungsik for a moment and they expanded each other’s roasting in the most effective way. Some of the less quick-witted ones of their group were lost at their joined force.

Seungwoo noticed some new habits adding themselves to his normal schedule. They automatically gravitated towards each other when they needed partners in class, practised and studied together or just spent free time around each other. Seungwoo found himself going to the library shortly before it closed to get Seungsik from the Astronomy section before it closed. Seungsik did the same for him, fetching him from the owlery or green houses before curfew.

Several times it happened that they sat at lunch and Seungwoo felt a head dropping onto his shoulder. The younger had stayed up most of the night on these occasions to watch a certain star or astronomy-related event, and sometimes Seungwoo joined him. Most of the time they even had permission to do so (Professor Ong was very lenient and joined them at some point to explain some more complex details). 

Seungsik could spend the days after recounting every single detail about the stars on that particular event, usually when Seungwoo was spending a free afternoon in the green house, taking care of the plants he tried growing. Seungsik always sat in the corner with a book, making remarks, reading or just watching. Seungwoo never felt uncomfortable or rushed - quite opposite. They enjoyed each other’s presence, talking or quietly. And laughing.

“Aren’t you beautiful!” Seungwoo whispered as he carefully put the sleeping mandragora into it’s new pot and poured earth onto it before patting it. The sensitive plant had been extremely tired from moving green houses, so it didn’t even react to leaving it’s earthy bed. Seungsik snorted loudly behind him and Seungwoo whirled around to his friend. 

“Shhhh! The baby just fell asleep!” he whisper-shouted. Seungsik looked at him, unimpressed.

“You said the same about Dongpyo just two days ago, you know. I can’t really take you seriously on this,” he replied with a deadpan expression. Seungwoo raised an eyebrow at him. 

“Funny coming from the one describing Orion as the ‘sexiest lad among the stars’,” he countered and checked on the other mandragora. They were all sleeping tightly. Seungsik followed him like a lost puppy.

“That’s because it’s true! Orion’s sexiness among the stars has been the stuff of legends…!” Someone cleared their throat behind them. Professor Sejeong was standing in the doorway with a highly amused expression on her face, eyes flitting in between them.

“Now, I really don’t want to cut short this interesting conversation between you two but you need to get to dinner,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes. Seungwoo nodded and quickly grabbed his tools and gloves, storing them in his bag. They both bid her goodbye and made their way back to the castle, the grass under their feet already slightly damp and the sun setting over the Forbidden Forest. 




Chapter Text

 

 

Minhee was definitely not a morning person. There were few things as bad as being woken from the sweet embrace of sleep, but it was even worse when he theoretically would be able to sleep in. On a Saturday. At 8.37 AM. So basically in the middle of the night.

That darned cat that was constantly around Wonjin had come into their dorm and pounced on the bed it thought Wonjin was in. It either didn’t know that they had swapped beds at the beginning of the year or it just didn’t care at all. 

So, at 8.37 AM Minhee had found himself with a face full of brown fluffy fur landing on his face and a rough tongue licking his face before he yelled.

“Oh, hell no!” had echoed through the room, waking the other occupants effectively and scaring the cat away to the foot of his bed. It sat down there, tail bushy in shock and eyes wide open. Minhee glared at it.

“Wonjin, I hate you.” he hissed and fell back on his pillow. His heart rate had shot up at the shock – he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep after that. Minhee threw his arm over his eyes and heard steps approaching his bed. Wonjin must have gotten up from his bed.

“What are you doing here?” he asked softly, probably picking up the cat. Minhee groaned.

“Waking me up and ruining my morning,” he grumbled.

“Oh, stop complaining, you giant grouch and just get up to get coffee.” Wonjin chuckled. The tiny brown cat snuggled into his hands and meowed quietly. Minhee groaned one more time before rolling to the edge of his bed to get up.

He didn’t get far. His legs had tangled in the sheets during the night and when he tried to swing his legs out of bed, his whole body followed involuntarily. The fall was short and he was somewhat glad for the green comforter wrapped around him to cushion his fall. But it still hurt nonetheless. 

“I hate this existence,” he whined laid his forehead on the cold floorboards before a hand touched his shoulder.  He groaned again for good measure before he looked at the person touching his shoulder. It was Hyeop. His bed was next to Minhee’s and he must’ve woken up from the noise. 

“You okay there?” he asked slightly worried. He nodded and his friend started pulling off the sheets from around him to free his tangled body. Another pair of hands grabbed at the sheets - Wonjin must’ve started helping. Minhee refused to move however until the last sheet layer was off and he was hit with the cold air of the dorm. A foot poked his butt.

“Get up from the floor and go get coffee already, Minnie. You look pathetic.” Hyeop said amusedly at his friends antics before climbing back into bed and grabbing the book from his nightstand. Minhee followed his words and slowly pushed himself to his knees before getting up to grab clothes and his toiletries for a trip to the bathroom. 

When he finally arrived in the Great Hall 20 minutes later, his mood hadn’t improved and he felt even sleepier than before. He stumbled through the door, spotted some familiar faces - even though they were somewhat blurry - and plopped down on a chair next to them before laying his head on the table again. 

A hand entered his sight after about a minute and pushed a cup of coffee towards him. He groaned in relief and lifted his head from the table whilst grabbing the cup and bringing it to his mouth. The liquid was still extremely hot, not cooled even a bit by the milk, but he still sipped some of it before leaning against the shoulder next to him. 

“You look like shit,” a voice opposite commented and the body he was leaning against hummed in agreement before patting his head softly. So Junho was his hold this morning and Eunsang in charge of sarcastic comments. Everything followed the usual routine then. 

He just kept on sipping his cup until it was empty and he unwillingly lifted his head from Junho. The boy had a surprisingly comfortable shoulder. He looked for the coffee when a hand held the pot before him. 

“Do you want some more?” a third voice asked. He nodded and blearily blinked at the pot before holding out his cup. His eyes looked up the arm of the person from were they held the pot in long thin fingers to a kind face with a pointy nose and brown curly hair, an amused smile showing on his lips. 

Minhee’s still sleep-muddled brain wasn’t able to put a name to a face before he saw the prefect badge on the other’s robes. This was Koo Jungmo, one of Ravenclaw’s prefects and a year older than the other three boys at the table. A hand waving in front of his face snapped him out of his daze.

“Do you want a croissant?” Junho asked him, offering the baked good to him. Minhee answered with a glare, which made Junho snort in amusement. He knew he hated breakfast. He pulled his cup to himself, which he realised he had still been holding out, and added a splash of milk to it. Eunsang chuckled at him and Jungmo looked slightly concerned.

“Did you sleep enough? You look practically dead on your feet.” he said, worry audible in his words. Eunsang just laughed at that. 

“He’s always like that,” he explained. Jungmo raised an eyebrow at his words and glanced at Minhee’s pale face again.

“He is a night owl, that’s true, but he usually gets enough sleep. He’s just not a morning person plus he has low circulation and blood pressure, so without coffee he’s practically a zombie.” 

“I’m surprised he’s up at this hour on a Saturday, to be honest, but seeing how he didn’t even get to his house table, he was probably woken up,” Junho added. Jungmo still seemed sceptical but Minhee just nodded in agreement with his eyes closed again and head hanging low while he waited for his coffee to cool a bit.

“That damned cat jumped me,” he grumbled. Eunsang and Junho looked as confused as Jungmo at that. 

“What cat?” Eunsang asked. Minhee glared at him.

“That damn cat that is always around Wonjin. It didn’t seem to know we swapped beds and jumped straight on my face,” he hissed. Junho snorted and almost choked on some crumbs of his Croissant whilst Eunsang looked astonished and reached across the table to pat Minhee’s cheek.

“Minnie, I’m so proud of you! I don’t think I have ever heard you say that many words before your fourth cup of coffee! And at once!” he said and wiped a fake tear. Minhee just glared at him again. It was quiet for a few moment, save for Eunsang’s marveling, until Jungmo lifted his cup of tea to his mouth, took a sip and looked straight at Minhee.

“You are a really grumpy fellow, aren’t you?” he asked, tone carefully neutral. Minhee frowned and looked at him with a glare.

“Well not everyone can be a bloody sunshine in the bloody morning,” he bit back. A hand hit his head lightly from behind and he slowly turned around. Hyeop was standing behind him, disapproving look on his face and hands on his hips.

“Try to behave yourself, Grinch, or your existence will be ended quicker than you would expect,” he said and grabbed his friend’s upper arm softly.

“Sorry ‘bout him, he’s just a giant grouch in the morning. And this one really wasn’t best for him, so don’t take it personal please.” he directed at Jungmo and pulling Minhee up. It was faster than expected and Minhee hadn’t grabbed his cup of coffee before Hyeop started dragging him along to their table, mumbling about manners and Minhee stretched out his hands for his lost cup.

“Stop squirming, we got coffee over here too,” Hangyul said when Hyeop dropped his struggling housemate next to him and sat down himself. Minhee grabbed another cup, poured himself coffee and looked around him. Wonjin sat opposite of him and held up the basket with rolls and Croissants questioningly. Minhee groaned and dropped his head on his arms. 

He hated mornings.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Now if you asked Wonjin about memorable things in his daily routine, he’d probably say something about a cat and a grinch. Even after more than 4 years of rooming together he was still fascinated by how Minhee was not able to function in the morning. It had been a lot cuter during their first few years when a sleepy Minhee came stumbling in, looking like a lost little puppy and usually curled up against the closest person before sipping on his tea. 

As he had gotten older, tea had not done the trick anymore and he had swapped to coffee. But he had also gotten less adorable and a whole lot more grumpy. Wonjin knew not to take it personally because the other was a truly nice and enjoyable person when properly awake (though somewhat dumb at times). But in the mornings…

The cat was another story. He had known it for two years by now and adored it. The tiny bundle of brown fluffy fur had sat down next to his homework in the library one day, tail curled neatly around its feet and and eyes looking straight at him. It had let him pet it when he stretched out his hand and curled up in his lap after a while. 

He didn’t know if it belonged to anyone but he started meeting it randomly around the castle. It even figured out how to enter the Slytherin’s common room and dorm and came to see Wonjin in the morning or sometimes late in the evening. It never let anyone else pet it though, always running off or hiding behind Wonjin, so his housemates got used to it. Minhee and Hyeop had once asked him if it had a name but Wonjin had just shaken his head. He never gave it a name. 

He didn’t feel the need to - there was an uncanny intelligence in the glowing eyes of the feline whenever he spoke to it. As if it understood every word he said. It was a bit strange, but it would’ve felt like a degradation to name a creature of the intelligence just for convenience’ sake (and he didn’t really have ideas either). So cat it was.

The animals behaviour had continued to confuse him. It had appeared during his third year and his housemates and some of his older friends had seen it, as it was often around Wonjin when he had some free time, especially when he was by himself. But his best friend was one of the few who had never seen it.

Hyeongjun loved to complain about that fact. The Hufflepuff loved cats or any cute animal at that, so when Wonjin had told him about the cat for the first time, he had been excited and demanded to meet it. But it never came to pass.

Whenever the cat was around, Wonjin was either not with Hyeongjun or the animal refused to go anywhere with him. He couldn’t just pick it up and carry it without insulting the feline (he had tried once - it didn’t end too well), and no one knew where Hyeongjun was when he was with the cat. It was frustrating but his friend had accepted it at some point.

“Maybe it just doesn’t like me the way I like it. Cats are sensitive and they stay away from people they don’t like after all,” he had said with a dejected tone and sad smile. Wonjin had protested loudly at that.

“No, it also refuses to be touched by anyone else! I don’t even know why it comes to me all the time! I’m sure if it actually met you, it would love you!” he had rambled out, hands gesturing wildly, voice getting louder. Hyeongjun had smiled a bit at that and patted Wonjin’s arm, claiming it was okay.

So even now, two years later at the beginning of fifth year, the cat and Hyeongjun hadn’t met. However, Wonjin, Hyeongjun and the cat had some kind of morning routine, at least on weekends. The cat would sneak into the Slytherin dorm and jump on Wonjin to wake him, cuddling up to him for a bit before he got up to get ready for the day.

Whenever he returned from the bathroom, the cat was already gone so he started to make his way towards the Great Hall, scanning the Hufflepuff table for his friend's face. Sometimes Hyeongjun was already there and waved at him to take the spot he had kept empty for him, sometimes it was the other way round. 

The only change in this routine was towards the end of their fourth year when Wonjin had walked into the common room on his way to breakfast to see the cat hadn’t left yet. Instead it was sitting on a sofa - or more specifically on a person’s lap on the sofa. Wonjin had been incredibly surprised and slowly approached the sofa. He recognised the boy as Dohyun, an energetic and slightly shy third year at the time. He was quietly talking to the cat.

“...really glad you stayed with me there. It was a bit scary, you know. If I had been alone I had probably freaked out.” Wonjin saw the cat rub its head against Dohyun’s hand and the younger boy smiled before he looked up.

“Oh, eh, good morning hyung!” he hurriedly said, surprised at the other’s presence. The cat fixed Wonjin in a stare before hopping off Dohyun’s lap, circling Wonjin’s legs for a moment and then leaving towards the exit. Wonjin looked at Dohyun with a small smile.

“Impressive, I’ve never seen anyone else who could touch it,” he said. The younger flushed and lowered his head. 

“I got lost in the older part of the dungeons a few days ago and it found me and brought me back out,” he whispered, a light flush adorning his cheeks. Wonjin nodded in sympathy - the old part of the dungeons was incredibly confusing and like a labyrinth. He had gotten lost in there once too, had only found out due to Hyeongjun’s incredible sense of direction. Without his friend, he would’ve been stuck in there.

Same friend grabbed the bread basket from his hands and sat down next to him, effectively ripping him out of thought. He sent a smile and a happy morning greeting to the boys around them and grabbed a roll from the basket before handing it over to Seungyeon. 

“Thank god, you’re a saviour, Hyeongjunnie!” the seventh year said dramatically. “Wonjin was holding the basket for the last 5 minutes, I wasn’t sure if he was turning into a statue!” 

Wonjin spluttered at that and Hyeongjun giggled next to him as he watched a light yellow streak appear in Seungyeon’s hair, vanishing seconds after. He must’ve zoned out completely before the Hufflepuff had arrived here. An arm nudged his side.

“What’s with Minnie?” his younger friend asked and pointed towards the pile of pity that was their friend, by now nursing his fourth cup of coffee. 

“He was woken up by the cat jumping on his face this morning. He’s been really grumpy and Hyeop had to drag him over here from the Ravenclaw table when he got snarky,” he explained. Hyeongjun giggled again and stretched his arm across the table to pat their friends head. Minhee lifted his face from his arms and looked at Hyeongjun slightly more awake than ten minutes ago and with a small smile.

“Junnie, you are the only joyful thing I have encountered this morning!” he claimed sleepily. Wonjin got where he was coming from: Hyeongjun was adorable. Tiny, with cherubic features, curly brown hair and a sweet nature. He was like a little angel with the personality of a puppy. He often felt the urge to pinch his cute cheeks or just cuddle his friend (which he did occasionally); he could definitely understand Minhee’s sentiment.

An arm nudged his side and he looked over to Seungyeon on his other side. The older leaned towards him with a cheeky grin.

“I can practically feel how whipped you are from here; dial it down on the heart eyes a bit if you don’t want him to notice, lover boy,” he whispered into his ear. Wonjin felt heat creep up on his face as he looked at his housemate with wide eyes. Had he been that obvious? Seungyeon winked at him and turned back to his conversation with Hangyul.

Wonjin looked back over at Hyeongjun who had started feeding pieces of his roll to Minhee who happily complied. It was sweet of him, as he knew Minhee would skip breakfast most days in favour of coffee. It was so typical of his friend to be not only the cutest person ever but also to be thoughtful and consider other people’s feelings and read their emotions and…

Wonjin stopped his train of thought; no wonder Seungyeon said he was obvious. He really was whipped. He had accepted his crush on his friend a while ago, friendly feelings having slowly turned towards a romantic interest but he couldn’t just bother the other with it. This was his problem and he feared Hyeongjun might try to give him some space to get over it if he told him.

This was a risk, however, he wasn’t willing to take. He’d rather have his feeling unrequited and the younger around him, unaware of his emotions, than Hyeongjun trying to be considerate about it and possibly overthinking their interaction. Because above anything else, he was his best friend. And he wasn’t willing to risk their friendship.

“Guys, did you finish the homework for History of Magic already?” Hyeop asked them suddenly. Wonjin and Hyeongjun shook their heads and Minhee shot up from the table. 

“We had homework?” he asked, expression baffled. Hyeop looked at him with a deadpan expression before turning his attention towards the other two. 

“Do you wanna meet up in the library to do it?” he asked. Wonjin nodded immediately - he had no clue where to start on that assignment and would probably need help anyway. Group Work had saved his sorry ass several times when it came to History of Magic. Hyeongjun agreed too and Minhee nodded frantically. 

“Then we should probably get going - the earlier we finish, the more time we have in the afternoon,” Hyeop said and got up from his chair, pulling Minhee up by his collar. “Let’s get our stuff!” 

He started walking towards the doors, followed by the others as they went to their respective common rooms to grab their bags and reunite in the entrance hall (Hyeongjun was a Hufflepuff after all) before making their way to the library.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Minkyu lifted his head when he heard a familiar giggle. He was seated in the main study area of the library, close to the windows, and had been here since the library had opened at 8AM. Sleep had evaded him this morning and he had been feeling tired for the past week, probably due to stress. His prefect duties had been keeping him occupied a lot this shortly before Halloween.

He had been constantly fixing the result of a prank that was currently going around - a rather smelly prank he didn’t want to think about right now - and the workload of the fifth years had been nothing to sneeze at either. 

Diligent as he was, he had tried to keep up with everything and have a stern talk with the supposed instigators of the prank, but he hadn’t really succeeded at the latter. He was a more soft-spoken person and people didn’t really take his authority seriously. So when he had inquired who was behind the prank, no one had given up any names. He had a hunch who’s doing it was but he didn’t have proof. 

One of his classmates had even joked that without using his inherited powers he couldn’t get anything he wanted. Minkyu had felt dejected at that and ignored the comment but he could hear the snickers. The person probably didn’t mean any harm by it but it still bothered the Hufflepuff. His family had had Veela blood in their line for a few generations by now, which explained both their good looks and people’s readiness to assist them if they really wanted them too. 

Minkyu always felt embarrassed at that. He understood why people liked his face (it was genetic after all) but he didn’t want to be reduced to that. He had never used his persuasion powers, rather suppressing them and doing his best. His closer friends knew about that but many people still joked about it. 

He wasn’t especially talented or always top of his class. But he was hardworking to get everything out of his own abilities, even if it was almost too much sometimes.

The giggle re-focussed his attention again: a table across the area was occupied by four students - three Slytherins and a Hufflepuff, all of them familiar faces - and the small Hufflepuff, Hyeongjun, had just giggled. Wonjin, the taller boy with the wavy black hair next to him, had just dropped his head on his textbook and was whining about something Minkyu couldn’t understand. The two Slytherin boys opposite of them watched with obvious amusement when the small boy leaned his body against the whining boy, nuzzling his shoulder a bit and wrapping an arm around his shoulders until he stopped whining. 

When the taller boy straightened up again, the Hufflepuff looked up and saw Minkyu. He flashed a smile, lifted his hand and waved. Minkyu waved back shyly when the other three greeted him too. He knew all of them - Hyeongjun was from his house after all and the three Slytherin boys were friendly and close friends of his. Especially Wonjin he was familiar with, as the Slytherin was Hyeongjun’s closest friend and a frequent visitor at their common room too.

The boys turned back at their homework and Hyeongjun pulled the book closer to himself, pointing at some things on the page. Wonjin leaned closer, his hand placed on the back rest of the smaller’s chair and their heads almost touching. Minkyu felt a pang of jealousy and quickly looked back at his own notes. Deciding he couldn’t concentrate, he packed them away and got up from his chair, walking quickly towards the door. The room suddenly felt stuffy and he needed some air.

His feet carried him down the hallways and up the stairs until he came to a stop in front of a wooden door leading to one of the small towers that were scattered all across the upper floors of the castle. He opened it and climbed up the narrow spiral staircase until he reached the top of the tower. He looked into the small room with pillows and blankets strewn all over the floor. It was empty as expected.

He sat down in the corner and wrapped a blanket around his shoulders, pulled his knees to his chest and leaned his forehead against them. Great, he was getting emotional. It must be the lack of sleep. He felt tears threaten to roll down and angrily shook his head. He wouldn’t cry because of a bad day, because of some… jealousy.

Because that’s what it was, what he felt. He was incredibly jealous. And it made him feel horrible. But he couldn’t help it, he was in way too deep. Hyeongjun was one of his closest friends and he really liked Wonjin, but he had been crushing on his younger housemate for a long time now. That in itself was not too bad, considering how kind Hyeongjun was and how they spent a lot of time together. Minkyu might have built up the courage to confess to him if it wasn’t for one thing: Wonjin.

One evening about a year ago, Hyeongjun had confided in him about his feelings towards his best friend and Minkyu had patiently listened and encouraged the younger. Because that was his duty as a friend and he wanted him to be happy. He wasn’t blind either - the two friends fit together perfectly and there was so much affection between them, he was surprised sometimes how they weren’t dating already. 

But after Hyeongjun had gone to bed, Minkyu had come here, to his little tower. He had sat down on the pillows and stared blankly at the wall until he felt tears roll over his cheeks. He hadn’t been surprised about what the younger had told him but it still hurt. But he didn’t show any of it outside this tower. Just like he did now.

“Bad day, hmm?” a voice asked next to him and an arm wrapped around his shoulders with a small body pressing into his side. He leaned into the embrace and breathed deeply. He must have overheard anyone entering, but only one other person came here apart from him. Dongpyo hummed and rocked them from side to side slowly, stroking his hair with his other hand. 

“You can feel jealous, you know?” he said. “It doesn’t make you a bad person. Seungsik-hyung told me to express my emotions to avoid them piling up and dragging me down. Maybe you should do that too.” 

Minkyu hummed noncommittal - emotions could be dangerous with Veela blood. Plus, he would be burdening people around him. He rather felt the knot in his chest, even though it sometimes felt suffocating.

“I know you probably won’t listen to me.” Dongpyo sighed, his lisp more apparent when he spoke quietly but there was no accusation in his words. 

They had met here last year, Dongpyo stumbling in on Minkyu sitting in the cold and empty tower and joining him, asking what was wrong. He didn’t really know the younger, had only seen him in passing in the hallways. When Minkyu hadn’t replied, Dongpyo had just said that if he didn’t want to tell him, it was fine and he would just tell him about his frustrations instead. 

He had started ranting about things that annoyed him, ranging from homework assignments to how he often became the victim to pranks by one of his housemates. He even complained about two of his older friends who had just become a couple, saying they were like a domestic old married couple, but the obvious fondness in his voice had made Minkyu chuckle. 

Eventually Dongpyo had gotten up and said he needed to go, a happy smile painting his lips. He had patted Minkyu’s shoulder and left. When Minkyu had come to his tower two days later, he had been surprised by the various pillows strewn all over the floor and Dongpyo with a book in his lap in the corner. He had looked up at him, patting the pillow next to him and asked him about his day. And something had snapped in Minkyu like a rubber band holding everything back and he had sat down and just poured everything out at Dongpyo.

The other had put his book down, nodding and humming along to his words, taking everything in. When he was done he had leaned back against the pillows feeling incredibly drained. But a good kind of drained, as if a lot of negativity had left him. Dongpyo had commented on a few things and accepted everything without any judgement.

It had become their habit to meet up here and release pent up emotions, mostly Dongpyo though. Occasionally Minkyu would let out some of his thoughts and worries too but not too often. He told Dongpyo about his day instead and the other picked up easily on the bits that bothered him and started ranting. It was almost like an outlet through a different person and the knot in his chest seemed to loosen up a bit.

And if he didn’t want to talk, Dongpyo would just hug him and comfort him. Minkyu didn’t know why the younger had decided to be his friend but he sure was glad about it. Moments like these brightened up his day, and this particular day had started badly, but it was getting better.

Dongpyo leaned back against the wall and started talking about how he was a bit worried about Seungwoo - the older seemed to miss his boyfriend quite a bit - and complained about how ‘Yohan’s whipped ass should get his shit together and stop mooning over Junho’. 

Minkyu had to snort at that. Dongpyo was definitely right: the only people who didn’t seem to know how Yohan and Junho were absolutely in love with each other were Yohan and Junho. Dongpyo had even told him about the bets he had with Byungchan and Jinhyuk about who would make the first move, but with a strict no-involvement policy from their side. These two needed to figure it out themselves. 

The news about Seungwoo made him thoughtful. The older prefect had been a great help and had tried to ease Minkyu into his prefect duties, kind and supportive as always. Maybe he should try to give him some space to ease his worries if he was already missing Seungsik… Minkyu decided to try his best without bothering Seungwoo and nodded slightly before tuning in on Dongpyo ranting again.

His arms tightened around the younger’s waist a bit. He felt safe. The knot loosened a bit again.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Jungmo was a rather complacent person. He wasn’t surprised easily either and just took things as they came. He had been, however, surprised twice today. And by the same person at that.

When he had gotten up this morning, he had been planning on a relaxed breakfast with a trip to the common room after to finish his book before heading to the library. Getting up had been an easy task - his morning routine so ingrained in his body he didn’t need an alarm anymore - and he had only stopped to throw the blanket back over Yunseong’s chaotic sleeping form before he left the dorm room. Really, the boy looked like he didn’t have bones at all, the way he was stretched out, limbs in weird positions and mouth open, some drool on his cheek. 

Wooseok was already in the common room, curled up on the sofa with a book on his lap and round glasses perched on the tip of his nose. He looked absolutely adorable but Jungmo had to suppress a laugh when he saw his face from a closer distance: the other was so focussed he had gone a little cross-eyed. A snort behind him broke the silence and attracted Wooseok’s attention.

Eunsang and Junho had just come down the stairs, probably heading to breakfast too. Junho looked as indifferent as every morning before he got his daily dose of energy and Eunsang was surprisingly energetic, considering he usually stayed up late. Wooseok pushed up his glasses and raised an eyebrow at him.

“You looked like Heidi Glubsch right now, Wooseok!” Eunsang sang and skipped towards the sofa, leaning over the backrest into Wooseok’s personal space. 

“What’s that?” Jungmo asked curiously, glancing at Junho who just shrugged. Eunsang grinned innocently.

“A very cute animal that lived in a muggle zoo! The resemblance really was uncanny right now!” he continued and tried to ruffle the older boy’s hair but Wooseok whacked him in the head with his book. 

“If you say so.” he sighed and reopened his book. “Now bugger off and let me read in peace,” he said over Eunsang’s whining and patted the younger’s head.

Junho approached the sofa and grabbed Eunsang’s shoulders to steer him towards the door and Jungmo followed them. Their trip down to the Great Hall went by in comfortable silence and they had only sat at their table for a few minutes when the unfamiliar boy had dropped onto the chair next to Junho. 

Jungmo had been a bit stunned by this but Eunsang and Junho were completely unfazed by the other’s grumpy behaviour. When the other had glared at them, Jungmo had raised his eyebrows but still the boys remained calm about it. This was either an elaborate joke or some serious headassery on side of the boy - Minhee, as he found out through Eunsang’s strange praise. 

What really had made him a bit mad was the boy’s disrespectful reaction to his question - especially because they didn’t know each other - and he had felt a bit relieved when the other boy’s friend had appeared and dragged him over to his house table.

So he had been a Slytherin. A tired, unfriendly, bratty, whiny Slytherin. With a somewhat cute pout. Not that it matter, but Jungmo had hidden his smile at the other’s adorable and desperate expression when he had been forced to leave his coffee behind. Junho and Eunsang had reassured him that he shouldn't be bothered by Minhee’s behaviour and that it hadn’t been anything personal. But Jungmo had still felt confused about the encounter. 

He had followed his plan anyhow, returning to the common room to finish his book and joining Wooseok on the sofa he was still on. They had sat at the opposite ends of it, reading quietly until Sejin had joined them in an armchair and stared off into space for a while.

Wooseok had closed his book after five minutes and looked at his friend, raising an eyebrow. Sejin had just looked at him, an obvious question in his eyes, before his eyes had flitted to Jungmo and then back at the headboy. Wooseok had rolled his eyes at that and looked at Jungmo who was extremely confused by the exchange.

“Sejin wants to ask you if you know how Tony is doing,” he had said with some exasperation in his voice. Jungmo had felt taken aback by the question and looked back at Sejin who had just nodded with a slightly embarrassed expression on his face. 

“Fine? I guess?” he had replied hesitantly. “I mean I don’t have too many classes with him, but the few times I spoke to him he was doing well. I think he gets along with Seungwoo really well and this Chinese boy, Wei Zhi Yue. So yeah, that’s what I know...”

Wooseok had snorted at this, mumbling something about Seungwoo adopting every confused child in his reach and Sejin had nodded at Jungmo and pulled out a book from god knew where. Jungmo was convinced the other had used an Extension charm on his robes with all the books he always seemed to carry with him.

Jungmo had just stayed there with them until they all headed to lunch for a quick snack and each went their own way. Jungmo had gone to the library to study and do homework in his favourite corner hidden in the charms section. He was up to date with most of his work, which worked in his favour, and so he had decided to just take his time and work through his older notes for now. 

He had been working for approximately two hours when someone knocked on the bookshelf hiding the table from view and Jungmo looked up. It was the boy from this morning, Minhee, who peaked around the shelf shyly. 

“Excuse me?” he said quietly. “I really don’t want to disturb you but…”

He stepped out from behind the shelf and Jungmo saw how he had his hands clasped in front of him nervously wringing them. His eyes flitted around nervously, his black hair falling into them before he finally focused on Jungmo.

“I… want to apologise for my behaviour this morning,” he said quietly but with a determined tone. “I was disrespectful and unfriendly and I know that’s not how I should behave.” 

Jungmo’s eyebrows shot up at that. He hadn’t expected this from the younger at all. 

“I know it’s a bad excuse, but I really don’t function well in the morning which is why my friends always just ignore me until I have some caffeine in my system. I swear, it was never my intention to insult you or anything, I was just in a really bad mood this morning because the cat jumped at my face and I fell out of bed and I was just tired.” He stopped his rant with a deep breath and looked up at Jungmo with a slight blush colouring his cheeks, taking a small step forward and locking eyes with Jungmo.

“So what I wanna say is: I’m sorry. I can’t promise I won’t be grumpy again but I’ll try to behave myself better - not just around you but in general,” he spoke calmly, keeping their eye contact. Jungmo nodded slowly at his words. 

“That’s... fine,” he replied and leaned back in his chair, a small smile on his lips. 

“I didn’t expect you to come to me and apologise. For you to explain yourself and to try and better yourself - that’s a good trait in a person. And I’m not gonna lie: after this morning I thought you were a real brat. But you proved me wrong.” 

His smile was full blown now and Minhee’s ears had gotten deep red.

“So I accept your apology. It’s alright, Minhee.” The younger visibly brightened at this and let out a breath he must have been holding, his stance relaxing.  

“Thank you,” he breathed out with a wide smile. “I’m gonna leave you to your studying then. Thanks for your time.”

He turned around with a small nod which Jungmo answered in turn and went to leave when the older remembered something he had asked himself. 

“How did you find me here?” he asked curiously. Minhee stopped and looked over his shoulder. 

“Not many know this study corner, so I was just wondering,” he elaborated.

“Oh that! I was just looking for a specific book from this shelf but it wasn’t here. That’s when I saw you.” Jungmo nodded and Minhee turned around again after waving at him. His steps echoed in the quiet library and Jungmo looked back down at his work. 

“Wait a minute,” he whispered suddenly and looked at the spot where Minhee had been. The shelf hiding his nook was filled with Iranian love charms that were impossible to pronounce - a subject that was definitely not taught in Hogwarts. No one came here to look for a book. Only if they had a purpose, apart from unusable spells.   

Chapter Text

 

“Alright, guys this was wonderful! Great work and I expect you to be just as good tomorrow evening. Have a short break and then we’ll go over everything from the beginning, okay?” Sejeong called through the large room. 

The students lined up before her started shuffling around and went to the long table on the side. Since Sejeong had tattled about practise to the house elfs, the sweet creatures had started preparing tea and biscuits in the practise hall for the choir. It hadn’t been Sejeong’s intention to get free food out of it but both her and the students had been happy. Nothing soothes a sore throat like a nice warm cup of tea. 

“Professor? Would you like a cup too?” a sweet voice asked next to Sejeong. She turned and looked at the girl holding out a cup to her. The house elfs really were amazing - they even sent her favourite china. Thin and light bone china, white, with just a tiny ring of flowers around the outer part of the saucer and the rim of the cup. Irises and lilies curling around each other and the fine china. Call her picky but she loved this particular design. 

“Thank you, Haeyoon. Your voice sounded great today, did you practise a lot?” Sejeong asked after accepting the cup from her 5th year and waving a hand. A second cup came flying for Haeyoon and the girl grabbed it from the air.

“I did, a bit at least. If I had the time to practise more, I would,” she said with a smile. Sejeong sighed inwardly and smiled back. The girl was extremely talented with a powerful and emotional voice, suited so well for ballads and soulfoul music and she loved singing. 

“Just don’t overdo it, okay?” she replied. “It’s getting cold and we all need to be mindful of our voices and our health. Don’t strain your voice too much and be sure to keep yourself warm and well-hydrated, everyone!”

She directed the second part at all her students with a raised voice and received a chorus of replies and acknowledgments to her words before she turned back to Haeyoon. The girl seemed a bit troubled and unsure about something as she bit her lip and her eyes flitted around the room. Sejeong decided to wait and let her build up the courage to say whatever she had that weighed her down. Eventually, Haeyoon took a sip of tea and a deep breath after before looking Sejeong in the eyes. 

“I also wanted to ask if you have decided who of the boys will sing the solo part yet. I have practised my part with both Yuvin and Sunhwan, and I get along with both of them on their own but together they are…” she trailed off, eyes averted again and raised her tea cup to her lips. A slightly suffering expression appeared on her face and Sejeong couldn’t help but chuckle. 

“I’m pretty sure I know what you mean,” she said and took another sip of tea. “I’ll talk to them and let them know soon, promise.” 

Haeyoon nodded with a thanks and returned to her friends, entering their chatter effortlessly. Sejeong let her eyes wander over her students until she looked to her right. On the previously empty table, she was leaned against, a cat sat. Beautiful with almost white fur and leopard-like markings in it, the animal exuded a grace and elegance no human could hope to achieve. She, too, was watching the students from dark grey eyes before she looked up at Sejeong. A tiny witch hat, perched on her head and covering one of her ears, hung precariously to the side before it righted itself. 

“So you kept it on, after all,” Sejeong said quietly and the cat met her gaze unblinkingly. The herbology professor could practically feel the raised eyebrow from the feline next to her and smiled cheekily in response. 

“It suits you.” The cats tail twitched from where it was neatly laid around her feet and it looked away at the students and then at the piano. Sejeong followed its gaze and remembered she still had a choir practise to finish. She drank the last of her tea and set the cup and saucer down next to the cat before calling for her students to get back to practise. 

A lot of shuffling followed before everyone was in position and a few greeted the cat on the table when they passed her. Eventually, Sejeong had her orderly lines before her and started practise again. They went through the songs they had practised for Halloween again before moving on to the first Christmas song of the year. A beautiful ballad Sejeong had not been able to resist after hearing it. It told the story of a person who found love and through it could leave their insecurities behind and start on a happier path. 

She had given a solo part in the last bit to Haeyoon, her sweet voice fitting it perfectly, followed by harmonies of a second person that was supposed to come in leading to a vocal climax, before the choir took over again. She had needed a powerful voice and decided on two boys for now that shared the needed abilities and vocal ranges as Haeyoon to support her. They were, however, extremely competitive with each other. It was almost impossible to have them sing the same song without them trying to outsing the other and drowning out everything else. It was extremely frustrating for Sejeong to look at as they were both very good - but they lacked the ability to work together. 

For today, she decided to only go over the chorus and the first verse again before she called an end to practise after 45 minutes. Two hours of practise were hard, even with a tea break, and her students deserved some more time to relax - especially on a friday afternoon. The students collected their bags and sheet music before they started trickling out of the room.

Sejeong had leaned against the table next to the cat again and nursed another cup of tea - it had luckily refilled when she picked it up. Now there was only waiting left until the students were gone and she could lock the door and go to her favourite place. The robes of the last student had vanished around the corner when small pale hands grabbed the cup from the saucer and brought it to the person’s lips. 

“You could have had your own, you know,” Sejeong directed at the woman next to her. Instead of the cat, a witch in long dark blue robes looked up at her. She was a few centimetres smaller than Sejeong, with large eyes, long blonde hair and beautiful features. A black witch hat was perched lopsided on her head, hair in a long ponytail down her back. 

“But I wanted yours,” she said and smiled smugly. Sejeong shook her head and waved her hand towards the room: the flames in the fireplace dimmed, the piano shut itself and the china the students had left vanished back to the kitchens, including the cup in the other woman’s hands.

“Practise went quite well, didn’t it?” she asked. The blonde witch nodded and folded her arms in front of her chest. 

“It did,” she agreed. “But they seemed a bit nervous to me, they kept glancing around.” 

Sejeong snorted. “Well, maybe because their Transfiguration teacher, the almighty Kim Chungha, was watching them in her most judging form.”

Chungha spluttered at that. “Don’t call me that!” she cried, waving her hands dramatically. “I am not judging as a cat!”

Sejeong raised an eyebrow at her. “Have you ever seen yourself?” She started walking towards the door with Chungha behind her. “You are somewhat intimidating. And of course they wouldn’t know you’re a softie and a sucker for neck scratchies, right?” 

The impish smile Sejeong threw at her with the words made Chungha blush in a light pink and she stayed silent until Sejeong had locked the door and turned to look at her - pouting.

“Don’t look at me like that, you know it’s true,” she said with a smile and waited for the other to follow her before she took off down the corridors. 

“Why were you at practise anyway?” she asked. “You usually never come.” 

Chungha caught up and walked next to the taller herbology teacher. 

“I finished grading earlier than I thought and wanted to pick you up,” she replied. “Some did really well but with some… I don’t know what is going on in the heads of some fifth years.” 

Sejeong nodded and hummed. “They’re not stupid,” Chungha continued, “but they obviously didn’t get what I was trying to teach them. I can’t be doing everything wrong when about 90% of the class is doing well to very good, but sometimes I feel like I failed as a teacher.”

She started walking closer to Sejeong, their shoulders bumping as they turned corners and descended the Grand Staircase.

“Maybe they could get tutoring from one of the sixth years?” Sejeong suggested. “They are a bit less busy than the 7th years and some might be willing to help.” 

Chungha hummed in acknowledgment. “I’ll think about it. The kid, I’m concerned about, is smart but thinks in curious ways. He actually studies a lot but it doesn't pay off most of the time. Plus, he appears to be quite headstrong. I don’t want him to feel like I’m undermining his efforts or something.”

Sejeong nodded and headed towards the main doors and onto the grounds. It was windy and the sun was moving in a downward ark towards the Forbidden Forest. She directed her steps  towards the greenhouses as her mind whirled around. Chungha stayed next to her, worry practically oozing from her. When they arrived at the Greenhouse door, it hit Sejeong and she turned to Chungha. 

“Go for the guide approach,” she said excitedly. Chungha looked at her confusedly. 

“The what?” she said. Sejeong just grabbed her hand and started pulling her through the warmth of the greenhouse and past plants. Within steps they were surrounded by the humid air, ladden with earthy musk and a smell which could only be described as green. A slight hum could be heard from some plants and the occasional insect buzzing through. A cloud of blue butterflies flew up and swarmed around them as Sejeong pulled Chungha further into the depths of the seemingly never ending house until they reached a small wooden door. 

She pushed it open and entered their sanctuary. Instead of taking up one of the teacher quarters in the castle, she had decided on living here. As part fae, she needed the closeness to plants and living, breathing earth around her. Luckily the small room at the end of one of the houses could be charmed to become a whole flat, fitting two people.

Sejeong had been incredibly happy when Chungha and her had not just started at Hogwarts together, but Chungha also decided to forego the teacher quarters and live with Sejeong. Most of the time at least. She was Ravenclaw’s head of house after all, so she sometimes stayed in the castle if it got too late. But she always sent one of the blue butterflies to let Sejeong know.

For now, she just felt a lot of confusion in her when Sejeong practically skipped to the bookshelf, they had on one half of their living room, pulling out a small booklet before plopping down on the spacious sofa next to Chungha. 

“Here,” she said. “Read it later. For now I need….” She trailed off and looked around but smiled when she saw the approaching wine glasses. Chungha had already summoned them. 

“You read my thoughts, darling,” she said flirtily and grabbed the glasses, handing one to her girlfriend. Chungha took it and clinked their glasses against each other. 

“I think we both deserved it,” she said matter of factly. Sejeong nodded and took a sip before she leaned back and pulled her feet up on the sofa. She had discarded her shoes at the door and was now pulling a blanket over her socked feet, extending the other end to Chungha who took it. They sat facing each other, leaned against the back of the sofa with their wine in hands. 

“Tomorrow’s Halloween,” Sejeong said. “Remember what happened last year?” 

A smile kept on the animagus’ face. “I do. The great chaos of Jisung’s pumpkins breaking out into breakdance and spewing candle wax everywhere was marvellous.” 

Sejeong started laughing at the memory too. It had been a bit of a bother to clean everything up afterwards, but it had been a lot of fun. Especially when some students started dancing with the pumpkins and Daniel started a dance battle. Their poor headmaster had looked somewhere between worried and amused, shooting glances at nurse Kim Sun all the time. She, on the other hand, hadn’t even looked at him and laughed at the spectacle. 

“You know….” Chungha continued and Sejeong directed her attention back to the other woman. “Halloween time reminds me of love and confessions,” she said, snickering. 

Sejeong took a sip of her wine and raised an eyebrow. “Why so?” 

“I don’t think I have told you yet but I was part of one of your favourite students' confession.” 

Sejeong almost spat her wine back out. 

“You what?” she coughed, eyes wide and a comical expression of disbelief on her face. Chungha snickered. 

“I helped with the confession. They needed permission to be on one of the towers that night close to halloween and the planning for the whole thing involved a trip through basically the whole castle and part of the grounds. So I just agreed to help on the condition to be stationed outside. Yeah, and you know how that ended…” 

Sejeong nodded, interest shining in her eyes. Then she furrowed her brows. 

“Yeah I know. But,” she began, “isn’t it weird to have a teacher aid a confession?” Chungha chuckled and waved for the bottle to refill her glass.

“It would be,” she replied, “if the student in question hadn’t somehow failed to notice that I am an animagus since first year…”

Sejeong threw her head back and started laughing and Chungha joined her easily. They calmed down after a while before Sejeong looked a bit serious again.

“Speaking about unnoticed - how’s your pupil doing?” she asked. Chungha looked down at her lap and a fond smile grazed her features. 

“It’s… going surprisingly well. We’ve gone into acceptance and behaviourism a bit more and I think there’s been a lot of progress. And making friends with a slightly similar situation helped too, I think. So yeah… and still undiscovered.” 

Sejeong nodded and reached out to take Chungha’s hand. Her thumb rubbed softly over the other’s knuckles and she searched her gaze until she found it. The soft expression on her face was illuminated by the candle light around her. She looked almost ethereal in the light. 

“You’re doing amazing,” she said. “To be able to get someone there and have them make friends - open up about it. You are such an amazing witch and person. I can’t say that often enough.”

Chungha let go of her glass, which stayed afloat and Sejeong did the same when the smaller woman came closer and cuddled into her, face against the crook of her neck. Sejeong embraced her and buried her nose in Chungha’s hair, feeling the warmth she radiated and revelling in it.

“I really do love you,” Chungha mumbled against her skin and Sejeong chuckled, pressing a kiss against the other’s forehead. She felt lips morph into a smile against her neck and pressed another kiss on the crown of the animagus’ head. 

They stayed silent for a while and Chungha immersed herself in Sejeong’s scent; it reminded her of the day they had sat at a small stream in the woods in France, the weeping willow that spread its long branches over them dipping into the water. A field of flowers had surrounded them, their scent carried over the meadow and water by the gentle breeze blowing around them. A light petrichor had still been hanging in the air after the shower of the afternoon, the willow offering them a place to stay. All of this was captured in Sejeong’s odour which became Chungha’s favorite scent; it was her epitome of comfort, bliss and love. 

Suddenly she was reminded of something which made her lift her head from Sejeong’s shoulder to peer up to her.

“By the way, what was that smell permeating the air today?” she asked. A rather strange combination of odours had drifted around the castle today and Chungha’s sensitive cat nose had not been happy. Hence human form had been necessary for most of the day. 

“Some prank by the chaos duo,” Sejeong replied. “What do they call themselves again?”

“Hwang Yunseong and Keum Donghyun. HwangKeum - GoldenChemi I think,” Chungha said, some amused dread in her voice. “Dear god, what are they up to now?”

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Yoojung had been sitting at her desk peacefully, reading through a new study on Dementor repellent spells without the need of a patronus when the door opened behind her with a deafening screech. Steps approached her slowly and a tall figure slumped over her small form seated in the chair. A face buried itself in her neck and long black hair fell down her chest from the other person's head.

Yoojung reached over her papers and grabbed a piece of chocolate from where the opened bar was laying on top of a book about merfolk. The chocolate was her favourite, filled with a soft and creamy core of nougat. And she knew another person that was rather fond of the treat too.

"Here you go," she said and held the chocolate up to the figure which lifted its head and took the chocolate from her hands with its mouth before it resumed its previous position. 

"What's with you today?" Yoojung asked curiously and turned her head to get a look at her wife. Doyeon looked beat as if she had been running around and stressed out all day. Yoojung couldn't see much because of the position, but she felt how Doyeon's eyelashes fluttered against her neck when she opened her eyes and looked at her.

"I. Am. So. Done!" she whined with a childish tone and wrapped her arms around Yoojung, smothering her in an embrace. Doyeon had a tendency to be a bit dramatic (it was part of her Veela blood, but mainly her personality) but Yoojung was used to it. She chuckled and patted her still whining wife's arm. 

"Sofa?" she asked. Doyeon nodded and dragged Yoojung up from her chair before trudging to the sofa she had in the corner of her office. It was an old worn-down leather thing in a weird green colour (“Stylish!” Sejeong had called it. But that might only have been valid in the seventies). It was placed near the fireplace with a small table in front of it, carrying a stove, a steaming teapot and two cups. Yoojung had been prepared for Doyeon’s invasion if not for her mood. 

They both slumped on the sofa, Doyeon on top of a (only slightly) wheezing Yoojung, legs tangled and Doyeon’s head buried in Yoojung’s neck again. The smaller blew her bangs out of her face and started petting her wife’s hair. It was best to let Doyeon relax for a second before trying to make her talk - she’d blow up in an overload of emotional energy otherwise. It was an important detail Yoojung had noted down years ago when she learned how to deal with the Veela features of the beautiful woman in her arms.

Back during school times, Doyeon had been practically ruled by her emotions but through long training and careful cultivation of ‘emotional habits’ such as these the quarter Veela had been able to rule all her emotions into a healthy degree. She still needed her outlets but she had gotten more laid-back. And Yoojung had sworn to herself - back then - that she’d never leave her side and stand through everything with Doyeon. She had sworn the same again, a few years back, in front of an altar and in a different context. But she still carried the words with her, carved into the inside of the silver ring on her hand. 

A snort had her look down at her wife who started giggling in earnest now. 

“Your face is scrunched up in thought and you have a double chin in this position.” Doyeon gave her two cents on the situation. Yoojung whacked her lightly in the head and rolled her eyes.

“So what happened to have you in such a mood?” she asked, deeming it save now. Doyeon groaned and buried her face again before setting her chin on Yoojung’s clavicle. 

“I’ve been fixing smelly first years all day, my third years managed to produce exploding green goo, the fifth years learned to enchant a whole tea set to dance polka and the seventh years fell asleep on me.” Doyeon rattled off with a sigh. Yoojung winced at her recount.

Exploding green goo sounded like a mess to clean up and a real problem if you had some troublemakers in class who would produce it over and over again or start a goo fight. Dancing tea sets sounded fun but ended in shards and cuts way too often, especially, if the spell went wrong and the cups start vaulting instead of dancing. And the seventh years were practically always catching up on sleep, especially in revision lessons. Only the first part sounded strange. Yoojung zoned back in just to hear Doyeon still recount the tea sets.

“...and then the pot started beak fighting with another and the sugar cup egged them on. But the highlight was probably the twerking wine glass out of nowhere.” Yoojung snorted at the mental image. Chungha would probably have a stroke if her and Sejeong’s wine glasses started twerking. 

“That sounds wild,” she said and pressed a kiss to Doyeon’s nose who poked her chin in response. “But what about the smelly first years? Did they have something weird before?” she asked with a raised eyebrow. Doyeon looked at her with big eyes.

“Haven’t you noticed? Or heard the rumor?” she asked baffled. Yoojung shook her head and Doyeon sighed.

“There’s a rumor going around that there is a vampire in the north tower,” she explained. “Apparently he’s pale, tall, lanky with dark hair, large eyes and very quiet. Not seen often but you can find him there. Sound like anyone we know?” she ended in a sarcastic tone. 

Yoojung snickered - she knew exactly who was described. 

“What do they have against poor Jinyoung?” she asked incredulously. Bae Jinyoung was the school oracle. He worked with their teacher for divination, Lee Daehwi, but he was shy and not the most talkative person. He helped out in class but he rarely left the north tower where he and Daehwi had set up camp. He only came down for the bigger occasions and maybe the occasional dinner but it was rare. He wasn’t unfriendly - quite opposite actually - but he was introverted. 

“Nothing,” Doyeon continued. “But the first years don’t know him yet and someone is telling them that he is a vampire and will be down for Halloween. And that they need to wear a clove of garlic for protection. Whoever is spreading the rumor is even handing out garlic.” 

Yoojung couldn’t help but laugh. The image of a vampire was rather befitting but to trick unsuspecting first years into carrying garlic to fend him off with them made it even funnier. 

“So you had first years smelling of garlic all day?” she asked. Doyeon puffed out a breath and looked at her with an unimpressed expression.

“I wish,” she said in a deadpan tone, “but sadly no. The cloves are charmed.”

Yoojung felt a slight dread in her. 

“They are rigged and start leaking the most awful smells at some point. Everything from rotten eggs to old cabbage - it’s dreadful. And they leak colour so they end up with like hot pink spots on their robes and, of course, they come to their charms teacher to fix the mess.” Yoojung started laughing at the mixture of disgust and pain on Doyeon’s face who started hitting her shoulder instead.

“Stop laughing at my misery!” she wailed. “I have suffered!”

Her tone just fuelled Yoojung’s amusement and she pulled her disgruntled wife into a closer embrace when a knock at the door interrupted them. Doyeon sat up with a sigh, pushed a hand through her hair to right the strands and grabbed a cup from the table. Yoojung got up and went towards the door.

“Pour me one too, please,” she threw over her shoulder before she opened the door. A horrible smell of old fish hit her and she stared in shock at the tiny girl in front of her door. There was a bright purple speck of colour on the breast pocket of her robe and she was looking at her feet in a show of embarrassment. Yoojung steeled herself and put on a smile - this was one of her kids after all.

“How can I help you?” she asked kindly. The child wasn’t from her house and she was probably looking for her charms teacher. 

“I’m looking for Professor Kim Doyeon.” she whispered out. “Some older girls sent me here - they said she’d probably be here if she isn’t in her office.” 

Right. Doyeon was the charms Professor. And completely beat on her sofa. A quick look over her shoulder showed that Doyeon had fallen asleep with her head tipped back on the back of the sofa. Yoojung sighed inwardly and turned back to the girl with a kind expression.

“She’s occupied at the moment but I’m guessing this is about the garlic cloves?” she asked calmly. The girl flushed and nodded, positively flustered. Yoojung pulled out her wand and pointed it at the girl, mumbling a quick spell to extinguish the smell and erase the colour. 

“There, all done,” she said with a happy grin to cheer the girl up. “I can only tell you to not believe everything you hear in the future, okay?” 

The girl nodded with red cheeks but relieved. She thanked Yoojung and turned around to run back to her common room. Yoojung looked after her for a second before she closed the door and sat down on the sofa again. 

Doyeon was still knocked out when Yoojung approached her, but she shot up when the cushion’s moved underneath her and a snore got caught in her throat as she looked around drowsily. 

“I’m awake,” she said. Yoojung handed her the teacup and leaned back against the sofa. Doyeon looked to her and brushed a hand through the smaller woman’s hair before settling on her cheek. Yoojung leaned into her touch. Doyeon smiled and retreated her hand after a few heartbeats.

“By the way, how are the pumpkins doing?” she asked. Yoojung raised an eyebrow at her, amusement playing around her lips. 

“I knew you had a soft spot for the students, but pumpkins? Really?” she asked teasingly and Doyeon playfully swatted her hand at her. 

“No, you doofus!” she replied in a laugh. “Jisung’s pumpkins!”

 

.oO°Oo.

 

The pumpkins were doing well. So well that Jisung had tripped over an overly enthusiastic tendril that had wrapped around his foot when he left the woods. He pushed himself up from the mud and sighed. The little tendril uncurled from his ankle and retreated behind the large orange pumpkin it probably sprang from. Playful little things those were but he could never scold his beloved plants. They were too adorable and playful. 

He got to his knees and tried to stand up but his foot slid away in the gooey earth, the moment he tried to put his weight on it. The field was a slippery mess and he was right in the middle. He sighed again and looked around.

“Alright, come on. Help me up please!” he called. At first nothing seemed to happen but then it rustled in the leaves of the closest pumpkins. A tiny face appeared, dark, almost bark coloured skin and hair resembling long grass strands. The dark green strands floated behind the tiny humanoid creature as it climbed onto a large leaf. It’s body was covered in a dress-like gown made from leaves, carefully stitched together and enchanted to last longer. It’s tiny features showed mischievousness, amusement and intelligence, twinkling eyes in the colour of autumn leaves flitting over Jisung in the mud. A pointy nose and small mouth were crinkled as the creature sat on the pumpkin cross legged and looked about. 

“I know, I’m always a joy to look at but please?” Jisung implored. “It’s cold, wet, I’m almost late for tea and I just talked to fifteen of the bat colonies to join us for the Halloween dinner. I really want to get out of the cold and into the warmth.”

He hoped his pleading convinced the autumn pixie. They were amicable fellows and always came to live in his pumpkin field but they could be a bit teasing at times. Hopefully this was a good day and they’d help him up. He really didn’t want to crawl through the entire field - especially uphill.

The pixie looked at him with a lifted eyebrow and glanced to the school. Jisung was glad that she was so close, otherwise he’d have missed that. And he knew what she was asking.

”I guess Liatra didn’t tell everyone yet,” he said to the pixie. “I spoke to headmaster Dongwook and he would be happy to have you with us on Halloween again.” 

A happy smile spread across the face of the pixie and she seemed to glow a bit, standing up from where she had been seated. Translucent wings unfolded on her back, almost as big as her and resembling large libella wings, except for the longer jagged parts on the lower half of them. Tiny golden lines spread from where the wings were connected to the pixie’s body and spread out into a complex system of nervature through the wings.

She jumped up into the air and flapped her wings, other autumn pixies following from the plants all around Jisung. They started to swarm him before he felt tiny hands grab and lift him. They carried him towards the old ground keeper hut at the end of the field with only a hand’s width separating him from the floor and only once hitting his head against a larger stone. Once arrived, they gently lowered Jisung onto the ground where he sat up. 

“Thank you, my friends,” he said, his eyes crinkled into crescents and mud splattered all over him. “I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening. Now, if you’ll excuse me?” 

He got up and waved at the pixies, perched all over the pumpkins at the edge of the field. Some of them nodded at him as he turned around and started walking towards the hut a few metres away. His boots stuck to the rain-drenched earth and hindered his steps, but thankfully he arrived after a few more measures. Tugging off his boots, he looked back over his shoulder to where the pixies had been moments ago; the pumpkins were empty.

He opened the cabin door and trudged into the warm living space, heading straight to the tiny bathroom Nayoung had insisted on adding. Jisung was thankful for it by now and tugged off his muddy clothes to take a quick shower and rid himself of dirt and cold. The long time he spent running through the woods had left him thoroughly chilled. 

He had been looking for the bats that visited the castle on Halloween every year, asking if they were coming again and relaying the time of the feast to them. They had been scattered through the whole forest and he had been running back and forth, spooking a unicorn, chatting with the centaurs and stumbling into a nest of knarls that looked rather displeased at the wizard disturbing their supper.

And now he needed to get ready for his tea meeting. Wrapped in a towel, he left the bathroom and entered the living space again, heading towards the large wardrobe in the corner where they kept all their, special robes and gear, as well as some extra set of clothes. He pulled on a pair of comfortable jeans and a sweater before he discarded the towel in the laundry basket and set up the kettle to boil.

Preparing tea leaves in the pot and taking out mugs to place on the low coffee table underneath the window, he was ready with preparations when the kettle started whistling. He poured the water in the pot and set it on a small stove atop the table before he fell onto the sofa. 

When Hagrid, the original ground keeper of Hogwarts, had decided to end his service and move to Wales, Nayoung and Jisung had not just inherited the position of teachers for Care of Magical creatures, but also the cabin on the grounds. The subject had been turned into another tandem model, to ensure more safety for students and less stress in overlooking classes for the teachers, as well as splitting the duties of Hagrid between two people. 

Neither Jisung nor Nayoung had decided to live in the cabin, however, and so they had turned it into more of a working space and retreat. Classes still gathered here for class but the cabin only harbored the kitchen part and some old cabinets. The rest had been adapted to human size and Nayoung had brought a sofa and two armchairs to sit under the window.

A knock at the door had Jisung jump up and hurry towards the entrance. 

“Welcome, you two!” he called and waved the two boys waiting in front of the door inside. “Come on in, the weather is terrible and we can’t have either of you sick!” 

He closed the door after them and turned back towards his favourite armchair, sitting down and waiting for the boys to take off their drenched coats. Eventually they both joined him on the sofa. Byungchan and Dongpyo really were a strange pair. 

Apart from their almost comical height difference - Byungchan towered 20 cm over Dongpyo  - they were both loud and chaotic Gryffindors, known for their dramatic but kind nature and prone to smaller pranks and a lot of sparkles. 

Jisung still remembers Valentine's day last year when Jaehwan had decided to serenade his husband Minhyun on the occasion. He picked the most romantic time and place: the Great Hall at breakfast. Standing on the teacher’s table with his guitar, his vocal prowess had been impressive. But in Jisung’s opinion, he had also looked quite dumb with Minhyun resembling a tomato and Byungchan in the background, spraying pink sparkles over the pair - for once teacher sanctioned. 

Jisung had found both of them amusing before when he had taught them in class - Care for Magical Creatures had become mandatory for third years to introduce them into the practise and subject a bit more - but they were even funnier outside of it. One afternoon in march last year, it had knocked on the cabin door and the two boys had been standing in front of Nayoung who had opened the door. Apparently Daniel had sent them to have a talk with Jisung. 

They had confessed that they both thought about dropping Care of magical Creatures but enjoyed the class in itself. It took a lot of coaxing, waiting and tea to get them talking eventually. In Dongpyo’s case his motivation was clear: he was easily frightened and almost all animals apart from cats and owls scared him. He didn’t think he would be able to take the class but he enjoyed Jisung’s teaching. For Byungchan it was a bit different: he was choosing his N.E.W.T. subjects and even though he like ComC, he had another class he was better at. Both of them had sought out their head of house, Kang Daniel, first who had sent them to Jisung.

They had spent the afternoon talking, discussing pro and contra - more about Byungchan’s case - and eventually came to a decision. Jisung had recommended Dongpyo to drop the class if he was scared as he’d have to deal with it for two more years at least. For Byungchan, they had taken longer to decide: he enjoyed working with animals but he also wanted to achieve good grades for his N.E.W.T.s. They had reached the conclusion that Byungchan should focus on his studies and maybe help out in classes instead to still work with magical creatures.

After reaching satisfying solutions, they had leaned back and Jisung had asked for some gossip from the Gryffindor tower which they had gladly relayed to him. Only when it had been nearing dinner time, he had sent them off. A few months later, when it had been nearing the end of the school year and examinations had been finished, the two had shown up again, this time with biscuits and more gossip. Over the last few school weeks they had developed a tea habit in the afternoon which had carried into the new year. Without being their teacher, Jisung had started to tell some stories from his classes.

This time, he already had a question on his lips when the two boys had settled down with their tea. 

“Soo,” he began. “What’s up with that smell…” 

His words were interrupted by the door opening and Nayoung entering the cabin, looking surprisingly dry. She had a way with utility spells that Jisung envied. She looked around, raised an eyebrow at the tea on the table and looked at Jisung. Her gaze was piercing and troubling. What had he done this time?

“Professor Yoon,” she said quietly, but immediate death seemed to swing in her words. Jisung gulped.

“Ye-yes ma’am?” he asked. Nayoung slowly narrowed her eyes at him.

“Why didn’t you take out the biscuits I made for tea?” she asked threateningly. Jisung gaped. Byungchan and Dongpyo snickered into their cups. So this was it. 

Nayoung went to the kitchenette and took a large box from the cupboard that she placed on the table. Shortbread filled it to the brim and Jisung could practically hear the boys drool. Nayoung was a great cook and baker. He knew. 

“Have a nice afternoon,” she said before she turned around. “I’m heading to the castle.” 

With these words she left the cabin as quick as she had come, leaving Jisung still slightly frightened and the boys grabbing the biscuits. He sighed and turned back. 

“Soo, about my question,” he started again. “What was up with that smell thing today?”

Dongpyo giggled cutely whereas Byungchan looked more like a dimpled imp. If they were both like this it must be good. Jisung leaned forward and grabbed a biscuit when the boys started recounting the prank GoldenChemi had been pulling on the first years. It really was elaborate and also quite clever. Only the first years would fall for the ruse. 

“So every first year was already somewhat scared but then Professor Bae decided to come to lunch today. Half of the kids just froze when he entered the Great Hall. And if you’ve been in his class already, you’d recognize him but they didn’t and he looked absolutely disgusted by the smell, covered his nose and ran out again!” Dongpyo rambled off excitedly. 

“He fuelled the rumor with that!” Byungchan added. “All the kids are now convinced that they need to be safe and started getting more garlic cloves. Even the ones who went to teachers to fix the smell and stains before!”

Jisung chortled at the image of Jinyoung running from the hall. The poor lad wasn’t only perfectly fit for the vampire rumours through his looks. He was also very scent sensitive and avoided classes Daehwi would have to use incense or similar herbs and spices in. The latter preferred a clean and clear environment anyway which resulted in a happy Jinyoung and a lot less dazed classes. The shock from entering the smell disaster of today, however, must have been like a attack on poor Jinyoung’s nostrils. 

“One thing I was wondering though,” Jisung said thoughtfully. “How did they manage that spell?”

A combined spell of long lasting smell and colour, both different on each clove, was an impressive feat. 

“If I remember correctly, they are both clever but not especially talented when it comes to charms and hexes, right?” he asked. Dongpyo grinned at his words.

“They actually figured out the spell by themselves,” he said. Jisung raised his eyebrows in surprise, lips forming an 'o'. Impressive indeed.

“They just had trouble actually working it, so they got some help,” Byungchan elaborated. Jisung nodded and sipped his tea.

“And I’m guessing the help came in the form of a certain Lee Jinhyuk?” he asked with a grin. The two boys looked at each other before nodding with matching expressions. 

“Oh, that boy has a talent for spells, really,” Jisung said wistfully. 

“If only he’d use that talent for less pranks, a certain prefect would be less bothered,” Byungchan added cheekily. Jisung tilted his head in interest and leaned forward.

“Tell me more.”

“Only if we can ask a question first.” Byungchan replied and leaned forward too. Dongpyo nodded in support of his friend and Jisung could already tell that he wouldn’t get anywhere without a story from his side first. 

“Alright,” he relented with a hand raised in defeat and leaned back. “But I reserve…”

“Reserve for myself the right to not be obligated to answer.” the two boys droned over him and Jisung put on a miffed expression before his chuckle broke through. 

“You know me well,” he commented. “Ask away then.” 

A short scuffle ensued on the sofa as the boys looked at each other for a moment and a flurry of eyebrow movements followed. Jisung watched their conversation with interest. Apparently they weren’t sure this time how to ask without coming of as intruding or the question really bothered them. Eventually they seemed to have found a solution. 

“So…” Dongpyo started slowly, sporting a cute expression. His doe eyes were wide and his lips in a pout. Quite an adorable sight and convincing for most, but Jisung was used to dealing with people and their various tricks. And he was used to these two. 

“Yes?” he inquired amusedly and hid his grin behind his teacup as he saw Byungchan gulp. 

“Is it true that Professor Sejeong and Professor Kim might get engaged?” Dongpyo slowly brought out. 

“Or that they already are?” Byungchan added. “Apparently, Professor Kim has been wearing a ring pretty often and Professor Sejeong seemed even more enthusiastic.” 

Jisung considered their question. While it was true that news travelled fast in Hogwarts and students almost immediately heard about rumors involving teachers, he was not surprised that they asked. Chungha and Sejeong were a well known couple among both faculty and student body, even though they kept it professional during school. 

And true as any rumor may be, and well-meaning the boys were, he couldn’t just spill everything to them. It wasn’t his place. But a small piece of information would be fine and satisfy their curiosity. He grinned impishly. 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he asked and the two boys perked up. “On what hand was Chung- Professor Kim wearing the ring then?”

Dongpyo’s face went blank while Byungchan seemed to try and recall the information. 

“Right,” he eventually answered. “Yeah, I think it was her right hand.” 

Jisung nodded. “You do know that engagement rings are primarily worn on the left hand, don’t you?” 

The disappointment was almost palpable when both boys realised what he meant. Jisung wasn’t done yet, though. 

“And why did Professor Sejeong seem more enthusiastic?” he asked. Dongpyo perked up. 

“She was singing a lot in class, humming all the time! And the blue butterflies were fluttering around her like a halo!” he recounted. His eyes twinkled at the memory and Jisung could understand him well. It was truly - in lack of a better word - magical to see Sejeong surrounded by plants that thrived before one’s eyes with her butterflies surrounding her. 

“Remember what month it is?” he asked again. “And what season?” 

“Autumn,” Dongpyo answered immediately. “It’s getting cold, dark, less sunlight, and plants grow less…” 

He trailed off as realisation seemed to strike him. Byungchan groaned and flopped back into the sofa, almost spilling his tea. 

“Her singing makes the plants grow and keeps them thriving,” he lamented. To Byungchan’s visible disappointment, Jisung had obliterated both their evidence of any apparent engagement. Jisung decided to throw them a crumb. 

“However,” he said mysteriously, “I wouldn’t be too surprised if anything is in planning.”

He leaned back into his chair comfortably after snagging another biscuit. A fond smile played on his lips and his eyes were looking at a point outside the window. 

“I went to school with them, and they were absolutely inseparable back then already. Even before they became anything more. And they have lasted for so many years.”

His eyes focused on the two boys on the sofa, enraptured in his words. 

“What I’m saying is that I don’t know if they even need any ‘verification’ of their bond apart from what they already shared, but that I wouldn’t be surprised either if they might be considering it.”

He dutifully left out the part of a terribly nervous Chungha sitting on the same sofa they sat on now, relaying to Nayoung and Jisung her plans of proposing to Sejeong. Jisung had almost cried in happiness and the prospect of a wedding in the future, while Nayoung tried to calm Chungha a bit and sent a glare towards a dazed Jisung, telling him to pull himself together. 

Apparently, his words had been enough for the two boys. Dongpyo looked excited, Byungchan almost complacent. 

“So,” Jisung started up again. “You wanted to tell me something about Jinhyuk worrying a certain Ravenclaw?”   

  



 

Chapter Text

 

Nayoung softly shook her head when she stepped out into the downpour that had started a few minutes ago. She carefully pulled the heavy wooden door of the cabin shut behind her and stepped out into the rain. Large raindrops were splattering all around her, the torrent seemingly like a curtain that drenched anything stepping under it within seconds. 

It didn’t hit Nayoung, however. The drops missed her altogether, hitting an invisible shield all over her body, creating a small area around her that was entirely unaffected by the storm. Only the cold and damp air still surrounded her but at least she stayed dry. 

Sighing, Nayoung started heading towards the castle. The way down to the cabin was steep at parts, but luckily there were some steps hewn into the earth, secured through beams and stones. It still was a slippery ascent and took her longer than usual. Eventually, the castle gates towered over her and she stepped into the warmth of the entrance hall. 

The large stone hall was almost empty, safe for some students entering the Great Hall early. It was still two hours to dinner, but some met earlier for a cup of tea or to just chat with friends from other houses. Nayoung looked after the gaggle of Hufflepuff girls that left the corridor leading to their common room to enter the hall. Some noticed and greeted her before they vanished into the hall. 

Nayoung nodded at them with a small smile before she took her wand from her sleeve pocket and waved it over her, releasing the spell. Some remaining drops from the shield fell onto her shoulders and head but she ignored it and walked towards the Grand Staircase, climbing up the steps and starting towards the stairs leading to the upper floors. The castle seemed almost deserted, no students roaming around and only torches and paintings keeping her company. 

It was no surprise. The weather was grey and dreary with cold winds whipping around the castle. The downpour of today was just the latest of the last days. If it continued like this, they would have to cut Quidditch practises short as to not endanger the students. They always came back looking like mud monsters: drenched, dirty and frozen to their bones. 

The rest of the student body spent afternoons like this near fireplaces and huddled under warm blankets. The common rooms and library were probably packed with students. It really was time that they opened some more of the empty rooms again. 

A while back the faculty had decided to remodel some of the unused rooms on the upper floors into sitting rooms with no specific house assignment to have more space for the students to stay at, especially during the colder months. It had become easier for people of different houses to meet up without having to search for common rooms all the time and students could disperse a bit more instead of being packed into the same room all day. They closed some during the warmer months to get the students outside more but usually opened them with the start of the autumn storms. 

A muffled crash had Nayoung stop in her tracks and look around here. She had been so deep in her thoughts that her feet had carried her all the way to the seventh floor to a door she was very familiar with. The crash had come from within and she could hear hurried footsteps and voices before they quieted down again. 

Nayoung stepped forward and grabbed the door handle to push open the heavy oak door. The view she found was quite astounding: The large room was filled with fluttering papers, swarming all through it and two people running around trying to snatch them. The room itself was lit by a large chandelier with magical fire (it wouldn’t burn anything that touched it) and contained desks for a class in the front sections. Behind the teacher’s table, however, large shelves towered and stretched back into the room. They were filled with books, tomes, scrolls and loose papers, all meticulously labeled and sorted through. 

“Close the door, quickly!” a female voice called anxiously and Nayoung followed the order, slamming the door shut just when a sheet tried to escape though it. She grabbed it from where it had been trapped between frame and door and pulled it out to have a look at it. Strange hieroglyphs filled the old worn down parchment, all circled around a picture of flying birds. They appeared to have been coloured at some point, but the ink had long faded to a dull shade, only the black of the writings remaining. 

Someone stepped beside her and Nayoung looked up at the person. A woman with long black hair and fairy-like features was standing at her side. Her eyes twinkled with joy and a smile played around the lips underneath the small pointy nose. She was a bit smaller than Nayoung, nose reaching her chin height. The woman stretched out a hand towards the parchment to look at it. 

“Oh great, you got the title page, Nayoungie! Keep it and we need to get the final page, there should be birds sitting on a field or something in the same design on it!” she called and ran off again, chasing for the described book page. The second person in the room, a tall and lanky male with gangly limbs, was apparently also searching for it and had begun jumping from desk to desk in an attempt to see the other pages. He teetered on the edge of one precariously before he caught himself and continued jumping. 

“Lin-Lin, we need the final page! Nayoungie has the flying page!” the other woman called to him. Nayoung looked back at the page in her hands again, studying it carefully. The birds had been blue before, but some of them seemed to have had grey colouring with only blue accents in their feathers. Nayoung narrowed her eyes and held the parchment closer to her face. If she went by the shape, the beak and colouring….

“Jieqiong, is this text about flying itself or flight behaviour?” she called into the room. The other woman, Jieqiong, stopped jumping and looked at her with a surprised expression. 

“Flight behaviour, I think, but we couldn’t really make out much before the book itself took flight. But apparently it was a behaviour study of a North American tribe on flight and spirit travel rituals, following some kind of example,” she explained, stepping closer and throwing her hair out of her face. “Why do you ask?” 

Nayoung looked up at her with an almost invisible smirk playing around her lips. Jieqiong screamed and clapped her hands excitedly, shocking the still jumping male to have him crash off the nearest desk. Both women winced and looked in his direction when his hand shot out from behind the desk, signaling he was okay. 

Nayoung caught Jieqiong’s eyes and nodded. “Let’s save your poor assistant and then I’ll explain. It will be easier if the book calms down a bit,” she said and received a nod from the other woman. 

They both went towards the desk ‘Lin-lin’ had fallen off from and circled around it. The lanky young man was still behind it in a tangle of his own limbs, looking somewhat dazed. Jieqiong kneeled down quickly and pulled a large tome from where it was digging into his back before checking his head. 

“Are you okay, Guanlin?” Nayoung asked with a worried tone and crouched down next to the young man too. He smiled and nodded with Jieqiong still patting his head and looking for injuries.

“Just a little fall,” he rasped out and sat up carefully. Nayoung held out a hand to steady him if he should fall again but he stayed upright. Nayoung swept her eyes over him once again but couldn’t see any blood or obvious bruises on his bare arms or clothes. 

“We need to look in quiet corners I think.” she said, waving the page slightly. Guanlin and Jieqiong looked at her with obvious puzzlement in their eyes. Nayoung sighed and explained.

“You said, this is about flight behaviour and from a North American tribe? And spirit travel?” she asked, receiving a nod from both scholars opposite of her. 

“Well, if I remember correctly, they usually took an animal to protect the spirit when travelling, didn’t they? Like a totem?” Nayoung continued and received an even more enthusiastic nod from the other two. They were both experts on ancient scrolls and runes, with Jieqiong being Hogwarts’ teacher on the subject and Guanlin being her assistant and teacher in training. Nayoung had heard both of them ramble about the most ancient of prophecies, methods and transcriptions and sometimes remembered interesting details. 

“I think the totem animal in this case,” she continued, “might have been the mountain bluebird.” Jieqiong’s eyes widened and Guanlins mouth dropped open. 

“Did you break the code?” the young man asked excitedly. “Because we couldn’t figure out the runes on the first page yet and….” Jieqiong leaned over him to inspect the page again and cut him off with the smile audible in her voice.

“You recognised the bird in the drawing didn’t you?” she said. “There are some colours left on the paper. And knowing you…” she looked up at Nayoung with a bright smile who blushed slightly and nodded. 

“It fit in several categories, starting from body shape and colouring to the range they nest in. They would use spirit travel to explore wide ranges, so migrating birds would be useful. And the Mountain Bluebird ranges from northern Alaska in summer to north Mexico in winter and is mainly on the west coast, all over the mountain ranges.” 

Nayoung rambled off, her voice gaining excitement with every sentence. Jieqiong and Guanlin nodded appreciatively, Guanlin still with his mouth open. Nayoung stretched out a hand pushed his chin up gently, effectively closing his jaws. Jieqiong chuckled and turned back at the other teacher. 

“So why quiet corners?” she asked. Nayoung locked eyes with her.

“They are fond of nesting boxes and confined spaces. I’m guessing this book represents a whole swarm in flight, with this,” she held up the front page, “representing the take off and the final page their resting place.” Guanlin hummed and looked around for a moment before he snapped his fingers.

“We have a few empty shelves with some boxes in front of them at the back. Would this count as confined?” he suggested and Nayoung nodded. Jieqiong jumped up and pumped her fist into the air.

“Alright then, here we go!” she called but Nayoung jumped up too and covered her mouth with her own hand. 

“Shhh, we need to be quiet,” she reminded the other. Large eyes looked up at her and she could feel the pout against her hand without seeing it. Nayoung released Jieqiong and started towards the shelves. Guanlin took the lead and went down a particularly dark corridor towards a ceiling-height shelf with boxes and cartons in front of it. 

Nayoung put a hand on his shoulder to stop him in his tracks and slowly went past him, crouching down when she had almost rounded the corners. There, on the lowest shelf and hidden from prying eyes, the final page laid. Nayoung tried to move as quietly as possible and slowly stretched out her hand towards it. The parchment twitched but remained on the shelf as Nayoung inched closer. 

She took a deep breath and lunged forward pressing her palm against the shelf through the parchment to pin it down. It fluttered under her grip but remained caught. She carefully grabbed it with her second hand and crawled out from behind the boxes to hand it to a waiting Guanlin. 

Jieqiong came running with the binding of a book missing its pages. She opened it and stretched it towards Guanlin on one hand, the other gripping her wand. Guanlin carefully lowered the page towards the empty binding, still holding it, and Nayoung moved her wand over the inner part of the page to seal it to the binding. It stuck and Guanlin moved his hand away. 

Nayoung stepped closer to see the starting page Jieqiong had pulled out of her grip earlier already on the front binding. Loud fluttering above her had her lift her head. All the pages of the book were flying over the shelves towards them, fluttering and flapping, as  a big yellowish clouds and descending towards them. 

Jieqiong lifted the open and empty book above her with both hands, a delighted smile on her face. The pages dropped down and steered towards the book, attaching themselves to it, page by page. The cloud of parchment grew smaller and smaller as the book returned to its original state and closed after the last page had returned. Jieqiong lowered the now calm book and softly stroked her hand over the front binding before handing it to Guanlin. 

“We need a copy. Could you ready the copy quill and ink so we can get started as soon as possible?” she asked and Guanlin nodded and strode towards the open part of the room with the book clutched to his chest. Nayoung looked at his vanishing form and felt arms sneak around her waist with a smaller body pressing into hers. 

She returned the hug and laced her hands behind Jieiong’s back to pull her closer. The smaller woman leaned her head against Nayoung’s shoulder and sighed. Nayoung rested her chin on her head.

“Thank you,” she murmured. Nayoung hummed in acknowledgment and buried her nose in Jieqiong’s hair. The sound of a door closing was faintly audible in the background. 

“We had only read a few pages when the whole book just flew apart and scattered all over the room,” Jieqiong explained. “We had been hunting for almost half an hour already when you came in.” 

Nayoung looked down at her with a surprised expression. 

“But I heard a crash?” she asked and Jieqiong chuckled.

“That was Guanlin tripping over a chair,” she explained. Nayoung breathed in deeply, pity mirrored on her features. 

“Your poor assistant, he must be covered in bruises by now,” she said pityingly. The woman in her arms nodded before she untangled herself from the hug to pull Nayoung back to the front of the room. She went towards the corner behind the first bookshelf. A small alcove was hidden here, occupied by a table with long legs, laden with too many books, and two large armchairs plus a footstool. Teacups and a teapot were waiting on the window sill. 

Jieqiong dropped into one of the chairs and pulled Nayoung beside her; it was a tad crowded but manageable. The tea cups hovered next to them from where they had flown over from the window sill. 

“Where’s Linlin?” she asked, looking around. Nayoung turned to her with a small pout. 

“I’m here,” she said. Jieqiong giggled and poked a finger against her cheek.

“I know, but... “

“No but,” Nayoung interrupted and snuggled even closer. The other woman sighed with a chuckle and wrapped her arms around her. 

“Alright,” she relented. “So tell me about your day. Did you meet the new unicorn?” 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Guanlin closed the door to the ancient runes room behind him as quietly as possible. He didn’t want to disturb the two women inside and he also wanted to give them some time to themselves. If that meant he had free time after preparing the quill for copying, then so be it. He had left the book at it’s designated place for Professor Zhou to check on before she started the spell. 

He started walking into a direction aimlessly, descending towards one of the lower floors when he almost ran into Professor Hwang. The tall and handsome man was carrying a bowl of popcorn in one and two blankets in his other hand. 

“Guanlin!” he called joyfully. Guanlin smiled, though a bit hesitant - Professor Hwang was nice but a bit strange and over enthusiastic at times. He approached Guanlin with long strides and stopped shortly before him.  

“Nice to meet you here!” he continued. Guanlin nodded in reply.

“You too, Professor,” he answered. Professor Hwang tsked and shook his head at Guanlin. 

“I told you, drop the Professor. You’re a teacher now and if anything I’d be your hyung, okay?” he said kindly and Guanlin nodded abashedly. He hadn’t quite gotten used to that, even though he hadn’t had most of the teachers now during his school days. 

“Anyways, what are you doing here, wandering the corridors?” he continued asking.

“Nothing, really,” Guanlin admitted. “I just left the study and now I don’t know what to do with myself.”

Professor Hwang’s - Minhyun-hyung Guanlin reminded himself - face lit up and he grinned.

“Then I know just the thing,” he claimed. “Are you up for a horror movie?” 

Guanlin looked at him surprised. He was half-half himself, so he was familiar with horror movies but he wouldn’t have thought that the teachers here watched them. But Minhyun was muggle-born after all and his husband, Kim Jaehwan, was up for practically anything. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Minhyun apparently took his silence as affirmation and shoved the blankets into Guanlin’s arms before he started pulling him along towards the Muggle studies room. Guanlin felt a slight dread creep up his back - recently there had been rumours that this part of the castle harboured a new ghost. A lot of screaming had been heard and students had started to avoid the corridor outside of class. 

They encountered no ghost on their way, nor students or fellow teachers. Minhyun energetically threw the door to the Muggle studies room open and pulled Guanlin in behind him, the door slamming shut.

"Look at who I found, Jaenie!" he called. Guanlin was surprised at the sight he was met with in the room.

 The usually neat rows of tables were pushed towards the walls, computers still lined up on them, but all remaining cables connected in an orderly fashion and rolled up on the table. The now empty centre of the room was basically a blanket fort by now, pillows and a few bean bags strewn around and tea cups and snacks littering the ground surrounding them.

In the centre of this mess, Kim Jaehwan was seated with an equally excited looking Professor Ha Sungwoon. The small man greeted them enthusiastically, practically vibrating with energy. 

"Minhyunnie, I found one too!" Jaehwan called in reply, pointing at Sungwoon. Minhyun smiled widely and went to join them, still pulling Guanlin along.

"The more the merrier!" he announced before dropping onto a bean bag and handing the popcorn to Jaehwan. Guanlin kept standing next to them awkwardly before Sungwoon grabbed his hand and pulled him down on a bean bag too. 

"We've been watching horror movies on the main screen in the weeks leading up to halloween to get into the right mood, so here we are again!" 

"Come on, don't be shy now!" he said with a more soothing tone. "We don't bite and movies are fun after all!" 

Guanlin nodded and glanced around. Jaehwan and Minhyun seemed to be bickering over which movie to choose and were throwing DVDs and suggestions around. Guanlin recognised the cover of one and picked it up.

"I know this one!" he announced. "It's scary but really well made!" 

This apparently was the deciding factor for the movie choice and Minhyun grabbed the DVD from Guanlin's hands to put it in the player. 

Not even ten minutes into the movie and Guanlin became painfully aware why the ghost rumours had started. All three - Minhyun, Jaehwan and Sungwoon - screamed extremely loudly. They sounded as if their lives were threatened. 

Admittedly, it was a rather scary movie and Guanlin knew it already; but he was sure that even if that hadn't been the case, he would have been more scared of their screams than the movie.

Minhyun just sounded extremely panicked with high, almost dolphin-like screeches. He clung to Jaehwan next to him and hid his face a lot - but only after releasing an ear-piercing scream. 

Jaehwan and Sungwoon sounded positively insane. They both had impressive lung power and easily drowned out the sound of the movie . But whilst Sungwoon was only screaming loudly like a possessed person, Jaehwan started laughing maniacally into his screaming fits. 

It was like being thrown into an old cliché mental health clinic and Guanlin just hoped his ears would survive as he spent his time munching on snacks.

Surprisingly they did survive. Blessed silence fell over the room after the ending credits rolled through and Guanlin threw the last bit of popcorn into his mouth when Jaehwan flopped off his bean bag.

"That was terrifying!" he whined. Minhyun patted his back soothingly and Sungwoon nodded in sympathy. Guanlin couldn't help the smirk appearing on his face.

"It wasn't that bad," he said nonchalantly. They others looked at him as if he'd grown a second head.

"Are you serious?" Minhyun asked, slightly exasperated. "This didn't scare you?"

Guanlin shook his head and put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor.

"But at least now I know why the rumors of ghosts in this corridor started," he said. "Have you screamed your heads off in here every evening?"

Seeing his seniors scream in terror because of a movie had definitely lowered his level of reservation when talking to them. Jaehwan and Minhyun exchanged a look and then turned back to him; both nodded. Guanlin snorted, joined by a giggling Sungwoon.

"Impressive," he continued on. "And you're both still that scared?" 

They nodded again. 

"Except Wednesdays and Sunday evening," Minhyun added. Guanlin looked at him, perplexed.

"Eunsang always comes to this room on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights if he can sneak out," Minhyun explained. Guanlin was only getting more confused.

"Who's Eunsang?" he asked. The name rang a bell but he wasn't too sure.

"A Ravenclaw, fifth year. Reddish hair?" Sungwoon threw in as an explanation and it clicked. He knew the boy but he wasn't taking ancient runes. He had seen him when he had come in as a replacement teacher for a day. 

"But why is he sneaking out? And if you know, why do you let him?" he asked on. Minhyun and Jaehwan exchanged another look, this time filled with affection. 

"Well, as long as he's sneaky about it, I don't see any point in stopping him," Jaehwan said eventually. "After all, it's not like he's doing anything bad in here."

Guanlin's eyes flitted from one man in the room to the next, still not comprehending what was going on. Sungwoon chuckled and Minhyun smiled gently.

"He had some phone calls to make," he said.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

“Okay, and after I’ve scared them for a while…”

“I know, I come into the plan and stop you and the student body starts laughing too and everyone is happy,” Daniel continued Seongwu’s sentence. “We’ve been doing this for several years after all.” 

Seongwu sighed and grinned. The light of the morning sun was falling through the windows and created some kind of halo around his head when he stopped to look at Daniel for a moment from where he was standing. 

“I know,” he relented. “But after that fuck up five years ago I just want to make sure everything is going as planned.”  

Daniel pushed himself up from the sofa, he had been sitting on, and crossed the room to where Seongwu had been pacing since they started their annual Halloween scare planning. He stretched out a hand towards the other man to stop him from wearing the floorboards thin with his nervous up and down and placed it softly on his shoulder just as Seongwu passed him. The other stopped, one foot already in the air, only to set it back down and take a deep breath. 

Daniel carefully pulled on his arm to turn him around and face him. Seongwu’s eyes met his almost immediately, searching for reassurance. Daniel let him take his time - there was no use in rushing him if he was insecure after all. Eventually, the other let out a breath he seemed to have been holding and nodded.

Daniel smiled at him, happily and with bunny teeth, skin almost glowing from the rays of the sun. The room that had seemed a bit stuffy due to nervous tension just moments before had suddenly cleared up. There was only the fresh morning air, the bright light the sun only had after it had rained and the sky was finally clearing up and them in their quarters. 

He couldn’t help but feel relieved. Seongwu had been more nervous this year for some reason. Maybe it was the weather - the heavy rainfalls of the last weeks had made them all dreary and somewhat on edge. Confined to the walls of the castle because of the weather, the rooms had started to feel smaller, the air heavier, the atmosphere darker. They had all lacked some sunlight. 

It always affected Seongwu more than others. He tried not to show it and keep up his happy-go-lucky facade but it got harder with an atmosphere like this. Family heritage was not always easy to handle and Daniel had grown worried when his boyfriend had returned from classes only to fall into bed or cuddle into him without making another sound for the next few hours. 

They could both enjoy silence but they usually talked about their day or things they had heard about. Seongwu regularly updated him on new discoveries in the astronomy department, whereas Daniel told him about the Quidditch progress of the house teams and official leagues. But recently Seongwu had mainly listened and hummed as a sign he was awake. A few times he seemed to space out and Daniel was sure he saw flashes of red in his vision on these occasions. 

But it was better with the sun back and the dreariness gone. The storm of the last week had hung heavy on them all. Jisung had worried about his pumpkins, Sejeong had needed help in repairing several leaks in the greenhouses, Daniel had flown with the teams during every practise session of the house teams for safety, Jieqiong had almost gone nuts waiting for a delivery of ancient texts from Paraguay, and Seongwu had cancelled several Astronomy night classes, as there was no way for the students to see anything in this weather.

Instead he had to relocate them to the star room during the day but it just wasn't the same. The ceiling of the star room was enchanted like the one of the Great Hall, instead showing the night sky. But with Ong Seongwu’s love for stars only the real deal worked - for both him and the classes. 

Daniel had once snuck up to one of his lessons at midnight with the first years, sitting in the doorway to the open platform of the Astronomy tower, door opened only a tiny bit. It was enough to see Seongwu leaned against the railing of the tower, students on pillows and low tables around them, their telescopes and their maps in front of them. The Slytherin had been talking about the zodiac signs and the origin of their celestial representation, launching into stories about every single one of them whilst illuminating them with his wand. The students had been mesmerized and so had Daniel.

For all of his chaotic and over-the-top nature, Seongwu was able to enchant people with his passion and have them hang off his lips. He didn’t even have to try - it was just second nature to him. He was passionate but also mischievous, compassionate and honest, realist and a romantic at heart. His nature seemed to switch between all of these features, humorous one moment and serious the next, only to break out laughing again seconds later. 

Daniel had easily fallen for this whirlwind of a person when he got to know him during his studies to become a teacher. It was a shame they never met at school with Daniel attending Ilvermorny and Seongwu going to Hogwarts. But they had clicked during their teacher training and had been happy that they both did the program for Hogwarts. Ending up here, together, as teachers and a couple, was ideal and more than Daniel had expected to have at his age. But he wouldn’t complain. 

Snapping back from his memories, Daniel's eyes once again flitted over the face of the beautiful man in front of him. Seongwu’s hair was a bit messed up from all the times his hands went through it in his nervousness. Daniel lifted his hand to trace the three moles on Seongwu’s cheek, his little personal constellation, before lifting his other hand from where it had been resting on his shoulder. He cupped the slightly smaller man's face and took a small step towards him.

There was almost no space left between them but Daniel felt the need to be even closer. He was mesmerised, enchanted, as he was on the first day. And he couldn’t keep his eyes off Seongwu. Those tiny speckles he saw in his eyes, like shards of light shining through his iris from the inside. The way his lips curved, the dip of his cupid’s bow, the slant of his eyes and the way his lashes cast shadows onto his cheeks when he was looking down. The way his face lit up when he laughed, the lilt of his voice, the way his arms felt around Daniel. The way his heart sped up everytime their eyes met.

It was pounding now, just as it had when they had first met, when they had first stood close like this, when they had first kissed, when they had first stepped foot into Hogwarts as teachers, when they had first shared their experiences. So many firsts, all with that one person. And Daniel didn’t regret a single one and would never regret any. Not the good nor the bad, because they too were memories made together and made to understand each other better. Their first argument, the first time they saw each other cry, the first time Seongwu lost control over his powers. So many memories. 

Daniel didn’t know who leaned in first, maybe it was both of them, but their lips touched in a gentle kiss and it felt like….home. He couldn’t describe it any other way. The way their lips slid against each other, the hands landing on his hips and pulling him even closer than before. The way Seongwu tilted his head to the side to slant their lips together at a better angle, the tongue swiping the seam of his lips, eliciting a gasp.

It all felt like home. There was nothing hurried, nothing unfamiliar, no urgency behind it. Only deep affection. Daniel’s left hand wandered down Seongwu’s neck, his thumb gently swiping the soft skin of his neck as he deepened the kiss, their tongues wound around each other. His hand wandered further down, over his shoulder, down Seongwu’s arm, eventually leaving it and going to his waist. He slipped his hand around him, across the small of his back and pulled him even closer, his mouth still moving languidly against the other’s.

Seongwu’s right hand wandered up Daniel’s chest, stopping shortly at the juncture of his neck and the sliding upwards, caressing his jaw, before the long bony fingers buried themselves in his hair. Somehow they got even closer but the proximity changed nothing in the air between them. There was no urgency, still, no need to take things further. 

The heat between their bodies was familiar but there was no need to quench the flame. It wasn’t a raging fire, consuming and needy - it was more the warmth of fireplace. Gentle, warming but not burning. Daniel felt Seongwu sigh against his lips, brushed his hand gently over his back that was slightly arched into their embrace.

He subconsciously noticed how the way they were wound around and into each other was a mirror of the other: One hand pulling the closer, one caressing them gently. The light of the sun still fell on them and he could feel the rays’ warmth on his cheeks. 

A knock at the door sounded, three times and gently against the thick wood. Daniel sighed slightly at the interruption but broke the kiss softly after a moment. His eyes fluttered open to see Seongwu already looking at him, the fondness almost overflowing from his eyes. Daniel leaned forward again and left a soft peck on his lips before doing the same on the tip of his nose and then his forehead. 

Seongwu’s hand tightened around the back of his neck and he pulled him closer until their foreheads rested against each other, breath mingling. They remained in that position for a while, revelling in the warmth between them and basking in each other. 

The knock sounded again, this time harder and louder. 

“Alright, I am not gonna come in because I have seen things before I didn’t want to see!” Jisung’s voice called. “But I am here to tell you two that you have about ten minutes to get your arses down to the entrance hall because - believe it or not - it’s Hogsmeade weekend and you are heads of houses. So the students are waiting to sign out. For you.” 

Daniel’s eyes flew open, looking into Seongwu’s equally surprised ones. They had totally forgotten about this. 

“Shit, shit, shit,” Seongwu murmured and untangled their bodies to run towards their desks and grab the lists on them. 

“How did we completely forget about that?” Daniel asked, turning in a circle in his confusion, trying to gather his wits. He decided he should at least show some courtesy to Jisung and open the door. He stumbled towards it and pulled open the heavy bar: Jisung was leaning against the arch of the doorway, inspecting his fingernails and looking at Daniel with a raised eyebrow. 

“Hope I didn’t interrupt anything,” he said. “At least you’re dressed this time.” 

Daniel flushed at the memory of Jisung walking in on them in rather… compromising situations. He held up his hands in defence and shook his head. Behind him, Seongwu was struggling to put his shoes on and not drop the lists he clutched under his arm. He started hopping through the room as his balance failed him. 

“We weren’t doing anything, honestly!” Daniel defended himself. “Absolutely innocent.” 

Jisung nodded with a sagely expression.

“Ah yes, of course. And your hair is like this because of the birds nesting in there due to your friendly nature. Honest mistake on my part then.” 

Seongwu had then finally managed to get his shoes on and stepped behind Daniel, hands smoothing through his hair and flattening out the strands sticking into all directions. 

“We gotta hurry,” he reminded them. “Students are waiting!” 

And with that he pushed Daniel through the doorway, hurrying him down the corridors and stairs to eventually arrive in the Entrance hall. The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws under Yoojung and Chungha had already started signing out, and several of the Gryffindors and Slytherins let out a sigh of relief when they finally spotted their heads of houses on top of the staircase. 

“Coming, coming, we had some stuff to attend to!” Daniel called out, taking two steps at once, followed by Seongwu. A snort was audible at his proclamation from where Chungha was hunched over her list, but Daniel paid it no mind and wanted to turn to his line of students when a hand grabbed his collar and yanked him back. 

“Your list.” Seongwu shoved the mass of papers into his face with a smile before turning to his students with an impish grin. “Let’s get you rascals outta here!”

Daniel couldn’t help but chuckle and stepped towards the start of his line of students, leaving through the sheets and sorting by grade quickly. 

“Alright, let’s get this started, guys. Can’t have them out-do us!” he called and earned a cheer from his house. He grinned and threw a look over his shoulder. 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

“So actually Jinyoung was able to convince the students that the rumour was actually true when he fled.” Jisung finished his story about the latest prank by the GoldenChemi duo. The whole teachers’ table had been listening to him retelling what he had found out from Byungchan and Dongpyo and most of the faculty was snickering by now. Some tried to conceal their mirth behind hands of raised goblets but most just laughed outright. 

Daehwi looked rather unimpressed with the whole thing, his raised eyebrow tell-tale sign of his exasperation and headmaster Dongwook’s eyebrow had been twitching for about half of the story. Seongwu was currently delivering some hits to Daniel’s back, who had managed to choke on his potatoes in laughter and Doyeon and Yoojung had practically fallen over each other, gasping for air. Only Sohye, their teacher for potions, looked somewhat impressed, nodding slowly and her wide eyes even more wide in astonishment than usual. Sejeong softly tapped her chin to make her close her open mouth. 

“So that’s why the wimp didn’t want to come to dinner with me,” Daehwi whined and crossed his arms in front of his body. “I should’ve known something was up, he isn’t such a baby on most days,” he proclaimed. Headmaster Dongwook rested his head in his hands for a moment before he looked at the ceiling and then directed his gaze at the whining teacher down the table. 

“We can’t have this, seriously,” he said exasperatedly. “We’ve got to clear this up. Daehwi, please go and fetch Jinyoung from the tower. Now.” 

Daehwi sighed and got up, Seongwu following his example, seemingly to accompany him. Daniel glanced up from where he had managed to free his airpipe from potatoes and nodded with a small smirk of encouragement. Seongwu mirrored his gesture and then turned to follow Daehwi who had rushed past them in a flurry of plum coloured robes and silver hair. Seongwu slipped behind him and fell into step next to the smaller man as they headed to the entrance of the Great Hall. 

Jisung seemed satisfied with what he had managed through his story and turned back to his baked pumpkin, engaged in a discussion about migratory dragon breeds with Nayoung. Beside them, Jieqiong was chattering away about ancient egyptian inscriptions with Sungwoon, both of them talking over an obviously uncomfortable Guanlin. The tall man was ducking down to adapt to the two smaller Professors talking over his head, but he was still too large for them to not try and lean around him. Daniel couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight. 

“So you were occupied with stuff this morning, Kang?” Chungha asked two seats over, leaning a bit over Seongwu’s empty chair to speak more comfortably to Daniel. A feline smile was playing around her features. 

“Was the important stuff, by any chance, tall with dark hair and in your quarters? And late as well?” Her lips pulled into a full-blown Cheshire grin but with no actual malice behind it. Next to her, Sejeong was looking at the display with amusement in her eyes. Daniel turned his body towards the blonde witch and grinned lopsidedly. 

“Perhaps, Kim,” he replied, tone nonchalant. “But don’t act as if it hadn’t happened to you before. And the description would be the same. Except for the tall maybe.” He shot a wink at Sejeong who promptly took a large gulp of her wine to hide her laugh and enjoyed the slight flush now visible on the normally unshakable Transfiguration master’s cheeks. Kim Chungha had exactly one weakness and Daniel knew that. 

“I can’t deny the last part,” she replied and sat up straight again, “but unlike you, we manage to enjoy ourselves plenty and be on time. Even if we were caught up,” her eyes flitted over at Sejeong and she laced their hands together on the arm rests of their chairs, “in a rather tangled situation.” At this Sejeong started choking on her wine and caused a surprised Sohye next to her to flutter around her in worry. Chungha held eye contact with Daniel before they both grinned and turned away from each other, Daniel returning to his food and Chungha patting Sejeong’s back. 

Suddenly, the large entrance doors opened again and a struggling Jinyoung was shoved into the Great Hall by a miffed Daehwi. The doors fell shut behind them and headmaster Dongwook rose to his feet. Silence fell over the hall as the students turned their heads to look at him, some still staring at the pale man and the teacher in the vibrant robes behind him. 

“We have got to clear something up,” Dongwook’s voice echoed through the hall, powerful but not unkind. “There is, apparently, a rumor going around that we have a vampire in our midst.” 

He looked around the hall, eyes flying over the house table and the students sitting at them. 

“And someone,” his eyes flew to the Hufflepuff table, focussing on Keum Donghyun for a moment before they continued to Ravenclaw and found Hwang Yunseong, “has distributed rigged garlic cloves to first years.” 

Murmurs rose among the students, some giggled, some smaller children looked anxiously to where Daehwi was still standing with Jinyoung. 

“Now, while I can appreciate a humorous and harmless prank,” Dongwook continued, “I am forced to put an end to this particular tomfoolery.” The students he had looked at before seemed to shrink in their seats a bit. Daniel searched for Lee Jinhyuk at his house table and saw that the boy's face looked a bit pale. 

“I have no intention of punishing anyone, as I assume you meant no harm. However, I have to clear up a misunderstanding for our first year students.” Dongwook’s face turned kinder, a small smile appearing on his face as he scanned the tables again. 

“This,” he pointed his hand towards Jinyoung, ”is not a vampire. You may not know this yet as you haven’t had divination. But he is actually our school oracle, Professor Bae Jinyoung. Next to him is Professor Lee Daehwi, of Divination. You will get to know them later on in your studies but let me just say: Professor Bae is neither dangerous nor a vampire.”

Relieved gasps and murmurs spread through the Great Hall again, some of the older students grinning sheepishly at the accusing looks the first years sent them. 

“He is, however, very sensitive to smell,” Dongwook continued. “So I would ask all of you who might still carry them to ‘disarm’ their garlic cloves or have older students and teachers help them, so we can welcome Professor Bae to the feast.” 

The headmaster sat down and silence fell over the hall for a moment before Daehwi pushed Jinyoung slightly forward. As he stepped towards the teacher's table, chatter broke out through the hall again and the atmosphere returned to its previous relaxed state. Daniel looked, with his head rested on his folded hands, how Daehwi was muttering something to Jinyoung who had quickened his step. A slight smile had appeared on his face and Daehwi seemed more relaxed as well as they reached the teacher’s table and sat down in their seats. Dongwook nodded towards Jinyoung and raised his goblet in greeting. 

Daniel leaned back and pushed his chair back a bit. It should start any moment now….

The doors flew open again, this time followed by a gust of cold wind from outside. It swept through the Great Hall blew out about half of the candles, plunging the room into a twilight. The torches in the entrance hall seemed to have been extinguished as only pitch black darkness came from the open doors. Conversations among the students hushed, some worried glances were extinguished. All teachers had focused their attention on the opened doors. 

A dark figure stepped towards the entrance, still covered in darkness. Only red eyes were visible, and silent sobs as the creature drew closer. It’s feet reached the light cast by the remaining candles and revealed completely black clothes, a ragged robe over what looked like an extremely old suit. Both were ragged, with rips and tears in it, the occasional flash of skin visible through some of the deeper gashes as the creature stepped into the light completely.

The head became visible: eyes, sunken into their sockets, deathly pale skin and tousled black hair. The creature looked half dead, like a human shortly before reaching their demise. Bloody tear trails were visible on the equally sunken in cheeks, making it look even more like a fleshless skull. Only the bright red eyes and ragged breaths showed that it was still alive. 

The eyes of younger students widened at the horrifying sight as they exchanged panicked looks. Fear spread among the first years as the darkness and cold crept into the Great Hall. They didn't know what to do and what exactly just entered, and they glanced at the older students and the teacher's table in search of an explanation. Everyone else, however, appeared surprisingly composed and almost relaxed - and confusion spread among the first years. Fearfully, some clung to each other, trembling or pale but the majority froze and stared at the ghastly figure - curious and scared of what would happen next. Because the face they saw was different than usual but still familiar to them all, especially one house. Slytherin’s head of house, Professor Ong Seongwu. 

Another sob echoed through the Great Hall, but it sounded like several voices crying out at once, a strange and painful dissonance. Complete silence enveloped the hall, no sound audible except for the heavy breaths and sobs of Seongwu.

“A Banshee,” someone murmured, clearly audible through the room. 

Seongwu’s head shut up and a desperate cry left his lips, echoing through the Great Hall, bouncing of the walls, even more voices seeming to join in and only quieting down slowly. 

“Stop, I coulda dropped my croissant!” a voice proclaimed from the far right side of the hall - the Slytherin table. Daniel recognised the voice: Lee Hangyul had spoken. Down the teacher table Minhyun was coughing into his sleeve and Daniel could see several faces throughout the hall trying to remain composed. 

Daniel sighed and stood up from his chair. It was time then. He stepped from behind the table and started rounding it, descending the steps towards the House tables. He went through the corridor between the middle ones, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, standing opposite of Seongwu. 

“This,” he said in a loud but composed voice, “is what a Banshee looks like.” His eyes flitted around the tables, seeing relaxation spreading across the faces of the older students, but still fear among the first years. 

“Banshees are very misunderstood creatures,” he continued, a broad and happy smile blooming on his face, gaze now fixed on Seongwu who was returning it, eyes locked to his. 

“They are said to be dangerous, bringers of death through their voice. At night they appear and weep in front of people’s houses to announce the soon-to-come death of a loved one.” He looked around and saw terror blooming on some of the first year’s faces - the muggle-born students only understood now what they were seeing. 

“But,” Daniel continued, still smiling, “this is where myth and truth start to merge.” 

He started walking down the aisle, slow steps, never taking his eyes off Seongwu. 

“Banshee’s do announce soon death, this is true. However, that is not their only job.” His steps echoed through the hall. 

“They are of the Fae folk, creatures of nature but bound to humanity. They are like messengers between the human world and the supernatural creatures: they can also deliver joyful messages. Like fairies, appearing and singing children to sleep, reviving flowers or even helping with small chores.” 

Confused looks started going around the first years. Daniel saw how Sejin, one of Ravenclaw’s prefects, put a calming hand on a first year’s shoulder close to him.  

“They originate from Ireland but most of their myth has developed during the Great Potato Famine in the 19th century which brought a lot of deaths,” Daniel continued, steps even slower now, smile still in place but fondness lacing into it the closer he got to Seongwu.

“To sum it up: Banshees have a bad reputation. But that originated from a time where their job was extremely shitty. Many, admittedly bad messages, and a limited number of Banshees meant overtime: no sleep, no breaks, no time for food. Bad energy sapping a lot of their strength to have them end up like this. Just because they had a shitty job.” 

Some snorts were audible around the hall. Jinhyuk was snickering into his pudding at the Gryffindor table. Daniel grinned. 

“But remember, they are of the fae folk. And they can bring happiness too. So today you will learn how to ‘defend’ yourself against a Banshee.” He twirled around with his arms stretched out before his eyes settled on Seongwu again. 

“Laughter,” he said. “Smiles. Happiness. They rip a Banshee from their saddened state and return them to their original form.” He could see smiles break out all around him and stepped forward until only a few feet were still separating him from Seongwu. 

A long sharp whistle filled the Hall: a teapot had started it, now clearing its throat. The tea pots from all over the hall followed it and started humming, going into harmony before they suddenly broke out into song. “The bare necessities” from the Jungle book started, sung in many voices and and ranges at once, more enthusiastic than harmonious. 

Suddenly the large pumpkins that were littered all throughout empty spots in the hall jumped up on their leaves and tendrils and started bouncing up and down, hopping in circles. Their tendrils intertwined and they started a long chain of pumpkins, performing a chaotic dance to the song still sung by the tea pots. Autumn fairies appeared from the pumpkins and started dancing through the hall too, flitting through the air and sailing around students. 

The first years seemed in awe at first and as soon as the fear was lifted off them and relief flooded in, they started giggling. The older students were already snickering or outright laughing. Commotions spread through the Great hall as the pumpkins started building a precariously swaying pyramid, led by Jisung at the teacher’s table. 

Daniel kept his gaze fixed on Seongwu. As soon as the first laughs had sounded, the tears tracks on his cheeks had faded. The flesh started filling out again, his skin regained a healthy colour. The previously clenched fists at his sides relaxed and a smile started playing on his face, as a gust of wind blew up his black robe. As it fell down again it had returned to the normal dark day robe he wore, with slacks and a white dress shirt underneath. His eyes were fading back to their normal colour and he took a step towards Daniel. 

They walked back to the teacher table side by side, unnoticed by the students still preoccupied by the commotion around them. Only some of the older ones nodded at them with smiles on their faces. They reached the table and Daniel held out a hand for Seongwu to go around it first, following closely behind him until they reached their seats.

As they did, Dongwook rose again, his arms raising above his head to clap once. The pumpkins hopped off the pyramid in tumbleas and returned to their corners, the pixies joined them and the teapots stopped except for an over-enthusiastic one. It was still engaged in a canon with Cho Seungyoun, both singing their hearts out. He was, however, easily quieted by Hangyul not so subtly pinching his side causing him to yelp and quiet down. 

And amused grin found its way onto the headmaster’s face as he looked over the hall. 

“Forgive us the scare,” he started. “We do this every year, actually.” The first years exchanged looked baffled, ranging from amused to offended.  

“What we try to teach you with this are several things,” he continued. 

“Number one: don’t take anything you hear for granted. Question it, look it up, be sure to know what you think to know. Number two: don’t let fear stop you or undermine your abilities. Stay calm, even if it seems hard, and you will find a way out.” 

Some students seemed sceptical, some in awe. 

“Number three: don’t judge a book - or a person, animal or creature of any kind - by its cover. Try to understand it. And Number four,” Dongwook paused to look through the hall again, scanning all tables and a broad smile spread over his face. 

“Number four is probably the most important one: be happy. Enjoy what you do. Cry if you need to. Allow your emotions and try to live your best. You are all capable to do this and achieve many things and I have faith that you will try your best.” 

He took a deep breath. 

“Now, I don’t want to bore you with long and emotional speeches but I want to reassure our youngest students: no harm has come to your potions teacher,” he gestured at Seongwu, “nor will any harm come to you. Professor Ong is completely capable of controlling his abilities and he is not dangerous.” Dongwook hesitated for a moment before he flashed a smirk.

“As long as you don’t get on his bad side that is.”  He sat down again and folded his hands, elbows resting on the table. “Enjoy the rest of the Halloween feast.” 

The food that had previously been on the golden plates all over the tables vanished and was replaced by masses of desert a moment later. Cakes, Ice cream, sweets, and the obligatory mint drops - everything was there and the students didn’t hesitate to dig in. Especially the previously scared ones seemed to have been hit by a wave of appetite now, and within moments the Great Hall returned to its previous liveliness once again. 

Daniel leaned towards Seongwu to whisper: “It was a full success, wasn’t it?” 

Seongwu nodded in reply, a proud grin spreading on his face. He reached for Daniel’s hand and intertwined their fingers, resting their joined hands on the Gryffindor’s thigh. He seemed complacent and happy. Well, the students didn’t need to know that Seongwu’s control system were laugh potions in his coffee and his daily dose of Kang Daniel's smile. But that was definitely enough to keep him sane. His hand squeezed Daniel’s fingers for a moment before he relaxed again. It had been a success. No slip-ups or insanity. This time. 



Chapter Text

 

“Quoting vines? Really hyung?” Minhee asked with a deadpan expression while he patted the back of a still snickering Dohyon. Hangyul looked pleased with himself and leaned back into his chair. 

“Well, it was a rather… fitting moment,” he claimed. “And I could have dropped my food with how much that scaredy cat here was flinching.”

He pointed at Seungyoun next to him who sputtered indignantly with a single hot pink strand falling onto his forehead, causing another giggle flash for Dohyon. 

“I was just surprised when the doors flew open!” he defended himself. “Not all of us can be completely immune to scares and surprises. Remember how Dohyon screamed during his first Halloween here?” 

The youngest of the group sobered up suddenly, sitting straight and glaring at the oldest. Hangyul just smirked and let his eyes wander from Seungyoun to Dohyon, crossing his arms in front of his chest. 

“I was pretty sure he tried to communicate with the merfolk down in the lake with how high-pitched he sounded,” he commented and caused a snort from Minhee. A slight smirk stole itself on Seungyoun’s lips and yellow started streaking into his black hair, the pink already gone.

“You know, people can make the most surprising sounds in certain situations,” Seungyoun stated with a suggestive tone, sipping from his goblet to hide his grin. Hangyul’s smirk grew even deeper at his words, Wonjin’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline and Minhee promptly spat out the piece of cake he had just put in his mouth. Dohyon just groaned and let his head fall down onto the table. Before he could hit the wood, Hangyul’s hand shot out to cushion his forehead and soften the impact. 

“Really, hyung?” he asked from his place on the table. “Did you have to say that?” 

His words earned him fervent nods from the others and a glare from another Slytherin further down the table. The second year next to him had innocently asked him what Seungyoun had meant and now he seemed to be in a bind to explain it. Another seventh year, Baek Jin, opposite of them was snickering into his cake. 

“It’s bad enough that I have walked in on you two more times than I can count.” Dohyon sighed against the table. “At least restrain yourself in public.” 

He lifted his head and glared at Seungyoun, eyes flitting to where he had put his hand high up on Hangyul’s thigh. Minhee, who was sitting next to Hangyul, looked rather shocked and promptly moved his chair a bit away from them. Hangyul chuckled. 

“Well, sorry for your bad luck, Hyunnie, but there’s several reasons why you,” he looked around pointedly at the others, “shouldn’t worry about any hanky panky during dinner.”

He grabbed Seungyoun’s hand that was still on his thigh and used it like a prop to gesture around. 

“Number one: believe it or not, both of us,” he waved Seungyoun’s hand between them and promptly smacked the other in the face, “ do have at least a shred of dignity and awareness left.” 

Dohyon looked thoroughly unconvinced. 

“Number two: there are more important things, like food,” Hangyul continued, gesturing up and down the table. This time Seungyoun ducked out of his way early enough to not be smacked by his own hand again. Wonjin nodded at this statement. 

“Number three:” the Slytherin carried on, a slight look of fear sneaking onto his features, “I don’t have a death wish. I really don’t want to be killed for tainting children because a certain someone would definitely teach me manners in the most painful way possible.” 

Seungyoun next to Hangyul shuddered, his eyes wide open and fearful. Minhee seemed confused, whilst Baek Jin seemed to have fused into his plate with how his head was going further and further down during his snickering. Dohyon seemed to consider for a moment before his eyes flitted to a point behind Hangyul’s shoulder. The older noticed and turned around slowly, his boyfriend following his example. 

On the Ravenclaw table next to the Slytherin’s, Wooseok was looking straight at them from where he sat, Sejin next to him looking extremely amused. A sweet smile played around the Headboy's features, almost angelic with his large innocent eyes behind his big round glasses and small statue. Wooseok tilted his head to the side a bit and smiled broader, eyes turning into crescents and teeth showing before he opened his eyes again. There was a glint in them. 

“Good to see that you know me so well, Hangyul,” he said sweetly, barely loud enough for them to hear. “I trust your behaviour will be impeccable?” 

Hangyul swallowed and nodded with a scared smile that looked more like a grimace on his face. Wooseok nodded slowly and smiled broadly again. 

“Lovely. Have a nice evening then,” he said and turned to Eunsang who had been poking him to get his attention, raising an eyebrow at the younger. Whilst Hangyul turned back around, Seungyoun continued looking at the Headboy: Eunsang whispered something to him and pointed discreetly towards the Gryffindor table with a not so discreet smile on his face. 

Seungyoun followed his hand and saw a owlish-looking Jinhyuk at the table, apparently so lost in observation of a certain Ravenclaw that he didn’t even notice the fake spiders from the table decorations that Byungchan was draping all over him. Seungyoun’s eyes flitted back to Wooseok, who had followed the direction Eunsang had pointed at too but waved it off. When he turned back however, Seungyoun saw a slight blush painting his cheeks and another glance showed him how Jinhuyk had flinched away from his gaze and was now scrambling with all the spiders dropping from his head.

Seungyoun smirked. Interesting. He filed the information away for later use and turned back to his own housemates. They were still snickering over Hangyul’s (righteous) fear and how sweet Wooseok usually seemed. Seungyoun patted his younger boyfriend’s shoulder and threw an arm around him sympathetically. 

The discussion carried on for a bit more, with Baek Jin now completely fused to the table in silent laughter, only occasionally wheezing and assuring them that he was indeed still alive. At some point, they were interrupted in their argument if syrup cake or chocolate fudge cake was better, when hands fell onto Minhee’s shoulders and a body leaned over him. The boy didn’t even look up - he knew it had to be Hyeob. 

“Hey guys!” he greeted them. The fifth year had sat with some friends further up the table and they hadn’t seen him all evening. “Do you want to head down to the common room too? It’s getting a little stuffy in here.” 

Seungyoun agreed. Having several hundred students in the hall was becoming stuffy after a few hours and he nodded in reply to the younger’s question. The sofas in the common room seemed like a way more inviting option than the increasingly hard wooden chairs they were sitting on here. Hangyul nodded too and shot a look over to Dohyon, raising an eyebrow in question. 

Seungyoun looked over too, always fascinated by how they communicated without words. Dohyon didn’t reply in a direct way; instead his eyes flew over to another point in the Great Hall before they returned to Hangyul who just lowered his still raised eyebrow and stood up. 

“Alright then, let’s head down then,” he said. “My butt hurts from these chairs.” He pushed back the chair and stepped towards Hyeob, as Minhee and Seungyoun followed his example. Wonjin, too, nodded after a moment and got up, mumbling something about just saying hello to Hyeongjun before they leave the hall. Dohyon just scooted over to Baek Jin and poked the other to test how much life was still left in him after his laughing flash. 

Seungyoun held out his arms and pushed Hangyul, Minhee and Hyeob forward, effectively herding them towards the door where they could wait for Wonjin without blocking the narrow aisle between the house tables. Other students had also started to leave and trickled out into the entrance hall as they stood and waited. 

Eventually, Wonjin exited the Great Hall too and joined them at the wall next to the Grand Staircase where they had waited. As they walked down the corridor, the younger one’s engaged in a discussion on their current DADA topic, the two older one’s stayed behind them, quietly . Seungyoun looked over at Hangyul, the younger looking content and a bit tired. Seungyoun stepped towards him a bit and laced their pinky fingers together. 

They both weren’t big on PDA, whatever their comments might implicate, and Seungyoun knew Hangyul felt uncomfortable holding hands in public. It wasn’t because he was ashamed or because he despised couple behaviour - it just wasn’t in his nature as much, even though he sometimes tolerated the younger kids clinging to him. 

He didn’t avoid skinship completely but usually he just shortly threw an arm around someone’s shoulder or waist or did half-hugs. And even though Seungyoun was more a creature of skinship (even though no one would ever beat Seungwoo and Jinhyuk at that), he knew when he should hold a certain distance to Hangyul. 

He didn’t take it personal. He didn’t have to display his affection for the whole world to see if they were directed at Hangyul anyway and he could always coddle the younger ones if he really wanted to. He even felt a bit sorry for Dohyon who had the misfortune of walking in on them with impeccable timing to discover them in more or less decent situations. Nothing graphic but still. Hangyul was practically his older brother and no one would want to see their siblings snogging. 

A body he collided into stopped both his thoughts and his steps as he flailed around and tried to keep both Wonjin and himself on his feet until a hand grabbed his upper arm and a second steadied the younger. 

“Stop zoning out, you space cadet. One day you’re gonna break your neck on the stairs and I won’t be there to catch you,” Hangyul said with fake annoyance, eyes flitting over Wonjin to make sure he was okay before he focused on his boyfriend. Seungyoun grinned cheesily.

“But where could you be if you’re always in my heart?” he asked with a grin. Minhee gagged at that comment and Hyeob looked disgusted, patting his friends back soothingly. A shudder ran through Wonjin. Hangyul didn’t show any reaction except for a small twitch in the corner of his left eye. 

“He’s had worse lines, guys,” he said and turned to the younger boys who where still in shock over that much cheesiness. “Makes you wonder how people find him charming.” 

He stepped towards the tapestry that covered the entrance to their common room and said the password. Whoever had chosen ‘Anaconda’ as this month’s code had not counted on all the students starting to sing whenever they entered the common room. Seungyoun was almost glad that the month was almost over - he’s had enough of bad rap renditions.  

“Still,” Hyeob pondered with a hand on his chin, “he got you to fall for him, even with all the cheesiness and dumb jokes.” 

“Oi!” Seungyoun shouted, a blush creeping on his cheeks but no real anger behind his voice. “Watch your mouth, child!” 

Hangyul held open the door and waved the kids and Seungyoun inside before he closed it behind them. They quickly walked past him and went to occupy one of the sofas closest to the fire place. Hangyul followed them, beside Seungyoun again. 

“Actually,” he corrected Hyeob’s earlier statement, “that was not my decision.” 

He sat down in an armchair next to the younger boys whilst Seungyoun splayed out over another loveseat opposite of them. Hangyul’s statement made him chuckle; the three others looked puzzled.

“What do you mean?” Wonjin asked. “You did befriend him after all. And you two got together, didn’t you?” 

Hangyul and Seungyoun nodded. “But the whole process was actually not out of our own volition,” Seungyoun explained enigmatically. Hangyul nodded along. 

“You know,” he continued with a thoughtful expression, “he actually propositioned me on our first meeting. He wouldn’t stop talking about what was in his pants.” 

Three pairs of eyes widened and flitted back and forth between the couple. Shock was visible on their faces with a faint trace of disgust. This was a truly unexpected turn of events. 

“Well, I found you rummaging through my bed in less than publicly appropriate clothing,” Seungyoun said. “And you started the whole topic.” 

“I asked what you were doing there. You misunderstood me,” Seungyoun continued, turning up his nose. Hangyul bellowed out a short laugh. 

“Hah! You said, and I quote, “There’s a snake in my pants and it’s moving’.” The three younger boys huddled into practically one pile at that, eyes still flitting between the pair, and disbelief clear on their faces. Minhee’s mouth hung open, Wonjin’s soul seemed to have left his body and Hyeob looked ready to throw himself off the next tower just to unhear the story.

“And it was true!” Seungyoun retaliated, oblivious to the three shell-shocked boys opposite of him, eyes fixed on his boyfriend instead. “And sometimes I think you love that snake more than me!”

Hangyul smirked. “Sometimes I think that too but I have to admit that the whole package you’re offering is… inviting.” 

“Hyung,” Hyeob whispered, “how utterly daring and… distasteful.” 

Minhee buried his face in Hyeob’s shoulder as Wonjin nodded to his friend’s words. A loud groan sounding from behind them had them all redirect their attention. Dohyon was standing there, his hand pinching the bridge of his nose, a long-suffering expression on his face and the fluffy brown cat they all knew for following Wonjin around on his shoulder.

The kitten nudged Dohyon’s cheek, softly purring as if to console him and Dohyon took a deep breath and looked up, glaring at both of his hyungs.

“The only daring and distasteful thing about that story is the way they told it,” he said. “There was no proposition, no actual inappropriateness in the way you had them” he gestured at the boys, “think of and you should all get your minds out of the gutter.” 

Dohyon trailed over to the sofa Seungyoun was laying on and nudged his feet to have the tall boy retract them and make some room for the younger to sit. Seungyoun sat up at that and turned around as soon as Dohyon had made himself comfortable, placing his head on his lap. He grinned up at the younger boy and the cat that was still on Dohyon’s shoulder decided that this was her moment. 

The feline jumped from where it was sitting down onto Seungyoun’s face, claws luckily retracted as to not have him lose an eye, rolled around a few times before it got up again to jump on the low table between the sofas. There, it looked back for a moment, before it continued to the others and jumped into Wonjin’s lap. 

Seungyoun, who had ended up with a face full of fluff and fur was still coughing and flailing a bit, coaxing a chuckle from both Dohyon and Hangyul. 

“Don’t blame me if he’s coughing up a fur ball into your bed, hyung,” Dohyon said with an evil smile, reciprocated by Hangyul. 

“Oh, if he does, I’m just gonna relocate to his bed while he cleans it up,” he said matter of factly. Minhee clearing his throat had them both turn to the others: they still looked rather confused and somewhat disbelievingly. Dohyon sighed. 

“Okay, listen…” 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

The day Seungyoun had met Hangyul had indeed been a coincidence. They had seen each other around before, being in the same house and just one year apart after all but this had been a surprise. He wasn’t completely sure who he had stumbled upon but he knew the face of the boy who was currently lifting the covers of Seungyoun’s bed. 

“Uhm, what are you doing here?” Seungyoun asked from the door, dumbstruck. He had just returned from the library to drop off a book he had lent over the summer holidays and had given back now, not expecting to see any of his roommates when he had opened the door. 

And indeed, none of them was here. Instead, a strange boy in only Pyjama pants and a low cut sleeveless shirt was rummaging through the room. His hair was bleached blond and tousled as if he had just crawled out of bed (he probably had, considering it was a Saturday). He turned around to Seungyoun, still holding up his blanket. 

Confusion shot through him: he had been sure that the other was younger than him as Seungyoun knew almost every older student, but the facial features of this boy made him look more mature than he had to be. Seungyoun was pretty sure he was a third year but he wouldn’t bet on it. The fourth year stepped into his room and automatically shut the door in the process. The other still hadn’t answered his question; the click of the door seemed to snap him out of his stupor, however. 

“I’m looking for my pet,” he said apologetically. “Sorry for barging in here but this was the closest dorm room and I already asked around the others he could’ve snuck away to.” The boy placed down Seungyoun’s blanket carefully and turned around fully. 

“He likes to hide, so I was searching for him,” he said with a shrug as if it would explain what exactly he was doing here. “I’m Lee Hangyul by the way. You’re Cho Seungyoun, right?” 

Seungyoun just looked at him, blinking and dumbfounded. The confidence this boy held himself with, the unapologetic and still honest and respectful way he talked. He didn’t know what to make of it. His pet had snuck away? And he was rummaging through other people’s dorm rooms. What was going through his head? He cleared his throat.

“Right. So you’re rummaging through other people’s rooms? Sounds fake to me,” he said eventually and stepped forward to approach the boy who was still next to his bed. 

Seungyoun stopped next to his open trunk. It was as he left it, nothing out of order or moved. He discreetly glanced at the other trunks around the room. From what he could see they looked untouched too, some even locked. The boy hadn’t been going through their personal things, apparently, except for the beds. 

He looked back down at his own trunk and blanched. A pair of pants he had thrown in messily last evening was laying on top of the nicely folded clothing. And one leg was moving. Slow twitches until the whole leg suddenly jerked. 

“Oh my god,” Seungyoun breathed out unable to move. He heard the other boy step closer around the bed.

“What is it?” Hangyul asked apprehensively. Seungyoun looked up at him with wide eyes. 

“There’s something in my pants,” he said disbelievingly. From where he stood, Hangyul was unable to see the content of the trunk. He raised an eyebrow and his eyes flew down Seungyoun’s body for a second before he looked back up. 

“You don’t say,” he said blankly. “Congrats on noticing.” 

Seungyoun felt heat on his cheeks and waved his hands.

“No, that’s not what I meant!” he called. “I meant…”

He looked down at the still moving pair of pants to see a small head poke out from them. A small scaly head, with small black eyes and a slit tongue poking out. A snake. A small snake. In his pants. Black spotted the head of the small animal as it nudged against the pant leg playfully, wiggling a bit. 

“There’s a snake in my pants,” Seungyoun breathed out disbelievingly. He looked up at Hangyul whose eyebrows shot up and his eyes flitted down again.

“What the hell man?” he asked incredulously. “Are you propositioning me?” 

He sounded somewhere between amused and flabbergasted. Seungyoun just shook his head frantically and took a step back. 

“No, no, no, no, no, I don’t even know what that means! But there literally is a snake. In. My. Pants.” He stressed each word and flinched when the snake slid out further and lifted its head higher. Hangyul’s mouth fell open in surprise and he hurried to round the bed and crouched down next to the trunk.

“Lafayette!” he called and stretched out his hand towards the snake. “There you are!”

Seungyoun was sure he had one of the dumbest expressions he could master on his face right now. Lafayette? As he struggled to comprehend the situation (for the second time in the span of maybe 5 minutes), Hangyul continued cooing at the snake that had started swinging its head from side to side before it laid it on Hangyul’s outstretched hand. 

“I looked everywhere for you!” the younger continued lovingly. “Where did you go, mate?”

Seungyoun’s last braincell finally decided to speak up. 

“Soooo you’re telling me your pet is a snake?” he asked slowly. Hangyul nodded, eyes not leaving the snake. 

 “Yep.”

“And you’re a Slytherin,” Seungyoun continued, earning another nod.

“Yes,” the affirmation came again. “But I had Lafayette before. Got him from my nana, she thought he would be a great first pet and he really is. He’s so cuddly and affectionate.”

Hangyul’s elaboration didn’t make Seungyoun any less flabbergasted but at least explained the situation. He sighed and decided to just accept it, pinching the bridge of his nose. 

“Whatever, dude. Just get it out of my pants,” he said in exasperation. Hangyul let his eyes wander over him up to his face.

“You really are propositioning me,” he said. Seungyoun hadn’t even bothered to reply to that and just grabbed a book to read. He waved at the other boy and left for the common room. This was too much at this time of the day. And definitely not what he had been expecting on his first weekend back at school. He decided to just leave it as it was and use the hour before lunch to finish his book. 

Following through with this plan he had dropped onto an armchair, lounging there until it was time to go and had ignored every attempt people made at speaking to him. He had needed some space after this confusing encounter.

Later at lunch he retold the story to Seungwoo after deciding to go to the Hufflepuff table today instead of his own house table. This decision had nothing to do with how he had spotted Hangyul sitting there and a certain urge to avoid the younger until he had cleared his head, of course. Seungwoo had looked amusedly for the better part of the story until Seungyoun came to his lack of vocabulary understanding. 

“And then he asked if I was propositioning him and I don’t even know what that word meant…” Seungyoun rambled on, stopping when Seungwoo’s sputtering interrupted his whiny monologue. He patted his friends back as he coughed and looked at him with wide eyes. 

“Seungyoun, sometimes you really are dense,” Seungwoo eventually coughed out, wiping tears from the corner of his eyes. The younger still looked confused and Seungwoo looked him straight in the eye. 

“He basically asked if you were coming onto him. Hitting on him,” he said, a smirk playing on his face. 

Oh. Seungyoun felt himself blush. 

 

 

 

Their encounter wasn’t their last, it turned out. And sooner than expected, to Seungyoun’s utter surprise. He wasn’t sure if his eyes were playing a trick on him when he was standing on the Quidditch field with the team, waiting for the people that had applied for try-outs. Hangyul had walked in with a gaggle of what Seungyoun assumed where his friends. Their eyes had met when the try-outs lined up in front of the team and Hangyul sent him a short smile before focussing on the captain. 

Alright then. Certainly not what he had been expecting today but Seungyoun had decided to just deal with everything as it came. And it turned out that the younger was a useful player, filling the empty spot of the Chaser they needed. Seungyoun was impressed and looked after the other when the captain ordered the applicants for Beater to step forward and the Chasers left the field. 

The younger climbed up the stairs in the bleachers and sat down next to a boy, Seungyoun recognised as someone from their house too, but even younger. The other boy had brown hair, a chubby and cute face with a slight frown on his features. When Hangyul sat down next to him, the other boy reached into his pocket and pulled the snake out, handing it to Hangyul. The older of the two carefully took it and pet its head before holding the sleeve of his jacket open - and the snake slivered inside. 

Seungyoun shivered a bit. He had no idea how a snake felt but in his head they were somewhat…. slimy. A whistle and call of his name brought his attention back to the field. Right. He had to help choose the new Beater. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he turned back to the field.

But he still continued meeting the boy. He started recognising him in the hallways to the dorms, the common room, when eating in the Great Hall or when they passed each other in the hallways. He became aware of the other. And he couldn’t help it - it was out of his power. 

They developed something of a routine: Oftentimes, Hangyul would knock on the door to his dorm room and Seungyoun would open and point to the spot where Lafayette had curled up this time. Somehow the snake - the ball python, as Hangyul had stressed - always found its way back to Seungyoun. If Hangyul hadn’t looked slightly embarrassed by the second time he had knocked, Seungyoun would have believed it was on purpose. 

The good thing that came out of it was that they started talking. And Seungyoun realised that Hangyul wasn’t as closed-off or snarky as he seemed at first. Sure, the younger was extremely sarcastic but he had a nice sense of humor and clicked well with Seungyoun. Being in the same house and the Quidditch team helped too and before he knew it, Seungyoun spent more and more time with the younger. 

Along with figuring out that they made great friends, they also found the reason why Lafayette always ended up in Seungyoun’s room: A small whole in the wall. The dorm rooms of the Slytherins were on long corridors, and separated by sex: the girls to the right, the boys to the left from the common room, with the rooms being on both sides of the corridor and for five people each.

Seungyoun’s and Hangyul’s dorm rooms happened to be beside each other, and they also figured out that they shared the same wall against the head of their bed. Apparently, the furniture in Hangyul’s room had been moved around a bit and there was a hole right beside his nightstand, small enough to not be noticed but big enough for Lafayette to slip through - which he did. And he always headed for Seungyoun’s trunk. 

The older was a bit confused at first but as he became friends with Hangyul, he didn’t mind it as much. It took him quite a while, almost half a year, to dare and touch the small python, however. Before that, he had always gotten Hangyul but at some point the younger noticed that he was scared. It took a lot of coaxing, preparation and patience from Hangyul but eventually Seungyoun picked up Lafayette. 

He was… surprised. The snake was heavier than expected, warm and completely dry. It felt a bit like touching rocks but with a certain underlying softness. A confusing feeling. But nice, somehow. He decided he liked Lafayette at that moment and sat down to pet it, Hangyul chattering away about his day next to him.

Along with Lafayette, he also found a new friend through the younger: the boy he had seen at the try-outs. Dohyon was only in his first year when they met, Seungyoun being three years older and a fourth year. He and Hangyul were from the same neighborhood and had grown up together, inseparable. They were a lot like siblings, Seungyoun noticed, and he couldn’t help but love the small and chubby boy. Dohyon was incredibly cute. 

Hangyul and Dohyon became a constant in his life and he was glad for that. He loved his same age friends and he was a social butterfly but Seungyoun wasn’t too close with many people from Slytherin. It was nice being able to stay in the common room in the evening or just heading over to the dorm next door to chat instead of crossing the entire castle. And the two boys also clicked with his friends easily. 

Hangyul was already close to Yohan and Byungchan, them being in the same year, and he knew Dongpyo through them. Seungyoun introduced him to his older friends from Gryffindor and Hufflepuff - Jinhyuk and Seungwoo immediately liked him. Dohyon was shyer but as Hangyul dragged him along to make friends, he slowly came out of his shell. Especially Dongpyo’s bubbly nature and the easy-going character of their whole group made him more comfortable with everyone. 

Junho and Hangyul combined were a force of nature, their sarcasm once leaving Seungyoun in tears of joy and Yohan thoroughly confused as they roasted him mercilessly. Seungyoun was always glad when he wasn’t the victim of their attacks (perks of being older) but when Seungsik joined them as the year progressed, both Seungyoun and Seungwoo regularly fell victim to their snark too. 

Easily, a year had progressed and he was glad for having Hangyul as his friend. He cared deeply  for the younger and felt comfortable in his presence. Increasingly, so that during the course of his fifth year Seungwoo had started teasing him if he was in love with the younger for how much he talked about him. 

Seungyoun had waved him off, not taking him serious. But at some point the words got stuck. He started thinking about where his friend got the idea of him having feelings for Hangyul came from. And he started to catch himself staring at the younger, lost in thought. His behaviour didn’t change. Why should it? Nothing changed between them after all. 

Except for one thing that Seungyoun started to notice as they progressed through the year. There were certain moments that were filled with tension. Not angry tension but something different. He couldn’t quite place it but it was definitely there. And he liked it. He knew his emotions were - well not written on his face but his hair. But he liked the tension surrounding them. 

And at some point he came to the realisation that he really might like the younger as more than a friend. It took him a long conversation with Seungwoo, a night of mulling it over and a moment in the library where Hangyul had frowned at his homework and Seungyoun’s only thought had been ‘I want to kiss that frown off his face’. 

His realisation changed only one thing: he became more daring. They had always had somewhat flirtatious conversation, something that had stuck from their first encounter. It was never serious but sometimes Seungyoun intentionally pushed further, heightened the tension. To see Hangyul’s reaction, he told himself. Not because his brain-to-mouth filter was taking a break. 

“You seem to smell nice,” Hangyul’s words had him turn around from his locker in confusion. They were the last ones in the changing room next to the Quidditch field after they had stayed a bit longer to practise some things. Seungyoun had just taken off his shirt to throw it into his bag when Hangyul, already done changing, had uttered them.

“We just finished Quidditch practise. I reek of sweat. But whatever floats your boat.” Seungyoun’s reaction carried some confusion and amusement, but he couldn’t help the slightly suggestive tone that snuck in. Hangyul’s eyes flew to him from where he had been staring straight ahead, leaned against the lockers next to Seungyoun. 

“No, I mean your clothes!” he explained with a chuckle. Seungyoun’s amusement was fuelled by that.

 “You...what?” he said with a smirk and closed his locker door, leaning against it with just one hand, angled towards the younger. He noticed how his eyes flew over his still shirtless torso for a second before they returned to his face, no sign of uncomfortableness visible. 

“Oh hell no. Hyung, I’ll be waiting in the common room for you,” a voice suddenly said behind them. Seungyoun looked over his shoulder to see Dohyon hurriedly leaving the room, covering his eyes. The younger must have come in to pick them up from practise as he sometimes did. Seungyoun looked back at Hangyul when the door fell shut, a grin blooming on his face. They younger shook his head fondly at their youngest’s behavior before he looked back at Seungyoun.

“Yeah!” he continued their previous conversation. “Lafayette always goes to your stuff. He must like your smell. Snakes are very particular about smells and he’s very particular about people in general which is why I carry him around a lot.” 

His explanation made sense. Seungyoun had noticed that Lafayette avoided coming out of his pocket in Hangyul’s sleeve when other people where around and let only Dohyon and Seungyoun carry him around. It made sense, put like this. Still, he couldn’t help but look a bit smug.

“So you’re saying you pet python took a liking to me?” he asked. Hangyul nodded, his lips pursed. “Yes.” 

Seungyoun hummed and leaned closer. “Well, I guess he’s like his master then,” he said, smirk adorning his face. He saw a slight blush rising on Hangyul’s cheeks and the younger broke their eye contact after a moment, looking to the opposite line of lockers. 

“I put up with your shit,” he said, trying to sound blasé but a tiny tremor in his voice betrayed him. He definitely was affected by what Seungyoun was doing. The older leaned even closer, resting on his lower arm against the locker now, their faces inches apart. 

“Yeah right,” he said smugly. “Just admit you love me, Hangyul-ah.” 

Hangyul turned to look at him and Seungyoun forgot to breathe for a second from how close they suddenly were. The younger’s eyes flitted over his face before they settled on his hair. 

“Hyung, you know your hair just turned light pink, right?” Well shit, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Seungyoun had felt the nervousness pool in his abdomen but apparently it had been stronger than he thought. Clearing his throat he straightened up and grabbed his shirt from his bag behind him, pulling it over his head. 

 “Anyways, where is Lafayette?” he asked, trying to change the topic. He could feel Hangyul raise an eyebrow at that but the younger complied, changing the topic to the python again.

There was one topic Seungyoun had avoided talking about. And he had been glad that Hangyul had never brought it up either: the colour changes of his hair. He knew he wouldn’t be able to avoid it forever but with the recent development of his emotions, it became more difficult to talk about. He wasn’t ashamed, no, but it was also rather personal. 

He knew it would come up eventually and when it did, it was done by Seungyoun himself. It had been a few weeks after the locker room encounter, during their Christmas holidays. Both Hangyul and Seungyoun had decided to stay in the castle over Christmas, so Dohyon wouldn’t be alone. Due to his ‘condition’ and an occasion of bad timing, the younger had to stay at Hogwarts over the holiday. Hangyul wouldn’t have left him alone anyway and Seungyoun decided to just join him. His family had been planning to go abroad and he had told them to just go earlier and without him. 

Dohyon was in the infirmary already on that very evening when Seungyoun and Hangyul came to talk about the topic. They were seated against the headboard of Seungyoun’s bed, the dorm room deserted and Lafayette on the younger’s lap. Seungyoun had taken a deep breath before he had blurted it out. 

“I’m a metamorphmagus.” He was met with a rather unimpressed look by the younger. 

“I know,” Hangyul said and Seungyoun felt himself relax a bit. “It’s pretty obvious with your hair changing colour all the time, you know.” 

He was right about that. Most people were a bit confused at first but they got used to streaks of colour appearing gradually in Seungyoun’s hair, sometimes his whole hair changing. But most of the times the colour slowly bled into strands only.

“It’s only your hair though, right?” Hangyul continued and Seungyoun nodded. 

“I’m only partly metamorphmagical,” he explained. “Like, one quarter I think. So it’s limited.” 

Hangyul nodded along, fingers gliding over Lafayette. The ball python was, true to its name, curled up into a small brown and black ball, nice and toasty thanks to the blanket the boys were sharing.

“It’s also not wilfully,” he continued. “The colours I mean.” 

Hangyul nodded slowly and stayed quiet for a minute before he spoke. 

“The colours are connected to the situation, right? To the emotions you feel then?” He looked up and smiled lightly. 

“There are some white strands in there,” he pointed out. Seungyoun was surprised that Hangyul had figured it out that easily. Most people thought it was random or a certain colour preference. And Seungyoun never corrected them. 

“How did you know?” he asked. Hangyul shrugged. 

“Seemed kinda obvious,” he shyly stated. “I just noticed how the colours that appeared were similar in similar situations. They always have green in them when you’re happy and laughing and when you’re teasing someone you usually get yellow strands in there. There’s also this dark blue when you’re deep in thought, especially in the library. And whenever you find something cute, like Dohyonnie or one of the kids, there is light blue. And a dark pink when you’re embarrassed. And the white just now - I guess it’s like surprise? Shock? Like a more visualised version of blanching?” 

Hangyul had started speaking faster at some point, going into a ramble but he abruptly cut himself off. It seemed like he was embarrassed for apparently being so aware of the elder. Seungyoun smiled fondly as the younger who was looking down again had a light blush on his neck. 

“You’re right,” he said and leaned back against the headboard. “Completely right. Just one aspect you couldn’t know.”

Hangyul looked up curiously. 

“The darker some colours get, the more intense they are. Partially bad, partially good. Not all of them. But some,” he explained. 

“So like, the light yellow when you’re teasing is mirth?” the younger asked. “And when you get really happy it turns into green?” Seungyoun nodded. “And if you really enjoy teasing someone it turns bright yellow instead?” He nodded again. 

“Makes sense,” Hangyul muttered. “And I guess the light blue is like adoration? Because you have it with the younger ones. But dark blue turns to contemplation?” 

Seungyoun was impressed - Hangyul really was perceptive. “How did you come to that conclusion?” he asked.

“Well,” the younger started, “When you’re feeling fondness you concentrate on the person to an extent. But it’s laced with other emotions, so it would be lighter I guess? And when you concentrate really hard, the direct focus changes and it turns to a darker blue?” 

Seungyoun nodded, lips forming a small ‘oh’. He hadn’t thought about it like this. 

“There’s just one colour I’m not completely sure about. On how to place them I mean.” Hangyul continued and Seungyoun swallowed apprehensively. 

“So when your hair gets dark pink you are embarrassed?” he asked.

 “Yep. ” So far so good.

“And when your nervous and flustered it would turn into pink?” Here it came. The part Seungyoun was dreading. 

“Yeah, pretty much,” he said slowly. “It is connected to…” he swallowed. “To attraction, though. Romantic attraction.”

Silence.

“Your hair turns pink around me a lot,” Hangyul pointed out quietly. There it was.

“It does,” Seungyoun replied. The silence surrounded them again, this time longer and thicker. It was almost as if he could scoop the tension out of the air. And he wasn’t sure if he liked it this time. But he had known he couldn’t avoid this forever. 

“Is that a problem for you?” he dared to ask after a few minutes of silence. It had felt like hours, but Seungyoun still had taken the whole time to gather the courage for that question. Now he was almost dreading the answer. Seconds ticked by, slowly. When Hangyul opened his mouth to answer, Seungyoun tensed in apprehension. 

“No, it actually made it easier to figure you out. And if my feelings were reciprocated.” 

What? He hadn’t expected this answer. And his brain was seriously struggling on comprehending everything. So Hangyul had figured him out? And he had just asked to be sure he was right? And to know if his feelings were…

Seungyoun very slowly turned his head towards the younger. He was still petting Lafayette. A soft smile played over his lips and a deep blush adorned his cheeks. Seungyoun carefully reached over for Hangyul’s hand and stopped shortly before it. His eyes scanned the other’s face again before he interlaced their fingers. His hands felt warm against Seungyoun’s cold ones. He liked the feeling. 

“So…,” he started out, unsure how to continue from here. Hangyul looked up at him.

“I guess we’re…” he too left his sentence unfinished.

“Mmmh.” Silence surrounded them again. Seungyoun scraped the last bits of courage he could find up and took a deep breath. Hangyul was still looking up at him. 

“Hey, do you wanna…” His courage left him before he could finish. 

“What?” the younger asked shyly. Seungyoun looked at him for a moment and gave himself a stern talking to. This was still Hangyul, the person he was closest to. And there was no need for awkwardness. He grinned. 

“Wanna go to the Gryffindor tower, play exploding snap with Jinhyuk and annoy the shit out of Kookheon?” 

The question was out before he could think about it but the grin he received answered all his questions. 

“Oh hell yeah,” Hangyul said with mirth in his voice. The awkwardness was gone. Nothing had to change between them, at least not suddenly. Seungyoun swung his legs over the edge of his bed and pushed himself up while Hangyul softly coaxed Lafayette to crawl into his sleeve. Seungyoun rounded the bed and waited for the other boy, stretching out a hand to pull him up. 

They ended up very close, but Seungyoun pushed any nervousness that tried to crawl up back down. This was Hangyul after all. He laced their fingers together again and turned towards the door. 

“Let’s go,” he said.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

When Dohyon had finished recounting their first encounter and cleared up the misunderstanding of a certain snake in Seungyoun’s pants, Seungyoun was grinning. He was sure his hair had some pink streaks - it had not been his proudest moment after all - but it was amusing nonetheless. Hangyul chuckled in his armchair and the three boys were practically rolling with laughter by now. Dohyon looked rather smug. He had known what his hyungs had been up to - the ambiguity of their conversation had definitely been deliberate but he was used to their antics after all. 

Seungyoun looked up at the younger boy he considered a little brother: he was remarkable. For his intelligence, wittiness, patience and overall friendliness - even though he was shy and a bit rough around the edges. Dohyon had a lot on his plate. Seungyoun recalled the date and marked down that in just two weeks it was his time again. He sighed slightly and pushed himself up into a sitting position. 

“Well, I think I’m gonna head off now,” he proclaimed and searched Hangyul’s eyes. “You coming with me or staying here a little longer?” 

Hangyul glanced at the clock - it wasn’t too late and it was a Saturday but that meant the dorm rooms were empty. They would have some privacy, some time to themselves. Living in a dorm with others proved to create a certain lack of privacy at times and they both didn’t like to get couply around people. Hangyul glanced back at Seungyoun. 

“I’m coming with you,” he said. No further explanation, no justification. Only Minhee raised an eyebrow but one look at Dohyon’s fond smile told him that this was about something else. Seungyoun chuckled a bit: it was way too easy to mislead them in certain directions. He grabbed the outstretched hand Hangyul offered him and got up. 

“Alright kids, don’t stay up to late,” he said to the rest of the boys before he turned to Hangyul. “Off we go.” 

They went towards their corridor and unanimously decided on Seungyoun’s dorm room: his roommates were used to Hangyul being there because of Lafayette and it had somehow become a habit of sorts. Seungyoun opened the door and let Hangyul walk past him before he followed. The younger let himself fall onto Seungyoun’s bed after taking off his shoes at the door and laid on his stomach. 

Seungyoun followed him, nudging the other to scoot over before he joined him in the same position. They stayed like this for a bit until Hangyul’s sleeve twitched and he pushed himself up on his elbows carefully. Lafayette slithered out and made himself comfortable on the pillow, head bopping up and down before he came over to inspect Seungyoun’s face that was smushed into the pillow. He closed his eyes and felt the python softly nudge against his skin, exploring. 

Seungyoun opened his eyes after a while to see Hangyul gently stroking the long serpent body of his pet with a fond expression, only the soft light from the gaslamp on the nightstand that had lit up at their entrance illuminating his features. He looked younger like this and with an almost angelic touch. Seungyoun loved that he was one of the few people who saw that side of Hangyul. His gentle nature reflected on his face and with no walls around him. 

Seungyoun had to think back to another moment when he had seen Hangyul like this. It had been shortly after their (involuntary) confession, when they had returned from Quidditch practice - late as so often. The sky had already been dark and completely clear with freezing air. They had marveled at the stars until they had both been unable to feel their fingers and called it a night, making their way back to the castle.

As they had walked across the grass towards the entrance, Hangyul had still looked up at the sky with the same fond and gentle expression on his face. Seungyoun had felt utterly entranced by that expression, unable to take his eyes of the younger, his steps slowing. Hangyul had eventually turned to look at him, already a few steps ahead and had studied his features. 

“You look really handsome in the starlight,” he had commented offhandedly, still waiting for Seungyoun to catch up to him. The older had decided then and there that he had definitely fallen more deeply in love with this boy than he had previously been aware. Not because of the compliment, he had hardly noticed it. But because he could see each and every emotion on this boy that was usually guarded. Because he was allowed to see them and this thought had made his heart beat faster. 

With two quick long strides he had caught up to Hangyul, had gently cupped his face and studied his eyes for a moment before he leaned in. Only a short, sweet kiss, hardly more than a peck. But it had relayed everything he didn’t know how to say. He knew Hangyul had understood it. He knew from the way the younger had grabbed his hand when he stepped back, had smiled at him and continued their way to the common room.

When they entered the common room it had already been more or less empty but Dohyon had still been there, engrossed in his Arithmancy tasks. He had looked up at them with a raised eyebrow. 

“So you’re finally back,” he had said. “What were you doing?” 

“Nothing,” Hangyul had continued and let go of Seungyoun’s hand to step towards the younger boy. He had leaned over his homework with an arm around Dohyon’s shoulders to study what he was doing. “Just training.” 

Dohyon had nodded at that and had looked at Seungyoun as he had approached them. The older had noticed that with the way Hangyul had sought out physical contact with Dohyon he wanted to talk to him. Probably tell him what was going on. Seungyoun had been pretty sure the youngest had already caught on to their blossoming relationship but he still deserved an open conversation on it. And he had known Hangyul wanted to do this on his own. 

So he had just stepped forward, ruffled Dohyon’s hair and ran a hand over Hangyul’s cheek softly. The younger had looked into his eyes, nodding slightly - he would come to speak to Seungyoun later. Seungyoun had left them to it and had only looked up from his book when Hangyul slipped into his dorm later. He had cast a spell to muffle their conversation and the younger had told him about his talk to Dohyon. Seungyoun had been right: Dohyon had guessed as much, but still demanded a stern talk to Seungyoun like a protective brother. 

Seungyoun chuckled at the memory. He had tried to take Dohyon serious but it had been like a cute angry marshmallow threatening him before he ended with a hug, mumbling something about ‘you two finally getting your shit together’. Hangyul looked at him questioningly, his fingers stilling on Lafayette’s head.

“Just thinking about Dohyon giving me the shovel talk back then,” he explained and Hangyul chortled. “And how beautiful you look like this.” 

The older couldn’t help but add the last part. Hangyul flushed in the soft lamp light but his eyes stayed on Seungyoun’s before they went to his hair. He stretched out a hand and ran it through the soft strands. Seungyoun almost purred at the feeling. 

“There it is again,” Hangyul whispered with a glowing smile. “Lime green.” 

Seungyoun returned his smile. Lime green was one of the two colours only Hangyul had ever seen. Lime green, for him, represented the deepest affections he could hold for a person. The love he felt for only this one person. The colour representing Hangyul. It had never appeared before him and Seungyoun was sure that no one apart from him could make that colour reappear. It was symbolic for Hangyul only. So whenever it appeared, the younger was the only one who could coax it into being. 

The other colour was dark burgundy. Seungyoun blushed at the thought. That colour was a whole different story.

Chapter Text

 

Wooseok wasn’t entirely sure how he got roped into it this time. Or into what. But what he was terribly aware of was the fact that he was running down a corridor in the dungeons and a person clasping his wrist and pulling him along. A person going by the name of Lee Jinhyuk. 

Wooseok had just been minding his own business, on his way to the Hufflepuff common rooms with a short detour to help a lost Slytherin first year find his common room again (he had stumbled into a secret passageway and lost all sense of direction when he came out of it). Happily humming to himself, he had carried on his way when loud banging noises behind him had him stumble in shock.

He struggled towards the wall to catch himself and turned around, heart beating wildly in his chest. Behind him, at the far end of the corridor, mayhem was going on: Loud bangs resounded in quick succession, glittering lights rained from the ceiling, bounced off the walls and danced over the floor. Sparks from what was undoubtedly fireworks sizzled around in the most outlandish shapes, reforming over and over again. Creatures made from sparks and lights came dancing down the corridor, followed by even more explosion. 

It was like a wall of fire and chaos that crept up at Wooseok but he couldn’t help but stare. As anarchic as it seemed, there was a certain beauty to the raging firework in front of the Ravenclaw. The colours, instead of mixing together in ghastly combinations, seemed to go through the colours of the rainbow in an orderly fashion, with specks of silver and gold coming into the mix. The movement of the fireworks followed a spiral pattern and effectively prevented the shapes and sparkly creatures crashing into each other. 

It was like a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes, changing in the blink of an eye but still regaining its tumultuous nature and chaotic beauty. Wooseok was frozen in awe as the corridor slowly filled with more shapes, more colours, more explosions. His eyes were wide open, the sparkling lights danced off his glasses and illuminated his face. Colours flashed over his skin, lit up his features and painted him like a canvas. The whole corridor became filled with lights. 

Suddenly, a body broke through the sparkles and sprinted down the corridor, heading for Wooseok. It was like a bucket of ice cold water had been emptied above him and Wooseok snapped out of his stupor. He knew this lanky creature with long limbs, a slim built and annoyingly expressive eyes in an even more annoyingly handsome face. Focus, Wooseok! 

“LEE JINHYUK!” an enraged voice screamed down the corridor and Wooseok flinched. He knew this voice. This was Professor Ong and he sounded pissed. 

“What the everloving fuck…,” he started mumbling when Jinhyuk reached him. And promptly went to grab his wrist, stopping for only a second. A broad grin lit up his face, his eyes sparkled and the colours that still filled the hallway were making him look both ethereal and manic. 

“Run!” he called and took off again, not giving Wooseok a chance to reply. Instead, the smaller was dragged after him, struggling from the sudden movement and trying to keep up with Jinhyuk’s long legs. Wooseok cursed inwardly as he tried to breathe and run at the same time without losing either his mind or his glasses. 

“The best part hasn’t caught up to us yet,” Jinhyuk panted out, “but I don’t want to be caught up in it!” 

He let out a bellowing laugh and, honest to god, skipped with Wooseok still trailing after him. The headboy was getting increasingly worried. What exactly did Jinhyuk unleash there if he was running from it too? 

They continued down the corridor, turned a corner with Jinhyuk skidding around it so fast Wooseok almost went flying and sprinted down the next corridor until Jinhyuk looked over his shoulder for a moment. 

“Oh shit,” he panted, eyes widening. Wooseok looked over his own shoulder and felt dread pool in his stomach. The firework was getting closer, spreading through all adjoining corridors and quickly catching up. It was only a few steps behind Wooseok. 

Just as he looked back at the Gryffindor in front of him, Jinhyuk slowed down and ripped open a door. The sudden stop had Wooseok run into him at full speed and he could hear Jinhyuk wheeze from the impact, but the taller just threw his arms around Wooseok, pulled him into the room, turned around and slammed the door shut. 

And not a second too late. The banging of the firework rushed past, sparks flying in through the gaps between the door and the adjoining floor and walls. Sparks flew around them, light shone through, streaming through the cracks together with….

“Glitter?” Wooseok asked disbelievingly and looked around. A surprisingly large amount of glitter had come into the room through the gaps. Silver glitter, almost powder. Wooseok knew it would stick to anything it touched like it was glued to it - someone once had thrown this stuff around after Ravenclaw had won the house cup and he had taken over a week to get all of the glitter off himself - so he tried not to move too much and avoid maybe creating wind to make it fly up. 

“Now you know why I wanted us out of there,” Jinhyuk said grinning. “I combined several glitter bombs with Weasley’s magical firework and added some extra blast from muggle firecrackers. It really worked well!”

Wooseok stared up at him, dumbfounded, as the other continued rambling about the ingredients of this specific fiery chaos cocktail. 

“Are you insane?” he hissed. Jinhyuk threw him a disarming smile. 

“Don’t worry, it was in no way hurtful. You saw how I ran through it, right?” he tried to calm the other down. Wooseok nodded slowly, his eyes narrowed. 

“I only hexed the glitter. This stuff is gonna be a bitch to get off,” he continued with a lopsided grin. Wooseok’s eyes widened - this was both brilliant and annoying. 

“And I think,” Jinhyuk added after a moment, “I might have gotten Professor Ong caught in the glitter bomb.” 

He grinned unapologetically. This was not good, Wooseok decided and was about to launch into a rant on responsibility and behaviour when a loud voice sounded outside. 

“LEE JINHYUK!” 

This was definitely Professor Ong and he sounded not happy. More like he was about to go into Banshee mode and ready to rip a certain Gryffindor’s head off. Jinhyuk’s eyes widened with panic and he looked down at Wooseok just to slap a hand over his mouth to prevent him from speaking. Anxiously he listened for footsteps. 

While Jinhyuk was distracted, Wooseok suddenly became aware of their position. He was standing with his back against the door with Jinhyuk’s left arm still around his waist and his right hand over his mouth. In an attempt to hear more the taller had leaned forward to press his ear against the door and was pressing Wooseok into the wood behind him. Their bodies were flush against each other and he could feel the heat radiating from the other’s body. 

Wooseok’s hands had flown up when he had crashed into Jinhyuk and even now his palms were still resting against the Gryffindor’s chest. He could feel his heart beat under his touch, quickly, from their running and the excitement. He wondered if Jinhyuk could feel his heart too. It was still hammering in his chest after all. 

Jinhyuk took a deep breath, his chest moving against Wooseok’s hands and a wave of his smell hit the smaller Ravenclaw. He smelled nice, he noticed. Something slightly citrusy with another aroma he couldn’t quite place…. Wooseok mentally slapped himself. What was he thinking about? This was neither a time for figuring out smells nor should he even think about what Jinhyuk smelled like. 

The footsteps sounded again, further away this time. Professor Ong must have decided to look for them the other way down. Both boys released a sigh and Jinhyuk dropped the hand he had still clasped over Wooseok’s mouth to lay his forearm against the door and rest his head on it. Wooseok looked up and promptly froze. 

He had not expected the other’s face to be that close. They were maybe an inch apart and he could feel the older’s breath fanning over his face. Jinhyuk had his eyes closed, lips slightly parted, an expression of relief painted on his face. Tousled black hair fell over his forehead and he was still leaning against his arm on the door. Wooseok knew he must look like a fish: eyes impossibly wide, mouth agape and somewhat disheveled from their run-in and being pressed and held against a door. His glasses had slid down to the tip of his nose. 

He closed his mouth and gulped. From up close he really had to admit that the other was handsome. His features were clean-clut, with a defined bone structure and a beautiful skin tone. His lips were rather thin but still nicely curved. Wooseok’s eyes lingered on them for a bit before he looked up again and flinched. 

Jinhyuk had opened his eyes and was looking at him, his expressive eyes like dark pools in the dim light of the room they had stumbled into. It felt like a grip holding Wooseok, hindering him from looking away. He tensed up. Jinhyuk had seen him staring at his lips. What did he think that meant? What did it mean? 

Insecurity rushed through him and he could feel his heart speeding up. A slight tremor snuck into his hands from nervousness and he subconsciously gripped what was under his fingers. They curled into a thin fabric - Jinhyuk’s shirt. Wooseok had forgotten that his hands were still on the older’s chest and shrunk in on himself a bit, his grip tightening. 

As he did so, he forgot about one thing. With his grip he was pulling Jinhyuk closer. His breath caught in his throat as he realised it and Jinhyuk’s face had inched even closer than it had before. His eyes were flitting back and forth between Wooseok’s and suddenly  dropped down to his lips for a second before they shot back up. 

Something seemed to glint in his dark eyes. Suddenly he became even more aware of how the older loomed over him. Wooseok felt tiny in his grip but it wasn’t threatening. More assuring. Secure. Safe. Warm. 

As if he could read his thoughts Jinhyuk’s hand tightened around his waist, bringing them another centimetre closer. Wooseok tensed for a moment before he focused back on the eyes still staring at him. He didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to react to this. His heart was still beating against his ribcage violently and he was sure Jinhyuk could feel it, just as Wooseok felt his heart hammering against his hands that were still tightly gripping onto his shirt. 

His knees felt a bit weak and he was sure that part of the reason he was still standing was Jinhyuk’s hand on his waist. Wooseok couldn’t see it, but with the way it splayed out over the small of his back and the curve of his waist, Jinhyuk’s hand seemed impossibly large. 

Suddenly the older moved. Very slowly, very carefully. He pulled his arm from under his head and let it slide down the door, his face staying as close as it had been before. His hand slowly moved towards Wooseok’s face, hesitant with his fingers splayed out. As they brushed against the side of the younger’s face, his eyes fluttered shut involuntarily at the touch and he had to use every ounce of willpower to not lean into it. 

The touch disappeared from his cheek but Wooseok kept his eyes shut. He didn’t know what to expect when he opened them. Was Jinhyuk still as close? Was his hand still hovering against his face? What should he do?

A new sensation had Wooseok shudder. The touch had returned, gentle fingertips running along his jaw in an almost unnoticeable touch before they disappeared again. Then, a finger was pushing up his glasses that had slipped down earlier to the tip of his nose. Time seemed to slow down and every millimeter of skin in contact with the pad of the finger and the bridge of his glasses seemed to have heightened sensitivity. The hand pushed his glasses up the highest point of his nose before the touch disappeared again. 

Wooseok slowly opened his eyes and looked up at Jinhyuk. The older was still staring at him but a softness had snuck into his gaze that hadn’t been there before. His hand was still hovering close to Wooseok’s face. He slowly let it sink lower, fingertips grazing the column of his neck softly, gently, almost reverently. Another shiver went through the younger and the hand came to rest on his shoulder. 

They stared at each, both lost in thought and each other, wrapped up in each other, drawn to each other. Wooseok wasn’t sure if he had ever been this close to another person for an extended amount of time, neither was he sure if he wanted to end this. The nervousness was still coursing through his veins but he felt safe and warm in Jinhyuk’s arms. 

Steps sounded in the corridor again and they both tensed up. The moment was broken. Jinhyuk slowly pulled his hand from Wooseok’s shoulder and the younger willed his hands to unclench. He gently smoothed over the wrinkles in Jinhyuk’s shirt front, a blush rising up on his cheeks. The older carefully pulled his hand away from his waist and took a step back. Wooseok immediately missed his warmth. 

“We should probably…” the older started quietly, his voice cracking in the middle. His ears were bright red and Wooseok nodded shyly. 

“Yeah,” he rasped out, his voice feeling strange. He took a deep breath and pushed himself away from the door he had been leaning against and turned around, grabbing the handle. Another deep breath and he pulled it open. 

He was greeted with the sight of Cho Seungyoun leaning against the wall opposite from the door. Wooseok sighed - just what he had needed. The Slytherin had started grinning as soon as he had recognised them, eyes flitting between Wooseok and Jinhyuk with bright yellow streaks already appearing in his hair. 

Wooseok decidedly looked away from him and focussed on the hallway. His mouth almost fell open: every wall, even the ceiling, was covered in silver glitter. It stretched down the corridor, glittering and sparkling brightly in the light of the torches. Jinhyuk had been right when he had said that he didn’t want to get caught in it. With the way Seungyoun was leaning against the glitter covered wall and not a speck on him, it must’ve been hexed in a way that made it stick to only the first surface it touched. Impressive. 

“Well, Wooseok, are you finally coming out of the closet?” a voiced brought him back to reality and a flush appeared on his cheeks. Trust Seungyoun to try and make him flustered.

“Sh-shut up!” Why did he have to stutter? Wooseok felt the nervousness reappear, strengthening when Jinhyuk stepped closer to him. He could feel the heat the other radiated against his back with how close he came. Seungyoun raised an eyebrow at him.

“Quite a mess, eh?” Jinhyuk said. Wooseok pulled himself together and snorted. 

“Deal with this mess yourself,” he stated, proud of his voice not faltering. “I’m going to the library to do...stuff.” 

Well, not his most elaborate moment but good enough. Without any further comment he marched off. He still felt like Jinhyuk’s intense eyes were still staring at his back and as he was about to round the corner, Seungyoun’s voice drifted over.

“I didn’t know your nickname was ‘stuff’, Jinnie.” 

Wooseok was confused for a second what Seungyoun was trying to say until he realised his pun. Heat crept up his neck and he was sure he had turned bright red by now. He rounded another corner and almost ran into Hangyul. Not sparing the younger a second glance, he hurried on. Change of plans, he decided. Not the library. 

His feet carried him towards the Hufflepuff common room and he knocked against the door, praying Seungwoo was there. A girl opened and looked at him a bit confused. He must be quite the sight: Flushed, out of breath, disheveled, a general mess. He decided to ignore it for the moment. 

“Is Han Seungwoo in?” he asked with a small smile. The girl told him to wait and went into the common room again, reappearing a moment. She nodded and motioned for Wooseok to come in. He thanked her and stepped into the familiar room. 

Upon his entry two people huddled together on a sofa flinched. Donghyun was leaning with his back against the armrest of a sofa, legs thrown over Yunseong's lap. Their heads had been close together as they looked at something in Donghyun's lap which was never a good sign with GoldenChemi.

"Whatever it is, it wasn't us this time!" Donghyun already called as Wooseok strode through the room. A frantically nodding Yunseong tried to emphasize the statement. 

Wooseok waved them off and they sighed in relief. He wasn't here for them after all. And aside from their prankster attitude, they were nice boys. He wouldn't just bother them over nothing or without solid proof of their mischief. 

Seungwoo was in a corner, seated on a loveseat with a book. Wooseok hurriedly approached him, stopping abruptly in front of the sofa. Seungwoo looked up in surprise, a gentle smile appearing on his features as he recognised his friend. Wooseok was lost at this point. Too much confusion. His lower lip started to quiver. 

Seungwoo immediately noticed and sat up straight, placing his book onto the small table next to the loveseat. He moved his legs down and reached up to pull Wooseok gently down onto the plush cushioning, soothingly stroking his arm. 

“What’s the matter?” he asked. “What happened?”

Wooseok took a deep breath. He needed to calm down and work through this to get the confusion out of the way. 

“I’m a bit shaken,” he started slowly. Seungwoo nodded; that much was obvious. Wooseok tried to sort out his thoughts. 

"Maybe start at the beginning?" Seungwoo suggested. “What had brought you here to me, my child?”

His fake grandfather voice had Wooseok chuckle and he felt some of the tension bleed from him. This was Seungwoo, one of his closest and oldest friends. And even though he was friends with Jinhyuk too, Wooseok knew that he didn’t have to worry about Seungwoo blabbing to the other or judging Wooseok for anything regarding the Gryffindor. He took a deep breath and leant back into the sofa, facing Seungwoo. 

“Alright,” he started and Seungwoo nodded, looking like a curious Golden Retriever. “Did you hear the commotion in the corridors earlier?” he asked and the older nodded. 

“It sounded like explosions,” he supplied and Wooseok nodded. 

“Kinda,” he confirmed. “It was fireworks.”

He pushed up his glasses with a sigh. “Possibly dangerous fireworks made by Jinhyuk - he mixed magic firework with muggle firecrackers and glitter bombs - that he had go off in the dungeons.” 

Seungwoo chortled and cleared his throat at a sharp look from the younger. His smile stayed however. 

“That explains why some people came in looking like disco balls earlier,” he said in an attempt to remain serious but mirth was clear in his eyes. Wooseok relented and let a small smile appear on his face.

“Exactly,” he continued. “I was in the corridors at the time he set it off, so I saw it - it was admittedly beautiful and really impressive considering the magic that he must’ve put into it - and suddenly Jinhyuk came barrelling through it too and he just grabbed my wrist and ran off with me in tow.”

Seungwoo’s eyebrows went up ever so slightly but Wooseok had started to go into a ramble and didn’t even notice. 

“We just ran down a couple of corridors and then he dragged me into a broom cabinet - at least I think it was one, it was dark in there - and we were almost caught by Professor Ong and he was holding me against the door and we were really close and…” 

Wooseok was at a loss how to continue and took a deep breath, gesturing vaguely. Seungwoo slightly turned his head as if to urge him to continue, still processing the ramblings. Wooseok spoke on, quieter this times, his eyes fixed on his hands. 

“We were really close and I pulled him closer - accidentally! I had grabbed his shirt and our faces were just so close and then he… he…” 

He was unsure how to say that last part. It sounded weird, even in his head. Seungwoo leaned forward with both curiosity and something that looked strangely like exhilaration to Wooseok. 

“He?” Seungwoo dragged out the pronoun. “He - what did he do?” 

Wooseok felt a blush creep onto his features and turned his head away. Seungwoo gasped. 

“Did he kiss you?” his friend asked excitedly. “Damn, that’s more courage than I expected from him…”

Wooseok pointedly ignored the last part of Seungwoo’s muttering in favour of the utter disbelief that rushed through him at the suggestion the older had made. 

“He… what?” he stuttered. “No! Of course not! Why would he do that?” 

Seungwoo sent him an indecipherable look before he leaned back against the cushions of the loveseat again. 

“Fine, he didn’t kiss you then,” he said. Wooseok frowned. 

“Why do you sound so disappointed all of a sudden?” he asked with a hint of suspicion but Seungwoo waved it off. 

“What did he do then?” he asked again. “Anything I need to discipline him for?” 

Wooseok snorted. Seungwoo could hardly get intimidating, especially not at his friends. He could get serious, sure, but one pair of puppy eyes could make any resolve, he built up before, come crumbling down. 

“Okay, promise me not to laugh?” he asked and Seungwoo nodded impatiently. Wooseok was sure that if the other had a tail, it would be twitching or wagging in excitement by now. 

“He…” he started, “he pushed up my glasses.” 

Silence. Wooseok dared to look up. Seungwoo looked frozen, still processing his words. 

“He pushed up your glasses?” the older asked. Wooseok nodded.

“Yup.”

“Nothing else?” Again, he nodded. Seungwoo closed his eyes for a second and pinched the bridge of his nose, unsuccessfully trying to supress the amusement blooming on his face. 

“So let me summarize,” he said with a calm voice. “You got roped into a prank, dragged into a supply cabinet with Jinhyuk, held against a door with not much space between you two, you  - accidentally - pulled him closer and he pushed up your glasses.” Seungwoo counted on his fingers. “Am I forgetting anything?” 

Wooseok winced - it really sounded a bit silly. 

“Well,” he added. “Seungyoun saw us when we came out of the cabinet and made some jokes.” 

Seungwoo chuckled. “What kind of jokes?” 

“Something about coming out of the closet” - a light chuckle from Seungwoo- “when I said I’d go to the library to do stuff, he said to Jinhyuk that he didn’t know his nickname was ‘stuff’.” 

Seungwoo started laughing out loud at that, mirth openly on his features and a tear appearing in the corner of his eyes. 

“I really have to give Seungyoun credit for this one then,” he said, still chuckling. Wooseok felt himself smile. Seungwoo took a few deep breaths to calm himself down before he looked back up at Wooseok. He still had a smiley expression but his voices sounded somewhat serious.

“Let me ask you just one question then,” he started and Wooseok looked at him anxiously, unsure of what was to come. “When you were in this broom cabinet with Jinhyuk, did you feel uncomfortable in there? And what I mean with that is: did it feel scary to you, like you wanted to get out but couldn’t?” 

Wooseok almost immediately shook his head. While he had felt nervous and somewhat uncomfortable, he knew what the older was hinting at. But he knew that at no point he had been actually scared or had thought that Jinhyuk wouldn’t have let him go. 

“No,” he said clearly. “There was no such...danger.” 

Seungwoo nodded with relief on his features. 

“I’m not asking because I would think Jinhyuk would be capable of that but you never know how a person might react when they are with their back against a wall.” Wooseok nodded again. The older was right after all. Seungwoo’s features relaxed and he leaned forward, this time with a shit-eating grin plastered onto his lips. 

“Then my conclusion for you is: you panicked because Jinhyuk was that close and you weren’t sure how to react because you actually didn’t dislike it, right?” 

Wooseok flushed at those words. Was Seungwoo hinting at the possibility of him being attracted to Jinhyuk? His eyes searched the older’s face for an answer but was met with an entirely too self-satisfied smile. He didn’t like Jinhyuk! At least not like this. 

“I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to tell me,” he tried to weasel his way out, but Seungwoo’s unconvinced expression hindered his success, “but I admit that I have gotten a bit closer with Jinhyuk, I guess.” 

This seemed to be news to Seungwoo and he raised his eyebrows in question. Wooseok sighed. 

“We had a longer talk when we both ended up in detention,” he explained, “and I figured out that he isn’t a bad person - he’s really nice actually. Chaotic but nice.” 

Seungwoo nodded encouragingly. 

“And we started seeing each other in the library on occasion and he sometimes joined me for a cup of tea in the Great Hall,” he quietly admitted. Seungwoo seemed surprised and a small fond smile snuck onto his lips. 

“So you started getting along with him?” he concluded and Wooseok nodded shyly. 

“But we’re only friends, nothing more from either side!” he quickly added, waving his hands around and Seungwoo just deflated and leaned back against the sofa. 

“I didn’t sign up to deal with that much headassery and thick-skulled stubbornness when I got here,” he mumbled in defeat. 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

“Shit, shit, shit,” Minhee muttered as he sprinted through the corridors towards the library. He was late to his tutoring session and time was still ticking by. He frantically scrambled for balance as he rounded a corner and almost crashed into Professor Kang, who jumped out of the way with a loud ‘woah’. 

Minhee just threw back a quick ‘sorry’ and continued sprinting down the corridor, seeing the library doors already. He started slowing down a bit and stopped in front of the door, hands on his knees and trying to catch his breath. He was almost 20 minutes late by now, so he straightened up and stepped forward to grab the handle of the door and opened it. Quietly slipping through it and pulling it shut behind him, he nodded at the librarian before he looked around. He knew where he would find the person he was looking for, so he headed off to that secluded corner he had spent almost an hour searching for the first time he had tried to find Jungmo. 

Contrary to what he had claimed, their meeting hadn’t been a coincidence. The only coincidence was that Jungmo had still been in his spot when Minhee had eventually arrived. He had felt bad after snapping at the other and decided to apologize but he couldn’t remember the name of the older boy. So he had crawled to Junho, hoping to get some (non-judgmental) help from his friend and after succeeding had set out on his quest to find Jungmo. 

He had been close to giving up when he had passed the bookshelf again and noticed how far from the wall it stood, weirdly positioned. Relief had flooded him when he had seen the older boy behind it, almost immediately replaced by something akin to awe when he had noticed the golden light of the setting sun casting it's rays over the Ravenclaw. It had taken him a few moments to catch himself and knock on the shelf to make his presence known. 

Just like now, he had stood at that same shelf, and just like back then the older was already sitting at the table. The only difference now was that two chairs were at the table - and the fact that Minhee was supposed to have been here 20 minutes ago. Minhee suppressed a sigh as guilt flooded him again. 

He hadn’t intended to be late, he felt guilty enough to steal as much of Jungmo’s time as it was already. To be truthful, Minhee’s grades weren't the best. He was getting through his subjects and assignments and he did study with a lot of effort. But it did not pay off. Too often he just couldn’t grasp the core of the material, couldn’t remember it or just did not understand it. After a while he didn’t want to bother his friends with it anymore and studied on his own. 

By now, with his fifth year and approaching O.W.L.s, Professor Kim Chungha had decided to offer him a support system. It was called the Buddies system where an older student who was already familiar with the material would guide him through it and help with understanding. It was neither a punishment nor obligatory - Minhee would not get in trouble for not asking for help or not arranging meetings with his study buddy. 

And he probably wouldn’t have done it, had it not been for the sweet smile Jungmo had thrown him when Professor Kim had called him in to introduce them. The older, apparently, was one of her best students and she thought that his way of explaining and approach to a topic might benefit the younger boy. He had thanked her politely and had been sent off to the library with Jungmo where they had made their way to in rather awkward silence. 

Jungmo had suggested to settle into his favourite corner as it wouldn’t be a disturbance to anyone if they discussed there and Minhee had just nodded in agreement. The silence had remained between them as they settled down and took out their notes and writing utensils. Until Minhee had broken the silence with a smile. 

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful,” he had carefully started out and Jungo had put down his lecture notes and turned to give him his undivided attention. “I really appreciate you being willing to tutor me but…” 

Minhee hadn’t been quite sure how to continue and fallen into silence again. But Jungmo just waited for him to finish. He tried again. 

“But I think…” he had continued slowly, “that I should do this on my own. It’s not that I doubt you or anything, not at all!” 

A slight panic had snuck into his voice and he had looked at the older with apprehension, worried to have sounded insulting. But Jungmo had just looked at him patiently without any sign of offense.

“I need to get this into my head and you have enough to do, so I wouldn’t want to steal more of your time with N.E.W.T.s and everything and I wouldn’t even know where to start, so I…”

Again, he hadn’t known how to finish and had turned his eyes back to his lap, his hands clenching and unclenching as he fiddled with his fingers. A hand had fallen onto his shoulder.

“Hey, no hard feelings,” Jungmo had said. “I get where you’re coming from and it’s actually really nice you take all this into consideration.” 

Minhee had looked up at him and had seen that the older was smiling gently. The hand on his shoulder had squeezed lightly. 

“I appreciate the thought, but I wouldn’t have accepted Professor Kim’s request if I didn’t feel ready to do it, okay? So let me make you an offer.” Minhee’s curiosity had been awakened at that. 

“You don’t have to come for tutoring if you don’t want to. You don’t have to do any of this if you don’t want to. But we could meet here to study if you want to. Individually, i mean. I learn quietly, the Professor told me you are the same and this is a nice and quiet corner. I don’t mind sharing and if a question ever comes up, you can ask me instead of feeling forced into listening to me lecturing you on everything. What do you think?”

Minhee sat with his mouth slightly open. He hadn’t expected the older to be that… accepting. That forthcoming. Jungmo had still been waiting for an answer, he had realised and had weighed his options. His consciousness had whispered to him to accept the offer - it wasn’t bad after all and he wouldn’t have to ask if he didn’t want to. So he had nodded. 

And so they had started studying, individually, side by side. Shortly before they had left, Jungmo had asked him if they wanted to choose a set time to meet up and Minhee had agreed easily. And so their afternoons had started to be spent together. It had taken him about a week of silence before he had cracked. Mulling over the same part of his homework for almost an hour, Jungmo had finished up his own and then asked if he could help with anything. And his explanation had actually made much more sense than anything Minhee had read before. 

So they had kept this structure: studying together and after Jungmo finished, Minhee would ask him questions. He had never dared to disturb the other boy, hesitant to be that forward, and had waited and occupied himself with other materials. 

And so here he was today, fashionably late 25 minutes by now. He swallowed. Jungmo wouldn’t be mad but Minhee still felt guilty. Because he knew the other waited for him and he did not want to seem ungrateful. 

“Sorry I’m late, I got lost,” he eventually said and stepped out behind the shelf, quickly walking to the table and sitting down. Jungmo hadn't looked up yet.

"Lost?" he asked with his eyes fixed in the word he was writing. His voice was filled with amused disbelief.

"Yep," Minhee replied. "Lost in these pretty eyes of yours." 

The older looked up at him with an absolutely flabbergasted expression, mouth agape and eyes wide open. Minhee snorted.

"Don't tell me that got to you?" he asked. “ I didn't actually get lost, I'm sorry I'm late. I mean at first it was because I overslept a bit with my nap after class - I was seriously wiped out - but then I jumped up as fast as possible but when I got into the corridors in the dungeons I walked into a wall of fireworks - a prank probably - and I was hit by a massive wave of magical glitter that just stuck to me and so I ran back to the tower because I looked like mixture of a weird armour and Edward Cullen and then I was already so late but I ran here and I’m really sorry.” 

He cut off his rambling and hesitantly glanced at Jungmo. Minhee winced - he knew the story sounded crazy. 

“Really, hyung!” he insisted. “This is what happened, I still have glitter on me if you look closely…”

“I believe you,” Jungmo cut him off softly. “I’m just a bit... shocked?” 

The question was weird. Minhee practically vibrated in his seat. 

“Really, I didn’t want to be late. I just didn’t want to show up here covered in glitter and I really needed a nap after class, so please forgive me?” 

Jungmo chuckled, somewhat disbelievingly. Minhee’s heart sunk: had he angered the other that much?

“I’m not mad at you,” Jungmo said gently, “but Minhee, haven’t you noticed?” 

Minhee frowned. What was Jungmo talking about?

“Minhee,” Jungmo tried again, “your hair. It’s…”

Minhee reached up and groaned. 

“Is it still glittery? I thought I got it all out!” he whined but Jungmo just chortled. 

“No, it’s not glittery. It’s white,” he said. Minhee froze.

“Wait,” Jungmo said and grabbed a small notebook before tapping it with his wand. The binding turned into a mirror and he handed it to Minhee who held it up. 

His hair really was white. An extremely light blonde, to be exact, but almost white in the light. He gaped and tried to recall how this could’ve hapened. After the glitter disaster he had run back, changed, and asked Hyeob to help him with the glitter in his hair. He had luckily protected his face from the blast, so he didn’t have to scrub off his skin at least, but his head had been silver and it was clearly visible in his black hair. 

His friend had agreed and distractedly waved his wand at him before he had taken a double take. Apparently the charm hadn’t taken effect but he insisted he knew another that was as effective and sucked everything away and left everything perfectly clean. Minhee had just nodded as he was grabbing for his other pair of robes and bag again. Hyeob had muttered the spell and taken a quick step back before he had sent him off. 

Looking back at it now, he had been a bit pale. The spell must’ve ‘cleaned’ his hair too well. He lowered the notebook with the mirror and handed it back to Jungmo with a nod. 

“Well, I guess I’ll have to deal with it then,” he said with a shrug. “It’s just hair after all. I can always get it died by one of the hyungs or on the next trip to Hogsmeade.” 

Jungmo smiled lopsidedly and tapped the notebook again, erasing the mirror surface. 

“I think it suits you. It looks nice,” he commented off-handedly and Minhee felt heat creep up his neck but a smug smile adorned his face. 

"You know what would look nice too?" he replied and leaned forward a bit. "You, on a date with me."

“And I think,” Jungmo continued as if he hadn't heard Minhee, leaning forward too to inspect his face and neck, “you still have some glitter stuck to you.” 

A hand softly touched a spot near his ear and then on his neck. 

“Yep, there and there and there. Only little bits though, so don’t worry.” Jungmo leaned back with a smile. 

“So now that you’re here, shall we get to work?” he asked and turned to his work. 

Minhee nodded dumbly. His face felt as if he resembled a tomato and his heart was threatening to beat out of his chest. He hadn’t expected Jungmo to come that close but he also hadn’t really minded it. He had almost felt regretful when the older had leaned back, had almost grabbed his arms to pull him back in again. 

Minhee shook his head and grabbed his notes from his bag. This was going to become interesting. And he was pretty much screwed.  





Chapter Text

 

“I’ve got many fond memories of broom closets,” Seungyoun said with a smirk. Wooseok had already vanished around the corner but Jinhyuk was still staring after him. He looked a lot like a sad puppy but he snapped out of it at Seungyoun’s words.

“I don’t even wanna know, seriously,” he replied, shooting a slightly scared look in Seungyoun’s direction whose smirk grew only wider, bright yellow starting to streak into his hair. He saw his friend shudder at this, scared of what might be coming next. 

“I’m gonna go study too!” he said and started walking off after Wooseok hurriedly and Seungyoun bellowed out a laugh. Jinhyuk turned back around towards him with a questioning look in his eyes.

“You know, Jinnie…,” he started, still slightly giggling. “This is the direction towards the Hufflepuff common room. Wooseok probably went there to find Seungwoo.”

Jinhyuk’s eyes widened at that.

“I.. but… what? Why would he? I don’t…?” he stuttered out, sending Seungyoun into another fit of laughter, green starting to join the yellow. His friend was just too dense sometimes.

“Well, considering the colour of his face when he just passed me and how you are here, looking somewhat… disheveled,” a new voice interrupted them, “I’d wager a guess that he was flustered and needed to rant.”

Hangyul had come around the corner and was leaning against the wall with his signature smirk. His dark brown hair was swept back, away from his face, showing his eyes twinkling with mirth. Seungyoun sent him a beaming smile and was rewarded with a miniscule twitch in the corner of Hangyul’s lips. He was showing big emotions in public today. Seungyoun could feel his hair change again - if he had to guess, the green had probably changed to the colour of lime tree leaves. 

“Exactly my thoughts,” he replied to his boyfriend’s remark. “It was so obvious from when you came out of the closet together…”

“You did what now?” Hangyul asked with way too much mischief and amusement in his voice. Jinhyuk groaned.

“It’s not what you think! Nothing even happened! We just needed to get away…” he claimed loudly, gesturing. He started to regain the red colour his face had sported when he had left the closet earlier. 

“I have many fond memories of broom cabinets,” Hangyul said wistfully and Jinhyuk groaned again. Seungyoun snickered - leave it to his Hangyul to not only say the same things as him but with the same intention. They exchanged a look and started snickering louder. 

“I am so gonna push you in front of the train when we go home!” Jinhyuk said, before turning around and walking past Seungyoun in the opposite direction of Wooseok, huffing and puffing all the way. Seungyoun looked after him with a wide grin. For such a quick mouth and prankster, he was easy to tease with some leverage.

“Hey you,” a deep voice spoke close to his ear. He flinched slightly and turned his head around, coming face to face with Hangyul, only to start laughing. The other had been so close they had both gone cross-eyed. 

“Wow, I did not see that coming!” Seungyoun panted out, head against the wall. He felt a pinky finger link itself with him with Hangyul still laughing into his ear, his chin perched on his shoulder. He could feel the vibrations of the younger’s deep chuckle from where his chest was pressed against his arm. Seungyoun squeezed his pinky around the other’s a bit and pushed himself off the wall. 

“Let’s go to the common room for a while, we still have a lot of time till dinner.” Weekends were spent lazing around if they weren’t working or going to Hogsmeade. Hangyul nodded and they both started walking towards the Slytherin dungeons, finger still locked and shoulders bumping occasionally. 

Seungyoun had missed Hangyul. The other had been extremely busy all week with homework assignments piling up and he had met up with some other sixth years today to study for several upcoming tests. On closer inspection, Seungyoun could see the bags beneath the other’s eyes - a definite sign of how stressed Hangyul was. He himself wasn’t faring much better, N.E.W.T.s a whole year closer than for Hangyul and Seungyoun had  just as many assignments waiting for him in his bag as he had finished today. There was so much to do.

When they reached the tapestry to the entrance and entered the common room, Hangyul let go of his finger and went straight towards one of the sofas. There were several scattered around low tables around the room, one of them occupied by Dohyon hunched over his homework close to the fireplace. Hangyul approached him and slumped over the younger boy, flattening him to the sofa in a mess of flailing limbs.

“Oooof.” He heard the air leaving Dohyon’s lungs at the older boy’s weight. “Hyung you’re squishing me! And Lafayette!” 

Hangyul practically flew off the younger boy, patting him down worriedly. 

“Where is he?” he asked. “Where is my baby? Is he alright?” 

Doohyun sighed and pushed his hand into his robe’s pocket to pull the python out. It lifted its head sleepily with its tail curling securely around Doohyun’s arm. Hangyul cooed and carefully grabbed the snake from him, lifting it to his face before opening his robe sleeves for it. Lafayette curled around his wrist and slid up his arm into the pocket sewn into Hangyul’s robe for him. He must have been craving warmth.

Seungyoun had reached the sofa opposite of Dohyon and flopped down unto it ungracefully, leaning back into the cushions with a sigh. 

“What are you up to?” he asked the younger boy. Dohyon sighed as Hangyul came over and fell onto the seat next to Seungyoun. Seungyoun lifted his arms to rest on the back of the sofa, effectively putting an arm somewhat around Hangyul, who scooted a bit closer and leaned his head against his upper arm.

Doohyun raised an eyebrow at them before looking down at his notes again. 

“Charms. I just get so confused by codependent spells and how they interact, I really don’t get it, there’s so much going on. And I have finished everything for Arithmancy, so I can’t put it off anymore….” The boy rubbed his face and glanced up at his hyungs with puppy eyes. Seungyoun suppressed a smile.

“Codependent magic actually isn’t that complicated,” Hangyul started. “You see, you just need to know the base of the spell casting, then you go via elemental configuration and target distribution before you start the movements.” 

“Yeah, right. I totally got that,” Dohyon deadpanned. “Completely clear now.” 

Hangyul sighed and Seungyoun giggled and leaned towards his ear. 

“You taught him that behaviour, Gyullie. And he knows how to use it.” Hangyul sighed and moved closer to Seungyoun’s warmth before he opened his mouth to start explaining in greater detail. 

“You two are cuddly today,” Dohyon interrupted him with a raised eyebrow and Seungyoun just smiled sheepishly. “And your hair is turning light blue again, hyung.”

“Yah!” Hangyul interjected. “If you want an explanation then listen!” His harsh words were countered by the small smile on his lips and the quick look towards Seungyoun.

“Alright so you know what a base spell is? Because you need the source magic to….” Seungyoun zoned out as Hangyul started his explanation. His brain had been stuffed with magical theory, history and other things all day and his boyfriend’s voice was way too calming for him to pay attention. 

Even though he was familiar with the magic they were talking about, Hangyul was a better teacher for Dohyon - they just understood each other on a different level. Seungyoun tended to go off topic or start off at a higher level of knowledge than his pupil had. He had once tried to tutor Dohyon in Charms and gotten the poor boy so confused that upon Hangyul entering the room, the younger had stood up and walked into the arms of his surrogate brother. 

It had been endearing how Hangyul didn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around Dohyon, who had clung to him like the overgrown puppy he was, but the utter confusion on his boyfriend’s face had been hilarious. Seungyoun had felt a bit bad to have confused Dohyon that much, but the display of affection was cute. Hangyul had gone over the material with the younger afterwards and had him understand it in under 10 minutes, where Seungyoun had needed one hour without any result.

Seungyoun let his gaze wander through the common room but it returned to Hangyul’s face quickly. After a short moment he leant forward to nuzzle his nose into the other’s neck and close his eyes. Hangyul didn’t push his face away - a sign that he himself was worn out and craving some contact. 

It was rare that Hangyul let him cuddle him like this or didn’t push him off after a while. He sighed and ravelled in the comfortable warmth as a certain supply cabinet from last June came to his mind.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

“How did you lose him again?” Seungyoun sighed as he followed Hangyul through the corridors hurriedly. “I mean he’s literally up your sleeve? Wouldn’t you notice?” 

Hangyul sighed and turned around in a full circle whilst still walking, arms stretched to the side.

“I know, I know! But he’s tiny and small and I was distracted in class while…” he stopped abruptly and Seungyoun almost ran into him. Hangyul whirled around and grabbed his shoulder, shaking him a bit.

“In class! I must have lost him there! I was distracted in class by Yohan and Byungchan making a mess that I must’ve missed him slipping away! Alright, I know where to go!” he called excitedly with his face moving closer and closer.  He grabbed Seungyoun’s wrist and started pulling him along in a jog towards the stairs to the divination classroom on the 5th floor. Professor Lee Daehwi had complained about having to climb up to north tower all the time, so the classroom had been moved. 

Hangyul dashed up stairs and ran down corridors, never slowing down until the door of the classroom was in sight. He reached out his hand to push it open and… almost slammed into it. It was locked. Hangyul shook the handle and took a step back. 

“This is bad. Alohomora doesn’t work here to protect the utensils and we can’t sneak in through the windows.” He threw a panicked look at Seungyoun who patted his shoulder after freeing his wrist from Hangyul’s clutch. 

“Don’t worry, I got this.” He crouched down in front of the door and pulled out his wand. 

“Vivo revelio!” he mumbled and put his wand on the floor with the tip pointing towards the door, bright green bleeding into his roots. If there was life inside the room, it would glow and swivel into the direction of the living thing; if there was nothing, it would turn to the closest living thing around the room apart from the spellcaster. 

They both stared at the wand expectantly until it started glowing in a soft white light and started rocking from side to side, swivelling around to point away from the door and in between the two wizards towards the door of a supply cabinet. They jumped up and Seungyoun grabbed his wand following Hangyul to the supply cabinet. He opened the door quickly and raced into the surprisingly spacious room with a small window and shelves filled with cleaning supplies. 

Hangyul looked around and tried to look on the shelves in search of Lafayette when the door closed behind them with an echoing bang. They looked at each other in surprise and Seungyoun slowly stepped towards the door and pushed against the handle. It didn’t budge. He shook the handle but it stayed closed. He even tried opening via magic (Alohomora could open any uncharmed lock after all) but the lock remained in place. It was either locked with magic or he was too stupid to open a door. He turned around slowly, the green having been replaced by single white strands throughout his hair.

“Well… here we are,” He said in a dry tone, matching Hangyul’s deadpan expression. “Locked in a supply closet. Classy.” 

Hangyul snorted and turned around to look out of the window. 

“We’re too high up for anyone to hear us too. Guess we gotta hold out in here until someone comes,” he replied. 

Seungyoun sighed and leaned against the door. Hangyul continued looking around the room, calling out Lafayette’s name and looking under shelves but his search remained fruitless. He eventually sighed and got up, walking towards Seungyoun who was leaning against the wall left of the door. 

“He’s not here I guess,” he said dejectedly. “The wand must’ve pointed at a mouse or something in here.” 

Hangyul stood in front of Seungyoun with his eyes cast down before he lifted his head and looked at him. The older let his eyes wander over his features: There was a cobweb stuck to the hair near his temple and a small beam of sunlight fell into the room behind him. Dust particles were dancing around and created a halo around his head and upper body. 

Seungyoun was mesmerised, unable to tear his gaze from Hangyul. He looked beautiful like this, his hair swept to the side with his forehead, strong eyebrows and expressive eyes exposed. Seungyoun lifted a hand and combed it carefully through Hangyul’s hair, swiping away the cobweb before he trailed his fingers down the side of his face and along his jawline to his chin. 

The other shuddered slightly at his touch and leaned into it when Seungyoun opened his hand to cup the younger boy’s face. His thumb moved over his cheek, his defined cheekbones and down to his lips, sweeping over the lower lip. He felt Hangyul’s breath against his thumb and saw his chest moving up and down more quickly than before. He was sure his hair had taken on the lime green, it only showed with Hangyul - the colour displaying his love and affection for the boy.

The younger’s eyes closed for a second and his lips opened slightly, as he leaned further into Seungyoun’s touch before opening his eyes again to look up through his lashes. Seungyoun felt his heart hammer in his chest with nervousness and… something else. He studied Hangyul’s face for another moment before he leaned down the few centimetres separating them and connected their lips. 

It was sweet, slow and languid with no rush. Their lips moved with a practised ease against each other, once, twice, three times before they parted. Seungyoun opened his eyes to see Hangyul looking at him already, something unreadable in his gaze. His hands had found Seungyoun’s waist during their kiss and had been resting there in a relaxed manner.

“Lime green and light pink.” Hangyul murmured and studied his hair before looking down at his eyes again. He knew what the colours meant. He had always known their meaning, had understood Seungyoun’s whole nature.

A few heartbeats passed between them.

Hangyul’s grip tightened and he pulled Seungyoun closer by his waist, reconnecting their lips with more force, sliding his hand up his chest and behind his neck. Seungyoun let his eyes slip shut, moved the hand cupping Hangyul’s face further into his hair and wrapped his free arm around him until they were flush against each other. One of the younger’s hands went into Seungyoun’s hair to play with the black strands at the back of his head while the other grabbed the back of his neck.

He pulled him even closer down, tilting his head to the side and licked against the seam of Seungyoun’s lips. He opened them readily and buried his fingers in Hangyul’s hair. Their lips slid against each other and their tongues met; the wet slide of them made Seungyoun lose his previous restraint. He turned them around and pressed Hangyul against the door, the old wood not even moving one bit at the impact; the pink started to get darker, slowly pushing away the green towards the tips of his hair. He broke away for a moment and looked at Hangyul with a slightly dazed expression. 

The younger had a light pink blush on his cheeks, his lips red and shiny with spit. He looked up at Seungyoun with slightly hooded eyes and bit his lower lip. Seungyoun dove back down, slotting their lips together, sucking the other’s tongue into his mouth. Hangyul whimpered slightly at his actions and Seungyoun revelled in the noise.

Only he got to see him like this. Got to hear him, got to kiss him. No one else. The younger was rather restrained in his expression of emotions, save for sarcasm, and not too fond of skinship. He wasn’t one to back down or stand back for convenience - instead he was headstrong and determined, often with a dominating touch. Only Seungyoun had seen him like this, without any guard up and so obvious in his emotions and needs, it was almost baffling. The pink had completely replaced the green, getting darker and darker.

He gripped the strands he had buried his fingers in tighter and pulled back a bit from the kiss but Hangyul pulled him back in again. Their noses bumped against each other and they both opened their eyes. Seungyoun felt entranced by the eyes staring up at him: Pupils blown and wide open this time. He felt the other’s breath against his lip, their chests against each other. 

He brushed his hand he had previously buried in his hair against Hangyul cheek again and leaned down to kiss him again. He didn’t want to stop, he loved the feeling of the younger’s lips against his too much. Their kiss was slower again this time, unhurried, but still with a certain urgency laced into it. He opened his mouth again to slip his tongue into Hangyul’s mouth and was met with no resistance - the other practically welcomed him. Their tongues wrapped around each other again and again until Hangyul tilted his head to the other side, disconnecting their lips for a second.

He pressed a short open-mouthed kiss against Seungyoun’s lips before he moved his lips to the side of Seungyoun’s neck and started kissing and biting a trail down from his jaw to the juncture of it. He returned to a spot about halfway up, leaving butterfly kisses, before he sucked some skin between his teeth and bit down on it. He continued sucking at the spot with his hands roaming across Seungyoun’s shoulders and hair. A moan slipped out of Seungyoun’s lips and he slid both his hands down to the other’s waist, tightening his grip and pressing him against the door with more force before Hangyul tugged slightly on the hair at the back of his head. Seungyoun grabbed his face in response and kissed him again, with a lot more force than before; the colour was burgundy now.

They both grew more heated and daring in their advances by now, Hangyul slipping his hands down Seungyoun’s chest and roaming around his upper body, as Seungyoun leaned more and more into his space with his whole body. He scraped his teeth against Hangyul’s lower lip before taking a small step forwards, bringing a knee between the younger’s legs and…

Hangyul broke their kiss. He turned his head to the side, not looking at Seungyoun, panting a bit, a deep blush adorning his face. Seungyoun straightened his posture immediately, looking at him with a mixture of worry and question. Had he gone too far? The burgundy softened, some strands changed to white, black reappearing in the roots and bleeding into the longer strands.

“I’m sorry…” the younger mumbled almost inaudibly. Seungyoun was confused. Why was he sorry?

“I got nervous… and… I don’t…” The smaller stuttered out and blushed in an even deeper shade of red. The wheels in Seungyoun’s head turned for a moment before he understood what he meant. 

“You don’t think you’re ready for… more.. yet?” he asked slowly and carefully, searching Hangyul’s gaze. Their eyes met and the other nodded quickly before averting his eyes again. Seungyoun felt a soft smile creep up on his face and he cupped his boyfriend’s face with both his hands, the fear and worry leaving his body and being replaced by an incredible fondness and affection again: lime green. 

“That’s perfectly fine, you know. There’s no rush or pressure, okay?” He searched the younger’s eyes for a moment before he pressed a soft kiss against the tip of his nose.

“You go at your own pace and with what you’re comfortable with.” He pressed another kiss against his forehead. Hangyul’s eyes fluttered shut. Seungyoun leaned in again and softly pecked both his eyelids before leaning in for an equally soft and chaste kiss. 

“Thanks,” he whispered against his lips, obvious relief in his voice. Seungyoun smiled into the kiss and rubbed his hands against the smaller one’s sides in a soothing manner. They both pulled back, Hangyul with a small smile.

The door opening suddenly had them fall over each other to the floor in a heap. Seungyoun brought up his hand to cushion Hangyul’s head from the fall and they looked at each other with stunned faces when they found their senses again. 

“Seriously, you two? In a broom cabinet?” a voice interrupted them in a dry tone and their eyes widened when they recognised it. 

“Kinky!” a different voice added. 

“Why is it always me that finds you?” Dohyon asked again, looking at them from where he was standing, the handle of the now open door still in his hand and an expression full of suffering on his face. Behind him was a grinning Byungchan. They scrambled to untangle their limbs and get up from the floor. 

“We got locked in there! We couldn’t get out and so we were waiting for someone to come and….” Seungyoun trailed off and took in Dohyon sceptical expression and the way his eyes flitted from their messy hair, over their disheveled ties and rumpled robes to their swollen lips. They clung to Seungyoun’s neck for a bit longer before he raised his eyebrows. 

“Sure. Because you both didn’t know how to turn the handle ninety degrees to the right before the door opens. Very believable.”

Hangyul and Seungyoun looked at each other, dumbfounded by Dohyon’s revelation, before Hangyul’s eyes widened when he looked at Seungyoun’s neck. They both looked at the two boys again: Dohyon seemed to be contemplating if this was worth it all and Byungchan was wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at them. Eventually, Dohyon broke the awkward silence and turned away.

“Just… be decent for dinner, will you? And Seungyoun, please rethink this colour combination. You look ridiculous with four colours on your head. I like the black-white combo, but you can’t just add green and pink into everything, you know?”

 He started walking away when Hangyul seemed to awake from a trance. 

“Wait a second! Why were you opening the doors to supply closets with Byungchan behind you, anyway?” He sounded both curious and ready to fight (to protect Dohyon’s honor probably). Dohyon turned around for a second confusedly before he looked at Byungchan and grimaced.

“Eww, no, I wouldn’t snog him even if I had swallowed a love potion.” Byungchan looked just as disgusted by the thought. “He’s my friend, anyways. And we opened the door because Lafayette was waiting in front of it and refused to be carried away.” He went the few steps back and handed the sleepy snake to Hangyul. 

“He was pretty cold so we should probably warm him up properly again.” He turned back around and started walking again. “Keep your hands off each other in front of the baby please!”

Seungyoun and Hangyul looked after him with an equally stunned expression before they looked at each other again, Hangyul’s eyes flitting to his neck again and then focussing on his now black hair with some hot pink strands to it. Seungyoun raised an eyebrow at that but Hangyul just blushed, grabbed his hand a pulled him to the closest bathroom, in front of the mirrors.

Seungyoun turned his head and saw a big and dark red hickey on his neck, splats of violet already coming into it. He leaned closer towards the mirror to inspect it and…

“Are those teeth marks?!”

The hot pink turned to burgundy.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

A hand softly shook him. Seungyoun opened his eyes and saw Hangyul’s face above him.

“Am I dead? Because there’s an angel right in front of me,” he muttered with a dopey grin. Dohyon’s face appeared next to Hangyul’s face. 

“Hyung, I think you broke him. He’s saying nonsense. And he turned green and blue. What’s with him and all the pastel?” Hangyul snorted at that and Seungyoun squawked indignantly. He pushed himself up and realised he had been laying on Hangyul’s lap. He had fallen asleep after all.

“Why did you wake me?” he whined. Both his boyfriend and Dohyon rolled their eyes at that. 

“It’s almost dinner time, you big baby,” Hangyul said. “And Dohyon needs to get going to the infirmary.” 

Seungyoun quickly got up and wrapped the youngest in a hug before pulling Hangyul into it, ignoring both of their complaints at that. At least until Dohyon kicked his shin and got out of the hug to grab his bag. 

“I need to go. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.” Hangyul grabbed the boy’s Arithmancy notebook from where it had still been laying on the couch and handed it to him. 

“Latest by tomorrow. No bugger off and don’t be late, okay, Dohyonnie?” he asked, obvious fondness laced into his words. Dohyon smiled shortly before he turned around and walked towards the door.

“Yeah, sure.” he threw over his shoulder but smiled in their direction before closing the door to the common room. Hangyul sighed and looked at Seungyoun.

“Shouldn’t we get going too? We have 15 minutes till dinner and we still need to get changed into the training gear.” They had Quidditch training afterwards, and hurrying back down to change was not worth the hassle. So they always went to dinner with their equipment bags and training clothes, as did the rest of the team. 



“By the way,” Hangyul added as they sat down at their house table for dinner, surrounded by some of their friends and teammates. “What were you dreaming about? You kept smiling.”

“Oh,” Seungyoun replied. “Just some pleasant memories about supply cabinets.” 

The others groaned, and Seungyoun knew his hair was yellow like the sun.

Chapter Text

 

“LEE JINHYUK!” Professor Ong’s ear-piercing scream had Dohyon wince as the Professor broke through the tapestry to the secret passageway. He looked around, his eyes holding a mixture of rage and exasperation, Dohyon was sure would end lethal for his hyung. 

He politely greeted the Professor instead and turned to look when a rustling of the tapestry announced the arrival of another person. Dohyon’s eyebrows shot up for a second but he was able to school his expression into something neutral and polite again before he greeted Professor Kang. The second Professor nodded at him with a smile and continued straightening out his tie and collar of his dress shirt - a feat Professor Ong hadn’t bothered starting on yet. 

The astronomy teacher turned around, his dark green robes flying around him and he glared around, eyes landing on Dohyon at which they softened a bit. He took a breath and smoothed a hand through his hair and nodded at Dohyon before he glared at Professor Kang again. 

“Your troublemaker again!” he hissed but Professor Kang just chuckled. 

“You have to admit: this,” he pointed behind the other, “is really impressive.” 

Dohyon turned his attention back behind him: a raging and powerful firework was going off in the corridor, colourful lights and sparkles filling the high stone walls and casting a magical glow on the surroundings. Dohyon had to admit that this was truly amazing. 

That was until his eyes caught a small object on the side of the corridor: it looked like grey packages with a long piece of string that led right into the fireworks. And if Dohyon squinted, he could make out a person kneeling in the middle of all the light and sparkles and it seemed like they were fiddling with something on the ground….

Uh oh. That was probably Dohyon’s cue to go. Knowing Jinhyuk he wasn’t done yet. Dohyon tried to seem as inconspicuous as possible when he looked back at his Professors who seemed still entranced at the spectacle and cleared his throat. 

“I need to go now, Professor,” he carefully directed at Professor Ong who’s head snapped around to him. “It’s almost sundown and I need to get some homework done before I go to the infirmary….” 

Dohyon trailed off and hoped his explanation was enough for his house teacher to let him go - and the man nodded almost immediately, taking a step in his direction. 

“Of course, hurry along, Dohyon. And take care of yourself!” he said with a smile and Dohyon nodded again before he turned around. Professor Kang sent him an encouraging smile and a thumbs-up before he turned to join Professor Ong. 

Dohyon turned around and started walking, but it turned into a run after he had turned the corner and was out of sight. He didn’t know what exactly Jinhyuk was up to this time and he didn’t want to find out - but he actually needed to hurry up. 

Holding his bag closer to his body he only slowed his steps when he reached the tapestry leading to the common room and entered after he had muttered the password. The Room was blissfully empty, most students deciding to go out to meet friends from other houses or occupied in the library and on school grounds instead of the dungeons. He made his way towards one of the sofa’s near the fireplace and sat down. Time for homework. 

Sighing, he pulled out his Charms folder and opened it to have another look at his notes before he got started on his essay. A role of parchment and his quill were already neatly placed beside it as Dohyon desperately tried to understand what he was supposed to write about. 

“‘Explain, in your own words, the theory behind codependent spells and illustrate your thoughts on an example.’ Well I would do so, if I had any idea how they did work,” he muttered sourly to himself as he stared at his notes again, hoping they would just spell out the answer. This was close to hopeless - he really needed someone to explain this to him. 

His mind had been to exhausted to keep up with Professor Kim’s explanations today, all his senses focussed on his surroundings and sharpened while his body screamed for some sleep. He really hated the pre-moon phases. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he missed school on a regular basis because of his transformations or missed out on his actual free time, he already had two to three days of general exhaustion and inattentiveness leading up to it. 

It was probably one of the hardest parts of being a werewolf. His wolf was becoming more restless with the nearing full moon and his senses noted more things than usually while his body was constantly in the need for more sleep, more rest, more sustenance to prepare for the impending transformation. Understandably so, as every bone and muscle in his body rearranged twice within one night. At least it wasn’t painful, thanks to the further development of the wolfsbane potion, and he was able to spend his time as a practically harmless wolf pup in a secluded area of the infirmary.

But the side effects of the transformation were still as bad. He had almost fallen asleep in class three times this day, one time being whilst standing at the workbenches in herbology. Only Professor Sejeong’s gentle hand on his shoulder, as he had started swaying, had kept him upright when she asked how his work was going. The flitterbloom he had been working on had swayed happily at her voice and Dohyon was sure she had noticed - cleaning the tentacles of this plant was hardly a task necessary of close supervision. But he had been glad for her - literal - support.

The only positive aspect he had been able to look forward to had been the fact that this transformation was happening on a Friday - meaning he would be out of the infirmary by Saturday afternoon and with still some weekend left - and his last lesson of the day being Arithmancy with Professor Park. 

Park Woojin was an extremely energetic person who seemed rather rough around the edges initially. His boisterous deep voice and loud behaviour made him appear intimidating at first but as Dohyon got to know him, the Professor became one of his favourites. The man was incredibly good at what he was doing and went about it with unrivalled energy and motivation, igniting the same spark in many of his students. 

Dohyon had always had a knack for numbers and logic, with mathematics being one of his favourite subjects back in muggle school, and the lack of it had shaken up his whole world when he had arrived at Hogwarts. Only Hangyul’s promise of Arithmancy being an option in his third year had kept him patient and he had not been disappointed when he had started the subject. 

The mixture of logic and magic was unusual and at times strange but Dohyon enjoyed it even more because of it. And Professor Park’s constant motivation had kept him going, even if the tasks had been hard. 

A few months into his third year, one of Dohyon’s transformations had fallen on the day before he had arithmancy and he would miss the class - along with other subjects - to recover. He had gone around to inform the teachers of his absence, as he alway did, and when he was about to take his leave from Professor Park’s office, the man had asked him to wait for a second before he had handed him a folder. 

“So you have something to keep you occupied for tomorrow,” he had said when Dohyon had looked puzzled. The folder had been filled with arithmantic problems, more in-depth than what they handled in class, along with the material that would be covered on the next day. 

“I expect the homework and lesson tasks as always but feel free to hand in anything else you solve. Just for practise of course, not extra credit,” the teacher had said with a smile, snaggletooth peeking from beneath his lips. Dohyon had stuttered a thanks and left. 

The tasks had been his saving grace on several occasions, saving him from boredom when he just layed in the infirmary bed waiting for Nurse Sun to let him go. By now, all tasks in the folder were new, renewed whenever he ran out of problems. Dohyon gazed at it longingly. He’d much prefer that over Charms.

His self-pity session over homework was cut short, however, by a body slumping onto him and pinning him to the sofa. He recognised the scent immediately - Hangyul. The older boy had once again decided that Dohyon was his personal pillow. He felt something twitch against his arm as the air was pressed from his lungs and he wheezed. 

“Hyung you’re squishing me! And Lafayette!” he cried in a desperate attempt to get the older off him.  Hangyul shot up at that, his hands patting over Dohyon worriedly. 

“Where is he?” he asked. “Where is my baby? Is he alright?” 

Dohyon sighed and pushed his hand into his robe’s pocket to pull the python out. Lafayette lifted his head with his tail still around him - the snake definitely had just been roused from a nap. Dohyon suppressed a smile at the coo his hyung let out when he grabbed his precious pet from the younger to store him away again. The snake surely would be glad about an elongated nap.

A sigh from the opposite sofa had Dohyon look up: Seungyoun had just sat down there with the same grace as a landing albatross. 

“What are you up to?” the older asked, eliciting an answering sigh from the youngest of them. Hangyul got up from where had been sitting on the sofa and went over to join his boyfriend, who put and arm on the backrest in an attempt to put his arm around the younger to which Hangyul leaned his head against his shoulder.

Dohyon couldn’t help the raised eyebrow; his hyungs usually weren’t this… touchy. Either something had happened or they were just exhausted. A glance at his notes brought back his own despair.

“Charms. I just get so confused by codependent spells and how they interact, I really don’t get it, there’s so much going on. And I have finished everything for Arithmancy, so I can’t put it off anymore….” he rubbed his hands over his face and glanced up at his hyungs with puppy eyes. 

This was going to work for sure, they were both weak. Seungyoun seemed to try and hide his smile but Hangyul remained expressionless. He was the one to open his mouth however - to Dohyon’s relief. One tutoring session with the older had been enough. 

“Codependent magic actually isn’t that complicated,” Hangyul started. “You see, you just need to know the base of the spell casting, then you go via elemental configuration and target distribution before you start the movements.” 

The whole sentence had made his head spin.

“Yeah, right. I totally got that,” Dohyon deadpanned. “Completely clear now.” 

Hangyul sighed and Seungyoun giggled and leaned towards his ear, whispering something Dohyon couldn’t hear. But judging by the amused expression of the oldest, it was probably something to tease the younger. Surprisingly Hangyul leaned into his boyfriend more instead of slapping his hands against the closest body part. Dohyon couldn’t help himself.

“You two are cuddly today,” he interrupted Hangyul’s attempt at speaking and earned a sheepish smile from Seungyoun who was starting to look like a colour reverse smurf by now.

 “And your hair is turning light blue again, hyung,” he commented, just for good measure. 

“Yah!” Hangyul interjected. “If you want an explanation, then listen!” 

To any outsider his words might have sounded rather angry, but Dohyon knew the other too well. He could see behind the mask of annoyance to see some amusement and fondness play on his features. But he probably shouldn’t test his luck if he wanted an explanation for his homework.

“Alright so you know what a base spell is?” Hangyul started again. “Because you need the source magic to determine what the spell conglomerate is trying to accomplish after you cast it, okay?”

Dohyon nodded, eyebrows furrowed. 

“Like if I want to defend myself?” he asked and Hangyul pursed his lips for a moment before he replied. 

“You’re not wrong,” he admitted, “but that’s a too broad range. Defense with spells or with shields? Enhanced healing, defensive creatures or just straight out attacks that protect you from a counter? There are many. And the whole goal of this spell is to put as little magic into it with as much results as possible. Casting one spell with words and letting the other follow through the uninterrupted and constant motion for other spells in a specific order.” 

This actually made sense. Now he needed an example. 

“So if I choose attacks to defend myself?” he asked and Hangyul nodded. 

“Alright, so what you would choose are obviously spells that incapacitate but without bringing a lot of harm or injury to your opponent,” he explained and noticed the question before Dohyon could even voice it. 

“Harmful spells are too powerful in their magical ‘energy’, you could say, to collaborate in a codependent spell. It’s as if you put a hungry dragon into a forest but you sent in wolves earlier to decimate a certain prey population. The population would shrink, but only because of the dragon who would go for both wolves and prey as well as any other animal when he gets hungry. In the long run you would bring more damage, even to yourself.”

Dohyon nodded, understanding the metaphor perfectly, even though it was exaggerated. Dragons were not too feral without being angered.

“Now, you would only use spells - or predators - that work together or at least don’t cancel each other out,” Hangyul continued. “And for this, they need the same elemental configuration - which doesn’t count for all spells, but you couldn’t mix an earth-related spell with electricity and expect it to not be cancelled by each other’s nature - or the same target distribution. Now here it gets tricky. 

He leaned a bit forward. Seungyoun had fallen asleep by now, his head lolled back onto the sofa, his mouth wide open. 

“The target distribution can be used different for a spell but what you need to take into consideration here is that they need to be diverse. Your base magic decides on the type of magic you are using and what your initial target is. In this case we’ll use Expelliarmus , because it’s easy enough. The target here is your opponents hand.” 

Hangyul gestured at his hand and Dohyon nodded at that. The older seemed relieved. 

“Alright, now the other spells would follow as you started disarming. Imagine casting Expelliarmus again and again, and imagine each spell like a little line originating from your hand, or more like a string. They all have the same target - the hand. So what would happen?”

Dohyon thought for a moment before it clicked. 

“They would hit each other and get tangled!” he concluded excitedly and Hangyul nodded. 

“In a way. They would hit each other and lose their trajectory, like projectiles,” he explained. “So how can we avoid that?” 

Suddenly things seemed to fall into place. 

“I have to use spells that follow a different trajectory!” he called and Hangyul nodded with a small smile. “And to avoid tangling up these spells they have to follow a certain pattern so they are logical in attack order and trajectories.” 

A grin was forming on Hangyul’s face at Dohyon’s joyous conclusion and the younger felt pride dwell up inside him. Hangyul knew how he thought and always brought him to a certain point from where he could figure it out by himself. 

“Well done!” he praised Dohyon. “Now you just need this specific order for your spell pattern and you’re done. What do you suggest?” 

Dohyon bit his lip and tried to think about it strategically. A random pattern would be surprising but too risky. One stray spell could easily bring too many down and he would lose focus and even control over the spell. 

“I think…” he slowly started and tried to remember what the older had taught him about self-defense back at home. “I think the best way would be something like shock and circle.” 

Hangyul raised an eyebrow, silently asking him to elaborate, even though Dohyon was certain he already knew what the younger meant. He had taught him everything he knew about defending himself, back when he had visited the Dojo in their hometown, and even though the younger was no fighter at all he had remembered a bit. 

“I need to shock at first to get the upper hand through surprise and then go around to hit as many points as possible,” he started out. “So instead of starting with an Expelliarmus I should probably go for something like Stupor or Petrificus totalus.” 

Hangyul nodded with a proud smile. 

“After I got the first shock, I send out spells to incapacitate, immobilise and disarm, in a wide array to have as many things as possible covered and not make it too predictable. These spells need to focus on different parts of the body.”

Another nod. Dohyon felt a surge of confidence well up. 

“If I choose the right order and kind of spells, especially with some that can be used at any direction with the same reaction, I should be able to create a spiral in the trajectory patterns, which goes outward from the central Stupor and places the spells far enough from each other to avoid a collision course.” 

Hangyul clapped his hands once in triumph and Seungyoun flinched in his sleep, a loud snore leaving his still open mouth. Both Hangyul and Dohyon looked at the oldest before they broke out into silent laughter. 

“Take it as a compliment,” Hangyul suggested and Dohyon nodded. “And you should start writing that down because you only have about,” he looked at his watch, “twenty minutes left.” 

The younger nodded and grabbed the parchment and quill to start out on his essay. Rustling from the opposite sofa had him glance up again after a minute and painted a smile on his face. 

Hangyul had leaned back into the sofa cushions but had pulled Seungyoun down onto his lap to continue his slumber. The older didn’t even wake up at being moved and was now securely cuddled in his boyfriend's lap who stroked his hair with a lovestruck expression on his face. Dohyon was usually glad that they weren’t too big on PDA but it always made him happy to see moments like this. And to know the person he considered to be his older brother was happy.

The twenty minutes flew by quickly and Dohyon was only halfway through his explanation but he decided to finish it tomorrow. While he threw his things in his bag, Hangyul started to wake Seungyoun. The older clearly was pretty out of it. 

“Am I dead? Because there’s an angel right in front of me,” were the first words he said and Dohyon suppressed a snort at that before he joined Hangyul in leaning over the oldest. Fascinating; Seungyoun’s hair colour had changed again.

“Hyung, I think you broke him. He’s saying nonsense. And he turned green and blue. What’s with him and all the pastel?” he commented. The colour choices really were questionable sometimes but he just attributed it to Seungyoun’s quirky personality. And it was amusing at times. Like now when he squawked. 

“Why did you wake me?” Seungyoun whined. Both his boyfriend and Dohyon rolled their eyes at that. 

“It’s almost dinner time, you big baby,” Hangyul said. “And Dohyon needs to get going to the infirmary.” 

Now this got the older up more quickly than Dohyon had expected and he found himself wrapped into a hug and his nose squished into his hyung’s chest uncomfortably. Another body slammed into his and he concluded that Seungyoun must’ve pulled Hangyul in too. He turned his face to rest sideways against the hard chest he was still pressed against and breathed in the familiar mix of both Hangyul’s and Seungyoun’s scent for a moment before he tried to step back. 

But Seungyoun’s hug was like a vice grip. As all struggling wouldn’t help, Dohyon lifted his foot. One nicely aimed kick against the shin and both he and Hangyul were free again.

“I need to go. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess,” he said in a non-committal tone and Hangyul handed him the Arthmany folder that had still been on the table. 

“Latest by tomorrow,” he promised. “No bugger off and don’t be late, okay, Dohyonnie?” 

Dohyon tried to look unaffected and turned around.

“Yeah, sure,” he threw over his shoulder. But when he reached the door, he turned around again to smile at the two older boys. He couldn’t help it.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

His trip to the infirmary was uneventful as ever and he had just greeted Nurse Sun and settled into his bed in a secluded little part of the large room after changing into his hospital robe, when the door opened and Byungchan came in. To keep Dohyon in human form as long as possible, the curtains of the infirmary were shut tightly to keep out the moonlight and another curtain was hung around his bed to give him privacy. 

He actually couldn’t see his friend come in but he smelled him. His senses were getting even more sharp with the night approaching quickly. Steps came closer to his bed and the curtain was moved gently. 

“Hi!” the older greeted merrily. “I brought you dinner!” 

It was a tradition. Byungchan always came in the evening to bring him dinner or a dessert if he was late and chatted with him. If he didn’t show up by a certain time, Nurse Sun had taken to summoning a houself to bring Dohyon some food and he had enjoyed a few conversations with the small creatures. They were incredibly friendly and kind and Dohyon always made sure to thank them for the food. 

He ate in silence as Byungchan chatted away about his day and some gossip he had heard about. Idle chatter Dohyon joined in on as soon as he was finished and put his plate aside. By then Byungchan was usually occupying the foot of his bed with his back against the metal railing to keep himself up. The younger was glad about these talks. The first few times Byungchan had tried to be more serious but it had only increased Dohyon’s own nervousness. To calm him, the older had taken to just chattering about anything that came to mind. And it had worked. 

“Good evening,” a soft voice interrupted them and their Potions teacher, Kim Sohye, entered the space inside the curtain with a cup in her hands. Steam rose from the dark liquid inside and curled ominously in the air. She smiled kindly at the boys before she stepped closer to the bed and held out the cup for Dohyon to take. 

“You should drink it quickly before it cools down,” she said. “And I already added some honey to it.” 

The younger of the two sent her a grateful smile and took the cup. Grimacing at the liquid for a second only, he lifted it to his lips and downed it as quickly as he could. The honey couldn’t mask the bitter taste but it was bearable. He handed the cup back to the waiting teacher and smiled. 

“Thank you, Professor,” he said with genuine gratefulness. This potion that she made every single month for him really had made his transformations a less gruesome experience. It was Professor Kim who had figured out how she had to tweak the formula to make the potion both inhibit the aggressiveness of the werewolf and numb the pain from transforming without being cancelled out by some ingredients of the potion. 

It was still a rather tiring process to change but by now Dohyon was used to the feeling of his limbs, bones, everything, rearranging. But it wasn’t painful anymore - just a bit strange. When curled up as a wolf afterwards, it was pretty much fine. 

The Professor took back the cup and bid them goodbye again, chatting shortly with Nurse Sun to keep tabs on possible effects the potion had. With making it new every single month, the risk remained that something could go wrong. But for the past few years everything had been fine. 

Dohyon turned his attention back on Byungchan and they continued their previous conversation, Byungchan going into a full blown analysis of the latest letter he had received from his pen pal. They had a strange relationship and Dohyon was amazed every single time. Neither of them knew the others name, exact age or location, except for the fact they were both students. 

It had started when an unfamiliar owl had dropped a letter into Byungchan’s porridge almost two years ago and when he pulled it out to read it, had turned out to be a short note about a meeting after class ends to return some books and about a topic that was apparently bothering the writer very much. No name or hint where it could have come from was visible. 

Byungchan - curious by nature - had just written a note by himself under the few words, claiming that he didn’t know what was meant but that he would be open to lend an open ear and give some objective advice if need be. Then had sent off the owl again and waited. 

It had returned a week later with another letter, longer this time and addressed at the “mysterious advisor”, recounting some occurrences that had taken place between some friends of the unknown person and he was unsure how to deal with. Byungchan gave advice and sent the letter back. No names were mentioned again, no places. Only the school setting was clear, and the writer had implied to be male. 

From there they had taken off. The letters arrived once a week, no matter what was happening, and always carried by the same owl. The two had been writing letters for a long time now but still didn’t know each other's name. And Dohyon was sure that by the way Byungchan had started talking about his pen pal, he was developing a crush. So Dohyon listened and tried to make suggestions at what Byungchan told him but he wasn’t sure if what he said was even helpful. As much as he wanted to support him - this one Byungchan had to figure out on his own. 

Eventually the older left when the time was nearing to close the infirmary doors for visitors and Dohyon was left by his lonesome. Pondering over what Byungchan had told him about again, he almost missed the approaching footsteps if it hadn’t been for Nurse Sun’s voice sounding suddenly with obvious exasperation. 

“Do you know what time it is?” 

“I know, I’m sorry. I tried to come as quickly as possible.” Hangyul’s voice replied, quiet and pleading. “Just for a bit?” A sigh. 

“You got 5 min, then I want everyone out of here. The moon will be fully up soon!” Nurse Sun sounded annoyed but a trace of fondness was in her voice. 

“I know, I’ll hurry,” Hangyul agreed hurriedly. “Thank you.” 

Footsteps approached the curtain and the older ducked inside. He was still in his training gear for Quidditch, hair tousled by the wind and a few sprinkles of mud over his robes. 

“How are you?” he asked instead of a greeting, sitting carefully on the edge of Dohyon’s mattress. The younger decided to forego the greeting too.

“Hyung, you didn’t have to come.” Hangyul looked like he had sprinted all the way here from the Quidditch field, cheeks tinged pink and his breathing slowing down slowly. Dohyon was both glad and almost feeling guilty for seeing his hyung like this.

 “Am I not allowed to see my favourite lap dog?” the older said with a smirk and barely dodged the punch Dohyon aimed at his upper arm.

”Ouch,” he commented. “Guess I deserved that.”

He leaned forward and put a cool hand on Dohyon’s forehead before he gently brushed through the youngers hair, his smirk turning into a warm smile. 

“You’ll be alright,” he said and Dohyon scoffed. 

“I know. I have been the past few years,” he replied cockily. But a knowing smile was painted on Hangyul’s features. He knew the younger too well - he knew how worried Dohyon was and how he needed the reassurance. Even though he would never admit it. 

“You have dealt with it like a champ,” the older softly praised him and Dohyon looked away. A hand pinched his cheek.

“Good puppy,” Hangyul said in a tone he usually reserved for teasing Dohyon. The younger slapped his hand away and glowered at the older who seemed thoroughly unfazed by it.

“I’ll be here to see you tomorrow, alright?” Hangyul said instead of reacting to the glare. Dohyon rolled his eyes.

 “Hyung, you really don’t need to baby me,” he whined but it only got him another smile.

“Oh, I know. But that’s what you do for people you care about.” Warmth pooled in his belly and spread out to his arms and legs at this. Hangyul knew him too well. And he knew what he needed to hear. He knew, he was as much home to Dohyon as the younger was home to him. 

Hangyul got up from the bed and stretched his arms over his head, joints popping at the movement before he turned back towards Dohyon. 

“I’m gonna leave you to it now before Nurse Sun kicks my ass,” he announced and took a step closer towards the end where Dohyon was sitting. He wrapped an arm around his head gently and leaned down, pressing a soft kiss to his hair before he stepped back and lifted the curtain. 

“Sleep well.” And with that he vanished behind the white fabric, steps moving away. Dohyon felt himself smile and perked up when Nurse Sun came to check on him after a minute. 

“You’re all set?” she asked. Her strict tone and features gradually softened as she looked at Dohyon who nodded. 

“Alright, then we’re starting now.” She pulled out her wand and waved it shortly. The lights flickered off one by one, until only the one at the door to her office remained. She waved it again and the curtains started opening slowly. 

“Come get me or call if anything is wrong, okay?” she directed at Dohyon before she turned to walk to her office and closed the door behind her. 

Moonlight started flooding the room as the large windows were revealed. The full moon cast an eerie glow over everything in the room, making the night seem less dark. Dohyon held his breath until the light reached his bed. It started almost immediately.

His spine elongated slowly, as did his skull. The muscles and tendons around them stretched to accommodate the new form and his skin pulled taut before it started stretching too. Dohyon carefully turned on his side - it was easier for the transformation that way - and tried not to think too deeply about what was happening to his body. 

Fur started growing everywhere, a mixture of grey and brown fluffy fur. He was slowly starting to lose his pup fur, Dohyon noted in an attempt to distract himself. The brown fur was characteristic for wolf pups, and it only slowly turned to the grey one would expect. The strange feeling of his leg and arm muscles shifting and transformation of his extremities distracted him again. He would probably never get used to the feeling of his nails turning into claws. Only the sensation of getting a muzzle and sharp pointy teeth surpassed it. 

Finally it was done. Dohyon was in wolf form on his bed, still on his side. After shredding his pyjamas a few times, he had started wearing hospital gowns with an open back instead. The drawstrings ripped at his transformation, and he could just shake the garment off afterwards. After his legs were freed from the fabric, Dohyon curled up on the bed and closed his eyes. 

Sleep wouldn’t come easy. There was wind outside, stormy November winds that howled around the castle, promising a storm. They brought clouds, heavy clouds that hung dark and deep over the Scottish highlands, and a faint grumble filled the air. Static and humidity were already rising and Dohyon’s fine senses noticed everything more enhanced. 

His ears twitched as he listened for any sounds: the grumbling of the thunder, the howling of the wind, the rustle of the Forbidden Forest. The first drops started falling and he listened to their rhythmic pitter-patter. The rain carried the scents of the surrounding air, making them stronger as he breathed in. The smell of the castle, the forest, the grass, all the people gathered close by. The smell of the centaurs wafted from the trees and carried over to the castle - indiscernible for humans, but he could smell them. He could almost taste the rain, the earth, the forest. 

He smelled someone familiar. Dohyon’s eyes opened and he focussed on the origin of that scent only to meet a pair of ochre eyes reflecting the moonlight. Dohyon blinked calmly. A small and fluffy brown cat was sitting in front of his bed, eyes staring at him. There was no hostility, only curiosity and a silent question. 

May I?

He huffed and closed his eyes again for a second before he looked at the cat again. It was his sign that he was comfortable. The feline slowly approached the bed and jumped up on it. It truly was tiny compared to him. Even though Dohyon was only a pup himself, he was already at the size of a grown German shepherd - gigantic, compared to a small kitten. The fluffy fur and tufted ears might add to its size, but overall it was still so very petite.  

Dohyon was glad for the company. Cats had visited him several times but for the first three years it had only been one cat. A beautiful White Bengal cat, with almost snowy fur and dark leopard spots. Intelligent eyes had always studied him as they waited for his signal to join him. He knew it was Professor Kim Chungha from the beginning - he had been introduced to her at the first day of school. Hangyul had led him through the maze of corridors after his last lesson to her office to introduce them.

Professor Kim, as an animagus, had offered to supervise him during his transformations. She had been clear about it from the beginning: one reason for this was the obligation (put on the school through the ministry) to supervise him and keep him from both harming himself and others. The second and, as the Professor had stressed, more important reason was to keep him calm and occupied. 

Dohyon had already gone through enough transformations to know how boring they would get and sometimes Hangyul had snuck into his room to keep him company. It had been risky but the younger had not been able to change his hyung’s mind. This way he was at least assured that Hangyul wouldn’t get himself in trouble and that he himself wouldn’t be alone. 

A werewolf was calmer around animals. Their family dog had always proven to be a great support and it was the same with the Professor. In the beginning she came before he transformed, calming him with her presence as his body rearranged itself. That had been before the new potion had taken effect and he had been relieved to have someone during the pain. 

As time passed and his transformations now took place in a less hurtful way, she arrived later, sometimes minutes after, sometimes it took one or two hours. But she always came. It was a routine and Dohyon had expressed his gratefulness many times - in both human and wolf form - but she had always patted his shoulder with a soft smile and reassured him that he shouldn’t worry about it. 

During the spring of his third year at Hogwarts she brought a kitten with her. Dohyon had been surprised when a new smell had wafted in and two pair of eyes had looked at him. He hadn’t minded it but the kitten had seemed scared. While the Professor joined Dohyon on the bed, the kitten had slowly circled the bed and eventually jumped on the window sill at the end of Dohyon’s bed. 

It had sat there the entire night, just observing. And Dohyon had let it. There was no use in pushing or scaring it, after all. And lo and behold, the next month the kitten came back with Professor Kim. It still seemed wary but this time it sat on the bed too, careful to not get too close. Dohyon had only whined quietly when his wolf had taken over his human, confused at the distance but accepted it. 

With the next time it dared to sit closer to Dohyon, still observing. And eventually it had laid down and curled into his side. The scent had calmed the young werewolf, more than usual. It was different from his teacher somehow, more familiar in a way. But he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.   

During the last week of the school year Professor Kim had asked him to her office for a talk. Dohyon had gone there, unsure of what to expect and with a slightly worried Hangyul waiting for him back in the common room. The older thankfully hadn’t snuck into the infirmary but he had made sure to visit Dohyon before it closed in the evening. The few times he hadn’t come had never been out of his own volition - detention, long Quidditch practise he couldn’t run from, and one time sickness. But apart from that he had been there. 

Dohyon had tried not to show his nervousness but Professor Kim hadn’t assured him that everything was alright the moment he had entered the office. Apparently this was a matter of both discretion and honesty. She explained that apart from him she had another student who was being supervised by her personally. An animagus like her. 

Dohyon had already guessed that the second cat had to be one - the initial behaviour had been too human - but he wouldn’t have thought it to be a student. Now the question was if he would be willing to reveal his identity to the animagus and vice versa. The other had agreed already but there was no obligation for Dohyon to go along with it, she had assured him. 

Professor Kim had sat down with a cup of tea after offering Dohyon some too and had explained the reason: as an animagus herself she understood how difficult it was at times to accept both sides of oneself - the human and the animal side. To feel understood was a hard task as few people shared the same ability or fate. 

Dohyon had been surprised by her revelation as she had explained that both her student and her had not chosen to become animagi but instead had inherited a genetic predisposition for it that only materialised at a certain age. In this way they both shared Dohyon’s fate of unwillingly having two sides of himself. 

She had hoped that if they decided to meet, the two students would be able to relate and confide in each other through their shared experience. To know that there was someone who understood in a way most couldn’t. And Dohyon had agreed. 

Professor Chungha had asked him to wait for a moment and had left the office, entering the adjoining one of Hufflepuff’s head of house, Kim Sejeong. When she returned, a small boy with curly brown hair and a shy expression had followed her. A boy he knew - as they were in the same year. 

Professor Kim had introduced them and had said another few words about what she was hoping for them to gain out of this. Then she had smiled, conjured up some more tea and biscuits and left the office to give them some space. 

The awkwardness had enveloped them like a curtain and both boys hadn’t known what to say until Hyeongjun had broken the ice. 

“I’m glad,” he had admitted shyly. “Glad that you agreed to… this.” 

He had gestured around vaguely. 

“I’m nervous,” Dohyon had whispered after a few more moments of silence. “Hardly anyone knows about me and I didn’t know if this was the right decision, to be honest.”

Hyeongjun had looked striken at that and Dohyon had quickly tried to explain. 

“Not because of you! Just in general. To reveal this to someone I hardly know.” He had looked up from his hands, voice catching in his throat. “It’s scary.” 

Hyeongjun had agreed. It had taken them a while but eventually they had started talking, shared stories of their transformations. And from there on they had slowly started building a friendship. They had written letters over summer and even met up once. 

When the new school year started, Professor Kim had decided to have them try on their own and she only came to check on them once or twice a night. And it had been fine. On the outside they hadn’t changed. Their circle of friends overlapped on some parts but they didn’t spend much time in school. 

They were more comfortable with each other in their animal form, so Hyeongjun mostly approached Dohyon like this in school too. But when they saw each other in class or in the hallways they always exchanged a smile, a look that told them both that if needed they’d be there. 

They’d be there just like Hyeongjun was here right now. The small brown cat climbed over his considerably long limbs and nudged his muzzle playfully before it settled down, curled against the fur of Dohyon’s side. 

He took a deep breath, taking in the scents and sounds around him again as he closed his eyes. The familiar smell of Hyeongjun, the forest, the earth, the castle. The faint grumble of thunder, the howling of the wind, the rustle of the trees. 

The pitter-patter of the rain, stronger now. And like a song it sang him to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

On Kookheon's sign Yohan turned towards the field  underneath him and landed in a well trained manner. The older Gryffindor landed next to him and patted his shoulder in praise before getting off his Broomstick.

"Good work today." he said. "You were really going into it with a lot of power." 

Yohan smiled wearily and proceeded to get off his broomstick too. Kookeheon had already gone over to the chest with the training balls and was locking the Quaffle in it before he pulled out his wand. A quick spell had him levitating the chest a few centimetres above ground. 

"Now let's go put these away and then we'll need to have a quick chat over the necessary strategy and schedule." the older said with a sigh and glanced over his shoulder at Yohan. Kookheon seemed exhausted from playing too, but not as bad as it had been in the beginning or last year.

Yohan nodded and followed him, trying not to drag his feet - two hours on a broomstick with constant harsh training really were draining. He couldn't wait for a nice hot shower and his bed, especially with no homework waiting this time (he had managed to finish everything and a day longer for one essay). But still, he felt frustration well up inside him. 

Ignoring the feeling he focused back right on time to avoid running into the door of their practise room. That would have been a new low. Kookheon suppressed a snicker when he noticed how close Yohan had been to testing the wood’s stability with his face. They locked their brooms in the cabinet and placed the chest in the shared shed for equipment before they returned to their changing room and sat down on one of the wooden benches.

"Alright," Kookheon started out and grabbed his water bottle to take a sip. "We've got most of the formations down by now and we have tried them on a Keeper already." 

Yohan almost winced at the memory. They had trained with Jinhyuk after the older had missed a session and tested all their special formation training on him. And even though the older was a more than capable Keeper, he had been caught by surprise by every single one. 

It had taken Yohan and Kookheon quite a while to be able to fly the complicated formations and to complete all changes and switches, even without a ball. At some point he had stopped counting how often they had dropped the Quaffle per attempt but eventually they had mastered it. And poor Jinhyuk had been devastated that he hadn't caught even one throw. 

"What we need now is training with a Beater." Kookheon returned Yohan's attention to him. "I would like to start on that after our game against Hufflepuff next week so we can focus on normal training beforehand."

"Yeah, I agree." Yohan commented with a nod. "We'd only make the others nervous if we start practising new formation right before a match."  

Kookheon nodded sagely before he added: "And I don't want to traumatise Jinhyuk anymore." 

They both shared an expression of seriousness for a moment before they broke out into laughter. Considering everything it had been almost funny with Jinhyuk's long limbs flailing around into every direction a few weeks ago. Eventually Kookheon quieted down, still smiling. 

"I know we went over them quickly but look at the Beater stratagems again, please. So we can start practising after the game." Yohan nodded at that.

"Hyung, are we including the Chaser formations in the upcoming game?" he asked. "It could be a good opportunity to test them plus we it can give us an advantage over Hufflepuff." 

Kookheon mulled over his words for a bit, his hand on his chin and his eyes far away. 

"We could," he said slowly. "But I'd actually try to avoid it." 

He carded his hand through his hair with a sigh.

"We can't forget that the game is also the evaluation, but the circumstantial and not technical. We need to show them that we can play well even without these strategies employed because us two," he motioned between them, "are the only ones that know them. By that we would deliberately leave our teammates out and maybe even set them up for failed attempts. I'd like to focus on showing our synchronicity this time instead of pure technique." 

Yohan nodded thoughtfully; he hadn't considered that. 

"If push comes to shove," Kookheon conceded, "we'll give the team our emergency signal and go through with it. But only if the game is going bad."  

Yohan hummed in agreement before a yawn surprised him. He stretched his hands over his head. 

"You're tired, aren't you?" the older asked and ruffled Yohan's hair a bit as the younger blinked blearily. "How've you been faring? Better or worse?" 

Yohan knew what he was on about.

"Better actually. With the timing and schedule exchange I've been able to distribute everything a bit better. I'm definitely less stressed." 

About three weeks ago , he and Kookheon had been called to a sort of board meeting with their teachers. Professor Kang had explained the situation to them: apparently, there had been a lack of information about the demand of their Quidditch scholarship additionally to their school work and it had resulted in extremely packed schedules for both of them. 

The teachers now wanted to get their opinion and proposed a schedule exchange so that they could time bigger assignments better in accordance with the boys training and evaluation schedule. They were all aware that they needed good grades to keep their scholarships and had agreed that minimal adjustments in time for the faculty could have maximal positive effects for the boys.

Yohan and Kookheon both had been astounded and confused how the sudden meeting had come to pass. Professor Kang had explained that the teachers had been alerted on the situation by someone from the student body. As if to reassure them, he had also added that this person had been none of their teammates, and instead a neutral and trustworthy individual. He had also stressed that this was only to accommodate the two boys as to not avoid having them break down but that they expected their further assignments to continue being up their usual standards. 

And from there it had become considerably easier for them adjust training and homework without them clashing all the time. Still, Yohan had dark bags under his eyes. So Kookheon’s worry was understandable. 

“I’ve just not been sleeping well,” the younger tried to explain. Kookheon sighed and nodded. 

“Well, can’t help that,” he said. “Anything on your mind?” 

Yohan hesitated for a moment before he answered. “Just some things I couldn’t really figure out yet.” 

“Does it,” Kookheon started, but hesitation was clear in his voice. Carefully he continued. “Does it have anything to do with your friend? The shy one, Junho?” 

Yohan froze and looked at Kookheon. 

“How… Why do you ask?” he stuttered out. The older turned his head at him and studied Yohan’s face for a few moments before he looked away again. Crossing his arms in front of his chest, he leaned back against the wall. 

“I just noticed he hasn’t been picking you up from practise as frequently recently. And not to pry, but your mood seemed a bit lower than usually,” -Yohan opened his mouth to apologise, but Kookheon waved him off - “but it didn’t affect how you played. I just noticed you seemed a bit… sad?” 

The last sentence came out as a question and Yohan understood that the older couldn’t really place the emotion he had noticed within the sixth year.

“And like today you seemed almost angry sometimes - you had so much force and energy in your throws, it was impressive - but it also seemed to me like there was a lot of pent up emotion.” 

Yohan stayed quiet, somewhat baffled by how easy the other seemed to read him. Kookheon waited for a moment before he spoke again. 

“You don’t have to tell me, you know. But if you want to I’m here to listen.” When the younger stayed silent again, Kookheon redirected his eyes to the ceiling again breathed deeply. It wasn’t frustrated, but more of an acknowledgment of the younger’s decision. Just as he was about to get up from the bench, Yohan spoke next to him. His voice was terribly small and sounded defeated. 

“You’re right,” he whispered. Kookheon sat down again, this time with his body turned towards Yohan. The younger looked at him with large sad eyes. 

“You’re right,” he repeated. “I… I don’t know. I feel sad, I feel frustrated, I feel angry, and I hate that I feel like this. Because I shouldn’t. And because the reason I feel like this is so… stupid. On my part.”

His voice gained more force as he spoke, but returned to a whisper again. Yohan sat up and leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, eyes at the floor. 

“And you’re right, it’s about Junho,” he added quietly. 

“Did you fight?” Kookheon asked, but Yohan immediately shook his head. 

“No, nothing like it. I don’t think - or at least I hope - Junho has even noticed it. And I don’t want him to notice because it would be so unfair.” he tried to explain. Kookheon didn’t really follow by the way his face mirrored confusion. 

“But as a friend. Shouldn’t he like, I don’t know, notice and you can talk it out? Especially if he is the reason for it?” he asked, but Yohan shook his head fervently. 

“No, definitely not! It doesn’t make sense that I feel this way, because it’s all just… because,” he quieted down again and whispered the last bit, “I’m jealous.” 

Kookheon blinked. He shouldn’t be too surprised: Yohan had such a sweet nature that he’d feel guilty over his jealousy, would feel anger and frustration directed against himself. But what, Kookheon wondered, could Junho have done to inflict this emotion in his friend? 

“I can’t tell Junho because it wouldn’t be fair,” Yohan repeated. “Because I’m not even jealous of him directly.” 

Kookheon sighed. 

“Look, I don’t know what’s been happening so I need you to be a bit clearer with me here,” he said. “Who are you jealous of and why?” 

Silence again, but again Kookheon knew he needed to let the younger gather his thoughts. After about a minute Yohan seemed to have reached a conclusion. 

“A few weeks ago,” he started slowly, “Eunsang introduced Junho and me to one of their housemates from Ravenclaw, Sihoon. He’s in my year so I know him, but Junho only saw him in passing and Eunsang thought they’d get along well. And they did.” 

A tiny smile snuck onto Yohan’s lips. 

“Junho really clicked with him. Sihoon is super kind and gentle and he immediately understood how Junho’s personality functions - like how he needs recharge time, but he’s not lethargic, just shy and he can get savage, but he needs an energy source - and they just got along so well. And because they’re in the same house they see each other way more often and spend a lot of time. And Sihoon started helping him out with homework and studying when I was preoccupied  and he admittedly explains a lot better than I do. And they are together so much and I’m just jealous.” 

Yohan had gotten faster and faster in his rambling and now he suddenly broke off. Kookheon stayed quiet; this already explained a lot about Yohan but not why he was that frustrated and neither why Junho wasn’t picking him up from training anymore. Now that he thought about it, he had seen Yohan in the Gryffindor common room for the last weeks more frequently too. So there had to be something else.

“And,” the younger started again, voice small again. “I think I’m so jealous because Sihoon might have feelings for Junho. I’ve talked with Eunsang about them at some point because they were getting along so well and he mentioned that Sihoon had spoken about Junho before - and a lot apparently. So he had decided to introduce them. And Sihoon… he’s just so sweet and nice and caring and they click.”

The younger looked up with an almost haunted look in his eyes. 

“I shouldn’t feel jealous. I shouldn’t because Junho is my best friend and he means so much to me, and I should want the best for him. And if Sihoon is what he wants and what is best for him I shouldn’t be jealous. But I am, because they spend so much time together, because they fit well together and more importantly because…” 

He slowed to a stop again, his previously agitated voice suddenly fearful and desperate. Kookheon held his breath. There was something more. 

“Because I think Junho feels more comfortable around him. More comfortable than he feels around me anyway. And it’s all my fault.” 

Now this came as a surprise to Kookheon. Like everyone he had been a bit surprised at first how Yohan’s and Junho’s personalities were supposed to get along, but as he had gotten to know them a bit better he had seen it. They just completed each other and held deep affection and understanding for the other. It was beyond him why Junho should suddenly feel uncomfortable around Yohan. 

“Why would he though?” he asked and Yohan took a deep shaky breath. 

“Recently I…” Yohan started out but broke off again, seeming to sort out his thoughts again. “You know how I get a lot of confessions?” 

Kookheon nodded and tried to keep his expression as neutral as possible, considering the slightly embarrassed look on the younger’s face. 

“And you know how I turn all of them down?” 

He nodded again. 

“And coincidentally, Junho was with me at every single one of those confessions except for one.”

Now this was surprising. 

“It was towards the end of last year. And I mentioned it recently when we were studying in the library, I turned to Junho and said ‘There has been this 4th year confessing to me and he was really cute, but I turned him down and he was really sad’ and Junho just turned to look at me very slowly.” 

“Wait,” Kookheon interjected, “not judging, just making sure I caught this right. The kid confessing to you was a boy?” 

Yohan nodded and Kookheon mirrored his action. “Go on.” 

“Junho was also really surprised and he asked me if it was awkward or if I turned him down because he was a boy - which is weird in itself because he usually doesn’t really ask much about the people - and I told him I don’t mind the gender, or sex, at all and that for me the person themselves is just important.”

“Oh.” Kookheon breathed out quietly but Yohan caught it among his rambling and turned towards him. A slight worry had crept on his features and Kookheon immediately scooted closer and grabbed his shoulders to reassure him. 

“Listen I’m just a bit surprised, but I am not judging you for it, okay?” he said with vehemence and stared into Yohan’s eyes until the younger nodded. He sighed in relief and loosened his grip to gently rub Yohan’s arms instead.  “I just didn’t expect for you to practically come out to me.”

A small smile appeared on the younger’s face at that and Kookheon felt relief flood him again. 

“Go on with your story.” Kookheon encouraged him and the smile disappeared. 

“This… is basically it. I told Junho and shortly after he started hanging out with Sihoon more and we see each other less and less. And.” Yohan stopped and his eyes went to stare at his hands again. 

“What if I make him uncomfortable?” he asked with a shaky voice. “What if he doesn’t want to spend time with me anymore plus Sihoon is probably the better, the more reliable option for him then my chaotic self and…” 

“Alright, I’m gonna stop you right here,” Kookheon interrupted sternly. “Number one, Kim Yohan: Don’t talk like this about yourself. Don’t even think it. Because it’s not true. You are a reliable, lovely and amazing person and friend and don’t you ever dare doubt yourself.”

Tears had started welling up in Yohan’s eyes. 

“Number two, and I’m going to have to stress this: There is a major flaw in your thought process.” 

At this Yohan looked confused. 

“You are worried that Junho feels uncomfortable around you because of your sexuality, right?” A nod. “And you said yourself you want the best for him and that him and Sihoon would be a great match, right?” Another nod. “And I’m assuming that you came to this conclusion based on something you know about Junho’s sexual or romantic preferences?” 

Yohan’s eyes widened as realisation dawned inside them. The boy really had thought and worried himself into a corner. Kookheon couldn’t suppress the smile. 

“Thought so,” he said. “Now whatever your intentions in your relationship with Junho are you will need to figure out on your own. But I’m telling you: if you want to spend time with him, then do it! You haven’t had reservations for the past four year, why start now? Go to him and if he wants time for himself, he’ll tell you.” 

Yohan looked shaken. As if he had just had a revelation. Kookheon shook his head. The boy was not stupid, far from it, but sometimes all his braincells seemed to be on vacation at the same time. 

“And if it reassures you,” he continued, “then ask Junho if he feels uncomfortable around you. You know him better than anyone, you will be able to read him.” 

Yohan nodded slowly. 

“I’m stupid,” he said quietly and Kookheon chuckled. “I’m really stupid, hyung.” 

“You’re not stupid you’re just,” Kookheon frantically searched for the right words, “blinded by emotions, I guess. But you can clear it up, you know?” 

Yohan nodded again and with more vigor, his usual energetic self returning. Kookheon was glad to see it. He wasn’t sure i what he had advised him was ideal, but at least it was a start. And he wasn’t his kindergartener after all. He was his friend. 

Yohan had to make his own decisions. 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Yohan wasn’t sure how long he had been staring straight ahead at the bookshelf behind Junho, but he was pretty sure that if asked he could recite at least sixty percent of the titles stacked there. The boy opposite him clearing his throat made his eyes shift towards the impassive face watching him. Impassive - except for the eyes. A question was burning in them, along with a slight worry and undeniable fondness. He didn’t even need to ask. 

“Stop worrying,” Yohan said softly. “I’m just… thinking about something.” 

Junho’s eyes wandered over his face and returned to his eyes. 

“What is it?” he asked. Yohan felt his heart beat getting faster at the question and nervousness rose up. He swallowed and looked down for a moment before he decided no. This was Junho, his best and closest friend and he would, he could look him in the eyes. 

“I was wondering” - his mouth felt dry - “if you felt...uncomfortable around me.” 

Junho raised his brow, almost indiscernible. But Yohan knew what to look for.

“After… after the conversation we had about this boy that confessed to me.” His words lost strength towards the end, but his eyes were still trained on Junho. His friends dark eyes showed nothing for a second until realisation dawned. 

“Oh that. I thought you know I don’t mind it?” he said with a bit of confusion. “I mean look at our friends.” 

Yohan couldn’t help but snort at that comment. Junho was right after all but he also hadn’t thought about that either. 

“I was being irrational,” he admitted sheepishly. 

“Terrible mistake.” Junho deadpanned. “You should upgrade your software, the last update had a whole new rationality pack.” 

Yohan stared at him for a moment as Junho remained stoic - but then a small smile curled on his lips and Yohan broke out into laughter. It was freeing in a way. He should have known it would be this easy, because this was Junho.

Yohan only calmed down after the librarian Mrs. Bae had suddenly appeared and whacked him over the head with a notebook before she shushed him. Junho smiled at her with an angelic expression and she left him alone with a raised eyebrow and a quiet warning. When she had vanished behind the shelves again Yohan leaned over to Junho. 

“That,” he said, still giggling, “was brilliant.” Junho grinned broadly. 

Their whole talk had taken a burden off of Yohan’s shoulders and he had been incredibly relieved after. Just one thing was still bugging him and he really did not know how to bring it up: Sihoon’s by now rather obvious affection towards Junho. Yohan’s only silver lining and at the same time the bane of his existence was Junho’s utter obliviousness. 

Just a few days after their conversation Yohan had arrived in the library to see Sihoon and Junho huddled in their corner. It was a view he was used to by now, but what was new was how physically close they had gotten. Yohan took out his homework and books to at least seem productive but his eyes were fixed on the pair. 

Both had greeted him when he had joined them, Sihoon with happy words and Junho with a smile and a mandatory "Yoho" and this twinkle in his eyes that Yohan was absolutely convinced was there but no one else had ever noticed it. Afterwards they had immediately returned to their task at hand which had turned out to be a rather complicated astronomical map. Sihoon was leaning close to Junho to show him stars and constellations and explain their trajectories, with his other hand resting on the back of the younger’s chair. Occasionally the older Ravenclaw glanced up and tried to catch Junho’s eye but the younger never noticed. 

Yohan had to suppress a grin. He didn’t have anything against Sihoon, but Junho was a different thing.The younger didn’t even notice the way Sihoon tried to catch his attention but was fully focussed on the task at hand. He only looked up one time when Yohan took out a small pack of Jelly he had been keeping in his bag and placed it in the middle of the table. Immediately Junho’s focus shifted and he caught Yohan’s eye with a question in them. Yohan chuckled. 

“Sure, take them. But leave some of the green ones for me, okay?” Junho grinned and grabbed some jellies (Can it be wrapped chocolate please?) and started happily munching on them after offering them to Sihoon who politely declined. Yohan felt a bit smug at that. 

It went on like this. Whenever Yohan saw the two boys together the same ugly jealousy reared its head and sometimes he could not help himself but be a bit petty, but mostly it was relaxed between them. And sometimes there were moments were he felt incredible restlessness and the urge to step in and keep Junho to himself overcame him. 

Like breakfast two days ago. Yohan had sat with Byungchan who had been chattering away happily about the newest letter from his pen pal but he had only been half listening, eyes transfixed on the two Ravenclaws huddled close. They had been talking with Eunsang too, but Yohan had ignored that detail and focussed on them, the way Sihoon’s hand lingered on Junho’s shoulder a bit longer than necessary, the way he leaned his head against him as he laughed one time. 

When they had both gotten up to leave the Great Hall, Yohan had jumped up too, ready to intercept them but Byungchan had caught his sleeve. 

“You know we still have like twenty minutes left before we need to be at divination, right?” he had asked and Yohan had remembered that he too had a schedule and no right to interfere with Junho’s friendships. Even if they made him jealous. So he had sat down again. 

The thought made a bitter taste appear in his mouth as he strode down the halls now, two days later, and just fresh out of the shower after Quidditch practise. He was on his way to the Ravenclaw tower to visit Junho for a bit. The castle hallways were empty save for some students and Yohan luckily reached the top of the staircase just in time to see someone enter the common room and called out to them. 

He didn’t know the girl who let him in but thanked her before he looked for Junho. His friend was seated on a sofa between Sihoon and Eunsang, with the latter looking incredibly bored. Yohan caught his eye and smiled. Eunsang jumped up as he saw him and came closer. 

“The lost boy returns!” he said. “You haven’t been over in like three weeks!” 

Yohan nodded and scratched the back of his head sheepishly. 

“Yeah,” he said. “I had a lot going on.” Eunsang just grinned. 

“Well, have fun.” he replied teasingly. “Maybe you can get them off topic. I tried but they both just ignored me and kept on talking about….” 

Eunsang looked at the two boys still deep in conversation and trailed off. 

“Actually, I don’t even know what they are talking about, I didn’t get a word. But yeah, have fun,” he added and patted Yohan’s shoulder with a happy grin before he started hurrying towards the stairs to the dorms. Shortly before the stairs he jumped onto the back of a familiar short person who almost toppled over at the added weight. 

“Yah, Lee Eunsang, are you trying to kill me?” Wooseok whined, but did not try to fight the younger off. He really had a soft spot for the boy after all. Yohan grinned and turned around again. After a short pep talk to himself he decided to just go and do whatever felt like a good idea. 

So he stepped towards the sofa and sat down on Eunsang’s abandoned seat cross legged after toeing off his shoes.. Sihoon smiled and nodded at him mid-sentence but kept on talking while Junho didn’t even react. Yohan nodded back with a smile and tried to listen what they were talking about - it sounded a whole lot like History of Magic. 

With a small smile Yohan scooted closer to his friend who still had his back turned to him, and wrapped his arms around the younger’s waist. Then he carefully started pulling him towards himself until Junho was leaning against his chest and was halfway in his lap.  Junho didn’t flinch or shy away from his touch but let himself be handled and placed his hand on Yohan’s after he was comfortable against him. Yohan couldn’t help but feel satisfaction coursing through his veins at this small sign of affection. Plus the way Sihoon’s eyes widened slightly at how they interacted might have added to it. 

It felt nice to feel the warm smaller body against his chest, the way he easily reached around Junho and could pull him in. The boy radiated warmth and a sense of security and reassurance for Yohan; it told him that everything was fine between them, that he didn’t have to worry - about their friendship at least. Junho’s thumb slowly stroked over the back of Yohan’s hand, in rhythm with his breathing as he continued speaking. 

Possessiveness bloomed in Yohan as he observed the behaviour of his classmate and his best friend. Sihoon seemed almost glowing, a soft smile and attentive gaze directed at the fifth year in Yohan’s arms. He was nodding along to what Junho was explaining and occasionally added his own two cents, proactively trying to keep the conversation going and interesting. They seemed deep into a topic that Yohan was embarrassingly unknowledgeable about, but he didn’t take it to heart. 

Junho seemed to enjoy the talk and that alone was enough reason for him to not try to distract him from it. He was smiling and speaking with emphasis, voice clear and confident on the matter at hand. Like Sihoon, his eyes were trained on the other but their glow was familiar in a different way to Yohan. He noticed when he placed his chin on Junho’s shoulder and peered around him to study his expression. It was a glow he always saw when Junho was really into a topic and his brain was already five sentences ahead of him instead of really noticing the world around him. It was both adorable and so very Junho that Yohan couldn’t help but smile fondly. 

He decided to leave the two boys to their talk, but stay as Junho wasn’t trying to get away from him and Sihoon seemed to have just accepted his presence after the initial shock. Yohan shuffled around a bit to lean sideways against the backrest of the sofa and tightened his grip on Junho’s waist slightly before he leaned forward and laid his cheek on the younger’s shoulder. They stayed like this for the rest of the evening.

However, the jealousy remained, and it bothered Yohan. He couldn’t shake it off or ignore it and it was starting to worry him greatly. This was just not right, this didn’t feel right. He knew he had to face the whole issue and his emotions at some point but he wasn’t sure that this was it already. 

Like the situation he was in right at this very moment. Again, he had found himself in the library with Junho, as they had so many times before. And everything had been fine for Yohan until Sihoon had shown up.

Yohan and Junho had been sitting huddled over their respective homework with Yohan giving some advice about DADA to Junho and the younger hurriedly scribbling it down while Yohan dutifully ignored his Divination homework for the time being. They had both started on their essays when Sihoon had quietly approached the table.

To his surprise he had been in search of Yohan.

"I guess I thought I would find you were Junho would be, so I came here," he had said with an amused smile. "I have a question regarding our Charms homework, could you help me with that?" 

Yohan couldn't turn the boy down. Sihoon was an incredibly sweet and kind boy after all so how could he treat him any other way? It would have felt wrong and Yohan cursed the jealousy rearing up inside him as the boy had taken a seat opposite of them. 

It had turned out to be a in depth question on their current magical theory, but as soon as Yohan had explained the core magic, Sihoon had understood the rest on his own and they had discussed the task of spell adaptation they had been given.

Junho had zoned out on them in the meantime and had become fully focused on his homework  - at least that's what Yohan and Sihoon had thought until the younger had slumped forward with a small snore and had almost hit his head on the table. 

His surprised but bleary expression when he had shot up again sent Yohan and Sihoon in a laughing fit each while Junho had tried to gather his bearings and return to the world of the living. His pout had had Yohan coo at him and Sihoon giggle behind his hand. 

"Well, seems like you two can put me to sleep well," he had tried to defend himself, but Yohan had just giggled on while Sihoon had reached over the table to pat the younger Ravenclaw's hand. He had softly stroked the back of it with an obviously fond expression on his face as Junho had stared at both him and Yohan with a still lingering pout. 

Yohan's smile had slowly slipped off his face as he observed Sihoon's behaviour and he had sat back up while clearing his throat and sorting through his notes to return to his original homework - divination. After he had stared shortly at the notes he had excused himself from the table to look for a certain book.

So here he was, staring blankly at the divination shelf he needed with the book he actually needed right in front of his eyes, but unmoving for the past 10 minutes. Instead, he had been stewing in his head, going over the encounters of the last weeks over and over again, as he slowly reached to what he hoped was a conclusion to take a plan of action.

Number One: Sihoon liked Junho. He had actively searched contact with him through a mutual friend and housemate to get to know him better. He spent a lot of time with him, and was incredibly kind, patient and thoughtful - even more than usual. His casual touches had increased and the moment just then back at the table had Yohan convinced. He had seen so much emotion in his eyes, so glaringly obvious affection and fondness that it seemed impossible Junho hadn't noticed.

Because Number Two: Junho was completely and utterly oblivious to every single attempt of Sihoon to catch his attention. He acted around him like he did with his friends, like he did with Jungmo or Eunsang. Granted, the boy had opened up to Sihoon impressively fast, but apart from that he didn't seem to different. 

But even as his best friend, Yohan had to admit it was hard to read Junho at times. He wasn't always in tune with how he expressed his emotions and how exactly he was to understand others. Yohan couldn't be sure if he saw Sihoon's affection the same way he did for example Seungwoo's, or if he tried to reciprocate but didn't exactly know how because he relied on what he knew. Or maybe Yohan just missed something.

And speaking of missing: Number Three stared at him accusatory and forcing him to face a reality he had gladly avoided up until now. Yohan had undeniably started falling for Junho. When, he wasn't sure of but he knew that the extreme jealousy coupled with the possessiveness he felt for Junho went beyond a simple friendship.

Yohan had never encountered the same emotions before when Junho had interacted with their friends, had spent time with them or had been affectionate towards them. Instead, a happy warmth had coursed through him at seeing the happiness his friend had exuded, and joy at knowing that he was fine like this. 

But none of them had ever looked at Junho the same way Sihoon did, none had ever caused jealousy in Yohan. Whenever he saw Junho with Sihoon he felt the need to pull the other close, to prevent Sihoon from reaching further out to him. He revelled in the closeness Junho had grown accustomed to over the past years and always felt regret when he had to let him go again. 

He loved to hug and hold the younger close, to bury is nose in his hair or his neck if Junho let him, to just breathe in the familiar smell he had grown to love - first as a friend, and now laced with a deeper emotion. It felt like home to see him, to hear his voice, his beautiful laughter, the way his eyes seemed to twinkle when he was amused. The way he sometimes scolded Yohan, or gave sassy replies but never responded harshly to him. The way he made Yohan feel indescribably happy.

He had to figure this out, and he couldn't burden Junho with it, couldn't put the pressure of Yohan's and Sihoon's feelings on him and expect him to find a solution. And furthermore, he couldn't get cold and defensive everytime Sihoon showed up, couldn't get to possessive over Junho. Both boys deserved honest and genuine behaviour that correlated with their actions towards Yohan. He couldn't just have his emotions rule him. 

But it felt like a dark swirl that was slowly sucking him into a void where he couldn't think, couldn't act or react, couldn't sort out anything. Only his most basic emotions were reaching him and he hated this. He hated how he felt left out and at the same time wouldn't allow himself to change that because it would be irrational. He hated how his mind and heart were so out of tune that he could hardly function at times. He hated how he got focused with tunnel vision on Junho only and a side of him screamed 'Mine!' when he knew he had no right to lay any claim upon the younger. He hated how his thoughts turned in circles, and circles and wouldn't let him out, wouldn't let him stop, wouldn't become clear, wouldn't…

Arms circled around his waist and a body pressed against his back. Yohan opened his eyes and looked at the bookshelf in front of him. When had he closed his eyes? Familiar warmth soaked into his back as the person leaned their head against Yohan's shoulder and sighed.

"In know there's something bothering you," Junho mumbled quietly. "I know you're getting sucked into your head again, and that it's been going on for a while. I noticed."

His tone sounded a bit worried and sad and Yohan's heart twisted. The arms around his waist tightened again and Yohan felt almost choked up.

"I know there's something up and you're not telling me," the younger concluded, but no accusation was behind his words. Only a statement.

"And you don't have to tell me. But if you get sucked in again, just come to me so you stay grounded. You know you don't have to explain anything, right?" 

The words were muffled against Yohan's sweater but loud and clear to him. A tight rope seemed to loosen around his chest and he felt like he could breathe more freely again. His clenched hands relaxed against his sides and he lifted one to lay it on Junho's. 

"I know," he croaked out. "I just…" 

But there were no words, nothing he could explain. For now at least and Junho nodded against his back. 

"Come to me anytime, I'm here, okay?" he said. "Just… talk whenever you feel ready."

Understanding. That was the only thing Yohan could detect in his words. Understanding and  affection. He nodded and hummed quietly. Junho's head moved behind his back and Yohan felt a featherlight press against his nape, soft and gentle, before it vanished and the arms around his waist loosened and retracted. He didn't turn around as steps slowly gained distance from him and stayed were he was.

A few more minutes. He needed a few more minutes to gather himself. Then he would go back.

 

.oO°Oo.

 

Seungwoo had been wholly engrossed in a book Seungyoun had recommended to him when Yohan had suddenly stood in front of him. The younger looked worried, teeth worrying his lip and hands clenching and unclenching the seam of his pullover. His eyes were blown wide and filled with something almost akin to fear. Instead of asking, Seungwoo had just shuffled sideways to make space for the younger who had promptly sat down and leaned against Seungwoo’s shoulder. 

Silence had surrounded them after, Yohan obviously gathering his thoughts and how to express them and Seungwoo calmly finishing the chapter he was reading before he closed the book and lean forward to place it on the table in front of the sofa. The Hufflepuff common room was fortunately empty with most people either out to study or meet friends around the castle. Seungwoo enjoyed these quiet afternoons, when only quiet chatter wafted through the large room, and the warm and toasty sofas near the large fireplaces were unoccupied. 

He leaned back into the corner between the arm and the backrest of the sofa, one arm thrown over the rest and the other coming to rest around Yohan’s shoulder. The younger was still completely caught up with his thoughts, eyes unfocused and far away. His fingers had started fiddling with a loose thread from his pullover.  

“I won’t give up on him,” he eventually said. Seungwoo blinked and tried to understand what he was talking about, but he only drew a blank. 

“I know I should support him in whatever makes him happy, but I just can’t let him go. He’s too important to me,” Yohan continued with a distraught voice, as if he himself couldn’t believe what he was saying. Seungwoo had hardly ever heard him sound like this, but with everything he gathered he jumped to the most logical conclusion. 

“Junho?” he asked gently and got a nod in reply from the Gryffindor. Figured. 

“You’ll have to elaborate a bit for me to understand, Yohan.” he warmly tried to coax his friend into talking, because a quiet Yohan - especially with this expression - was usually way to deep down the rabbit hole of his own thoughts. And the boy had a habit of getting lost there. 

“Why would you have to let him go in the first place?” he prodded further. 

“Because,” Yohan replied, “Sihoon might just be the better choice for him than me.” 

Seungwoo hummed in understanding - he had noticed that Sihoon and Junho had started spending more time, but he wouldn’t have judged it to be quite that serious. Sure, Sihoon was extremely friendly with the younger but he was a friendly person in general as far as Seungwoo knew him. He could to a certain extent understand what Yohan meant: Where Yohan was loud, Sihoon was gentle quietness. Where Yohan was raw energy, Sihoon was controlled. Where Yohan was chaotic, Sihoon was organised. On first glance he seemed like a perfect match for their shy little robot Junho. 

On the other hand Yohan was Junho’s second half, his catalyst for his loud, weird, energetic phases, for his sass and also his most gentle moments. Seungwoo adored those two and it was almost impossible for him to not think of them together in some way - they just complimented and completed each other so wonderfully. 

“Why would you think that?” he asked and tried to keep any accusation out of his voice. Yohan must’ve reached his conclusion for a reason after all. 

“Because Sihoon is not an emotional burden to Junho as I am.” Seungwoo sighed inwardly - again, Yohan had ignored his own worth. 

“But Junho is too important to me. I can’t just sit back and look on,” he continued and Seungwoo nodded lightly. 

“Because he is your best friend?” he inquired. Yohan bit his lip and took a breath before he looked at the older with determination strong in his eyes. 

“Because he is my friend - and so much more,” he claimed, voice unwavering. Now this was surprising to Seungwoo. Not in a bad way, but surely a bit unexpected. He decided to wait for Yohan to explain it. 

“I don’t think it’s only friendship for Junho that I feel - probably hasn’t been for a long time - but now that something between us changed and he might be going further from me I don’t think I can let that happen,” he explained. 

“It’s just,” Yohan sighed and rubbed his face, “that I feel awful for being this… this… egotistic. I should support him in anyway, and I should let him make his own decisions in this matter, but I get so jealous whenever I see him with Sihoon that I can’t help trying…” 

He trailed off and Seungwoo raised an eyebrow at him.

“Can’t help doing what?” he tried prodding again and Yohan rubbed his face again before he threw up his hands in what seemed to be frustration. 

“Try to drive him away! In whatever way possible! To keep him at a reasonable distance, to show him that Junho is..” he trailed off again, but now Seungwoo’s interest was piqued. 

“That Junho is what?” he asked with eyes narrowed in amused curiosity. He already had a hunch what Yohan might mean but he wanted to hear it from the younger. Yohan flushed bright red and he avoided eye contact with the older as he pulled up his knees to his chest and hid his blushing face against them. His voice was almost inaudible as he whispered his answer. 

“That Junho is… mine.” Seungwoo couldn’t help but grin before he tried to bring his features back into a mask of loving support. So Yohan was territorial after all. Not really surprising with his habit of clinging to Junho and how he sometimes seemed a bit smug about it - especially if Junho had just fought off a clingy Eunsang, but accepted Yohan wrapping around him like a six foot koala. Up until now Seungwoo had chalked it up to fondness but apparently there had been a spark of something else. Something Yohan - judging by his reaction - hadn’t been aware of either. 

“You try to be possessive?” Seungwoo asked after giving the younger a moment to fight back his blush. Yohan nodded with his face still against his legs. 

“And how does it go?” Yohan looked desperate as he looked up at that. 

“I don’t think it really has an effect,” he whined. “Sihoon is still getting closer every time, and Junho doesn’t seem to notice it because he is just so adorably oblivious.” 

His words left his mouth more quickly than Yohan’s brain-to-mouth-filter had apparently checked them, because he was left with an open mouthed stare as he processed what he had just said. By now, Seungwoo was unable to fight back his grin. 

“So I guess you came to another conclusion?” he asked smugly but tried not to sound condescending. Yohan was right after all, Junho was oblivious and adorable, but usually this wouldn’t be a problem for his friend. Everything he wanted the other to notice he would just bring up. So this had to be something he couldn’t talk to Junho about, and if he connected the dots to the jealousy Yohan had mentioned, there was only one conclusion. 

“I won’t ignore what I’m feeling for him, hyung,” Yohan said. “I don’t want to. And it’s a huge risk I am taking with this, because I could ruin something for my best friend and ruin our friendship too if this backfires.” 

Seungwoo drummed his fingers on the armrest as he pondered over Yohan’s words for a moment before he looked at Yohan and tried to catch the younger’s eyes. 

“It could backfire,” he started out slowly and Yohan’s eyes widened. “But it probably won’t.” 

Now confusion became the prominent emotion on the younger’s face. 

“What I mean with this is that if you would actually bother Junho, he would talk to you. Let’s be honest here, the boy wouldn’t just let you do anything if he didn’t want it. And he might be oblivious but if he wanted to return Sihoon’s feelings, it would be out of his own volition.”

Yohan’s mouth formed the adorable little pouty ‘oh’ he always had when he was thinking and Seungwoo almost cooed. 

“If he talks to you about being less possessive,” Yohan flailed at his words and Seungwoo quickly corrected, “clingy, less clingy I mean. If he says you should stop it, you should respect it and ideally explain yourself then.” 

Yohan blanched at the thought. 

“Now if you confess and he doesn’t return the sentiment, it will be awkward for a while. I can promise you as much, and there is no use sugar coating it,” Seungwoo said thoughtfully and felt how Yohan tensed under his arm. 

“But there is one thing you shouldn’t take out of consideration,” he added and Yohan looked up. “Junho is your best friend too, and you are as important to him as he is to you. So as long as you don’t act like a completely inconsiderate idiot, he will want to stay friends, don’t you think?” 

Yohan seemed complacent at that and slowly leaned back. 

“Guess I got caught up with a negative thinking again,” he mumbled to no one in particular and Seungwoo chuckled a bit. 

“Alright,” he exclaimed suddenly and Seungwoo’s eyebrows shot up. “I’m gonna do it.” 

Yohan hit his fist into his palm before he turned to Seungwoo with puppy eyes. 

“But hyung, it’s seriously so frustrating to see those two so close all the time…” 

And with that Yohan went off on a long rant about many different situations involving his newfound nemesis, love interest and himself. Seungwoo listened intently and replied but tried not to egg the other on. Yohan needed to blow off steam and frustration, but he shouldn’t kindle a fire that might end up disastrous if the younger’s irrational anger flared up. It was relieving to see, however, that Yohan occasionally mentioned how he himself was fond of Sihoon too - they were classmates after all.

It took the Gryffindor almost an hour before he seemed to have calmed down and cleared his head again. Exhausted he slumped back against the sofa just to shoot up again just as Seungwoo had been about to pull him close for a cuddle. 

“I need to go to the library again!” he called with panic in his voice. Seungwoo frowned. 

“Do you really think they are still in there?” he asked doubtfully. “It’s almost time for dinner.” 

Yohan shook his head and turned around. 

“No, not them. But I left all my stuff up there earlier when I came here!” Seungwoo almost face-palmed. This was so much like the younger. Of course he’d hurry off to figure something out and forget everything else over it. A short glance at the clock assured him that it was only fifteen more minutes until dinner would start. 

“Well, knowing Junho he probably took it with him,” he said unhurried and watched how Yohan’s face practically lit up at that. “Let’s go to dinner first and see if he has before you sprint up there.” 

Yohan nodded enthusiastically at that and pulled the older up in a hurry, suddenly vibrating with excitement as he headed towards the door of the common room. Seungwoo stretched his arms over his head and heard his joints pop loudly before he followed after the excited Gryffindor.





Chapter Text

He had been right about Junho bringing Yohan’s bag. When Seungwoo returned to the common room later - this time with Hyeongjun latched onto him - and breathed deeply as he let himself fall onto his favourite sofa again. Hyeongjun squawked but went down with him without hesitation and snuggled into Seungwoo's side.

Seungwoo wrapped an arm around the small boy and closed his eyes. He should probably take a nap before he finished his homework or he would be absolutely useless for the rest of the evening. 

Warm and gentle fingers touched his forehead and played with the strands of his bangs. Hyeongjun had propped himself up a bit on his arm, half laying on the older's chest, and was engrossed in his hair. Seungwoo let the eye he had opened a bit slip shut again and enjoyed the ministrations of the younger instead. It was relaxing and lulled him into an almost dazed state.

"Your hair is getting really long by now," Hyeongjun mused. "You should cut it soon or you won't be able to see anything through your bangs." 

He pushed apart some of the strands as if he was opening a curtain before he brushed them back. The hair tickled as it was brushed over his eyelids and forehead and Hyeongjun combed his fingers through it again. Seungwoo raised his head and playfully nuzzled his nose against the warm hand on his head, coaxing a giggle out of the younger.

"I'll cut it before Christmas," he commented.

"Why only then?" Hyeongjun asked and shuffled so he was laying on Seungwoo's chest with his arms under his chin. 

"Why not earlier? You could do it with a spell yourself." 

Seungwoo blanched at that and Hyeongjun chuckled at the expression of horror that crossed his face.

"Or ask Wooseokie-hyung to do it for you if you don't want to," he added like an afterthought. Seungwoo opened his eyes and looked at the small boy. Expectant wide eyes met his and he couldn't help but smile.

"Christmas," he said, gentle but with a decisive finality. Hyeongjun shrugged and laid his cheek against Seungwoo's chest.

"Alright, but don't come crying to me if you can't see anymore," he commented with faux innocence and Seungwoo shortly pinched his side in retaliation.

"I can still see," he pouted but left it at that. Hyeongjun, too, seemed to be tired by now and closed his eyes. Seungwoo relaxed his head back into the pillows on the sofa and let his eyes slip shut. 

He should probably cut his hair, it was getting to long. His bangs reached almost all the way down over his eyes. But he would wait another month, wait until Seungsik would be home for Christmas holiday. The younger had written that he was definitely coming home in his last letter.

It was a sort of tradition for them; only Seungsik was allowed to cut Seungwoo's hair for him. Seungwoo wasn't too talented at it himself. 

It had been during their fifth year, a few weeks before the end of the school year. Seungwoo had spent a lot of time in the green houses around that time after several plants, he had tried to grow, had finally started to make seedlings. He went to check on them every day after school with enough time on his hands as O.W.L.s had finished five days ago. 

Seungsik accompanied him, as he always did. The younger’s patience was godsend, as he would either chat with Seungwoo as he tended to his plants, or engross himself in a book. It resulted in slow, relaxed afternoons in the warm and humid air of the greenhouses. Seungsik tucked into a corner or perched onto a table with his legs crossed as Seungwoo bustled about. Occasionally, Professor Sejeong joined them for a while, swirling into the greenhouse accompanied by her butterflies and with a whiff of freshly cut grass surrounding her. 

She had taught Seungwoo some songs the plants liked a few years ago when she found him humming a lullaby to the mandragoras in an attempt to make them sleepy, and her melodious voice always preceded her arrival. Several times she had shooed them out just before the curfew started, both of them forgetting that the light of the setting sun was not just beautiful but also a sign for them to return to the castle. 

Several evenings had been spent like this, now that the stress of examinations was not looming over them anymore. Evenings bathed in soft golden sunlight, as the sun slowly set over the forbidden forest, casting a magical atmosphere over the school grounds. Evenings spent with long walks along the lake and past the edge of the forest towards the Whipping Willow after checking on Seungwoo’s plants.

Evenings spent in quiet conversation, excited exchanges, reminiscent of their time together and apart. They retold stories, dug out memories from years and days ago, discussed past, future, and present and revelled in the contentedness of each other’s presence. Sometimes, they would walk quietly, no words exchanged, eyes flitting over the familiar grounds and only their shoulders bumping occasionally as if acknowledging that it was just them, alone and together. 

Contrary to his usually show of affection through physical means, Seungwoo kept to himself a lot more with Seungsik. Not because he felt insecure or uncomfortable, but because he knew that even the smallest gestures were more than familiar and comprehensible for Seungsik. He knew the younger could read his every mood through the smallest of signs, little hints he gathered throughout the day and then acted upon. 

Seungsik was lively and affectionate, but his presence was like a rock in the waves for Seungwoo. He grounded him and kept him calm, enabled him to let go of his worries and fears, share his happiness and sorrow, understood small annoyances and moments of joy alike. Like a wave of calmness washing over him whenever he felt the other step up next to him, their arms barely touching, and a slight heat that Seungwoo probably imagined radiating through their robes. 

To him, Seungsik was soft smiles and crescent eyes disappearing with mirth, honey coloured hair reflecting the sunlight, a little finger linked with his, hidden by the sleeves of their robes. He was nights on the Astronomy tower, looking up at constellations, afternoons spent in the greenhouses as rain fell on the roof, evenings in an almost empty common room, watching the embers die out and gentle words whispered between them. 

Sometimes, they would be more openly affectionate, more physical, more obvious. A hand grabbed as it layed on the table in the great hall, gentle teasing, an arm slinging around his waist and face pressing against his back. Gentle affection, soft moments, not interrupting, but seamlessly interwoven into their everyday life. 

Fingers gently caressed the back of Seungwoo’s neck as he leaned over the flower pots to inspect the leaves and buds. The hand was slightly rough, small calluses on the tips of Seungsik’s fingers. It made Seungwoo shiver a bit before he stood up straight and turned around to face the younger. Seungsik was close, and their noses brushed for a moment as he kept his hand on the back of Seungwoo’s neck. His eyes crinkled in fondness as his lips curled into a smile. 

“Your eyes.” he giggled and Seungwoo blinked. He had gone a bit cross eyed from the proximity. Seungsik’s expression smoothed out again, with only a hint of amusement still clinging to the corners of his eyes as he let his gaze shift over the older. The hand that had rested on his neck disappeared and softly brushed against his jaw before Seungsik raised it to thread his fingers through Seungwoo’s bangs. 

“It’s getting long,” he mentioned casually. “It’s like a curtain.” 

Seungwoo averted his eyes for a second before he looked back at Seungsik. His hair almost obstructed his view as he regained eye contact. 

“True,” came his reply, “but I’ll just have it cut over summer break.” 

Seungsik wrinkled his forehead, his fingers still playing with his fringe. Soft strands got wrapped around long fingers that brushed against the prefect’s skin as they moved. 

“That’s still a few weeks to go,” he remarked. “You’ll look like a mop by then and trip over your own feet.” 

Seungwoo had to agree but smiled embarrassedly. 

“Do you remember when I came to the Great Hall looking like a Hippogriff had tried to rip my hair out?” he asked and Seungsik chuckled with a nod. “That was what happened when I tried to cut it with magic. After I failed with cutting it by hand.” 

An amused but sympathetic expression flew over the other’s face as he remembered the embarrassed face of the older. His hair had looked extremely choppy for a day or two before the school nurse had taken pity on him slinking through the hallways and tried to even it out a bit more. It hadn’t ended up perfectly, but a lot better than before. So understandably, Seungwoo was a bit wary of messing with it again. 

A contemplative look crossed Seungsik’s face and he let his eyes wander over Seungwoo before he looked up with a smile again. His hand had left the olders hair and was instead resting against his collarbone, closely to his heart. The older was sure he could feel the beat, that even now, after several months together and friends even longer, still sped up in the proximity of the younger boy. 

Seungsik’s eyes flitted from Seungwoo’s dirty hands (he hadn’t worn gloves to tend to his plants) over his T-Shirt and Jeans that were splattered with mud, earth and some questionable plant liquids an overly enthusiastic slime chrysanthemum had shot at him. Specks of dirt were smeared onto his neck and bare arms. Seungsik lifted his hand again to wipe over a dollop of greenish mud on Seungwoo’s brow before he spoke again. 

“Let’s have a shower, you look like you need it. Where’s the prefect’s bathroom?” 

His words surprised Seungwoo, to say the least. He felt a blush spread over his cheeks and neck as his eyes grew in size. He stared at the younger in disbelief, still trying to get over the implication of his words.

“....What?” he asked hesitantly and cursed himself for the light wavering of his voice as he uttered the words. Seungsik caught his gaze, fond exasperation in his eyes and an amused smile on his lips.

“Oh my god, Han Seungwoo, get your head out of the gutter! That’s not what I meant!”, he called and let his hand fall to the older’s shoulder, gripping it. Though unaffected at first glance, Seungwoo could see the light blush high up on his cheekbones and the way the younger averted his eyes after just a second. Seungwoo felt the heat from earlier again as Seungsik had guessed exactly what shot through his head. 

 “No, I didnt! I meant! I was just!” he stuttered in protest and lifted his hands as if to defend himself and show his innocence. His words left him and he stared at the other helplessly. For a moment, their eyes locked and they held contact before they both burst into laughter. Seungwoo leaned his head against Seungsik’s shoulder as peals of laughter fell from both their mouths. He felt the younger Hufflepuff’s shoulder shake with waves of mirth that hit him as they realised the ridiculousness of the situation. 

As they stood there, their laughter turned into chuckles and Seungwoo lifted his hand to gently grab Seungsik’s that was still on his shoulder. With a final chuckle he lifted his head and stepped towards the door, gently pulling the other with him. Seungsik followed without protest and closed the door behind them as they stepped into the light of the evening sun. It was still light enough to be out and about and groups of students were gathered at the shore of the lake or strolling over the grounds. 

Instead of joining them, Seungwoo lead their way back towards the castle gate. The grass was soft under their feet and the sunlight warm against their backs as they entered the Entrance Hall. It was almost deserted, only a few people passing through. Seungsik’s eyes trailed over the large windows at the end of the Great Hall as they passed the open doors and climbed up the Grand Staircase. 

The warm rays of the setting sun warmed his back from the windows above the large entrance gates of the castle, and he turned around as he reached the top of the stairs. With the Main Gate facing the Forbidden Forest, the sun was visible through the large stained glass windows as it touched the treetops. 

The windows had been restored after the battle of Hogwarts and showed a giant old oak tree with its branches spread out wide over almost the entire window front. Green leaves coloured the branches which seemed shine with silver and gold reflections hidden between the brown of the bark. Under the tree, all kind of creatures were gathered: from humans to fauns, goblins to centaurs, fae to satyrs, mantichors and sphinx, dragons and giants, almost innumerably many. A pond to the side even showed merfolk. All of them were gathered underneath the tree, peaceful and friendly. 

The lower bit of the picture continued the image with the tree’s root reaching into the earth beneath and reaching out to the sides. But apart from reaching downwards and stabilising the large tree, each root reached up again, up towards the surface were it connected to one of the creatures gathered beneath the tree. The roots curled gently around feet, hooves, ankles, reached through the water of the pond and connected to fins. 

It was a picture to show a wish: The wish of peace, of understanding and freedom from prejudice and violence among all creatures. The tree represented life in itself, and the magic behind it - the magic that all beings held. 

Seungsik loved the image the window showed, and he was fascinated everytime not just by the amount of details woven into it, but also the way in which the setting sun caused the colours of the picture to be spread through the room, painted the walls in colours and swirls. Green, red, yellow, blue - all colours danced over the walls, moved slowly towards the ceiling as the sun set further. It painted the people passing by in these same colours, and the air itself seemed to colour itself as swirls of dust danced in the golden rays.

A soft hand touching his wrist brought Seungsik out of his reverence and he felt Seungwoo step closer to him. He turned his head away from the window and towards the other, but anything he might have wanted to say was suddenly cleared from his head. Swirls of gold and green danced over Seungwoo’s face from the reflection, small specks of red flecked his robes. But in his eyes, Seungsik could not only see his own reflection, but also the reflection of the window, of the Magical Tree. 

Never before had he seen anyone more fitting to embody the image of peacefulness and beauty, intelligence and affection than the older Hufflepuff. Seungsik could see the affection, the adoration directed at him, reflected in the older’s eyes and he felt his pulse speed up. A pleasant warmth spread through his veins and once again he felt reminded of the intensity of his feelings for the other boy. Of the depth of their understanding for each other.

Seungwoo quirked a small smile and gently squeezed his hand as he laced their fingers together. He took a small step towards the corridor leading into the castle and pulled Seungsik with him.

“This way,” he said quietly. Seungsik was reminded where they were actually going and quickly followed after. He had gotten so lost in his reverence that everything else had vanished for a moment. 

“I see,” he muttered shyly, stepping up to walk next to his boyfriend when the older stumbled over a small gap in the stones of the floor. Seungsik couldn’t help his snort.

“But apparently you don’t,” he commented. Seungwoo straightened himself up and cleared his throat before he began striding forward again. A light blush coloured his neck and his eyes were hidden by his hair. Seungsik snickered a bit as he tried to keep up. 

Seungwoo led him through the corridors and up a staircase before he stopped on the fifth floor in front of the statue of Boris the Bewildered. Seungwoo muttered something that sounded like ‘Bubbelgum Fizz Bubble’ and stepped through the opening door. Seungsik glanced around the room curiously, his eyes passed over the window with a mermaid (Seungwoo always said she was curious), over the large empty bath in the middle of the room and the beautifully tiled floor, but Seungwoo pulled him towards a large alcove that lead to another room with several doors. The doors seemed to lead to individual shower stalls, and soft white towels were stacked in a shelf against an empty wall. 

Seungwoo let go of his hand and grabbed a towel before he turned around again. 

“I’ll be quick, just wait a minute.” He ended his sentence with a playful smile and stepped into the closest stall, while Seungsik smiled softly and turned around again as the door closed. The room truly was beautiful, and so he stepped out of the alcoven again to wander around the bath once more. Intricate swirls decorated and connected the individual tiles on the floor, but seemed to move as he stepped on them like seagrass in the current. 

Upon closer inspection, he could see that the floor of the bathtub was a mosaic showing something like a reef. Fishes flitted through corals and anemones, hiding in ridges and niches of stone and payfully circling each other. The anemones swayed from side to side in the current and light danced over the picture like the light coming from the surface of the water. Seungsik was mesmerised for a moment before he turned around. 

A soft noise had surprised him and as he looked up, he saw the mermaid in the glass window shifting on her stone. She glanced curiously at him her hair flowing and her fin moving up and down as she leaned forward. Suddenly, a silent giggle had her lift her hand - he saw translucent webs connecting her fingers - and she leaned back, her large eyes crinkling. She seemed to laugh about him. Seungsik smiled back and looked around the room again, his eyes catching a small stool next to the wall. An idea popped into his head. 

 

When Seungwoo stepped out of the shower a few minutes later, he had a towel hanging around his neck and his wet hair hung even past his eyes like this. The boy had changed from his dirty clothes into a set of fresh ones that he had stored in a locker in the washroom. A dopey smile appeared on his face when Seungsik softly called his name and he stepped closer, but his steps faltered a bit when he saw the scissors twinkling in Seungsik’s hand. Slight confusion took over as he carefully crossed the last few metres to Seungsik. 

“What are you planning?” he asked warily, eyes flitting between Seungsik’s hand, face and the door. The younger grinned and chuckled at the other boy. He was hardly something he could take serious with his hair in his eyes and that pouty face. 

“Sit down,” he replied  cheekily. “I’m gonna cut your hair.”

Only the movement of Seungwoo’s fringe implied that he had raised his eyebrows. Seungsik pushed the stool away from the wall and towards Seungwoo, setting it into a spot that was illuminated by golden sunlight. The rays were already growing darker in colour, almost an orange bronze, as the sun got closer to setting. Luckily, they still had a bit of time left before it grew dark. At least, if Seungwoo could be convinced to let him cut his hair which didn’t seem likely for now.

 “Seungsik I’m fine, I can see everything!” the older protested, a whiny edge creeping into his voice. His leg twitched and Seungsik held back a snicker - seems like Seungwoo could barely suppress the urge to stomp like a child. He had even crossed his arms and a pout adorned his lips. His eyes, however, remained hidden behind the curtain of hair. It was almost comical.

“Yeah sure,” Seungsik replied, voice laced with sarcasm, “and Osiris is a giant horned owl. Now sit down on that stool.”

Apparently his voice had been demanding enough for Seungwoo to relent. Slowly, the older shuffled towards the stool and sunk onto, shifting around a bit. Seungsik stepped forwards and nudged a knee against his legs that the older had kept together with his hands on his thighs. Sighing, he spread them and allowed Seungsik to step between them and lean down, so he was on the same height as him. 

“Stop moping,” he commented and gently pushed a finger against Seungwoo’s nose. “I’m not gonna give you some crazy hair, I just want to cut it a bit so you don’t trip over everything all them time.”

A low grumble that sounded like muffled complaints came from the other, but the Hufflepuff decided to ignore it. He brushed his hand through Seungwoo’s hair to smooth out any remaining knots and then picked out strands to start cutting. Carefully, he moved around him, checking that he was cutting evenly.

Seungwoo had closed his eyes when Seungsik had started cutting along his forehead to avoid getting hair into his eyes. But by now he sensed how the other straightened before hands brushed through his hair to comb out the loose ends and look for leftover long strands. When the ticklish feeling of hairs falling over his face ceased, he opened his eyes and his breath caught for a moment. 

Seungsik’s face was close to his but his gaze was focussed on his hair instead. The younger leaned over him as he shortened some more strands. Seungwoo’s eyes wandered over his features, his nose, the slant of his eyes, the curve of his jaw. Shadows were cast on his face, light and dark specks intermingling as he moved around slightly. The older’s eyes wandered lower to Seungsik’s lips that were slightly parted. He observed how his tongue peeked out for a second as he concentrated, how they moved occasionally. 

He got so lost in his observation that he didn’t notice how Seungsik’s hands stopped brushing through his hair as he finished his work. He didn’t even notice the younger looking at him, gaze now shifted to his eyes as he watched Seungwoo. The hand holding the scissors moved to his pocket to put the tool away before he laid the hand on the older’s shoulder. 

“Where are you looking?” he asked. Seungwoo’s eyes flew up at that, but there was no accusation in Seungsik’s gaze, only a genuine curiosity and a slight breathlessness in his voice. Seungwoo didn’t know what to answer. His words had left him the moment their eyes locked and all his senses honed in on Seungsik. 

The younger’s eyes flitted back and forth between his and dropped down to his lips for a moment before they came back up. The hand on his shoulder moved and went to slide to the junction of his shoulder and neck, gently brushing over the soft skin there. A shiver wrecked Seungwoo and he felt goosebumps on his skin, but he couldn’t tear his eyes from Seungsik’s.

The hand slowly crept up his neck and cupped his jaw, a thumb brushing over his cheekbone. He felt warmth pool in his abdomen, and a slight flutter in his heart. For a moment, they stayed like this, illuminated by the last remaining rays falling through the window. When had the sun set? He couldn’t remember, but twilight had crept up on them and only a sliver of golden light was still falling through the window. It illuminated Seungsik’s blonde hair, giving him a halo and Seungwoo felt reminded of an angel for a moment, before his breath hitched. 

The hand on his jaw twitched and another came up to cup his other cheek as Seungsik leaned down slowly. It was like time slowing down and Seungwoo observed how the light seemed to catch in the younger’s lashes for a second before their noses brushed gently. A warm puff of air hit his lips and he noticed how Seungsik studied his eyes for another second before his lids slipped shut. 

Seungwoo unconsciously lifted his hands, long fingers gently encircling the younger’s wrists and pulling him in the last centimetre. Their lips touched softly, a chaste kiss and they stayed like this for a moment or two. Seungsik pulled back a bit but Seungwoo tightened his grip on his wrists and leaned forward to capture his lips again. 

Just as softly as before he connected them, but moved his lips after a second. Seungsik responded, tilting his head a bit and leaned closer again. His hands still held Seungwoo’s jaw, just as gently as before, and his thumb continued stroking over his cheekbone. Warmth flooded him. No fireworks exploded, no big revelation came to pass. But his heart sang and all his senses were focussed on the boy kissing him as the sun set completely over the forest and the room became darker. 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

He was a man on a mission. Sneaky, intelligent, ready to fight. No one could stop him, no one would even knew he was there. He was a shadow in the night, a figure in the dark, a movement one might see from the corner of their eye but when they looked, nothing would be there. He was like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, he was 007 (just without the Martini) - mysterious and powerful. He was gliding through the shadows, flew up the stairs. 

His foot caught on the final step and with a yelp, Jinhyuk went down. His yell echoed through the empty corridor and for a moment he froze before he rolled sideways on the floor. He had to hide in case his voice had alarmed anyone! But his phenomenal spy instincts would lead him well; his head hit the foot of the armour he had forgotten was standing next to the staircase and a loud clash reverberated through the hallway. 

For the second time he froze, hand clasping his head as he looked up just to see the helmet tip off the armour and start falling. In a flurry of gangly limbs he scrambled to catch it before it landed and leapt forward, only to skid another metre on his belly like a penguin and with the helmet barely in his grasp. Well, more Johnny English than James Bond, but comedy had always been his strong suit after all. 

Alright, but first he had to get out of here. All his sneak was worthless now and he needed to get away before someone caught him. He jumped up, put the the helmet back onto the armour (slightly lopsided, but fashionable for the late 1500s or a failed beheading) and started on a mad dash down the hallway as quick as his long legs carried him. He was running a lot these days, but at least he wasn’t dragging a certain headboy into it this time. His heart still sped up when he thought about their moment in the broom cabinet. 

Before he could blush and giggle like a schoolgirl (again), he banished the thought to the back of his head and concentrated on running instead. By now, he probably looked less like James Bond and more like the pink panther - all gangly limbs and hurrying down a corridor. At least, no one had caught him yet. When he was sure he was save, he slowed down a bit and let out a deep sigh. Okay, back to business it was. 

Carefully he glanced around the corner towards the spindly staircase leading up into the tower. In a seemingly never ending spiral it went further and further up until he finally reached the top and stood in front of the large heavy wooden door with a door knocker formed like an eagle. As he rested his hands against his knees to catch his breath, the eagle turned his head and fixed him with a glare. Jinhyuk straightened with a gulp. 

This was the truly tricky part. If he was lucky, the eagle only cared about the right answer to enter, like the Fat Lady did with Gryffindors. If he was unlucky, however, it might tell on him. As long as the eagle was quiet, he’d be fine. And as long as he could answer the riddle.

“What,” the eagle started, its voice sounding a bit tinny, “walks on four legs in the morning, on two on midday, and on three in the afternoon?”

Jinhyuk blinked a few times before an idea shot through his head. He looked at the eagle, voice full of confidence as he replied. 

“A dog with arthritis.” 

Stunned silence. The eagle opened and closed its beak several times before it shook its head. 

“Well, you’re not wrong,” he stated, bafflement laced into its voice. “Guess I’ll count it. In you go, boy.” 

The door swung open. Jinhyuk smiled gratefully at the eagle knocker and stepped past the threshold, gently pulling the door closed behind him. Part One - get to the Ravenclaw tower unseen and acquire access - was a full success. Perfect. And considering the time, no one would still be awake. He glanced towards the clock over the fireplace: the handles pointed to quarter past two. On a weekday, even the most ambitious Ravenclaw would be wiped out by now. A chuckle escaped Jinhyuk as he glanced around the room. 

The view from the windows was impressive by day, but in the darkness of the night the mountains weren’t visible. He had been here before, several times to be precise. Either one of the kids had let him in, or he was here for a study session or partner work with another Ravenclaw. The room was familiar but still impressed him every single time. The domed ceiling with stars, the dark carpets, the amounts of bookshelves and the cozy sofas, armchairs and chairs scattered throughout the circular room truly caught his fancy. 

But he wasn’t here to philosophise on upholstered furniture and architecture, but to rearrange the interior design a bit. A giggle rose up in his throat at the thought and he almost cackled out loud when he heard a quiet rustling. He froze for the third time this night and turned slowly to where the sound was coming from. He couldn’t see anything, but something was moving on the sofa in front if the fireplace. 

Drawing in a deep breath he started tiptoeing towards the back of the sofa, careful to make no sound. The rustling had stopped, but he didn’t dare to let down his caution. He held his breath and slowly leaned over the back of the sofa, body tense and ready to run. He could see a tangled blanket and a lump under it that looked like a body. Someone had fallen asleep on the sofa. Sighing internally, Jinhyuk snuck around the furniture to see who it was. 

The body looked rather small, so maybe it was a younger student. But the prefects would have woken him when coming back from their rounds, wouldn’t they? Carefully, he crouched down but almost fell onto his behind in surprised. Snuggled deeply into the blanket with his head half hidden under it, was no other than Wooseok. Jinhyuk wasn’t sure if he was happy to see him or cursed his luck. 

He knew that if Wooseok woke up during the execution of his plan, he would be in trouble, but waking the boy to get him to bed would get him into just as much trouble because nothing would explain why he was in the Ravenclaw tower at almost half past two. But leaving him here was too risky, and also detrimental for his back. Jinhyuk winced when he remembered how his joints had felt 50 years older after he had fallen asleep in the common room a while ago. And the only other option was to hex him into deafness until he was done, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that to the sleeping boy. 

The only options left were therefore retreat - or taking Wooseok to bed without waking him. Jinhyuk pondered over these choices for a minute before he nodded. Alright, here went nothing. 

Carefully, he stretched out his arms and pushed his hand under Wooseok’s legs while his other did the same under his neck to wrap around the Ravenclaw’s shoulders. Trying not to jostle the smaller too much, he inched closer and secured his grip before he carefully lifted him off the couch. His knees almost gave in when he tried to stand with the added weight, but once he was up it was fine. The younger wasn’t too heavy and he was small after all. Not inconsiderable in weight but he was fine. He was a Quidditch player, Kookheon would kick his ass if he hadn’t built up some muscle over the years.

His pep talk took effect and he stepped around the sofa, invigorated and ready to do this, when the younger made a soft sound and shifted. Jinhyuk stopped and attempted to breathe as evenly as possible as he stood still in the middle of the room. He hadn’t moved Wooseok a lot, and he was still wrapped in his blanket to keep him warm so he shouldn’t wake up. And Jinhyuk was in luck, it seemed, because the younger just turned his face to the side and snuggled into the Gryffindor’s sweater.

Jinhyuk felt his heart speed up as he felt the soft nuzzling through the woolen material. The skin on his chest warmed where Wooseok’s puffs of air hit the sweater and passed through the fabric. He watched as the slight frown on the younger’s face disappeared and he sighed, burying his nose in Jinhyuk’s chest contentedly. This was unexpected. Pleasant but unexpected. 

He took a slow step forward, carefully observing any possible changes in the younger but he seemed to be completely lost in dreamland. Jinhyuk smiled softly and directed his steps towards the stairs leading to the dorm rooms. He mastered the stairs surprisingly quick and ended up in one of the smaller side towers. He knew where the boy’s dorms were, but now the realization hit him that he had no idea where Wooseok’s room was, after all. 

Deciding on just going by trial and error, he stepped forward. If they went with the same system as Gryffindor, they placed the rooms in a order, with adjoining years occupying adjoining rooms. When the seventh years left, the new first years moved into their room and so all dorms rotated through the numbers over the years. Wooseok was seventh year, so he should be next to either sixth, first, or between those two - depending on where he ended up in the rotation. 

Jinhyuk racked his brain as he tried to remember where the kids’ rooms were. He knew that Junho was a fifth year, and Eunsang too - they shared a room - and they had dragged him along once. He was pretty sure that they were higher up in the side tower, if not even the highest floor. Thinking back now, their room had had a steep ceiling, like the top of a tower. And he remembered complaining about all the stairs. Now, if the fifth years were all the way up, the seventh years would be in the second room from where he was. 

Worth a try then. He glanced at the sleeping boy in his arms and started walking again as quiet as possible to not wake anyone else. He passed the first door without a glance and walked straight up a short flight of stairs to the adjoining tower part. As he stepped closer towards the wooden door, he noticed a small brass sign on the door. ‘7th Years’. A triumphant grin arose on his lips.

So far, so good. Now he just had to open the door, find Wooseok’s bed, in the dark, put him on it without waking him and leave again. In the dark. Without waking anyone. Easy-peasy. He could do this. This was nothing.

He was doomed.

First, the door. He turned his body around so he could place his elbow on the handle and push it down. Thankfully, it went easily and the door swung open slowly and smoothly without a sound. Jinhyuk tiptoed into the dark room, thankful for the light from the corridor torch and the moonlight to light up the room enough to make out shapes. He could spy an empty bed next to one of the windows and hurried towards it, careful not to step on anything or stumble. He glanced towards one of the other beds and saw Sejin’s sleeping figure, peaceful and quiet. So he definitely was in the correct room. 

He stepped closer to Wooseok’s bed and slowly started setting the other down on it. The younger tried to bury deeper in his sweater and his hand grabbed it loosely. Jinhyuk stopped moving at once, but nothing happend. He slowly lowered himself onto the mattress, torso turned sideways, to place the sleeping boy down gently. Wooseok’s grip on his sweater tightened and Jinhyuk started to panic a bit.

This was critical. Getting caught in the common room was one thing, but getting caught in a bedroom - however innocent and chivalrous his intentions - was a wholly different thing. He decided on a course of action and hunched over so his torso stayed close to Wooseok as he pulled his arms away from his sleeping body. Then, he moved to carefully pull his sweater off, thankful for the shirt he decided on wearing under it. He tried to stay hunched and his nose even brushed Wooseok’s hair once until he had gotten the garment off.

Carefully, he moved back and got up from the bed. The cold November air was seeping through the walls and windows, and he knew the other would get sick if he slept without a blanket. Sighing and praying to god that no one woke up, he started to gently pull out the duvet from under Wooseok and lay it on him. Today was his lucky night, it seemed, as the other stayed asleep, now curled around the sweater. 

Alright, time for a retreat and some mischief making. He turned towards the door and snuck out of the room, closing it quietly and letting out a relieved breath before he quickly made his way downstairs. While he hurried down the steps, he pulled out his wand, eyes twinkling and a wicked smile on his lips. 

 

.oO°Oo.

 

If there was one word Wooseok would use to describe how he was woken up on a Saturday morning, he would say the word was ‘rude’. And very much so. Because loud, confused voices, laughter and a constant buzz along with a hand shaking his shoulder was not what he had wanted to wake up to. 

Grumpily, he opened an eye and glared at the intruder. Sejin was looming over him, expression half worried, half amused. Wooseok squinted his eyes and glanced towards the noise: The door of their dorm was open, which explained the volume, and he saw students passing by. A glance at his alarm clock showed that it was barely past 8.30. 

“What the hell?” he rasped out. Sejin grimaced.

“I wouldn’t wake you if it wasn’t important, but you should have a look at the common room.” he said, an apology clear in his voice. Wooseok groaned and let his head fall back onto the pillow, but nodded. He felt Sejin get up and leave the room, closing the door, before he gathered his strength and wits swing his legs out of his bed.

As he sat there for a moment, he noticed a dark blue sweater next to his pillow. Stretching out a hand, he brushed his fingers over the material. It was soft wool, and pleasant to the touch. He grabbed it and held it up, confused. It was much larger than his usual clothes, but he couldn’t think of anyone it could belong to. And it had been in his bed after all. Maybe he had just forgotten about it? 

Wooseok glanced towards the door and, seeing it closed, held the sweater closer to his face. It smelled nice, and somehow familiar. He liked the scent. A knock sounded against his door and he jerked out of his thoughts. 

“Coming!” he called. He had to get out. In a quick decision, Wooseok threw on the sweater (it was way to cold in the room) and pushed his feet into his slippers before he sprinted towards the door. Sejin was leaning against the frame as he opened it and he straightened up when Wooseok stepped out. 

“Common room,” he said just as Jungmo rounded the corner into the corridor. 

“Hyung,” he said in a slightly whiney voice laced with amusement and confusion. Wooseok nodded and stepped forward, Sejin hot on his heels, putting a hand on Jungmo’s shoulder as he reached him to pull the boy along. 

“What’s going on, Mogu?” he asked. “Sejin hasn’t told me yet.” 

“Well,” Jungmo replied, just as they rounded the last corner of the stairs, “See for yourself.”

Wooseok stepped into the common room and felt almost blinded with colour. Students had gathered surprisingly, considering the time, but their excitement and confusion was understandable. Wooseok wasn’t sure where to look first with his brain still catching up, so he closed his eyes for a second before he opened them again. 

Someone had hexed their common room so that instead of blue and bronze greeting him, pink and and blue attacked his eyes. Hot pink. Every surface that had previously been bronze had turned pink: from the fireguard to the frame of the globe, frome ornaments on walls and bookshelves to the paint on the legs of chairs and upholstery. Hot, glaring pink. 

But what was worst of all was the eagle. The symbol of their house, that adorned the wall above the fireplace, was shown in fresci on the walls, was carved into bookshelves and decorated the furniture, that stood as a statue in their common room. All eagles were not eagles anymore. They were flamingos. 

Wooseok closed his eyes again, and counted backwards from ten to calm himself before he opened them again. The scene was the same as before, just with Jungmo and Sejin now looking at him, their heads almost obstructing his view. He pushed them away and shook his head. 

“This is unbelievable,” he muttered. “It borders on blasphemy.”

Sejin’s eyebrows shot up and Jungmo snickered as Wooseok strode forward to touch one of the flamingos adorning a bookshelf. They were amazingly lifelike. He stepped away from it, turned fully around to look around the room again when his eyes fell onto the door. He strode forwards and pulled it open to look at the eagle knocker outside. 

The door swung into the room and his eyes fell onto the bird perched on the door. A bored looking flamingo countered his gaze, seated on the pink brass that connected to the door. His legs were hanging down as if he sat like a human and with a sigh he crossed his long pink legs. His beak opened to speak. 

“You might want to ask a certain lanky lion about what happened here,” he said, voice squeaky and unfamiliar. Wooseok’s eyes widened as he understood what the flamingo meant and he turned to look at their common room again. Just one thought crossed his head. 

“That crazy genius.”

 

When he arrived in the Great Hall about twenty minutes later - now with a completed morning routine but still clad in the blue sweater - he strode straight up to where he could see Jinhyuk sit at the Gryffindor table, with a giggling Byungchan by his side and Seungyoun - who seemed to have migrated to other tables again - across from him. The fellow seventh year was laying on the table, laughing uncontrollably. Yohan was wide eyed with a cute grin on his features while Dongpyo was cackling. Wooseok closed the last steps between them and stood behind Seungyoun, his eyes fixing on the Gryffindor troublemaker. Jinhyuk had the decency to not look surprised.

“You, you, you…” Wooseok stuttered out and cursed himself for not thinking this through beforehand. “What were you thinking?!” 

“Good morning to you too. Did you sleep well?”

Jinhyuk’s reply surprisingly calmed his agitation a bit instead of igniting it further. Wooseok took a deep breath, eyes still fixed onto the Gryffindor. Seungyoun had turned around and he could feel the other’s gaze flitting over him. He glanced down for a second, just in time to see the other’s eyes widening - but fixed on his torso instead of his face. Seungyoun turned to look at Jinhyuk and a shit-eating grin appeared on his face.

“What am I seeing there?” he asked and leaned forward towards Jinhyuk, smile almost menacing. “Is that…?” 

Jinhyuk’s eyes widened at the words, but before he could say anything, a light slap against his head silenced Seungyoun. Wooseok fixed Jinhyuk in his glare again. 

“What. were. you. thinking?” he gritted out through his teeth. 

 “You know you look really cute sleeping,” Jinhyuk replied with a friendly smile. His words made no sense for a moment, before he remembered that the last thing he could recall was falling asleep on the sofa in the common room. Realisation struck him. He had woken up in his bed. Paired with his comment and the facts he just realised that meant…

Wooseok felt a flush creeping up his cheeks and neck. He held eye contact with Jinhyuk for a few more moments before he turned around with a huff and marched towards his house table, sitting down with a deep sigh. A worried glance from Sejin had him drop his head into his hands. Thoughts raced across his brain as he tried to piece the whole situation together.

Jinhyuk must have carried him to bed after finding him, had tucked him in. And considering the strange look Seungyoun had thrown him and the unknown sweater he was wearing he came to only one conclusion. A rather frightening conclusion. He slowly sat up and turned around again, his hand grasping the collar of the sweater as his eyes fell on a certain Gryffindor again, who was already looking at him. 

A slight smile played on Jinhyuk’s lips as his eyes wandered over the Ravenclaw for a second before their eyes met again. Wooseok tried to convey his question through his expression. Jinhyuk lifted and eyebrow, and his smile widened. 

He had his answer.