When it had been unveiled that there was going to be a dorm for two, not one, head boys, Yixing had tingled with excitement at the prospect of having a new roommate. It hadn't been easy rooming with Jongdae, a fellow Ravenclaw who was a year younger than Yixing, for just over six years. It wasn't difficult in the sense that they didn't get along, the boy was one of Yixing's three closest friends but it was just very messy. It had become abundantly clear to Yixing in his first six months of sharing a room with the boy that he hadn’t ever heard of a laundry basket before, or even a mop for that matter. Clothes draped over every surface and it did not matter if they were clean or dirty, Jongdae let them all pileup and Yixing had even seen his friend lifting underwear up to his nose to gauge their freshness a few times in the second year.
Yixing loved Jongdae but not even Jongdae’s mother loved him enough to not think that his actions were sometimes a little on the gross side. Even for a teenage boy going through puberty.
In reality, the newly appointed seventh-year head boy had been enthralled by the prospect of making a new friend and bonding with another person in his year. He knew that Junmyeon, a Hufflepuff, had been a clear favourite to be the second head boy and while he didn’t know much about the Korean boy, he knew that he was neat and tidy. Most likely not the type to leave a pumpkin tart under his bed to snack on during the night―only to discover it again three months later when it was time to leave for the Christmas holidays. Like somebody Yixing knew. Jongdae.
Yixing had gone into the whole set-up expecting somebody like Junmyeon to be his new roommate and co-leader of the student population, along with the two appointed head girls. He had been so positive, so alive, about the idea that he hadn’t set himself up for disaster. He had even said okay to the term that the dorm assignment would be non-negotiable because he was so sure that he would have the perfect prefect roommate that he had dreamed of since receiving his letter to Hogwarts when he was eleven. The entire set-up seemed faultless to Yixing.
Right up until he saw the assignment sheet.
‘Zhang Yixing, Seventh-Year, Ravenclaw ― Wu Yifan, Seventh-Year, Slytherin.’
And his heart stopped.
The Ravenclaw student had nothing against Slytherins in general, as one of his other best friends, Lu Han, was one and he’d met a whole lot of other students from that house because of him. Yixing had, however, never exactly had the wonder of meeting Wu Yifan during his years at Hogwarts but always assumed that he would find the older boy intolerable. The Slytherin student had silver hair that never seemed to grow out, long legs and one of the most prestigious surnames in the wizarding world.
Yixing didn't have anything against those born into powerful families, nobody had control over the people they were related to and the wizarding prowess they possessed. But something about Wu Yifan seemed a little off for Yixing. He was that little bit too perfect.
The Slytherin boy was fluent in French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and English, he often took advanced classes to match up with his immaculate grades and was in the Slytherin house Quidditch team as their prized Keeper. He was never pinned to be the next head boy like Yixing had, and the Ravenclaw student found his flawlessness somewhat irksome.
In Yixing's mind, Yifan was too good to be true.
Those thoughts had led to him packing up the possessions he had amongst Jongdae's junk with a sense of hesitance that he shouldn't have ever considered. He should have been overjoyed to be leaving the explosion of clothes, food wrappers and paper behind but he'd gone into the stage of reluctance where he had begun to find Jongdae's floordrobe habits endearing and wondered whether or not he would miss it. However, as he rifled through a large pile of shoes for any of his own belongings and came across a set of socks that Yixing was half certain shifted on their own with no aid of a spell, he knew he had to move on. If not for his own sanity then for his health.
He had the hands of Kim Minseok, another one of his best friends, helping him drag his trunk to the newly refurbished head boy dormitories and he was glad of that fact when he had to clamber up numerous flights of stairs to get to his desired destination. Minseok was older than Yixing and had been one of the first Ravenclaw students he'd ever come across, he was somebody most people in the school looked up to and he'd taken Yixing under his wing rather swiftly, he showed him the ropes of the school and the both of them had bonded over the fact that they were half-bloods.
There were just some things people who lived in the muggle world understood about one another. Like the lack of internet connection in the castle─Yixing hadn’t been sure if he could live through his years at the school without his Weibo or Tumblr page.
Minseok, like Yifan, Lu Han and half the seventh-year population, had been forced into repeating their last year at Hogwarts after it had been found that many N.E.W.T exams were the subject of tampering. Many parents and professors thought it best to recall those affected to re-start their seventh-year with a Ministry granted change in curriculum.
It left a bloated student population as a flurry of new first years swarmed and Yixing guessed that was why two head boys and two head girls were chosen for the very first time. While it had been a devastating blow to the plans of numerous students, Yixing had been glad to have not lost his older friends.
"Are you sure that this is all that you have?" The elder queried as he felt the relative lightness of the trunk. "There was a lot of stuff in the room you had with Dae."
"I think that was all his and anything of mine that was under or in that mess is probably contaminated beyond any kind of cleanliness and the chance of ever being usable again is long gone," Yixing shuddered as he thought of the wriggling sock he'd left behind. "It's for the best if I let those things go."
"Yeah, I wouldn't want any of that back," the elder Ravenclaw agreed with a serious nod. If there was anybody who hated Jongdae's mess more than Yixing, it had to be Minseok. He hadn't stepped into the room since the first time he'd seen what Jongdae had amassed and created.
"I think he did all of this to get the dorm to himself, you know," Yixing hummed as they finally reached the floor that Yixing would call home. He took a piece of paper out of his pocket and stared at the door in apprehension before attempted to open it up with the password he'd been given by the Headmaster in his second week of that year.
However, when Yixing opened his mouth to speak, the door flung itself open and he jolted back in surprise. His shoulders seized up as he took in the face before him with pure shock, it was Song Qian―another recalled seventh-year.
Yixing and Minseok stumbled back in apparent fashion, watching the Slytherin girl as she left and Yixing suppressed a shiver down his spine as he watched her go. Song Qian was infamous within the student population because of her family's past; the Songs were a set of wizards and witches renowned for their knowledge and development of the Dark Arts. While it had been a long time since that chapter had closed in the wizarding world, Qian had managed to unhinge many with her knowledge of the Dark Arts in her first year of study.
The two Ravenclaws shared a glance and a gulp. Wherever there was a Song Qian, there was a Wu Yifan.
The pair had grown close after Yifan had transferred to Hogwarts halfway through the second year from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, despite how many people had warned Yifan of the girl who had swiftly grown to be synonymous with darker magic.
Yixing was bordering upon certain that Yifan and Qian were dating, given their closeness and the way they were separated from the rest of the student population. They were a couple that managed to intimidate many, Yifan with his appearance and Qian with her mesmerising yet terrifying knowledge of the Dark Arts, and to say that Yixing was slightly overawed was a severe understatement.
Minseok released him from his stupor has he set a spell onto Yixing's trunk to send it through the dorm's small common area and towards a secondary door that Yixing guessed was either for the lavatory or the bedroom. When Yifan emerged from behind it, stumbling into Yixing's case and almost hitting the floor, he knew it was the latter of the two options. Before either himself or Minseok could apologise for their actions, Yifan scowled and stormed straight out of the dormitory and in the opposite direction to what Qian took.
It was not a good way to introduce himself properly to the boy he'd be spending the rest of his year bunking down with like he had done with Jongdae most years previous.
"Well, that could have gone better," Minseok muttered like Yifan could still hear them even though he was probably well down the corridor and out of earshot. "I'm sorry about that."
"It's okay, I'll apologise to him later," Yixing dismissed, "if he lets me."
Yifan's bed was empty when Yixing returned from studying at the library when curfew struck, all of the Slytherin student's items were as neatly placed around as Yixing remembered them being when he had first seen the room and he felt a little apprehensive when he approached the half of the room that was draped in the luxuriously deep green he was familiar with. Yixing's own side was furnished with rich blue and gold detailing. The colours should have clashed where they met the forest green and sparkling silver on the other side of the room, yet they didn't.
Yifan had letters all stored on top of one another next to an inkwell and feathered quill, his owl was a large Great Grey owl that was dotted through with black and white feathers. The animal hooted gently and Yixing's own Little owl, one with fluffy feathers, responded quietly. It flooded him with relief that there was no squawking match between the two.
Yixing ran his finger down the line between their two halves, he felt the way the wallpaper didn't even have a single line down it, like his home in the muggle world. Magic, Yixing's mind smartly supplied him with.
Yixing skidded back to his side of the room when he heard the main door to the dorm open, footsteps followed swiftly after on the old stone floors and he held his breath as he waited for the other male to enter the bedroom they shared.
His breath was knocked sharply out of his chest when Yifan shuffled through the threshold with an expensive looking broomstick shining away in his hand. His hair was matted, sweat clung to it in droplets and Yixing could see the rise and fall of his chest under his quidditch robes. The green was darker as perspiration sprawled all across it.
The elder shirked off the outer cloak, the rugby shirt-type jersey that sat below it was almost drenched completely all over. It hung over Yifan's shoulders heavily and it wrapped around his body in one of the most flattering ways.
Since his first year, Yixing had always had a soft spot for quidditch players. They all had well developed and defined core muscles, firm thighs to cling around the broom and strong arms to be able to fend off whatever the opposing team threw their way. Yifan, being a Keeper, had an incredible body shape that spanned out across his shoulders and tapered down to a slender waist.
He was staring, he knew he was staring but he couldn't look away when Yifan walked across the room and set his items on the trunk at the foot of his bed, Yixing let out a half gasp as Yifan twisted around to throw his wand across his bed and onto the dresser, where it landed neatly in a holder. Yifan let out a groan, one that was reflective of overusing his muscles but Yixing's mind didn't quite filter it that way. His eyes didn't stray when Yifan disappeared through the door silently once more, the keeper was most likely going to bathe himself and Yixing's cool fingers pressed against his cheeks.
They were hot and, most probably, flushed until they matched his lips. He couldn't simmer down as his mind replayed the way Yifan moved over and over in his head, his long but clearly toned body was a wonder that had pranced right before his eyes. His heart raced, heat simmered in his lower stomach and his mind raged against the rest of his body.
It's Wu Yifan, Yixing scolded himself, the scariest male Slytherin student Hogwarts has housed in years. But he couldn't help it, he knew it was shallow to only appreciate somebody for how they looked but they way Yifan's almost white hair had clung to his forehead had Yixing wishing he could feel it under his fingers, he imagined the power housed within Yifan's body and the way the other head boy groaned replayed itself in his mind as loud as a Howler. The Ravenclaw's body began to burn as he thought of how Yifan would look sinking into one of the bubbling and steaming baths, for the crystal blue water to swallow him up inch by inch and for the water droplets to dribble down his chest.
Yixing knew since before his first year at Hogwarts that he was attracted to men, and it wasn't something he had found to be an issue because he hadn't ever been exposed to the thought of finding his roommate appealing. Jongdae―while handsome and funny―just wasn't the kind of person the older student was into.
He, Zhang Yixing, had developed some sort of instantaneous physical attraction to his counterpart. The one that had the girlfriend who was gifted beyond understanding in the Dark Arts.
Yixing was mortified by the mere thought.
The Slytherin head boy was up and out of the dormitory before Yixing was but that didn't bother him much, it meant that Yixing could get ready in peace and fit a short half an hour of pre-reading for his classes of the day. While Yixing sometimes didn't look like he was fully aware of what was going on around him, he had been put into the hardworking Ravenclaw house for a reason. He was a determined individual, he always had been, but he never quite knew how to exploit that in the muggle primary school he'd attended in London, the city his parents had moved him to when he was younger.
Boarding school, while not ideal for everybody, was the perfect environment for him. The library was constantly at his fingertips with anything he wanted to learn, he had friends and he had only ever really met praise since his first day. The professors didn't mind overactive brains as long as their students applied themselves to their fullest in lessons. Something Yixing always did.
Yifan didn't return to their two bed, one living area dormitory before Yixing headed down for breakfast and was surprised to see Yifan already there sat opposite Qian. There were only a handful of students in the hall, the houses didn't pay much heed to their specific tables other than on the first day of the year to welcome their new housemates and the last days to learn which house had the most points. So Yixing didn't find much trouble in finding a spot on a table away from the duo.
His cheeks were pink with how he remembered the way his body had warmed all too easily to Yifan's when he'd seen him in his quidditch uniform all damp and hanging off his flesh like a compression shirt would.
The Ravenclaw dropped his head down and poured himself a cup of the water that was in a jug in front of him. Over the rim of his goblet, he could see Yifan and Qian talking to one another. Yixing couldn't see Yifan's face but he could surely see the female Slytherin's, her dark brown hair draped over her shoulders and in front of her face but her lips were stretched apart in a wide, close-mouthed smile.
Yixing let out a gasp. Qian was smiling. Qian never smiled.
Her mouth fell into a straight line as large groups of wizards and witches flooded in through the doors and Yixing found himself noting how her expression shifted from relaxed and almost endearing to tight and frosty. He was surprised by how soft she could look and he wondered if Yifan was the very same.
Soon, bodies blocked Yixing's line of sight and Kim Jongdae and Lu Han plonked themselves in front of Yixing with grumbled out good morning to the head boy.
They all moved forward to take their food while the room gradually got louder and louder, they ate happily and discussed the lessons for the morning before everything calmed down enough for Yixing to lean forward and attract the sight of two of his best friends.
"I saw Qian smiling," Yixing whispered to them both across the table with his eyes watching over where Yifan and Qian had secluded themselves to the very end of the far table.
"At Yifan, she smiled at Yifan," Yixing nodded his head as if that would convince his friends further.
His fellow Ravenclaw furrowed his eyebrows so they sat in a straight line across his forehead, "Why?"
"He leant in and said something to her and then it happened," Yixing exclaimed and that gained the attention of Minseok who sat just down the table from them. He stared with a questioning expression and Jongdae called him over.
"What's up?" The elder got a few of the other pupils to move down to give him some room next to Lu Han, who poured him a fresh drink into a clean goblet.
"Xing thinks he saw Qian smile at something Yifan said."
"What did he say to her?" Minseok picked at some of the food and placed it on his plate, his fingers picked at the meat there as Yixing shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know, I wasn't close enough to hear..."
"You know, I heard from somebody who goes to Beauxbatons that Yifan was popular when he was there," Minseok supplied suddenly and Jongdae snorted loudly into the cup he'd been drinking out of but Yixing thought of the letters, Yifan's table was piled high with letters.
"Really?" Yixing's eyes flicked over to Yifan and he saw Qian pick something out of the boy's platinum hair.
"Yeah, it's weird." Minseok dismissed as the sweater breakfast foods were brought out to the table. "It's like he's done a complete reversal from what he was like there, according to what I've been told."
Yixing watched how Yifan kept his full attention to Qian even though his back was fully facing Yixing, he could see the way his head tilted up towards the girl. It was difficult for him to think about words spilling freely between them but could not stop staring when Yifan's shoulders lifted up a little more when Qian handed him a sweeter treat from her side of the table to him.
Yifan wasn't in the dormitory much and neither was Yixing. The both of them were either fulfilling their duty as head boys, going about their respective hobbies or studying. They had small-talk between those times that were all as awkward as one another and it had grown increasingly uncomfortable when they laid across their beds in silence.
It was a Saturday morning in late September, the leaves of the deciduous trees had turned their warmer shades and Yixing was starting to see the greyness of the clouds drawing in for their permanent blanket that would only leave when the leaves grew back. Yixing was sprawled across his bed with his notes in front of him from the previous week to look over and he had one earphone plugged into his ear from his muggle iPod ― one he had managed to sneak into the school and charge with his solar charger whenever the battery died.
There were three sharp knocks on the main door of the dorm, the heavy wooden one that stopped the other students from making their way in and Yixing shuffled to open it up. They usually just got students asking for favours or a teacher coming to ask for help in something, so it wasn't out of the ordinary to be called out at random times.
Yixing, however, was startled to see Song Qian with her hair in a sloppy plait and her thin fringe sat on her brow bone. Her breathing was half haggard and her hand was supporting her on the wall by Yixing's head.
"Is Yifan here?" She panted out and Yixing was too startled to really register that he had been asked a question.
"Hello," she waved her hand in front of Yixing's face and the Ravenclaw blinked away his surprise. She was speaking in Chinese, "Is Yifan in here?"
Yixing shook his head and she let out a long groan, the head boy grew somewhat scared when Qian muttered under her breath and looked over Yixing's shoulder to see any kind of sign of Yifan in the common area the two of them also shared.
"He headed out an hour after breakfast. If that helps?" Yixing's voice was shaky and timid, the Slytherin girl flicked him a dark look before she rolled her eyes in their sockets.
"Not really," she dismissed. "Another pair of eyes could really do me some good, though?"
Yixing wanted to say no. He wasn't sure why he nodded his head or why he followed her dashing through the hallways down the stairs to get outside. The courtyard wasn't full of many students as most had gone to Hogsmeade, so it didn't attract too much attention to have Yixing tailing Song Qian across the school grounds.
"Tell me if you see any fire or smoke," she commanded without even looking to Yixing for confirmation and the head boy gulped so painfully his throat ached.
Dread and regret of his fast agreement tread heavily down his spine when Qian cut off to head into the Forbidden Forest, he stuck close to her side as the trees grew thicker and the air cooled around them. He was shocked to find them in the forest in what seemed to be in search of Yifan, especially given that the area was firmly forbidden for all students. Including the two head boys.
"Wu Yifan," Qian yelled out and he could hear the telltale sounds of somebody swearing like they'd been caught doing something they shouldn't be. There was the sound of movement that was much larger than that of what a human could make and Yixing found himself moving closer to the Dark Arts extraordinaire for a little more security.
They walked for a fifty more metres until they came to a clearing that Yifan was stood in the middle of, his head was bowed somewhat bashfully and Qian didn't hold back as she advanced towards him and hit the back of his head.
"Bring her out now, or I'll get him to report you," the girl growled with a thumb stuck pointing towards Yixing and Yifan's eyes flickered up to her then over her shoulder to meet Yixing's eyes questioningly.
Yifan watched him for a few moments before he whistled, the sound of weight shifting that Yixing had heard previously happened again and the Ravenclaw student stumbled back as a dragon shuffled out into the clearing. The creature was just taller than Yifan, not fully grown in any way but the scaled beast still cowered behind the Slytherin head boy.
"You idiot! I told you not to bring her," Qian yelled, the reptile shuffled into a smaller size and he saw Yifan's hand move over his shoulder to pet over the dragon's snout soothingly. "I knew this would happen."
"I didn't summon her," Yifan's voice was deep but gentle, the tone you'd use to avoid conflict. "She came last night and I couldn't just leave her here."
"So you're saying that a dragon, an animal that's impossible to domesticate, just happens to be so attached to you that she followed you here?"
"You, Wu Yifan, are unbelievable!" She threw her hands up in the air. "You told me you'd be practising for your next quidditch game today, not disappearing into the Forbidden Forest to pet a creature that would more than happily bite your hand off or set fire to you."
"Lixia would never do that," was the swift rebuttal that got.
"You don't know that, have you ever owned a dragon before? Nobody has ever had a dragon as a pet before, Yifan. Do you know how ridiculous it is for you to keep her?! Yixing, please tell me that you agree with me."
"What? Me?" The Ravenclaw boy's mouth fell open in shock.
"You're top of the Care of Magical Creatures class, aren't you?" She looked around to the shorter head boy and he nodded as calmly as he could. "Then tell him how stupid he is for letting this dragon come onto the school grounds!"
"I―," Yixing's voice died in his throat as all three pairs of eyes in front of him bored holes into his face.
"This is useless," Qian muttered. "How did this bumbling idiot ever get to be head boy?"
Yixing was sure he was supposed to take offence to what she was saying but found himself not caring too much because honestly, he wasn't quite sure how he made it either. Sure, he was a prefect with good grades and sided on the more popular edge of the spectrum but that didn't mean he was fit enough to be head boy.
"It is dangerous," Yixing mumbled after a while as he took in the dragon. A Ukrainian Ironbelly. "You're supposed to set an example to the younger students and you're meant to represent Hogwarts outside of the school grounds, by keeping a creature that shouldn't be, and can't be, tamed is not only dangerous for you but for the animal itself and the students you're supposed to safeguard. You either send her over to a dragon reserve or I will have to inform the professors."
"She's not hurting anybody," Yifan argued as the creature rumbled over his shoulder. "Lixia is a gentle dragon."
"Because she thinks you're her parent, Yifan!" Qian argued back. "You hatched her and fed her, she assumed that you were her caregiver. What happens when she's fully grown and realises that you're not what she needs to look after her?"
Something strange happened right before Yixing's eyes, something that made him blink and want to rub over his eyeballs to make sure they were working.
Wu Yifan, the steel faced Slytherin, pouted. Right at both Qian and Yixing.
"That face doesn't work on me," Qian shifted to English and Yifan pouted even more. "Stop being an idiot, you need to let her go to a reserve. Like Yixing said."
Yifan huffed and went to speak, howbeit, a series of branches snapping had the three students all starting from where they were stood and the carrying of voices through the air had Yixing stuck still where he was. Yifan and Qian both made for the opposite direction of the voices whilst Yixing tried to shake off his shock to urge himself to follow. His eyes began to tear up as the realisation that he was going to be caught breaking a rule flashed in his mind.
A large, calloused and warm closed around his wrist and he was pulled into the trees. He turned so he wasn't stumbling blindly backwards but was being pulled forward by the person running in and out of the trees ahead of him. He knew it was Yifan from the flash of silver of silver in front and he stepped faster to keep up with the Slytherin head boy's far longer legs.
They stumbled out onto the flatter plains of grass and towards the quidditch pitch, Yixing couldn't see Qian anywhere but Yifan didn't appear to be searching around for her as they pressed onwards until the Slytherin let them out onto the pitch. He fumbled but let the both of them into the changing rooms.
Only when they'd halted and caught their breaths back did Yifan release his hand.
"I'm sorry," the taller boy muttered to Yixing and the younger looked up to him with a shocked expression. "That was really stupid, you looked like you were going to cry."
"It was," Yixing agreed, his heart was still racing and he looked over to see Yifan nibbling on his lower lip. "I'm sorry you had to leave Lixia behind."
"You and Qian were right, it wasn't good for her for me to keep her. I don't even have anywhere for her at home and I don't think my mother would take too kindly to finding a dragon around the house next time she's home."
"Why did you keep her?"
"She was abandoned, I couldn't leave her where I found her," Yixing observed how Yifan's face softened slightly, obviously recalling a fond memory. "Her egg was this really beautiful shade of blue and it looked scaly, all of the designing patterned up it to a jagged tip and I knew there was something, a dragon, in there that had been left abandoned. So I took it home."
"Didn't your parents see it then?" Yixing's brow furrowed and Yifan shook his head, smiling.
"No, my mother works for the Department of International Magical Cooperation," Yifan explained softly. "She's not home a lot, I found the egg last year and I've been looking after her since."
Yixing didn't quite know what to say but moved after Yifan when he turned to leave the changing rooms, the both of them were greeted with the scene of a huddle of teachers stood off at the perimeter of the Forbidden Forest a few hundred metres away and the two of them began to head up towards the path that led around to the castle itself.
"Do you think Qian's okay?" Yixing asked once they made it in through the front doors without any detection from any of the teachers they passed.
"She's an Animagus," Yifan informed him and, just like magic, Qian was stood at the bottom of a set of stairs with her hands clenched tightly at her sides. "She's a rather small Fallow doe."
Once Qian caught sight of the two head boys, she took off towards the Slytherin dormitories and that left them to head up to their room. They knew that they'd be contacted by the professors to be informed of the happenings in the Forbidden Forest and that made Yixing feel nervous to the pit of his stomach.
When they got to their room, they sat awkwardly in the living area once Yifan had made the fire burn up and the room had gently increased in temperature since then. Yixing couldn't help but glance at the student ahead of him as his brow furrowed in thought.
"You're not going to report me, are you?" Yifan looked over to Yixing with a concerned expression. "I really can't afford to be expelled from this place."
Yixing didn't hesitate when he responded, he'd already known the question would be posed as soon as Qian had used Yixing as a threat towards Yifan. "As long as you don't do anything like that again, my lips are sealed."
"And that isn’t just because you're scared of me? Or, Qian?" Yifan questioned and Yixing took a moment to think over what the other had said.
"No, you were the one that made sure I got out of the forest without being caught. We both would have been punished for it, we were both there." The Ravenclaw began to pick at the sleeve of his cloak. "I'm sorry if I haven't been the most talkative of roommates but there are thin―"
"Don't worry about it. I know what people say about me and Qian, I don't blame you for keeping your distance," his face wore a tight smile. "Sometimes you can't help but listen to what the people around you say but we're not like how people describe us."
The jury was still out in Yixing's mind as to whether or not Yifan's words were genuine but the elder's actions from that day made him lean more towards the idea of believing him. Yifan had tried to take in an abandoned dragon, he'd saved Yixing from being caught in the forest and had even sincerely apologised to Yixing for it all. Yixing was sure that not everything about the older man could be how people painted to be; he wasn't uncaring.
There were few moments in Yixing's life where he felt like he was in utter despair, he was always focused on making himself and the environment around himself better. But, like with everything, there were things not even a wizard could fix.
Like a screeching owl.
It just so happened that Yixing had two of the howling creatures on his hands as the night drew in on a Tuesday night and Yixing had a very difficult Charms class the next morning that he wanted to be fresh minded going into. He could easily silence his own owl on a normal day, he was more than coax-able when he was alone but for some reason, the two owls in the room began to cause a ruckus that Yixing was sure could be heard halfway across the castle.
He had tried feeding them, he'd attempted to pet them through the carriers and he'd even trialled singing to the birds in the hope that would help to soothe whatever was ailing them. He had sought to find whatever had them so riled up, Yixing had consulted books and thought back to when he'd first acquired his owl to see if he could remember the advice he was given. Nothing was of any use to him.
Everything he tried fell uselessly flat to the floor. If anything, he was worried that the violent flapping of the creatures was going to harm them because their cages were not enough to let them extend out to their full wingspans and there was no way Yixing was going to let them out while he was alone with them. Not when he didn't know what was even wrong in the first place. The owls had been perfectly fine in the days previous, maybe a little grouchy on Yixing's Little owl's behalf given that he hadn't been let out to fly in a while because Yixing hadn't needed to send any mail to anybody. Yifan's bird, though, had more than enough sky-time with the fact it would be gone for a day or two at a time ferrying Yifan's letters around.
Yixing guessed the grandly sized bird travelled between Hogwarts and wherever Yifan's friends from his old school were in the world, no matter the distance between them.
The Ravenclaw's only relief came when Yifan, pristinely dressed with his hair styled to perfection and his skin clear of almost every blemish, walked into the dorm with his hands covering his ears. He already looked stressed out by the noises the two animals were releasing into the room and Yixing could easily relate, they had been driving him insane for almost an hour while he was alone.
"What did you do to them?" Yifan's eyes were wide with bewilderment and all Yixing could only shrug nervously in panic as the two creatures flapped around persistently in their cages.
Yifan went to his own animal and tried to soothe her with calming words in what Yixing guessed to be French, it sounded half like a spell and half like how a parent would talk to a child. Though, Yixing wasn't sure if he thought that because the words flew into his head like a whisper against his ear. It distracted him enough from his own owl, Shixun, that the Little owl began to squawk louder than it had been before.
"Make it stop," Yifan yelled and Yixing scrambled to open the birdcage to draw Shixun out to hold to his chest.
Before he could even place his hands around the bird, the owl was flying across the room and straight towards Yifan's birdcage, the Little owl perched on Yifan's desk and pressed himself right up to the Great Grey owl who was still in her cage. The two birds quieted instantly to soft coos and hoots.
"That's weird," Yifan hummed thoughtfully.
"What do you mean?" Yixing asked, crossing from blue and gold to green and silver.
"Jia usually fights other owls, especially smaller ones," the Slytherin head boy laughed as he stuck his little finger through the wire caging to rub at her feathers.
"It's a good job they get along then," was all the other could say in response and Yifan grunted in approval of his statement. "Do you think we could let them out of their cages when they're here then? If they've bonded like this?"
"I don't see why not," Yifan shrugged his shoulder and opened the large door on the back edge of the carrier.
Jia fluttered out and sat next to Shixun on the edge of the desk, the two owls looked content being side by side and Yifan sat back on his bed. He looked like he was in disbelief and Yixing was somewhat offended that Yifan didn't think his Shixun was a good enough owl to win the Great Grey owl over to his side, which he obviously had done.
"Nobody can resist the charms of Shixun," Yixing reasoned and Yifan snorted, amused. "Hey, what's so wrong about him?"
"Nothing, he's just so small," Yifan was laughing behind his hand as he looked at the two vastly different owls on his desk.
Yixing was not impressed that his prized Shixun was being judged in such a way but couldn't resist watching the way the elder laughed. His chuckles were deep but dorky, Yixing wished he could see his mouth that was hidden away but the curve of his eyes was just enough for the younger to soften up. His heart even flitted against in chest as he smiled in response to the other head boy.
Smiling suited Yifan, Yixing thought to himself. It diffused the darker appearance of his face, it crinkled up harshly flat areas of skin to make him look younger and his cheeks puffed out a little to make them look like round apples; it was an entirely boyish expression. There was nothing more Yixing could do than shoot him his own dimple, to show him that he appreciated the gentle nature of the other's smile. It was nothing of the sneers that Yixing had thought he would receive as Yifan's roommate.
The moment was different than all of the other friendly moments they'd shared since the incident with the dragon, they maintained eye contact as they beamed like suns. Yixing's heart was palpitating with every other beat. His face flushed as warmth flooded into his body, he must have been almost bright pink when Yifan's eyes broke from his to look at his cheeks and then down to his lips. Licking the plump mounds of flesh was an automatic reaction to it and he could see the millimetres Yifan's irises moved to follow the wet, pink muscle.
He could imagine Yifan kissing him then, his mind spewed thoughts out of the handsome eighteen-year-old in front of him dragging him forward by his wrist and joining their mouths. It had anticipation bubbling up in his stomach, for some reason, as if the elder was a person was somebody he should and could kiss. For all the softness he had shown, Yixing still wasn't sure what to make of the Slytherin head boy and Yixing didn't want to kiss Yifan for it to turn into a mistake he couldn't take back. Not to mention the sudden flash of Yifan with Qian together in Yixing's mind's eye brought him well and truly back down to earth.
The Ravenclaw turned away sharply when his hands started to shake where they hung loosely at his sides and he clenched them tightly behind his back.
"Goodnight," Yifan said when Yixing took a steady step back, the younger nodded his head in response and mumbled out the same thing in return.
When the room descended into darkness, Yixing laid with his back facing towards the older male and Yixing's fingers pushed coolly to his cheeks. It was almost a repeat of what had happened when Yixing's had seen Yifan enter the room drenched in sweat from quidditch practice. The difference was that, every so often, the little fingers on Yixing's hands would brush over his lips as if Yifan had kissed him. He couldn't sleep, he knew he would probably only see Yifan in his dreams or worse, he'd wake up to see Yifan as soon as the sun rose.
It came as a slight shock to Yixing that Yifan appeared to notice their short moment on the night their owls turned into the most disruptive creatures in the castle. It was an assumption Yixing made whenever he felt heat on his skin as Yifan passed him by or the way sometimes his cheeks would flood with colour when he kept eye contact with the other boy for long enough. Yifan's fingers would brush up Yixing's arm if the elder walked past him in the corridor or leant over him in one of the infrequent classes they shared. The contact, as minimal as it was, had been enough for Yixing to knock over potions or fumble with what he was working with in Herbology.
Yifan always noticed how much it seemed to affect Yixing by retaining eye contact or showing a small smirk on his perfect mouth. Yixing often found himself staring whenever Yifan wasn't playing his little game with him, he observed how the elder always paid full attention in class despite how little he seemed to study outside of his lessons. The Slytherin was an intelligent student, he was constantly getting high grades and most others lumped it to the fact that Yifan was repeating the classes, but very few of the other returning seventh years achieved the same. Especially given that a lot of the content was different from the year before.
Even Minseok and Han had to spend hours in the library to retain the information they were taught and separate that from what they had been shown in the year before.
That did not mean that those tendrils of fear that had grappled him, in the beginning, were gone from his mind and his nerves, he still shuddered or cowered slightly whenever he caught sight of Yifan's stern face and Qian's unsmiling one. Still, that feeling of fear was often mingled in with something that little bit uglier. He'd ignored it at first but couldn't deny it when Yifan gave the entirety of his attention to Qian whenever Yixing was close. Jealousy was the name he'd given the feeling. He wasn't sure if it was envy because jealousy implied that he had some sort of claim on Yifan's time and attention. Envy, however, was that ugly craving for something he didn't have.
He didn't even know why Yifan had started to affect him so much. He'd gone to the infirmary to check that he wasn't under the influence of some love potion he hadn't given permission to take or if he was just feeling sick in general. It was a fearful thought, Yixing found, being attracted to Yifan.
His eyes glued to the male whenever he was in seeing distance, his body reacted in the most questionable way whenever the other entered their shared room with his quidditch uniform wrapped so deliciously around him and his cheeks betrayed his nonchalant expression whenever Yifan spoke to him.
The worst thing of all, a singular action the Slytherin head boy did that was certain to be the demise of his Ravenclaw counterpart, was that Yifan had given Yixing (and his owl) the pet name of Mon Petit*. Yixing couldn't be certain of the meaning, his knowledge of the french language was no more than the very basic 'bonjour’, ‘au revoir’, ‘oui’ and ‘non', but he knew it was something on the more endearing side given how Yifan always said it with a smile.
"Yah, what are you looking at? Why are you not paying attention to me?" Jongdae whined from across the library table he and Yixing had placed themselves on. The two Ravenclaw students were often good at studying together, they kept one another motivated and didn't shy away from sitting in relative silence for hours on end as they revised numerous aspects of the curriculum.
"I was thinking," Yixing muttered, blinking.
"You should be studying, not thinking, Xing."
"I know, my thoughts just caught up with me for a little bit. You know how I am," Yixing smiled as best as he could while Jongdae narrowed his eyes in search of the truth.
Yes, Yixing was known for sometimes going a little blank in the face whenever he thought too hard or was mildly confused but it never happened when studying. It was usually just in the idle moments of nothingness where he thought too much and did too little. Though, it wasn't helped by the fact that what he had been thinking about was a man cloaked in black with green and silver detailing over the rest of his uniform.
Jongdae took his time before he hummed out a very short, "If you say so."
Yixing's eyes went back to his books and parchment when his junior started to talk about the different ways they could formulate some potion in one of their upcoming classes but Yixing's mind, once again, didn't stay in the room. He wasn't used to it, not being able to study productively and it was worsened by the fact that he couldn't even do so around Jongdae. It wasn't comforting nor was it helpful to know that it was Yifan that his mind was stuck on.
He didn't want to be thinking about his roommate, he knew a crush or any sort of attraction would be fruitless, given that the near perfect woman existed in Qian. It would only hurt if everything would be one-sided and Yixing suddenly wished that Yifan was one of the things he forgot about on a daily basis, rather than objects like his quills or specific books he would need for the classes he would have later on that day.
Thinking about Yifan was not only annoying, it was thoroughly inconvenient. As a Ravenclaw, and as the head boy chosen from said house, his focus should have been using his creative brain and hardworking nature to better the lives of his compeers. Not trying to decipher if Yifan's hands felt softer than normal on his forearm when they had brushed their teeth side by side that morning.
The more he tried to stop thinking about Yifan, the more he knew he didn't have solely platonic feeling in his body for the elder male. He had accepted his sexuality, as had most of his fellow Ravenclaws, during his time attending the school but having anything other than platonic emotions for a roommate was sure to spell disaster. Especially when the both of them had reputations around the school.
Yixing shook his head again and dipped his consciousness back into the conversation Jongdae was having with him and actually listened to what the other was saying about his new roommate and how the boy, named Kyungsoo, had no tolerance for the mess. The head boy found himself able to focus back to Jongdae and his studying little by little as he fought to ignore the presence of the platinum haired male in his head.
Pushing Yifan out was far easier when he wasn't present for Yixing to look at but when the elder was playing for his house in quidditch, he was impossible to ignore. Yixing barely watched his own house's players and flinched whenever a Quaffle went towards Yifan that little bit too powerfully or the bludgers aimed for him that little bit too harshly. He gripped his fists in tight balls whenever anything remotely threatening was headed Yifan's way. And he only ever relaxed when the elder deflected something effectively or it missed him entirely.
The extra protection he had as part of his kit wasn't any sort of help to the Ravenclaw head boy.
Yixing's wand was in one of his hands as if he could do something to help Yifan if something were to befall him during the game. He wasn't entirely sure why he felt the sense of protectiveness that he did with the Slytherin boy, especially when he was so talented at what he did. Barely anything got past him whenever he would use his hands or body to divert whatever was headed his way.
"You look like you're trying to give birth," Han observed, which snapped Yixing out of his stupor and back into the present where it wasn't just Yifan that existed. "What's got you so tense?"
"Nothing," Yixing shook his head and looked at his friend. "I'm nervous for my team. It's our first game against Slytherin this year."
"Hmm," Han didn't seem convinced, Yixing doubted that anybody would be satisfied by his weak excuse. "Well, I guess I should be the same as you. Seeing as your house is playing against mine."
Yixing didn't respond but nodded as the crowd cheered for something at the other end of the field. He guessed that it was Slytherin scoring when Han hissed out a gentle 'yes' next to his ear.
"I mean, I don't think we can be so worried when we have the Keeper that we do." Yixing knew the words were likely laced with a probing undertone but he couldn't help how it caught his attention.
"What do you mean?"
"Everybody is terrified of Yifan, why would anybody want to purposely harm him when they all think he'd be able to hex them or something," Han's eyes strayed back to the platinum-haired male on his broomstick. Yixing's eyes followed his gaze's path. "Not to mention the fact that I don't think anybody has ever managed to take him down or get more than twenty points on him in a single game. It's like he's superhuman."
"Super-Wizard," Jongdae chipped in as he moved through the rows behind to greet his two friends where they were waiting. "He's not just human. He's like some sort of quidditch god, we don't stand a chance to win this game unless we get the snitch."
"When did you become an expert on Slytherin players?" Han responded flatly to his friend.
"Yixing started living with the guy and has been acting oddly since then," Jongdae's face was almost covered completely to ward off the breezy autumn chill and Yixing wanted to laugh at how his friend looked like a human sized coil of wool.
"I've not been acting oddly," Yixing defended, rolling his eyes.
"Are you sure?" Jongdae's eyebrows moved under to disappear into the hem of his hat.
"Just shut up and watch the game, Dae," Minseok muttered from where he'd been quietly observing each of them. "He's just not living off the fumes of whatever comes out of that shit-sty that is your bedroom."
"It is not a shit-sty," Jongdae wailed, his whining echoed loudly in Korean and Yixing shuddered away from it.
"Of course not," Han rebutted quietly in English and Jongdae hit him over the head with his mittened hand.
"I lived in that wreck for almost seven years, pity me," Yixing watched the Quaffle slowly fall down from player to player until it was headed directly to the Slytherin house's posts.
"But now you live in a cloud of Dark Arts," Jongdae goaded and Yixing felt half exhausted already just from the insinuation. "Are you sure he hasn't cast a spell on you while you've been sleeping?"
"For the last time, he's nowhere near like how you think he is."
"You mean you like him?" Han looked around with wide eyes.
"That's not what I said." Yixing hoped his words were enough but his face flushed from his neck to the tip of his ears and he saw Han's lips curve up at the edges like he was imitating the way Jongdae's mouth naturally sat.
"Your face always betrays you, Zhang Yixing," the elder Chinese male singsonged in their native language. The two Koreans stared at them with confusion and Yixing was glad that Han had done enough to protect Yixing from their teasing.
"We just share a room, it's easier to get along with one another," Yixing explained calmly. "He's not as bad as people think he is, he's actually kind of soft."
The memory of Yifan interacting with the dragon and then his willingness to apologise to Yixing for getting him involved in something that was against the school rules sat in his mind, right behind the kiss Yixing had fantasised about for a whole night.
"I'm not saying that there isn’t something a little strange about him and Qian but you really shouldn't believe everything you hear from the other students. Especially when you don't know them properly," he continued. "I don't know them well enough myself yet but I know that they're probably just like us."
"Jesus, no need to get so deep, Zhang," Jongdae rolled his eyes and Yixing's arms went above his head in despair.
"But it's true," he huffed and Minseok rested a hand on his shoulder.
"Ignore him, he doesn't know how to turn his mouth off."
All of them, bar Jongdae, laughed at the statement but Han's eyes lingered on Yixing a little more before they turned to watch the game more.
Yixing cheered whenever his players did something good or well and only allowed himself limited time to watch Yifan, as he found himself coiling up with nerves whenever the elder did anything at all. It didn't help that as the game wore on, Yifan's body seemed to change to show how sweaty he was from working hard and Yixing was often noticing how his lip would be between his teeth in concentration. His own mouth copied the action but then that dissipated whenever he shifted his focus back onto the main game.
Once the match had been won, by Slytherin, Yixing disappeared off the stand to go and greet the players from his house's team and give them his support in how well they'd played despite the loss. He recognised most of their faces and knew most of their names, which made everything far easier and almost all of them met him with wide smiles that belied how popular he appeared to be.
With that done, Yixing turned away from where the changing areas were but stopped when he heard somebody say: "No well done for your roommate, Mon Petit?"
Those words alone were enough to have Yixing's stomach churning awkwardly. He still turned around to see Yifan stood there without his body padding on or the helmet that came with being in his position. His hair was stringy with sweat, his cheeks were flushed and his lips were chewed to a bruised colour.
The Ravenclaw felt his face heat up like it had when he'd been teased by Han earlier in the game. He walked forward nervously and smiled when Yifan's eyes curved upwards to display their own smile without his mouth moving.
"You played well," Yixing praised. "I was impressed."
"Impressed?" Yifan's eyebrow bent upwards.
"Ravenclaws are creative, you did well to not concede more points than you did.”
The elder's laughter was a deep vibration that had Yixing's back tingling. "I'm good at what I do."
Yifan took another step towards him, it left a pace's worth of distance between them and Yixing's hands trembled at his sides. He took in how Yifan's lips were a dappled colour of pink, red and purple from the abuse they had received during the match and Yixing couldn't help but want to touch it.
The Slytherin boy didn't recoil from Yixing's pointer finger landing on his lips, it encouraged him to feel across it more in a gentle swipe and Yifan licked his lips when Yixing pulled the digit away. It wasn't like he was washing away the feeling but more as if he was tasting over where Yixing had touched him. It was strangely exhilarating.
"Yifan," a female voice called out and Yixing stepped back as Qian barged her way through.
“Merde*,” Yifan muttered.
"I better go," Yixing nodded a quick bow to the other two and Yifan's mouth opened, Yixing waited for him to say something more but he didn't seem to. He closed his mouth and ran his tongue over his lower lip again. "I'll see you in the room later."
Yixing felt both Yifan's and Qian's eyes on him as he scrambled away to get onto the main path that led back up to the castle. His heart was hammering. It felt a little painful as the blood swished around in his ears and his fingers shook where they were by his sides. He didn't know why he acted like that with Yifan, it was as if he's been bewitched, like Jongdae had implied, to do such things around the other head boy.
No student at Hogwarts could deny that Yifan was a ridiculously handsome wizard but Yixing's mind took it to an entirely different level every time.
He escaped to their shared dorm and instantly plugged the earphones into his halfway charged iPod placed on the windowsill that crossed between both sides of the room. He sat at his desk with his books in front of him, quill in hand to make notes but all he could think of was how Yifan's face softened up when Yixing's fingers felt across the plump flesh of his lips and how his whole expression changed when Yixing paid him some attention.
It shouldn't have made him smile or melt inside, but it did.
Zhang Yixing had a crush on Wu Yifan, he couldn't deny it when he reacted like that and his heart skipped a beat.