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the way you look beneath the stars

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“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”

“Can you believe that?” Minseok stuffs food in his mouth while still speaking, and Baekhyun stares at him a little disgusted. “Jongdae couldn’t even find his glasses after the kids retaliated. They really got him this time.”

Baekhyun did not have a good start today. Not at all. His cat scratched his face just for the sake of it, he let ink fall on his scrolls, he was late for class and still didn’t get enough sleep. Everything in his routine was destroyed, Baekhyun thinks to himself, discounting his anger at a poor slice of pudding, so no, he doesn’t care about Jongdae’s pranks going wrong.

“Good for him,” he answers, and Minseok expected that coming. Baekhyun snorts and sneaks a glance at the Gryffindor table across the Great Hall, where he could see the group of third years his fellow Slytherin appreciated messing with. “I told him to let those kids alone ages ago. Instead, Jongdae should focus on not failing all his classes.”

Minseok laughs out loud, obnoxious and annoying, leaving Baekhyun wondering how are they friends all these years.

“I bet he’ll get himself expelled before the end of the year.”

Baekhyun doesn’t think it’s funny, but also doesn’t say a thing back. Minseok seems to be enjoying the food more than his presence, after all, so he believes he’s not losing much. Dinner goes by as fast as it can, the thoughts in Baekhyun’s mind focused on lessons and practice and grades, not even having the heart to question where Jongdae could be if not there, with them. There’s no time for playing around when his future is just around the corner, O.W.L.s getting closer day by day. He sighs, another spoonful making its way to his mouth.

“Doesn’t it get awkward or lonely once in a while?” He remembers his brother’s voice as clear as crystal, elbowing Baekhyun to get his attention at the table. “You keep pushing everyone away.”

“No,” Baekhyun would answer back, cold and uncomplicated. “I prefer it like that.”

There was a time Baekhyun thought he’d be settled in the noble house of Ravenclaw. All the obvious signs could be found in this young halfblood wizard, only eleven years old but already determined on improving his skills and obtaining knowledge. His ambition wasn’t taken in consideration, though, and that was exactly the key to his path towards Slytherin, just like his father.

“Don’t you worry about the Sorting Hat,” Mr. Byun told him before Baekhyun landed his foot inside the Hogwarts Express, his big hands on his son’s shoulders contrasting in size. “Every house is great as it is.”

Well, he would beg to differ. Young Baekhyun crossed his fingers, hoping and wishing to be placed in any house but Hufflepuff, please. If not Ravenclaw, he wouldn’t mind being claimed by Gryffindor, where people could be stupid, but brave and daring, or by Slytherin, home of the cunning and clever. But Hufflepuff? What a joke. Nothing but the place the outcasts were left behind. How was he supposed to fulfill his objectives stuck with such a title, in between that many dull, tedious people?

Baekhyun watched as the new students were sorted, wrinkling his nose every time the Hufflepuff table would celebrate a new member of their family with enthusiasm. He could sense someone eyeing him weirdly because of it, slightly as if they were scared of his opinion and the reason beneath such reactions, but he couldn’t care less. Baekhyun was focused on himself and his future only, anyway. Once his name was called, there was finally a smile across his face.

“So confident on the outside…” the Sorting Hat said the instant it touched his head. “But indeed insecure on the inside. Very… ambitious, I see… Could use yourself some friends.” Baekhyun swallowed down his sudden nervousness and bit his inner cheek. The second after, there was the scream: “Slytherin!”

Oh. He sighed in relief, grinning from ear to ear as he walked to the table he would be sat on for the next seven years.

Baekhyun tries not to look down on others as much as he did as a child. It’s his resolution for his fifth year at Hogwarts: to be a little more pleasant before he gets even more despised. Even so, letting go of such strong opinions is no easy task and it shows as soon as he’s placed with Zhang Yixing, the Hufflepuff that just arrived late for class, for their potions assignment. He clears his throat before lazily picking up his book and making his way towards Yixing’s desk, unimpressed once Baekhyun sees him attempting to help the Gryffindor girl by their side to cut her ingredients the right way. Of course. Taking a deep breath and keeping his comments to himself, Baekhyun shakes his head. If there was something more annoying to him than Hufflepuffs trying to maintain the angelical act they would put out, he couldn’t tell what. Yixing, with his nightly black hair and being a couple of inches taller than Baekhyun, surely knows how to play this part. The quickest way to find him would be getting in any kind of trouble; Yixing’d always be there to help you solve it.

“Can we finish this already, please?” Baekhyun says as a minimum effort to claim Yixing’s attention. He meets the other’s sweet and standard smile, which causes Baekhyun to roll his eyes. “I’d like to get this over with before dinner, if it’s not too much to ask.”

“Oh. I’m sorry,” Yixing politely says in the very same tone he’d used in every conversation he ever held in his life. “Yes, we should do it already.”

Zhang glances over their neighbor and offers her an apologetic smile, but after that, Baekhyun can finally work in peace. Well, at least he can pretend. Although trying to keep up with Baekhyun and doing his best at obeying his commands, Yixing is simply no help when it comes to suggestions. Even stupid questions, such as if Yixing thought there were too much butterscotch, wouldn’t get answers. “I’m not sure, Byun. What do you think?”

Baekhyun can feel his blood boiling. He sighs and shakes his head, disappointed but couldn’t say he was surprised.

“Whatever. I’ll do it alone.”

Baekhyun spends so many time studying he manages to unconsciously escape from everything that’s happening just beneath his nose to a part of the wizarding world. By the half of sixth year, he can’t stand listening to rumors in the hallways and stories in the dormitories anymore; Baekhyun prefers to remain in his ignorance, ironically, as long as it means not getting distracted… Or scared. Even the library isn’t free from people’s talk, therefore Baekhyun needs somewhere peaceful and quiet. Or, at least, quieter.

During days of pleasant weather, he tries studying near the training field, and, surprisingly, it works. It doesn’t take too much for him to get used to this kind of routine, since routine means a lot to Baekhyun. He sits there, in silence and composed, reading and going through piles of books he judges as interesting enough and could add some knowledge to him. One day in specific, however, things don’t go as smoothly as Baekhyun would like it to.

Of course it comes fast, without any prior notice. The bludger is heading right in his direction, ready to hit Baekhyun hard enough to knock him out; if he wasn’t pushed out of the way, he’d be needed at the infirmary the second after the final shot. The book in his hand lands on the ground when an unknown force on a broom shoved him aside, falling over Baekhyun and taking him with them when they roll on the grass. Baekhyun screams and curses the guy above him, at the same time the bludger hits where he so carefully chose to study at.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Baekhyun yells, trying to get this quidditch boy far away from him. “What the hell were you thinking?!”

The stranger groans in pain and does his best to move, getting on the floor by laying on his back. “The bludger,” he murmurs, sounding slightly tired. “It was gonna hit you.” His broom is close to Baekhyun’s books, and for the lack of protection he wears, there are low chances of him being the beater that caused this accident.

Baekhyun sits, making at face when he notices the grass that clung to his robes. He was too angry and shocked to see it before, but the yellow clothes the quidditch boy wears just feeds his anger even more. Ugh, Hufflepuff. “So you thought it’d be a smart move to knock me down before it could do it, huh?” Baekhyun scoffs, getting up and checking if the book he let fall was still in perfect condition. The stranger eyes him confused, probably wondering whether or not this odd Slytherin was complaining about not getting an injury.

“Yeah, I did. It would hurt less, surely.”

There’s no more glances spared at him from Baekhyun, too dived into making sure there was no damage on the books. Ignoring people, even when he was trying to be nice, is the best social skill Baekhyun has developed through the years. Deep inside, Byun is begging to Merlin, please, keep him from apologizing for it every time he sees me. He can’t deal with another Zhang Yixing telling him he’s sorry for not being very helpful during class.

“Are you pretending not to hear me?” Stranger says, impressed by Baekhyun’s mature ways to avoid someone. He lazily gets up, going after his Nimbus right next. “Whatever. You’re terribly moody, did you know that?”

Baekhyun shrugs. “I get that a lot. You’d be surprised.”

Stranger smirks at him, shaking his head. This Slytherin was something, no doubt.

It’s the Slytherin against Hufflepuff quidditch game, so naturally Jongdae and Minseok force Baekhyun to make them company. He hates the noise and the people and everything about it, but being friends sometimes means doing something you’re not quite into in order to simply spend time together.

He’s sat down while everyone in the crowd is up, cheering and shouting their energy away. It’s tiresome to watch, honestly, and Baekhyun’s always thought that much fuss would do nothing but distract him from winning the damn game.

The match is almost done, the seekers constantly nearly touching the golden snitch. Although Slytherin is 30 points ahead in the game, it’ll mean nothing if Hufflepuff catches it. It’s so, so close, and victory tastes so sweet on his fellow Slytherin’s tongues…

Until the seeker dressed in yellow is suddenly falling from her broom, asleep and vulnerable; the teachers are able to reach to her before hitting the ground, thankfully. The scene grabs Baekhyun’s attention, making him notice the quidditch boy from a week ago, landing nearby and making his way towards the player, the teachers and the judge. Madam Hooch is already checking her to make sure the seeker was sabotaged when the stranger talks to them, showing his indignation.

“Oh, Captain Park seems really mad,” Jongdae says, sitting by Baekhyun’s right side and handing him the binocular. Definitely Slytherins would be the number one suspects for this accident, and still Jongdae smiles like he’s watching his favorite show. “Look, his face’s all red. God, I love quidditch.”

Baekhyun takes the binocular and stares, Captain Park’s face contorted in annoyance and discomfort. The other players gather around when Madam Hooch tells them so, and he can tell from Captain’s expression that he’s loathing every moment of that. Captain looks at his team’s seeker almost all the time, waiting for her to wake up, asking if she’s fine. He’s worried, for sure, and Baekhyun can understand this feeling. His position demands responsibility and the smallest thing going wrong could be considered his fault.

Giving Jongdae his binocular back, Baekhyun keeps his eyes on one player for the rest of the game.

They speak again the following day, when Captain Park is standing beside him in the library, brows frowned in a focused expression while looking for something in between the shelves. There’s no explanation to this fact, but Baekhyun opens his mouth and he wants to talk; maybe the thank you he owes him. But Byun Baekhyun is not a talker, much less in such an ambient where silence was what he valued more. Still, he manages to say in his most monotonous voice: “Congratulations on winning.”

Captain Park, as Minseok informed him, was actually called Chanyeol. A prodigy, named the team’s captain still in his fifth year – “his family is made of players, you could say. His parents? Awesome quidditch trainers. Easy to see how he got where he is,” he completed. As every Hufflepuff, people are highly fond of him for being “nice, cool, fun” and all the other characteristics that couldn’t be applied to Baekhyun himself. There is nothing about him to catch Byun’s eye… Nothing but the fact he seems different. Baekhyun saw it when, after yesterday’s game, Park had a serious conversation with the Hufflepuff’s team outside the field and, one by one, noted his players’ mistakes during the match, even though they’d won. His serious face, his scolding tone; all sorts of non-Hufflepuff things in Baekhyun’s closed mind were inviting, he just couldn’t tell why.

Park glances at him suspiciously with the corner of his eyes, as if waiting for the irony that was supposed to come right after.

“Thank you?” He says before taking a book out of the shelf and reading its title. Baekhyun bites his lower lip and pretends he’s also searching for something specific, although not being able to remember which book he was looking for before.

“You’re welcome,” he coldly says, as though him congratulating people could be seen as normal. Baekhyun can’t stop thinking about how much Chanyeol were a surprise to him and it slips out before he considers not to say it: “You’re not very Hufflepuff-like, are you?”

The mess is done. Chanyeol stops what he’s doing, looks at Baekhyun and turns to be face to face with him. It seems like Chanyeol’s trying to read him, find some trace of playfulness on his face, but finds nothing, nothing at all. It’s impressive to him how much Baekhyun can stick to these beliefs; someone so intelligent but so ignorant.

“You’re joking, right?”

“I’m not.” Baekhyun blinks at him. “You really didn’t look like a Hufflepuff back there, after the game. Stepping up and calling people out,” Baekhyun muses, conflicted as to why he was paying so much attention to this specific student, this specific guy just because he didn’t match his stereotype. He should’ve worded it better, though, because it sounds offensive enough to get Chanyeol frowning and defensive.

“On the other hand, you sure do look like a Slytherin, telling me what a Hufflepuff should or shouldn’t look like.” Chanyeol crosses his arms against his chest and at that moment, he seems to be much taller than he already is. “Your prejudice blinds you to death, doesn’t it? I’ve heard about you, Byun, and how much you despise people like me.”

Baekhyun looks away from the Hufflepuff’s face, not bearing to stand his gaze. His robes suddenly feel heavy and he doesn’t understand the reason behind that.

“No need to get so angry, Badger. I was complimenting you,” he says in a quiet but firm voice. Baekhyun doesn’t like to play the part of the bully and never did; he also doesn’t plan on starting any soon. Most of the time, he’s just angry, out of patience. Still, he can’t see how much of an idiot he is in Park Chanyeol’s eyes only from hearing about him.

“Keep your compliments to yourself, then, until you realize what it actually means.” Chanyeol’s harsh, his eyes showing his discontentment and Baekhyun thinks that it’s not that necessary to react this way. Maybe he should’ve been in Gryffindor, with such a hot-headed temperament. “It’s not okay to look down on others, Byun. That’s exactly what you’ve done for the past few years and you’re too proud to even admit you’re not nearly as perfect as you believe you are.”

Now, that was an effective shot aimed at Baekhyun’s pride, although he’s heard all of that before. Chanyeol added nothing new to it, yet it feels like a slap across his face.

Baekhyun doesn’t know why, when or how, but he starts thinking about him. When he’s walking from a class to another, when he’s having a meal with his friends, when he lays his head on his pillow and tries to sleep. Everywhere, all the time, Captain Park doesn’t mind making the effort to appear in Baekhyun’s mind without being invited.

It’s annoying and frustrating by the third day, because he sees him in the hallway, trying to walk between desperate girls in need of his attention. Baekhyun does nothing but stare, awkwardly and confused, but with the same expressionless face he keeps on his daily basis.

He tells no one about his messy thoughts and hope they’ll go away as soon as they came.

Holidays, as much as Baekhyun hated, meant going home. It’s hard to admit, but he’d rather spend time with Minseok and Jongdae firmly arguing about which desert was better at Hogwarts than staying at home, where his parents would try to engage in conversations about his future and his studies. His friends could be stressful, but knew better than to make Baekhyun talk.

Christmas comes, and there’s dinner – the same food he’s eaten for the last sixteen years of his life. There’s talking – about work, about school, about things Baekhyun enjoys, but not when parents were involved in. There’s presents – useless things, clothes Baekhyun won’t wear, a book he’s read three years ago. He can’t wait for this nightmare to end, and when it does, he goes hiding in his room as fast as he can.

He’s a second away from sleeping when there’s knocking on his window. Baekhyun frowns, getting up from his bed and cautiously walking towards the sound. He’s an inch away from it when it knocks again, making him flinch and almost have a heart attack. His anger goes somewhere far when he sees it’s Chanyeol’s face right there, knocking on his window as if he was used to doing it. Baekhyun opens it and sees Chanyeol’s broom floating outside his house and even in his dreams there weren’t such a sight.

“Good night, Byun,” Chanyeol tells him. There’s a letter in his hand and he wiggles it on Baekhyun’s face. “Your brother wrote me. My sister got hurt for messing with some bad guys and he informed me. Told me to talk to you, since he couldn’t, for some reason.” Baekhyun’s chin drops, and there’s so much information he almost loses his last words. “Wanna go after them with me?”

Sometimes, life makes you do crazy things, such as flying above London on a blind mission after your runaway, expelled-from-home brother, and, above all, on a Hufflepuff’s broomstick. A Hufflepuff-who-hates-you’s broomstick.

There’s barely any information, Baekhyun notices after reading his brother’s messy but still pretty writing. He talks about how wizards are disappearing, people who might know too much for their well-being, and how Yoora, Chanyeol’s sister, injured the right side of her body for trying to look for them. Baekbeom also says she’s fine, under appropriate potions and will soon recover, but wanted to keep her brother aware of everything. By the end, he mentions Baekhyun’s name and asks Chanyeol to show it to him, even if Baekhyun doesn’t seem approachable or kind or social, please, as a proof he was okay as well. He says he misses his brother, then that’s it.

Chanyeol acts like he knows everything, just like Baekhyun, but reality says otherwise. They can’t seem to find out where their siblings’ hiding place could be, so when Chanyeol almost falls asleep while flying, Baekhyun decides it’s time to stop somewhere. There’s a hotel around and Baekhyun’s wallet is never empty; they need to spend that cold, Christmas night together and Baekhyun’s not sure what to feel about it.

To complete the scene, after getting a room and paying for it, Baekhyun notices Chanyeol’s red nose and swollen eyes, and it can’t be only thanks to lack of sleeping. He rolls his eyes and sighs, both of them still in the hotel’s lobby.

“You’ve a cold, don’t you?”

Chanyeol sneezes. Of course he has.

Thank Merlin Park was smart enough, though, to keep his bag with him, prepared for every occasion that could possibly happen. Better than Baekhyun could ever prepare, to be honest, and he feels somewhat bad to acknowledge this fact. When they’re in their room, two separate single beds and as far as they could from each other, Baekhyun takes a medicinal potion from Chanyeol’s package and get him to take it.

“C’mon, don’t be a kid,” Baekhyun says the moment Chanyeol makes a face, tasting the potion and noticing how bad it could be. “If you don’t get better tomorrow, this getaway will have no use at all. I’ll stay awake, watch over us both. I can’t sleep anyway.”

Chanyeol raises his eyebrow but says no more. Drinks all the content in one go, and from his reaction, Baekhyun can be sure it’s worse than he had thought. Chanyeol lays on the bed and groans, body sore from flying too much and for being weak thanks to the cold. Baekhyun’s sat by the end of the bed, just making sure he won’t have a weird reaction to the medicine, and before Park falls asleep, they stare at each other’s eyes in silence, just for the sake of it. Even though Chanyeol looks a little high, there’s still that spark in his eyes… Something Baekhyun can’t quite explain what it is. There’s something about his eyes, soft, big and mysterious, that lures Baekhyun in just as easy as a prey falls for a trap. It’s hard not to stare, not to drown in them, but he tries and tries not to fall too deep in them until Chanyeol falls asleep out of exhaustion.

He should have stayed in Hogwarts for the holidays, Baekhyun realizes way too late. Now he’s here, trying to find someone’s sister he doesn’t even know, dealing with feelings he doesn’t fancy, technically running away from his parents with a proud Hufflepuff by his side. He gets closer, and with the tip of his fingers he touches Chanyeol’s forehead, checking his temperature; he seems fine by now, the medical potion finally kicking in. Slowly, though, his right hand slides down his face, Baekhyun’s knuckles caressing smooth young skin, until it finally reaches Chanyeol’s cheek. It fits perfectly, almost like a glove, and Baekhyun loses himself in this sweet, silent moment of theirs, in which Baekhyun can’t ruin by being a snob.

Bloody hell, that’s what he thinks. He’s fucked.

Baekhyun takes the frown off his face and suddenly lets go of Chanyeol as if he could get burned. He turns to the side, ready to spend the night awake and worried about the mess he got himself into. With his bottom lip stuck between his teeth, Baekhyun doesn’t hide he’s terrified they might not find their way out of this.

It’s the sunlight coming from the window that wakes him up. Baekhyun’s eyelids feel heavy, lazily opening up to the sight of shirtless Chanyeol, his back towards him. He sits up on the bed as fast as he can and the sound of the sheets announces Baekhyun isn’t asleep anymore. He can hear Chanyeol chuckling.

“Couldn’t sleep, huh?” His mockery tone can get Baekhyun’s face blushing in a mere second. “Someone had to watch over both of us, you said. Be the grown up around.” Chanyeol looks at him from behind, his side profile being enough to notice the smirk on his lips.

“I was tired.”

“I noticed that, when you started snoring at two in the morning.”

Baekhyun shuts up right after, too embarrassed to fight back. He gets out of the bed to pack their things up once again, hoping to find Chanyeol doing the same seconds later. It’s easy to get over Chanyeol’s fever when he’s okay enough to make fun of Baekhyun, and although he wanted to question his well-being, Baekhyun just can’t bring himself to look concerned about Chanyeol, of all people. Not after last night, not after being that close.

They find their hideout in an abandon house in the suburbs, hours after starting to search. Baekhyun doesn’t understand what is happening, but Chanyeol feels free to ramble all the way through it, explaining how Yoora was a quidditch commentator to the Daily Prophet, and that’s how she noticed the disappearances of particular wizards. As the Parks are a half-blood family, it is understandable how she was raised to protect people like her from the dangers of the pureblood supremacy.

Baekhyun’s amused to see Chanyeol tearing up at the sight of his sister. He smirks tenderly, watching him desperately hug her from afar. They surprised them for sure, as the second they got in, Yoora had her wand firmly on her left hand, fooling anyone who didn’t know she was right handed. Baekbeom walks to him in a lazy pace, limping a little, however still with mockery on his face as he looks at his younger brother.

“So,” he starts, and Baekhyun crosses his arms, rolling his eyes. “Friends with a Park, or did you fight all the way here?”

“Shut up.” Baekhyun scoffs. “I can’t believe I missed you.”

That’s enough to get Baekbeom hugging him tightly, mimicking the Parks. Even outside the house it is audible: Baekhyun screaming “I hate you!

After coming back to Hogwarts, Baekhyun knows he can’t look at Park Chanyeol the same way.

There are always shy, timid glances in the hallways, in the Great Hall, during classes they share. It’s too much, too much unknown stuff going on and what Baekhyun hates the most – or at least, it’s in his list – is not knowing. What he’s feeling, what he’s thinking, why this is happening.

One sleepless night, in which Baekhyun simply can’t take Chanyeol’s face out of his head, he does what no one expects him to do: breaking the rules. Sneaking out of the dorms, Baekhyun heads to the most cliché place in that castle that a troubled teenager would go to; the Astronomy Tower. He crosses his fingers and prays there won’t be any couple doing their business in there, as he quietly makes his way up.

Everything is pure silence, just as he loves it. Baekhyun can see the clear sky and such pretty stars makes him feel that their world is at peace. It’s time to forget about the letters Yoora and Baekbeom has been sending both their siblings, warning and informing about what’s actually happening outside Hogwarts’ walls. It’s terrifying, everything, but when he looks at this stunning view, Baekhyun can pretend nothing can destroy it.

He barely realizes he’s not alone, not until it’s right in his face. Baekhyun has to cover his mouth and muffle his surprised reaction when he sees Chanyeol by his side, also in pajamas, and staring at the starry sky exactly like him. The Hufflepuff is smiling, clearly enjoying his fun of always scaring Baekhyun somehow. Isn’t it frightening, how Chanyeol is always there when he’s trying to get him out of his mind?

“Trouble sleeping?” Park asks in a whisper, gently and tilting his head to the side. Baekhyun nods and holds himself, focusing on the sight rather than the reason why his heart is beating so fast.

“You?” Baekhyun questions back.

“Same.” Chanyeol sighs. “Worried.”

It makes sense. There’s so much happening, so much they don’t know about, and their respective siblings are out there, being part of a fight they can’t win by themselves. Not even Hogwarts feels safe anymore, Baekhyun thinks.

“She’ll be fine,” he says, looking at him from the side of his eyes. Seeing too much of Park could do terrible damage to his already damaged state of mind, so he’d better avoid it. But it’s easier said than done, since the look on Chanyeol’s face seems to be calling his name like a prayer.

“I know,” Park answers, but he won’t stop staring. He doesn’t until they call it a night, go back to their dorms and pretend nothing peculiar happened.

That’s not a one night event, though. It keeps happening, once in a week, twice, thrice. They meet, have small talk and stare, nothing more, but it feels so right they don’t bother messing with it. Baekhyun stops thinking for a while and Chanyeol is someone so close to him yet so far. This weird feeling in his chest doesn’t leave in the morning and Baekhyun learns how to deal with it.

Tonight he feels brave.

He’s waiting for Chanyeol to appear through the darkness, confident enough to know he’ll say more than hello and good bye. Deep down he’s terrified, scared Chanyeol will be able to see inside his eyes and know what’s going in his head. Scared he’ll sound needy, looking for approval; what, he has to admit, is kind of true. Nevertheless, he needs to get this done and over with – he needs to say something or else his chest will explode.

Chanyeol doesn’t need to formally greet him when he’s smiling the way he is, as if Baekhyun was a friend he was excited to meet. Byun doesn’t think it’s fair, the way he easily takes him down without the use of words.

“Hi,” Baekhyun says in a whisper and gets a nod from him as an answer. “Chanyeol, I–“ The sentence gets caught in his throat and he laughs nervously. There’s longing in his eyes and suddenly he remembers the night he cupped Chanyeol’s face and all he needed to do was to lean forward, just a little, and– “When the bludger almost hit me, I… I never thanked you for it.”

Amused, Chanyeol takes a step closer. He’s smirking again, and it looks way too nice on his traits. Baekhyun can’t smile without looking like a creep, not when his heart is beating this fast.

The Byun Baekhyun, thanking me? A mere Hufflepuff?” His teasing tone could melt Baekhyun down that easy. “Isn’t it too late for a Christmas miracle?”

“For real, I mean it.” Baekhyun bites his lip, anxious. “Thank you. For bringing my brother’s letter too. It was nice of you.”

Chanyeol does this thing again, where he simply stares with a sweet expression on his face; that is how Baekhyun loses his mind.

“You’re welcome,” he says then, sounding genuine as ever. “That was something I would take as a compliment.”

Baekhyun laughs – he’s not sure out of nervousness or because that’s such a Chanyeol thing to do: show him he’s made progress. His laughter doesn’t fill the room, though, because Chanyeol’s thumb lifts his chin and, not for the first time, he gets Baekhyun speech and breathless.

Their lips are touching, soft and curious, and they move slowly and in synch, afraid to break the spell they’re under. Baekhyun is the one who opens his mouth first, so eager to take in everything he can from this moment and he hopes Chanyeol can’t feel his loud heartbeat just from the kiss. Chanyeol slips his tongue in and touches Baekhyun’s, making it ten times harder for him not to pant. It’s Baekhyun’s second kiss, but it feels like he’s never done it before, not this way, not with those kind of feelings. There are butterflies in his stomach as he sucks and bites Chanyeol’s plump lips and he wishes to do more, he wants more and keep kissing him more and more–

Air is lacking and they’re forced to break apart. Chanyeol is holding him by the waist and Baekhyun can lay his head on Captain Park’s chest if he wants to; and he does, after they look at each other’s eyes and can’t seem to stop laughing. Baekhyun thinks he’s falling in love at the worst time possible, and he doesn’t know what more can decline from here, but every time he’s here, watching the stars, with Chanyeol and his eyes, he’s sure he can handle anything a war could bring.