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Moonbright

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Jongin grew up in a world of mixed signals and it was all thanks to his parents. Don’t get him wrong, he loved his family more than anything, but his mother and father were from different worlds and sometimes fought over how to raise their son. As a result, until the age of eleven, Jongin was brought up almost pretending he was two different people.

As a muggle, Jongin’s mother never got used to the magic. She still jumped at harmless spells Jongin’s father used for cleaning and lighting dark rooms. It didn’t get better with time and she grew fearful if her husband’s wand sat out on a table for too long. Jongin’s father had tried to dispel – pun intended – this fear by letting her handle the wand, but she refused to touch it. She wouldn’t even have been able to make anything happen and it still frightened her.

She didn’t like the creatures either. It went beyond the stories of dragons and trolls. She didn’t even like the owls that flew in and out of her house with messages for her husband and she didn’t like the seemingly too intelligent little critters that made their way into the house on occasion.

The unfortunate part about this was that she only found out about the magical world after getting pregnant. It hadn’t been intentional. Jongin’s father hadn’t knocked her up to keep her stranded. It was a welcomed accident, but it resulted in a need to tell her everything, and while she accepted it all as fact, that didn’t help her cope.

When Jongin was born, she was adamant that they not raise him in the magical world. She was most concerned about the danger that came with magical creatures. Little did she know that some of the biggest dangers lay in her husband’s profession.

“Honey,” she hissed, a screaming infant in her arms. She bounced him constantly just to get him to calm down. She had tried feeding him and burping him and checking his diaper, but nothing did any good. “Help me with your son!”

“In a minute, dear,” her husband pleaded, dropping a handful of some indeterminable ingredient into his cauldron. He stirred the concoction carefully a few times and hurried off to get the next ingredient.

“Your son has been crying for half an hour!” she whined. “I’m still learning how to parent!”

“And I’m on a time crunch!” he snapped back at her, indicating his half-finished brew. “Do you want me to blow up the house?”

She gave an indignant scream of frustration and stomped out of the basement. She feared magic more than she hated Jongin crying. She would have to figure out what was wrong on her own.

Jongin’s father was a wizard of pureblood descent and brewed potions for a living. What Jongin knew of the wizarding world, it all came from him. Sometimes his father would talk about what he was doing in the basement. Other times he would bring Jongin special treats from the wizarding world. But that was the majority of Jongin’s exposure.

A discussion between his parents needed to be had at one point because his mother’s aversion to magic was so strong, his father feared that she was subliminally sending signals to Jongin that magic was bad. He warned her of the consequences of a child repressing magic and only asked that she be careful about how much of her disdain for magic she showed to Jongin.

After learning of what an obscurus was, she shuddered and agreed to tone it down, but damage had already been done. Jongin’s magic was running late and it was becoming a cause for concern.

At eight, Jongin had yet to show any preliminary signs of magical aptitude. His father wondered if it was in response to his mother’s fears, but no one could say for sure. Jongin couldn’t explain any feelings about it. He just didn’t want to distress his mother.

Right before his ninth birthday, his father took him on a special trip to his work without his mother’s knowledge. She would have vetoed bringing Jongin there if she did. But it was a trip that Jongin needed. It was his first real experience with the wizarding world and it was a wonderland of new things that Jongin wanted to know more about.

That whole day, his father gave him glimpses of the magic that he had been denied all those years. He answered any questions Jongin had and showed him all the relevant spells he could. But Jongin was immensely fascinated by his father’s potions and what they did. Though Jongin couldn’t make a potion on his own, his father encouraged him to practice basic skills in preparing ingredients.

Jongin spent hours grinding various ingredients to powder and crushing others for what lay inside of them. He enjoyed this work and smiled brightly when his father approved of the completed products.

“You took a few medicines from me once,” his father said with a smile. “Do you remember?”

Jongin made a face. All he remembered was a green something or other in a cup. He had thought it was tea to sooth his aching throat. It hadn’t been tea at all.

“Was that what you gave me?” he muttered.

His father chuckled and ruffled his son’s hair. “Though you gagged, it worked, didn’t it?”

“I suppose.”

They came home to find Jongin’s mother very displeased. But Jongin had enjoyed himself so much that he didn’t care. He had just gotten his first lesson in potions and eaten too much good food and saw too many good things in magic for his little body to keep it all in.

His magic woke the very next day.

Understanding that this was an important milestone for Jongin to pass, his mother congratulated him and made all his favorite foods the night they realized what was happening. She didn’t have to like magic. She only needed to know it was important to her husband and now her son.

Jongin always appreciated that and admired her bravery to accept things she was afraid of. He wanted to be that brave.

-----

“Jongin!” his father called one day a couple years later. “Owl for you!”

Jongin looked up from his book in confusion.

Owls never came for him. Not even on his birthday. His mother’s family true to muggle fashion, sent traditional letters or made calls, and his father’s family were completely absent from Jongin’s life. He never knew why, and his father didn’t ever mention them. Jongin learned not to ask.

So, who would be sending him an owl?

Upon making it down the stairs, he found his father smiling too brightly at him for it to be just any letter. It still didn’t immediately click in his head what it could be. The question was even on the tip of his tongue. But he turned to the dining room table and found a very regal looking eagle owl staring him down, letter in its mouth. It gave a very non-threatening chirp in his direction, something that would have been considered a quiet screech coming from other birds.

Jongin’s mother stood far away from the bird, wedging herself into a corner of the kitchen and the next room over. Jongin had never understood her aversion to owls. He rather liked them and always gave them a few gentle pets on the feathers if they proved to be friendly.

He was excited when his father promised to get him an owl sometime soon. The family owl, a boreal owl named Harold, was sweet most times, but he seemed more attached to his father than to Jongin. An owl of his own would love him more and would hopefully be more tolerant of his gentle affections.

“Go on,” his father encouraged, pressing a hand to the small of Jongin’s back to get him to approach the owl.

Jongin stumbled forward from the light pressure, scrunching up his face at his father in slight annoyance. But once close enough, the owl extended its neck to offer the letter to him. Jongin accepted and the owl, job now complete, turned back through the open window and left the house. Jongin didn’t even get a chance to rub it under the neck in appreciation.

His mother visibly relaxed as soon as the bird was gone and his father came to place proud hands on his shoulders. Jongin didn’t know why until he turned the letter over and found the seal of Hogwarts.

“No way!” he gasped, ripping the envelope open in excitement.

Ever since his excursion to his father’s workplace, Jongin had wanted to learn. He wanted to know more about magic and the wizarding world and what he could accomplish in it. His own magic finally appearing had made him even more curious. The hesitation his mother had accidently instilled in him was long gone, and now he was going to be able to do everything he wanted to.

His acceptance letter was to the point and he also got a list of things to buy for his classes.

His father escorted him through Diagon Alley a few days later. They picked up his wand, holly and thunderbird tail feather, from Ollivander’s first. It was apparently the only one of its kind in the shop and it took a while for it to find Jongin. But as soon as it came to him, Jongin’s magic flowed from him easily. His wand had chosen him like he was told it would.

Robes were an amusing fiasco at the start. Everything seemed far too large for Jongin’s tiny shoulders  until Madam Malkin and her assistants worked their magic on them. His father assured him one day he would grow into the larger sizes as he himself had.

This was the defining moment, when everything started. It wasn’t the clothes and it wasn’t the wand. It wasn’t his father either or the promise of an owl. But as he thought about growing, Jongin’s head fogged up and his eyes glazed over. The world he knew faded away and was replaced with a dark room full of owls.

In this room, he saw himself filling the bird feeders and sweeping up the mess of owl pellets. It was quiet aside from the hoots and twitters of the birds. The sky was dimming outside; the end of a day. He was tired, but his day wasn’t over just yet. Some of the owls were just waking up and the night person hadn’t arrived.

He had just laid aside his broom and dustpan when the bell over the door rang. He turned to the door, expecting to greet a customer. But in ran the most beautiful person he had ever seen. It was a young man, perhaps fresh out of school or a couple years down the road. His hair was a shiny blonde color and his eyes were a universe full of stars. But it was his skin that caught Jongin’s attention most. It was flawless and smooth and it seemed to glow with beauty and health.

It almost rivaled the light of the moon that was rising outside.

The young man’s lips moved, and Jongin smiled while some strange happy feeling welled up in his chest. He couldn’t hear what was being said, but it didn’t seem to matter. Suddenly, the images faded, and different sounds began coming to him. For a moment, things went black before he came back to himself.

A hand gripped his shoulder to keep him upright and his father’s face swam in front of him. He was calling Jongin’s name over and over again until Jongin finally responded.

Jongin finally took a breath he didn’t know he needed to take. The urgency of the breath caused him to cough a few times until his breathing returned to normal. But even after his breath returned, Jongin shook with confusion and felt almost nauseous. What had been that room? Why had he seen it? And who was that boy? It was then that he realized he wasn’t just being watched by his father. He was being looked at with wide eyes by others in the robe shop as well; workers included.

Jongin looked around nervously, wondering what they were all looking at him for. Had he done something interesting?

“Son?” his father called. Jongin looked up at him, nervous and still shaking.

“Did I do something wrong?” Jongin asked, voice coming out hoarse and soft.

“No, son,” his father assured him. He even laughed a little in disbelief as he said it. “But you did something strange just now. Can you tell me who the ‘Moonbright Boy’ is?”

“Moonbright boy?” Jongin repeated dumbly. The image of the beautiful boy in his head flashed before his eyes again. Jongin shook his head. The movement caused him to feel a little dizzy. “I don’t know his name. I just saw him. I was in a room of owls and he came in.”

“Your boy has a gift.”

Both Jongin and his father turned to the sudden voice. An elderly woman greeted them with a genuine smile full of crooked teeth.

“A gift of Sight,” the woman continued. “Is there a history in the family?”

Jongin’s father bit his lip and nodded. “We thought the last in the line with the gift died two hundred years ago.”

“It is rare, but it can still show its face after so long,” the woman acknowledged. “Encourage him to cultivate it in the future. It might bring blessings to him to know the strength of his Sight.”

Jongin’s father gave her a small bow and a nod before whisking Jongin out of the robe shop with their purchases. Still confused and a little shaky, Jongin remained silent as they moved on to Flourish and Blotts for his books. They gathered everything from his list, but then his father took him to the back of the store where a small set of books sat on a table.

His father spoke for the first time since leaving Madam Malkin’s.

“Son,” his father said, his voice almost hushed. “You just displayed a trait not common in the wizarding world. A very rare gift. I would advise that you learn what you can about it but keep it to yourself if you wish to not draw the attention of others.”

“What is it?” Jongin asked, still not understanding.

His father picked up a book from the table and handed it to Jongin. It was titled, “A Seer’s Power: When the Visions Begin”.

“My son, you may have just glimpsed the future,” his father said. He sounded both proud and astonished at the same time, but Jongin didn’t seem to understand the gravity of this revelation. “You may not see everything, and I doubt you would want to, but learn what you can about it. There are not many teachers for you to consult. Most of what you learn will be self-taught. But I have faith in you, Jongin.”

“But I don’t even know what it is!” Jongin protested. “How am I going to learn to use it?”

“All I can tell you for sure is that your gift may come and go,” his father said. “Sometimes you may call it with ease, and other days it will refuse to aid you and that will be frustrating to you. This also could be a one-off, but we cannot risk you being without knowledge. Don’t fear the visions if you see something bad. They are only information to you and you may not be present at the event at all. That is all I know.”

Jongin took the book, but he still didn’t understand.

His only comfort for the rest of the day was getting his owl. All his confusion and frustration melted away the moment he picked out a gorgeous common barn owl. He named her North and he spent the rest of the day feeding her owl treats. He couldn’t wait to let her out when he got home.

-----

“GRYFFINDOR!”

The table second from Jongin’s left erupted into cheers and polite clapping and Jongin smiled brightly. The Sorting Hat was removed from his head and he went bounding down the steps to the Gryffindor table where an upperclassman scooted over to make room for him.

“I’m Luhan,” the boy said, offering him a friendly handshake. He had a pretty face but an aura of confidence that made him feel less pretty and manlier. Jongin took his hand with a shy smile. “Third year. Welcome to Gryffindor!”

“He means welcome to the lion’s den,” the upperclassman to his right said. He had a goofy smile and a shock of unruly reddish-brown hair. Jongin ruffled his own hair subconsciously. It was usually just as wild, but he had made an effort to tame it tonight so he could make a good impression.

“Oh, hush, Park,” Luhan tutted with an irritated wave of the hand. “Don’t frighten him.” The other boy just laughed and returned his attention to Jongin.

“Name’s Chanyeol,” he said by way of introduction. “Second year and barely passed all my classes last year. So, if you need help with something, it’s better to go to Luhan.”

Jongin laughed. “I’m Jongin. I’ll try not to ask you for help with school.” Then he blinked once and looked past Chanyeol. On the steps at the front of the hall, the sorting ceremony was still being conducted. They had just excused another Slytherin to their seat and were about to call the next name.

“Sehun Oh.”

A boy stepped forward, his walking smooth and alluring. With his movement, it didn’t take long for the whole hall to begin whispering to each other. It took Jongin a few more moments to realize why. But when Jongin saw it, his own thoughts went to somewhere completely different from everyone else.

The boy turned to face the student body as he sat down on the stool. The Sorting Hat was placed on his head, sitting atop a finely groomed mass of blonde hair. Jongin recognized that shining hair. He recognized those starry eyes. But more than anything it was his smooth, healthy, shiny skin.

“The moonbright boy…” Jongin whispered in awe. He was younger in real life, but still beautiful.

“Moonbright?” Chanyeol repeated dumbly, looking at Jongin with slight confusion. Then he turned towards the front and went, “Oh…”

“Moonbright is a good word for that,” Luhan muttered behind him. Jongin turned to the third year and noticed the intensity with which Luhan was staring at Sehun. At age eleven, Jongin knew the look. He had seen his mother give his father that look before. But he didn’t really know what it meant. He turned back to look at Sehun, noting that the Sorting Hat was taking its sweet time in announcing a house. “He’s going to grow up very handsome.”

Jongin didn’t know what to do with this information. Yeah, the kid was beautiful, but why was that important?

“Can he fly?” Jongin blurted out. Luhan and Chanyeol both looked at him with wide eyes, surprised by his random question. Chanyeol laughed first. Luhan followed after, seemingly broken out of his trance. Jongin didn’t understand what was so funny. As far as he was concerned, if they couldn’t fly, there couldn’t be anything too interesting about them.

“HUFFLEPUFF!” the hat shouted. The table over by the wall cheered and clapped as the Gryffindor table had done for Jongin. Sehun skipped down to them, taking a seat at the end of the bench. He was greeted by the Hufflepuffs around him and quickly settled in.

Jongin moved on from the events of the sorting ceremony as soon as food magically appeared in front of him. He gorged himself on plate after plate of chicken and potatoes and corn and various other foods within reach. He nearly choked on his food and Chanyeol had to thump him on the back a few times.

“Slow down,” Chanyeol laughed. “It’s not going to go anywhere.”

But seeing as it had literally appeared on the table, Jongin didn’t really believe him. Besides, it all tasted too good and he needed to eat as much as he could before his brain and his stomach talked to each other and decided he was full.

He didn’t think of the very pretty boy again until he slipped into his bed for the night. Then he wondered why his first vision had been of him at all.

-----

The first time Jongin and Sehun formally met, they were in the middle of flying lessons.

Some picked up on flying easier than others. Jongin was one of those. He took to the air like a fish to water. Before he was even told how to, he was zooming around the skies doing loops and rolls and dives. If only his father could see him now!

He had made a joking comment that Jongin would never learn to fly when he was little. His mother hadn’t approved a child’s broom as a suitable toy even though Jongin desperately wanted to fly.

“Children don’t belong in the air!” she told his father when he argued. She won that one so Jongin had to settle for books on Quidditch. He vowed to himself that he would be just like them someday.

Others in the class had a much more difficult time taking flight. There were some students that struggled with the first step of summoning the broom to their hand. Madam Hooch refused to let them move onto mounting the broom until they managed that much. No picking up the broom allowed.

Some were past the summoning broom stage, but once they mounted the broom, they couldn’t get themselves in the air. This was due to a bit of fear. If you feared flying, you wouldn’t be good at it.

Then there was Sehun. Sehun could summon the broom. He could even get himself off the ground. But once in the air, he didn’t know what to do with himself. Jongin found it amusing, but he wasn’t paying attention to Sehun much. He was too busy experimenting with his own flying. What other tricks could he do?

Right now, he wanted to know how fast he could go on this school issued broom. With a smirk to himself, he started running laps around the yard, whizzing past other students, sometimes cutting it a little too close for comfort. It was no Nimbus or Firebolt, but it was still fun.

“Mr. Kim!” Madam Hooch yelled. “Slow down this instant!”

Jongin looked down at her with a frown, thinking her a killjoy. He was doing well! Why was she telling him to slow down? But in that moment of distraction, he forgot to keep an eye on where he was going.

“LOOK OUT!”

Jongin looked up at the shout and found himself only feet from a struggling Sehun, staring wide eyed at him. Jongin’s expression mirrored his when he realized they were on a collision course and he was going too fast. He wouldn’t stop in time. He turned to avoid spearing his fellow first year with his broom, but that was all he could do.

They collided and pain flared through Jongin’s body. Thank god they weren’t too high up, but the fall still hurt. Jongin smacked his head against the ground and the world spun. A few feet away, he heard a sickening crack right before a scream. Jongin couldn’t focus long enough to really understand. He was disoriented and suddenly so tired.

He laid on the ground, limp as a rag. Sehun was nearby, his leg out at an unnatural angle. He had passed out. If Jongin had been in his right mind, he would have been worried, but right now, all he wanted was to go to sleep.

A moment later, another student ran up to him and knelt down but didn’t touch him.

“Don’t go to sleep!” the boy hissed urgently.

“But I’m tired…” Jongin protested weakly.

“I don’t care,” the boy responded quickly. “Don’t go to sleep!”

“Who are you?” Jongin questioned, slowly lifting his head to look up at the boy. He found a set of Hufflepuff robes and a soft face full of concern.

“Don’t move too much, yet,” the boy urged. “You might have a concussion.” Then he bit his lip and looked at Sehun, who was now being attended to by some men holding a stretcher. They were gentle in picking Sehun up and carting him off. The boy turned back to Jongin. “I’m Yixing. Third year and just started training with Madam Pomfrey this year.”

“Oh,” Jongin sighed, not retaining much more than the name. He was so tired and being on the ground still made him feel dizzy. When Sehun was gone, Yixing carefully put his hands under Jongin’s arms to lift him into a sitting position. He moved slow, and he reminded Jongin not to make any sudden movements.

He let Jongin sit for a few minutes and asked him a few questions about how he was feeling. Jongin admitted to the dizziness and wanted to lay back down. Yixing didn’t allow him to just so it would be easier to get him up and to the Hospital Wing when the men came back with the stretcher.

Jongin could barely stay awake on the way to the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey had to address Sehun’s broken leg first, but after finishing that up, she looked Jongin over and put him on watch for a minor concussion. Their beds were right next to each other, but even when Sehun woke from his unconscious state, neither spoke a word.

Jongin looked over at the Hufflepuff, his leg splinted for the time being. Sehun looked furious, a frown marring his pretty features. He wasn’t even looking at Jongin, but Jongin knew. It was his fault after all. If he hadn’t been doing such stupid maneuvers in their first flying lesson, this wouldn’t have happened.

Finally, he worked up the courage to speak.

“I’m sorry…” he apologized. “I didn’t mean to run into you.”

Sehun didn’t speak. He didn’t even act like he had heard Jongin. He just sat there, arms crossed, scowl on his face as he stared at his broken leg.

Jongin bit his lip. Okay, so that didn’t work. What was plan B? He didn’t know much about Sehun. He didn’t know anything about getting on his good side. And after breaking his leg, Jongin was most definitely in need of a way to apologize and have Sehun hear him.

For now, all Jongin had was a wand and no spells to enchant others with, yet. The only successful magic he could manage was flying. His vision didn’t count. He only had one to talk about anyway and it wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience. But something about that vision tugged at Jongin’s mind. Maybe he and Sehun were supposed to be friends. So, if that was supposed to happen, he needed to fix this now.

Jongin reached into his robe pockets, looking for anything that might make Sehun accept his apology. All he found were some chocolates that he had saved from dinner the night before. He supposed it was worth a shot.

“Do you want some chocolate?” Jongin asked, holding out a hand full of the sweets.

The reaction was almost immediate. Sehun’s head snapped in his direction and a hand shot out at him expectantly.

“Gimme,” the other boy said, looking far too excited. Jongin laughed a little and tossed the chocolates over to Sehun. Sehun popped them in his mouth with a satisfied hum, savoring the chocolate with far too much glee. Jongin thought it was cute.

“Forgive me now?” Jongin asked, pressing his luck.

Sehun looked back at him, still sucking on a chocolate. He nodded.

“Can we be friends?” Jongin asked, smiling a little more.

“Best friends if you give me your chocolate,” Sehun muttered.

“Deal!” Jongin cheered.

He tossed over two more chocolates and Sehun gobbled them up happily.

That was where their friendship began. It was a shallow start to have to bribe Sehun with chocolate for forgiveness, but it was a start no less. With time, it would become much bigger.

After getting out of the Hospital Wing, they became attached at the hip. Jongin often forgot that he had other friends and it was cause for quite a bit of teasing from both Chanyeol and Luhan. When he wasn’t in class, he was with Sehun, causing mischief and eating too much straight out of the kitchens.

Jongin never told Sehun about the vision. He didn’t want to weird out his new friend. Instead, he talked about his upbringing with limited amounts of magic and limited knowledge of the wizarding world. He didn’t know much about the variety of spells or classes offered. He didn’t know anything about magical creatures. (As amazing as they were, owls did not count as magical creatures.) He didn’t even know a lot about what kinds of foods differed from the muggle world.

Sehun set out to remedy that. He started with the sweets.

“The chocolates that cause you to make different sounds are my favorites,” Sehun mumbled through a mouthful of chocolate frog.

Jongin thumped him on the back with a laugh. “Swallow before you speak, you idiot.”

“Only if you do when chicken happens to be at dinner,” Sehun remarked, swatting Jongin on the shoulder. “I’m doing you a favor.”

Jongin brushed half-chewed chocolate bits from his robe right before Sehun shoved a liquorice wand into Jongin’s mouth.

“You call giving me a stomachache a favor?” Jongin asked through his full mouth. It was a half-hearted complaint. He still chewed happily on the sweets Sehun kept giving him.

“Yes,” Sehun replied without remorse. “You haven’t had all the good stuff this world has to offer.”

“Can’t you show me slowly?” Jongin asked after swallowing. “Like, over the next seven years?”

“Nope!” Sehun chirped as he shoved a small handful of jelly slugs in Jongin’s mouth next. “In seven years, there will probably be more to enjoy. You have to catch up.”

In hindsight, Jongin realizes how thankful he is that his mouth is too full for words to be heard. He had forgotten about the vision after months of not having another one. He had read the book his father bought for him, but he was a little nervous to begin experimenting on his own.

Now, as he sat with Sehun, mouth full of various sweets and his best friend speaking nonsense, Jongin’s reality blurred. Instead of the background of the Hogwarts kitchens and busy elves running all over the place, he went someplace he had never seen before. It was an open space full of people. They seemed to be celebrating something. He was sitting down when he came into the vision. He was watching everyone else eat and drink and dance while he took rest.

Then he saw Sehun.

He was older again here, but still more beautiful than anyone Jongin had ever seen. The problem was that while Jongin watched him, he danced with someone worthy of his beauty. It was a woman, probably older than Sehun was. Her hair was platinum and her skin bright. She danced with grace Jongin didn’t even know existed, and Sehun’s grace matched it.

He looked so happy.

“Jongin!”

The vision faded before Jongin really understood what was going on. When he blinked back to the present, Sehun was leaning across the table to snap his fingers right between Jongin’s eyes. Jongin kept his trembling hands below the table, clutching unsteadily at his robes.

“Huh?” Jongin breathed, a few chunks of pumpkin pasties falling out of his mouth.

“You spaced out,” Sehun commented. “Started talking, but I couldn’t understand you with the food in your mouth.”

Jongin swallowed his mouthful of food, fighting back the urge to throw up. “Sorry. I don’t remember what I was saying either.”

Sehun laughed. “You’re proving yourself to be the typical Gryffindor jock.”

“I am not!” Jongin protested, his fingers still twisting violently in his lap. He wondered briefly if he should tell Sehun. He just wanted someone he could talk to about it. Would the other think he was crazy? Maybe he should keep it a secret for a little longer. He didn’t know if he was ready to let anyone know yet. Not yet. “I’m not even a jock!”

“You’re headed in that direction,” Sehun teased. “How long do you think it will take for the quidditch team to recruit you?”

Jongin hummed. He wondered if another vision would pop up at that moment, telling him the answer, but nothing came. “Maybe next year or third year. I don’t think they liked that I collided with you on my first day.”

“I didn’t like it either,” Sehun grunted. “Madam Pomfrey fixed me up quick, but she banned me from dance for another month.”

“I said I was sorry!” Jongin defended.

Then Sehun smiled. “And I called you my best friend. So, it was kind of worth it.”

They laughed and Jongin let the tension fade from his shoulders. Then he thought about the vision he just had. When Sehun was happy like this, Jongin felt his heart beat a little quicker. He was just as beautiful now as his older self was and Jongin wondered why that mattered. Why was that something he thought about?

He didn’t even realize that of all the sweets Sehun had given him, nothing was chocolate. Jongin hadn’t had chocolate all year and he didn’t mind.

When they had to go separate directions for classes, they waved goodbye outside the fruit portrait that hid the kitchens, still smiling. Sehun went down one direction and Jongin watched him go. But a Slytherin upperclassman bumped shoulders with Sehun as he came around the corner.

“Ow,” Sehun grunted. He didn’t draw attention to himself though and kept moving. Jongin’s brow furrowed and he stepped forward to demand an apology from the Slytherin, but as he made eye contact with the Slytherin, he froze in confusion. It was Do Kyungsoo, and he was gazing at Jongin with a stare too intense for Jongin to understand. It made the words catch in his throat.

Kyungsoo passed with nothing but a lingering narrowed gaze.

Jongin gave Sehun more chocolate later to sooth his own frustration.

-----

Year two was different in a lot of ways and the same in others.

His friendship with Sehun stayed the same, but the way he looked at his best friend was different.

At twelve, Jongin’s hair grew unrulier by the day. He spent more time on a broom over the summer than the ground and got tired of fixing his hair every time he got down. His mother hated it. She hated seeing him in the air, even when it was just a few inches off the ground.

His father fostered correct brewing of potions in him. He let him do small things for his potions again and began to invite him into his workroom for practice.

Jongin didn’t stop writing to Sehun all summer. He wrote to Luhan and Chanyeol, too, but it wasn’t as often as Sehun. However, letters weren’t pictures, and Sehun didn’t have a lot of time to come visit this summer. Jongin had to settle for seeing Sehun back at school.

It ended up being a rather boring summer as a whole. Jongin was way too excited to get back on the Hogwarts Express. He ran through the cars, too fast to be safe with all the students still milling about. He came skidding to a halt when he saw the blonde head of hair and that shining skin.

“There you are!” Sehun hollered, the happiness evident in his voice. Jongin stood still, because Sehun was more beautiful than last year. His skin was a little brighter, his eyes a little deeper, his face a little more defined, and suddenly, Jongin found Sehun too close for comfort when he lunged at Jongin for a hug. Jongin came out of it to hug him back tightly.

The light feeling in his chest made him feel like he was coming out of one of his visions, leaving him slightly dizzy and momentarily confused.

He had had a few more of those over the summer. Not all of them were Sehun related. It freaked out his mother the first time she experienced one. She thought Jongin was having a stroke or seizure or something. She worried more when no one could give her a good explanation of what was happening to him. Jongin would have liked to be able to tell her more, but there was not a lot of information to give her in the first place. He himself was still trying to figure it out.

After having a few more, he stopped shaking quite so violently after every vision. But the confusion never stopped. He struggled with what he saw and wondered when the events would come to pass. Sometimes, he saw the most mundane things like the next day’s lunch. Other times, he saw things far into the future such as a fellow classmate one day earning the title of Minister of Magic. The confusion was more than simple disorientation. He wanted to know the significance of it all.

The worst part was not having anyone to talk to about it. His parents knew about as much as he did, and Professor Trelawney could only explain so much. As for Sehun, that topic was currently off limits. It sometimes gave Jongin pause when he was writing letters. He recalled one time where his quill hovered over the parchment for ten minutes, a debate going on his head over whether he should tell his best friend yet. The answer was always the same, though. He wasn’t ready, no matter how much he wanted to tell someone about it.

“How was your summer?” Sehun asked as he pulled Jongin into an empty compartment.

“You know how my summer was,” Jongin laughed. “I only sent you letters every other day.”

“You complained about your mom panicking every time you pulled out your wand.”

“Well, yeah,” Jongin giggled. “My mother is a muggle. I get it. But I survived last school year, I haven’t blown up the house, and my father is there to keep an eye on me. You would think she would put a little more faith in me.”

“Maybe she doesn’t have faith in your father,” Sehun laughed. “I mean, you did tell me your parents told you, you were an oops baby. Serious lack of planning there. Maybe she doesn’t think he has a plan for if things go wrong with your spells.”

“You forget that I also told you they assured me I was very much wanted,” Jongin said, poking Sehun in the side. When Sehun squirmed, Jongin smiled. “Things turned out okay. She even stuck around when my dad admitted he was a wizard.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Sehun sighed. “Lucky you.”

“What?” Jongin questioned, not understanding. “I thought your parents were still together.”

“They are,” Sehun confirmed. “But there are problems. They’re going through a bit of a rough patch right now, but I think they’ll be fine.”

“Well, if you need anyone to talk to about it, I’ll listen.”

“Thanks,” Sehun said, tossing a smile in Jongin’s direction. “But I’m not sure how much I’d be able to get out before I laugh at your hair. It’s a mess. Do you not own a brush?”

“I do!” Jongin defended, allowing the change in topic to occur. “I just get annoyed when I have to brush my hair every time I fly. So, I gave up.”

“Teach meeee,” Sehun whined, draping himself over Jongin’s lap. “Dad couldn’t get me to take off without nearly killing myself.”

“Then how do you expect me to teach you?” Jongin laughed. Still, he patted Sehun’s head affectionately and promised to try. That was enough for Sehun who giggled happily. They stayed this happy and giggly the whole way to the castle. They almost didn’t notice the train come to a stop or the students beginning to exit.

A passing Slytherin took it upon themselves to make a little bang against the door of their compartment to get them out. Jongin and Sehun jumped and looked up. Kyungsoo was looking at them through the window with a sneer of pure annoyance before continuing on.

After sharing a glance between them, Jongin and Sehun gathered their things and left the train.

It wasn’t until they were outside, standing next to each other on the platform, that it really registered in Jongin’s head. Sehun really did come back more beautiful than last year. He was the same person, but in the moonlight, he almost seemed to glow or shine. When Jongin was around him all last year, that glowing had faded to his eyes. It never went away, but it wasn’t as obvious.

Now, after being away from Sehun for so long, it all came back to him.

“Jongin, come on!” Sehun urged excitedly, reaching for Jongin’s hand to pull him towards the carriages. Jongin blinked out of his thoughts and followed the moonbright boy with the galaxy swirling in his eyes. As he took Sehun’s hand to run off, he remembered how warm it felt in the chilly night air. He brushed his thumb over the back of that hand, feeling tingles up his spine at the simple touch.

That was new.

They separated to their house tables for the feast, but they made sure to sit across the aisle from each other. Sehun didn’t want to be the only Hufflepuff at the Gryffindor table at the opening feast, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want to sit with Jongin. Them sitting apart also didn’t mean there would be no shenanigans either. In fact, it probably made things worse.

At first, Sehun made conversation with his Hufflepuff friends and Jongin with his Gryffindor friends. After the sorting ceremony, they started to make conversation and tease across the aisle. Sehun teased more about Jongin’s out of control hair. Baekhyun, Sehun’s fellow Hufflepuff, suggested a spell for that. Jongin laughed and shooed him and his wand away.

“The wind keeps messing my hair up, so why bother?” Jongin shrugged.

Sehun rolled his eyes and turned back to the other Hufflepuffs to converse. He had made tentative friends with Yixing after they met him last year. He was great at healing charms and he still continued with his work in the Hospital Wing. Sehun took interest in this knowledge of healing and eagerly listened to Yixing talk about the tips and tricks for executing such spells.

Jongin sighed and turned back to his own table.

He was surprised to find Luhan there, now a fourth year, staring after Sehun as he had done last year. But at twelve, Jongin recognized the look more than he had a year ago. But it wasn’t just Luhan looking at Sehun with great interest. It was other people all over the hall as well. Sehun looked back at his best friend, glowing in the light of the torches and candles.

He was beautiful, and this time, Jongin felt his heart stir.

He looked away quickly, wondering what that meant and trying to dispel the welling feelings. He looked for a distraction from this uncomfortable situation and found himself staring across the hall at someone at the Slytherin table.

Once again, it was Kyungsoo, and he was staring at Jongin like he knew him. Kyungsoo Do, pureblood Slytherin and kind of an asshole. He hadn’t caused trouble for him on a regular basis last year, but he was always around, keeping an intent gaze on Jongin after their brush. Jongin wanted to ask, but he didn’t know how to approach the Slytherin about it.

Something hit the back of Jongin’s head, pulling him out of his thoughts and his staring contest with Kyungsoo. His hand went to the back of his head where sauce clung to his hair. A chicken leg now sat in the hood of his robes.

“Sehun!” he shrieked, gaining the attention of the people around them. Sehun was nearly falling out of his seat laughing so hard. Fine. Screw house tables. Sehun Oh, best friend or not, was getting it.

He took a handful of mashed potatoes from his plate and crossed the aisle between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Then he yanked the collar of Sehun’s shirt so he could stuff the wad of potatoes down his best friend’s back.

Sehun protested with a decidedly girly scream and Jongin laughed with the entire student body watching. Neither Sehun nor Jongin cared. Jongin went running from the hall while Sehun followed after, hot on his heels with his wand extended. Who cared if it was the first feast of the year? The Headmistress didn’t seem to mind as long as it was in their free time and not class time.

Jongin kept running all the way to the quidditch pitch. Laughing and out of breath, he grabbed a random broom in stock. He took to the air before Sehun could catch him.

“You’re an absolute ogre, Jongin!” Sehun shrieked from the ground, wiggling about with discomfort as potatoes made their way down his back.

“You hit me with a chicken leg!” Jongin laughed. “You deserved it. Such a waste of good food.” He reached behind himself to pull the disgraced chicken leg out of his hood. Could he still eat it? Probably not, but it was tempting. He dropped it on the ground in front of Sehun.

He circled Sehun a few times on his broom, just a little out of reach every time. Sehun looked even more beautiful out here, even when he was displeased. His skin was shining as bright as the moon on the lake. He almost appeared to be glowing and it transfixed him for a moment. It was long enough for his caution to fade.

He brought his broom a little closer, circling slowly around Sehun.

“What?” Sehun questioned, folding his arms. Jongin sat up on his broom and mimicked the posture, folding his arms.

“Nothing,” he hummed. “Just thinking there were a bunch of people staring at you tonight.”

Sehun didn’t say anything to that and waited for Jongin to stray a little closer to him. When he did, Sehun grabbed the broomstick and pulled Jongin close enough for him to jump on the back. Sehun had never gotten the hang of flying, but he loved it. He would never be on a quidditch team, but if Jongin ever made the team, he promised to come watch all his matches.

For now, Jongin took him up into the sky for a little flight time. They didn’t stray outside the school grounds and spent time over the lake. He glided close enough for Sehun to graze his fingers over the dark waters. He clearly wasn’t afraid of the giant squid.

After leaving the lake, they moved on to touring the castle spires. Sehun rested his head on Jongin’s back as he relaxed. He seemed to have temporarily forgotten all about the food down his shirt. He really did seem to belong in the air.

“You sure you don’t want to get your own broom and give flying another try?” Jongin asked. “I could try to give you a lesson like you wanted.”

“Not right now,” Sehun sighed. “You can take me flying whenever I want. It’s not like I’m missing much if I wait a little longer to get comfortable on a broom.”

Last year, Jongin would have called Sehun lazy. This year, he felt a flush creep up his neck and he thanked the night for being dark. But to not rouse suspicion, Jongin turned and flicked Sehun on the nose to show his displeasure.

“I am not an airplane,” he grunted.

“What’s that?” Sehun questioned, rubbing his nose in irritation. “Is it another muggle thing?”

“Yeah,” Jongin laughed. “It’s a flying machine that takes people places.”

“Floo powder is more useful for that,” Sehun muttered.

“My mom doesn’t like that either,” Jongin laughs. “She thinks the Floo Network is a fire waiting to happen and people don’t belong in the sky.”

“Some of us do,” Sehun breathed. There was something in the way that Sehun said that that got to Jongin. But Sehun was quiet after that and all Jongin could do was agree.

“Yeah, some of us do.”

They floated about on the broom for a little while longer before heading back. Jongin didn’t want to be caught outside after hours on their first night back at school. He’d never hear the end of it from his housemates.

He almost didn’t care when Sehun had his arms wrapped around his waist like that.

-----

BOOM!

The room filled with smoke, and students scattered from the offending cauldron with little shouts of surprise. Professor Slughorn stepped in to clear the air and drain the cauldron. Then he turned to the two students covered most in the soot.

He was both amused and frustrated.

“If track records are to be believed,” he rasped out, “I assume our dear Mr. Oh made some miscalculations while our dear Mr. Kim wasn’t looking.”

Sehun flushed. Jongin muttered something about an excess of snake fangs and standard ingredient. It was more than that, but Jongin didn’t want to add more fuel to the flames of Sehun’s embarrassment.

“Well, your potion was a failure,” Professor Slughorn hummed. “But I can give you both a grade if you will do me a favor, Mr. Kim.”

“Sir?” Jongin squeaked in confusion.

“Tutor Mr. Oh for me?” he suggested. “His grade will improve and your knowledge will solidify as you teach. Sound fair?”

Sehun immediately jumped on this opportunity, attaching himself to Jongin with a pouted lip.

“Please, Jongin?” Sehun begged. It wasn’t just for the grade. Sehun really did enjoy potions. He just wasn’t good at it. And while Jongin didn’t exactly want to spend time tutoring someone else in potions, he did want to help Sehun.

“It seems you’ve got quite the eager student,” Professor Slughorn laughed. Jongin’s lips twitched upward as Sehun clung to him.

“Okay,” he finally agreed. Then he pinched and pulled Sehun’s cheek out to the side. “But only until you start getting the hang of it.”

Sehun made a face and pushed him away before rubbing his cheeks. Jongin laughed and they made plans for tutoring sessions.

It ate up a lot of Jongin’s free time, but he loved watching Sehun progress. Every new potion he managed to brew to perfection made Jongin proud. He even rewarded Sehun with chocolates when he did well. It made for a very agreeable best friend.

“Why do you like potions so much when you’re bad at it?” Jongin questioned one day. He shoved a handful of nuts in his mouth. Sehun had taken all the chocolate again and was happily munching on the whole bowl.

“I don’t know,” Sehun admitted, mouth still full of the sweets. “Probably because I can make use of potion skills in healing.”

“Is that why you’ve been talking with Yixing?” Jongin asked. He tried to reach for one of the chocolates, but Sehun yanked the bowl away from his reach.

“Yeah,” Sehun answered. “I like helping people. If he can teach me the spells a little early, I’ll be in good shape for later.” Then he laughed a little. “And I need a good influence. Baekhyun is a distraction.”

“Baekhyun?” Jongin asked. “The one Chanyeol likes?”

“He does?” Sehun questioned as he turned to Jongin, eyes wide with surprise. He nearly dropped an unspecified amount of crushed porcupine quills into the brew.

“Hold it!” Jongin shrieked as he went to make a cup with his hands under Sehun’s. “How much are you putting in there?”

“Jongin, really!”

“How much?” Jongin demanded.

“Two quills worth. Now will you-“

“Will you be stirring clockwise or counterclockwise?”

“Oh for goodness sake-“

“Clockwise or counterclockwise,” Jongin insisted, not letting his best friend get away with it.

“Clockwise.”

“And how many times?”

Sehun opened his mouth to answer. Jongin waited, but no answer left Sehun’s lips. Jongin smirked.

“Five,” he told Sehun, knowing without looking in their book.

Sehun stuck his tongue out at Jongin and dropped the quills in.

“And yes, Chanyeol likes Baekhyun,” Jongin added.

“Why hasn’t he said anything to Baekhyun?” Sehun asked, stirring his concoction the required number of times. He seemed less irritable now that he had his answer.

“Because he’s scared,” Jongin hummed.

“They’re friends,” Sehun pointed out. “What’s there to be scared of?”

“I don’t know,” Jongin responded with a roll of the eyes. “When I find a person I like and won’t tell them that I like them, I’ll let you know.”

“Baekhyun won’t do anything to him,” Sehun noted.

“I think Chanyeol is just nervous about Baekhyun’s popularity,” Jongin guessed. “Baekhyun probably has a lot of suitors. He’s very pretty. He’s probably trying to be sure Baekhyun gets the best that he deserves.”

“What Baekhyun deserves is what he wants,” Sehun muttered. “The same goes for Chanyeol. If he wants Baekhyun, he needs to pursue him.”

Jongin hummed and thought about his last vision of Sehun. Dancing with that woman. Looking the happiest he had ever seen him. Jongin hated that vision as much as he loved it. Sehun was happy, and that was great. Sehun being happy made Jongin happy. But Jongin wanted to be that person that Sehun smiled at while he danced.

Jongin had never kissed anyone before, but he realized he wanted to kiss Sehun right now. He wanted to kiss him even more when his potion came out perfect. Sehun threw himself into a hug with Jongin and thanked him profusely and Jongin just put aside his wants for now.

Sehun had said people deserve what they want. But Jongin wasn’t convinced he deserved Sehun.

-----

“You hang out with Sehun a lot,” Luhan commented one day. It seemed out of the blue and very much an obvious statement.

“He’s my best friend,” Jongin grunted as he finished another sentence on his potions essay. “Of course, I hang out with him a lot.”

Luhan made a face, trying to smile but also looking strained. Jongin had never seen Luhan look so awkward. He was usually so confident and out in the open. “Would it be weird if I tagged along to one of your hangouts?”

Jongin’s quill froze in his hand. Suddenly, Luhan’s nervousness made more sense. Ever since last year, Jongin had noticed Luhan’s interest in Sehun. He had commented on how pretty Sehun was the first time he saw him and had kept an eye on Sehun ever since.

Sehun was aware of who Luhan was, but he hadn’t stuck around much to become friends with him. Sehun was naturally shy and only came out of his shell when he was with Jongin. Maybe it would be good for Sehun to become friends with more people. Jongin, too. Maybe they should both expand their friend circles. It might make it easier for Jongin to distance himself from his feelings.

“I don’t know,” Jongin admits with a shrug. “Tag along one day to eat or something. I don’t think Sehun would mind. You and I are friends, right?”

“Of course,” Luhan replied without hesitation. “Maybe I’ll join you in the Great Hall for dinner sometime.”

“Yeah,” Jongin agreed, his smile tight. Luhan didn’t seem to notice his discomfort. “Sounds good.”

-----

After that conversation, Luhan wormed his way into a friendship with Sehun. It started out slow, dragging over a Ravenclaw named Minseok to eat dinner with them a few times. Then they started showing up more and more and Jongin felt like he never had time alone with Sehun anymore.

At first, Sehun stuck close to Jongin like crazy, his inner introvert clinging to familiarity and shying away from other noise. But eventually, he warmed up to Luhan and started to talk and laugh with him more often. Jongin kept telling himself this was a good thing. Sehun was making more friends. While making friends with Luhan, both Sehun and Jongin became friends with Minseok as well. And with less time to hang out with Sehun, Jongin got closer to Chanyeol and Joonmyun as well.

But it was one day towards the end of the school year that Jongin found himself alone. Everyone was off doing whatever and Jongin sat outside trying to figure out the Lapifors spell on his own. He assumed it to be similar to the Avifors spell that they had been going over in transfiguration for a while, but he hadn’t been able to produce a rabbit yet.

After his latest attempt, he gave a great sigh of frustration and laid back on the grass to take a break. However, as soon as his eyes landed on the sky above him, an unamused face stood in his sights. Jongin gasped in surprise, not expecting to see anyone there. He bolted upright and turned to see the scowling face of one Kyungsoo Do.

“Merlin, you startled the daylights out of me,” Jongin squeaked.

“You’re doing that spell wrong,” Kyungsoo said, unapologetic. “One would think you should have more talent when one of your parents is a pureblood.”

“Pureblood?” Jongin repeated dumbly. He hadn’t heard that word in a long time. What did it mean again?

“Your father,” Kyungsoo clarified. “A wizard from an all magic family.”

“What does that have to do with my spell?” Jongin questioned. Suddenly he remembered what that word meant, and he remembered his father growing uncomfortable anytime blood status was brought up with his friends. He kept a lot of those conversations away from Jongin and his mother, but the words still made their way into Jongin’s head.

“Perhaps you’re taking after your mother,” Kyungsoo spat.

Jongin felt a twinge in his brow. “What is that supposed to mean?” Jongin questioned.

Kyungsoo snorted. “Maybe she diluted the effects of your father’s magic,” he suggested. Then he seemed to add as an afterthought, “My mother says marrying her made your father a disgrace to the wizarding world. It’s diluting the bloodline.”

A sudden surge of anger raced through Jongin. His face grew hot and his blood pumped faster through his veins. Before he realized what had happened, he was on his feet and his wand was pointing right at Kyungsoo’s nose.

Kyungsoo didn’t even flinch.

“I’m a third year,” he told Jongin, too stable to not be bluffing. “You can’t even master transfiguration for second years. Try me.”

Jongin didn’t say anything, but he didn’t lower his wand and he didn’t step away.

“Fine,” Kyungsoo grunted, taking his own wand out.

Jongin was already running spells in his head, trying to figure out how to do this and come out with his pride intact. But not backing down until Kyungsoo knocked him out seemed like the only way for Jongin to leave with pride. Kyungsoo had his wand pointed at Jongin now. They were tip to tip, but neither had made a move yet.

Then Kyungsoo’s gaze shifted to Jongin’s left.

Jongin didn’t look away from him, but he felt someone slide up next to him, brandishing their wand, oak and unicorn hair, in Kyungsoo’s direction as well. Jongin felt a swell of relief flood his veins at Sehun’s familiar presence and he felt the anxiety of being a second year about to duel a third year sink away.

“What’s going on?” Sehun muttered to him.

“I’ll tell you later,” Jongin muttered back.

“We going to duel or what?” Kyungsoo growled. “Show me what a great wizard you are, Kim.”

Jongin growled and fired off his first spell.

“Flipendo!” he shouted, a well-placed knockback-jinx rocketing from his wand. Too bad Kyungsoo was quicker with the shield charm.

“Protego,” Kyungsoo muttered, swift and calm. Jongin’s jinx dissolved into thin air.

Sehun was next, firing off a quick disarming charm.

“Expelliarmus!” he hissed, praying to end this quickly without anyone getting hurt.

Again, Kyungsoo was quick to defend. However, this time, he shot back.

With two quick-succession spells, both Sehun and Jongin went down. Jongin found himself in a full body bind on the ground, unable to do more than shift his eyes about in distress. Sehun, though free of a body bind, had a split lip and was on his ass next to him. Kyungsoo stood over them with an unamused look on his face.

“If you want to defend your family’s honor, you’ll have to do a lot better than that,” Kyungsoo growled at Jongin. Then he knelt down and pressed his wand under Sehun’s chin. Sehun tried not to flinch, but he didn’t know if Kyungsoo had another spell on the tip of his tongue or not. “And you need to learn to keep yourself out of other people’s business. Let him get knocked around. It’s good for him.”

Then Kyungsoo lowered his wand, got up, and walked away, leaving Sehun a gasping mess and Jongin still frozen on the ground. They were both in some kind of shock. Sehun’s lip was still bleeding and there was a bruise forming on his arm already. But seeing as the duel hadn’t lasted more than a minute, neither of them was too beat up otherwise.

It took a few minutes for Sehun to collect himself. Then he picked up his dropped wand from the ground and released Jongin from the body bind. All of Jongin’s muscles relaxed at the same time and he felt like he melted into the ground for half a second. He took a second to breathe before sitting up.

He gripped Sehun’s face to check on him. Sehun tried to push his hands away.

“I’m sorry…” Jongin said softly. He was looking at Sehun’s split lip, hoping it wouldn’t scar that perfect moonbright skin. Sehun heard the sincerity in his voice and dropped his hands, letting Jongin take a look at his face.

“What happened?” he asked, moving on from Jongin’s guilt. “Why did you pull your wand on him?”

“He talked bad about my parents,” Jongin muttered. “Right after basically calling me a substandard wizard.”

“You are a substandard wizard,” Sehun giggled, trying to lighten the mood. Jongin frowned and pinched Sehun’s cheek.

“Jerk,” he hissed. But then he pulled Sehun in for a hug, burying his face in Sehun’s neck. “But thank you for backing me up. Even if we lost.”

Sehun didn’t say anything. He only returned the hug. Jongin felt a warmth in his chest before he ended the hug. Then he smiled at Sehun.

“Come on,” he sighed. “Let’s get you patched up at the Hospital Wing.” He stood first before offering a hand to Sehun to help him up as well. Sehun agreed with him and took his hand to get up.

The blood had dried already by the time they made it to the castle again. Getting to Madam Pomfrey was the best thing they could have done for Sehun’s split lip. She mended it in a heartbeat and there was no scar at all. Jongin was relieved.

“Now that that’s over with,” Sehun grunted now that they were leaving the Hospital Wing. “Why was Kyungsoo calling you a subpar wizard?”

Jongin made a face when he remembered his failed spells.

“I can’t get a Lapifors spell to work,” he grumbled.

Sehun laughed a little louder than he probably should have. Jongin was about to ask what was so funny, but Sehun grabbed his hand and dragged him off.

“I have a way to repay you for the potions lessons!” Sehun cheered with glee.

Sehun spent the next two hours explaining Lapifors and how to do it. Jongin about wanted to rip his hair out in the middle. He had completely forgotten Sehun had a talent for Transfiguration. Though Sehun clearly knew what he was talking about, he was awful at explaining it. It took forever, but Jongin managed to turn a little statue into a rabbit by the end.

The accomplishment was enough, and Jongin proposed going to the kitchens to get some food as a reward. Sehun wasn’t about to argue.

-----

After the incident with Kyungsoo, Jongin sent a letter home to explain what happened. He never got in trouble with any teachers, but he had questions for his father. Kyungsoo seemed to know quite a bit about Jongin’s family, and he was made uncomfortable by that.

It was just weird that the next letter Jongin received was not from his father. He didn’t even know the person who sent the letter. But the letter gave him at least a partial explanation.

Dear Jongin,

You don’t know me, and I don’t expect you to. I am Kyungsoo Do’s father, and I would like to apologize on his behalf for the way you and your friend were treated.

This will be difficult for you to believe, but Kyungsoo is actually a very sweet boy. However, he is very much a victim of his upbringing like his mother was. His mother was brought up during the rise of Voldemort and the height of pureblood mania. Her family never took the mark of the Dark Lord, but they subscribed to everything to do with blood supremacy. As a result, she still holds onto some of those old thoughts.

My family did not.

I tried to keep Kyungsoo sheltered from those thoughts, but I fear his mother’s influence is very strong in him. I love his mother and I love my son. Please, if you are able to avoid it, do not engage him further. I know it’s difficult and I know the things he says are awful. I will try to speak to him. But please try to be the bigger person. His mother will keep trying to undermine me, but I will not give up on giving my son kinder ideals.

Someday, I hope we can come together as a family regardless of blood purity.

Sincerely,

Uncle Jae

 

Jongin read the letter more than ten times and he always had one question. So, he sent another letter to his father. It had one line in it.

Who is Uncle Jae?

He didn’t get an answer. Sehun was convinced that he wouldn’t get answers until he went home for the summer.

-----

Over the summer, Jongin was finally able to get Sehun to agree to drop what he was doing for a week and come over. Things had started out the same as last summer: letters all the time and practicing spells and potions. But Jongin was determined for Sehun to visit.

Finally, Sehun was due to arrive very soon. Despite Jongin’s mother’s disapproval, his father gave Sehun permission to come via the Floo Network. Jongin waited with baited breath, bouncing on the tips of his toes in anticipation. He couldn’t wait to see Sehun after half of the summer. He also couldn’t wait to introduce his best friend to his parents. He always talked about Sehun in his letters, and now they would have a face to put to the name.

At 11am sharp, Sehun came out of the fireplace in a puff of black dust. His bag was over his shoulder and his wand in his pocket. His face was covered in soot, but he was still more beautiful than when they parted at Platform 9¾. His skin still shone brightly through the dirt and Jongin still wanted to touch it and marvel at it. Instead, Jongin pounced on him for a hug and nearly sent his best friend to the floor in his zeal.

“I missed you!” he cheered happily.

“Get off me!” Sehun shouted, a laugh in his voice. “I missed you, too, but I need to put my things down.”

Jongin pouted and released Sehun so he could do just that. However, as soon as Sehun dropped his things to the floor, he reengaged the hug and made Jongin the happiest person on earth. They stood there, giggling and hugging for a little longer before Jongin’s parents both came in to greet their guest.

“You must be the Sehun that Jongin won’t shut up about,” Jongin’s father teased. Jongin flushed and stuck his tongue out at his father.

His mother had other priorities. She rushed at Sehun with a towel to wipe the soot from his face. She had only seen Floo Powder in action once before, and it had been a huge mess. She wanted to welcome her guest into a nice clean home. Sehun indulged her and stood still after disentangling himself from Jongin.

“My dear, you’ve got dirt all over you,” she fussed, wiping it off Sehun’s porcelain cheeks. But it only took a few swipes of the towel for her to make a quiet sound of surprise. “Oh my,” she breathed. “You’re like a little doll.”

“Mom…” Jongin muttered in a warning tone.

“Seriously!” his mother exclaimed. “Just look at him! He’s a stunner!”

Jongin whined and looked at his father for some support. However, his father wasn’t paying attention to Jongin at all. He was focusing intently on Sehun, his eyes laced with a range of emotions from worry to surprise.

“Dad?” Jongin called, a little worried. What if he didn’t like Sehun? But his father seemed to jolt out of his thoughts when Jongin called and turned to him.

“Huh? Oh!” his father exclaimed, reaching for his wife to pull her away from an uncomfortable Sehun. “Dear, why don’t you go check on your snacks in the kitchen. You’ve been cooking all morning.”

She seemed to come back to herself then as well. A look of realization dawned on her and she flew out of the room with a shout of, “The cookies!” Sehun and Jongin laughed, relieved now that she was done mothering for a few minutes. Then Jongin’s father turned to his son.

“And you should take Sehun’s things upstairs,” he told Jongin. “I’ll show him to the living room.” Jongin didn’t hesitate. With an emphatic nod, Jongin grabbed Sehun’s bag and hauled it up to the second floor, taking the stairs two at a time. He deposited Sehun’s things at the foot of the bed in the guestroom before making his way back down. Sehun could unpack later. He had all week to make himself at home.

On his way back to the first floor, Jongin heard his father say something to Sehun. Sehun gave a response that Jongin couldn’t hear. It must not have been important, because the conversation was over when Jongin stepped into the living room.

His mother had deposited a tray of cookies in front of Sehun. At Jongin’s advising, she had made chocolate chip. Jongin wouldn’t be getting any, but at least Sehun looked plenty happy as he munched on two at a time.

Jongin laughed.

The next week was filled with staying up too late and too much amusement. Sehun knew very little of the non-magical world. Some of his reactions to “muggle contraptions” seemed to rival descriptions of reactions his father had had when he first married his mother. By the time Jongin came around, his father had normalized to all of it, but the memories lived on in his mother.

Sehun sat himself down for hours in front of a TV after realizing what it did. He didn’t even care what he was watching. He just enjoyed watching everything move on the screen while he ate more and more sweets. It got worse when Jongin showed him how to play videogames.

Sometimes, Jongin had to remind Sehun to leave the wand and other magical items in the other room. Electronics and magic didn’t mix well, after all.

It wasn’t just these things that Sehun found fascinating either. It was everything electric. Phones were a complete foreign object to him. He didn’t understand what they did until Jongin took his mother’s cell phone outside and called the house. There was loud laughter from Jongin’s father on the inside of the house as soon as the phone rang. Jongin bit his lip to hide a smile, trying not to laugh.

Sehun had jumped nearly three feet in the air and scrambled for the wand that wasn’t in his pocket. He didn’t settle until Jongin’s father encouraged him to pick up the receiver and put it to his ear. Jongin had to then convince his best friend that, yes, it was him.

To say that a week in his very muggle home was enlightening for Sehun was an understatement. Sehun couldn’t wait to come back.

-----

“Who is Uncle Jae?” Jongin finally asked. His father had been avoiding the subject all summer, but Jongin finally found a moment to ask. His father had just finished up step one of his potion and was waiting for the timer to go off. He had no excuse to not listen to and/or entertain Jongin’s questions.

His father sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger to sooth the headache. When he finally looked back at Jongin, it was with a frown.

“He’s your uncle,” his father stated, making the obvious more solid. “My brother-in-law. His wife is my sister.”

“I didn’t know you had a sister,” Jongin said, taking a seat on the unoccupied stool in his father’s lab.

“Two sisters,” his father grunted.

“Why have I never met them?” Jongin asked. “I’ve met all mom’s family a million times over.”

“Because they accept you and want you,” his father pointed out. “They were excited for your mother when she found out she was pregnant. My family was not.”

“Why not?” Jongin asked.

His father remained silent for a few moments, the muscles in his jaw tightening and relaxing as he thought about how to explain.

“How much have you learned about the last Wizard War?” he asked.

“Not much,” Jongin admitted. “We were going to go into it more in third year.”

“The last Wizard War involved a faction of blood purists,” his father explained, trying to keep it simple. “They believed that anything less than pureblood was an abomination. Muggleborns saw the worst of it, but halfbloods saw quite a bit of backlash as well if they showed a tendency to sympathize with muggleborns. However, even pureblood wizards could fall through the ranks if they broke important rules. One of them is having relations with muggles and having children with them. According to them, it dilutes the bloodline.”

Jongin’s brow furrowed. “What does that have to do with your family, though?” he questioned. “The war has been over for a long time.”

“But ideologies live on,” his father pointed out. “My family is a pureblood family, and they still believe in these old thoughts. I don’t know how I escaped the brainwashing, but my sisters were not so lucky, and your Aunt Mirae has passed those thoughts to her son. Your Uncle Jae has done what he can to curb his thinking, but your cousin cannot do anything about the environment in which he was brought up. And to him and most people in my family, you were born an abomination.”

“So, I’ve never met them because they didn’t think I deserved to exist,” Jongin concluded.

“No,” his father said, reaching out to Jongin to squeeze his shoulders in reassurance. “You haven’t met them because I alienated myself when I married your mother. I didn’t think they deserved either of you and I was going to protect you from them as best as I could.”

-----

Less than two months into their third year found Sehun laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe. He rolled around on the floor, not even trying to contain his laughter while Jongin sulked. Luhan was giggling, too, but it was Sehun’s exaggerated happiness that bothered Jongin the most.

“It’s not that funny!” Jongin whined, going to sit on his best friend’s stomach. This made breathing even more difficult for Sehun and he pushed weakly at Jongin’s body to get him off him.

“It’s just so cute!” Sehun defended as he looked over at the wandering spell. Luhan had just learned to cast a patronus recently and, at Jongin and Sehun’s urgings, agreed to teach them as well.

Sehun’s patronus came out slow. Luhan urged him to keep trying when the magic didn’t readily spring to his fingertips. He even supplied examples for a powerful happy memory for Sehun to look for. When he finally found one, the magic came to his wand much easier.

Out emerged a powerful, silvery-blue wolf, coat neat and clean like Sehun always presented himself. There was a set of intimidating teeth, but the wolf never bared them at any of them. Then it howled, filling the Room of Requirement with its calls before Sehun dropped his wand in surprise.

The magic had faded then, and both Jongin and Luhan praised such a wonderful display of magic. Sehun brightened at the both of them and Jongin took in that happiness, wondering what memory Sehun had chosen.

Then it was Jongin’s turn to try. Luhan gave him the same instruction, coaxing the memories out for Jongin to pick from. But Jongin did not have to look very hard. He went back in time and pulled from a few memories, but they all shared one thing in common.

Sehun.

The magic came easy with a firm, “Expecto patronum.”

Jongin was so happy when his animal materialized, but it was not as regal as Sehun’s wolf or Luhan’s stag. It was not even half the size of theirs. He wouldn’t have minded if it were some cool animal that just so happened to be small. A little hawk would have been great! It really would have caught his inner flyer.

But no. Jongin got a bear. But not just any bear. Oh no! It wasn’t even an adult bear! It had to be a cute little cub! Now Sehun was on the floor, not trying hard enough to contain his laughter. Luhan was doing better, but he was still giggling.

“Don’t feel down,” Luhan finally said, amusement clearly etched into every line of his face. “It’s still impressive magic and it will still be able to do what it needs to.”

“But people are going to think I’m a child,” Jongin grumbled.

“Is it so bad to have an innocent heart?” Luhan asked with a genuine smile. “Sometimes, I wish I didn’t think too hard about things. A young heart likes to take things easy and go with the flow. That can be an advantage to you when you come up against unfamiliar territory. But if you’re concerned, you know people change as they age. Someday, I bet that cute bear cub turns into an impressive adult. But by then, you might wish you still had it.”

Sehun was still laughing. He hadn’t heard a word of what Luhan had said to him. Jongin looked at his little bear cub, rubbing its ghostly head up against his shin with a little baby growl. Jongin smiled at it and supposed Luhan was right.

-----

“Jongin!” Sehun called, running through the corridors towards him. There was a bright smile on his face, but Jongin had a sinking feeling in his gut. Sehun grew more radiant when he smiled like that, and it could only mean something really good. But if Jongin wasn’t the one making him smile like that, he didn’t know if he wanted it.

“What’s with the gross smile?” he teased, trying to hide his worry. Sehun pouted at him, but it didn’t take away any of his beauty. Jongin wanted to kiss him again, but he knew not to. It would ruin that smile.

“He asked me out!” Sehun shouted with excitement. “Luhan asked me out!”

And there it was: a broken heart.

It felt like the next hour took an eternity to pass. Jongin went through a million things in his head about how much Luhan didn’t know Sehun and how mismatched they were. He went over how Luhan talked versus how Sehun spoke. He went over the grace with which Sehun moved and thought Luhan couldn’t handle it. It wasn’t fair.

But because Sehun looked so happy, Jongin couldn’t bring himself to say anything he was thinking. He couldn’t convince himself that it was in Sehun’s best interest to turn Luhan down. If it brought Sehun this much joy for Luhan to ask him out, who was Jongin to get in the way of his happiness?

When he finally left Sehun, citing a potion’s assignment as his excuse, he waited until he was out of sight. Once he turned a corner and left Sehun’s line of vision, he broke into a run.

His feet moved on their own, taking turn after turn, climbing staircase after staircase, dodging students left and right without his brain telling him where he was going. He just needed to run. He couldn’t go to Sehun for this. He couldn’t go to Luhan for this. But he needed someone.

It was after three years of school that he realized how small his world was. He spent so much time with Sehun that the few other friends he had didn’t feel right. They weren’t the ones who knew him the best like Sehun did. They wouldn’t be enough.

But when he found himself back in the Gryffindor common room, there was only one person there, munching on some biscuits from the morning’s breakfast. Jongin didn’t care what he looked like in that moment. He made a beeline for Chanyeol and threw himself at him, finally letting himself cry.

Caught off guard, Chanyeol’s biscuits went flying and the fourth year scrambled to catch Jongin.

“Jongin?” Chanyeol called over the loud sobs. “Jongin what’s wrong?”

Jongin didn’t respond and clutched at Chanyeol’s robes as if he would lose himself if he let go.

“Jongin what’s wrong?” Chanyeol repeated, finally wrapping his arms around Jongin’s shoulders, concerned. Then he asked a question so natural that it killed Jongin inside. “Where’s Sehun? Let’s go find him.”

“No!” Jongin blurted, tears still streaming from his eyes as he looked at Chanyeol with desperation. “Don’t tell Sehun! Please!”

“Huh?” Chanyeol breathed in shock. “What do you mean don’t te–He cut himself off and then seemed to understand. “Oh.”

“Don’t tell Sehun,” Jongin repeated, a little softer this time. “Don’t tell him.”

“Okay,” Chanyeol agreed, hurrying to placate Jongin. “Okay, I won’t tell him.

With that promise, Jongin buried his face in Chanyeol’s robes and let it all out. Chanyeol didn’t let him go. Something in the back of Jongin’s head told him Chanyeol knew what this felt like.

-----

After some rest and a day of reporting he was sick, Jongin was able to go back out. Pretending like he was happy was a little easier now that he had had a full twenty-four hours to cope with his feelings.

Chanyeol kept his word and didn’t speak to anyone about Jongin’s breakdown. Sehun had approached him on Jongin’s sick day and asked how he was doing. Chanyeol took steps to keep Sehun away for the day, promising to take care of Jongin and make sure he ate and got rest. It satisfied Sehun and he went off to attend his own classes and hang out with his other friends.

When Jongin emerged, the first thing Sehun said to him felt too normal.

“Your hair is a mess,” he teased. Jongin hadn’t cared enough to fix his bedhead that morning. His hair stuck up in a million different directions and he still thought that the wind of a good broom ride would fix the worst of it.

“Oh, just leave my hair alone!” Jongin whined, keeping pace with the normalcy. “I have quidditch practice today anyway.”

Sehun heaved a dramatic sigh. “Just don’t fall off your broom, Mr. Seeker. As much as my house would love to not be in competition with you, I kind of like you being alive.”

That did make Jongin giggle.

“You going to go to Hogsmeade this weekend?” Sehun asked next. “We haven’t had a butterbeer in a while.”

“I know,” Jongin said, hiding a fond smile. “We’ve been busy. But if you want to get a butterbeer, I’m game.”

They ended up getting that butterbeer, but something still didn’t feel right. Jongin found the silence stretching between them too much and he feared he was being too obvious. His fears were confirmed when Sehun brought it up after staring at his half drank mug for a long time.

“Are you okay?” he asked, voice soft. Jongin almost didn’t hear him over the loud chatter of The Three Broomsticks. Jongin raised his eyes to meet his. They were full of concern. “You haven’t been acting like yourself.”

Jongin looked away and muttered an apology.

“Is it because of me and Luhan?”

Jongin stiffened visibly, tipping Sehun off that he was right on the money.

“I knew it,” Sehun muttered. Then he reached across the table and placed a comforting hand on Jongin’s. “Just because Luhan and I are trying something out doesn’t mean you are any less my friend. I like Luhan, but I’m not going to abandon you.”

So, he didn’t quite have the right idea, but what Sehun was saying was still a comfort to Jongin. It was one of the branching thoughts he had had in the past week and it was good to know that it was unfounded.

“Thank you,” Jongin whispered. “You’re right. I’m being stupid.”

Sehun smiles at him and goes back to his butterbeer. “Yeah, you’re being stupid.”

Jongin stood up from his seat and reached across the table to grip the back of Sehun’s neck. It was a common occurrence between them, and Sehun usually scrunched up his neck to hide from Jongin right before laughing.

This time was different.

As soon as Jongin grabbed him, Sehun yelped in pain and backed away from the touch, holding a hand to the back of his neck protectively. Jongin retracted his hand immediately, both startled and concerned.

“What-“

“It’s nothing,” Sehun blurted, too fast for it to be a comfortable response. Jongin’s eyes narrowed in suspicion and he stood from his seat to come around to Sehun’s side. “It’s nothing,” Sehun repeated, a little weaker in conviction as Jongin grew closer.

Jongin wasn’t having it. He pried Sehun’s hand away from his neck and checked down his collar. Sehun sat far too still.

Jongin found bruises, big ones, and grew furious. For whatever reason, his first thought was of Luhan, even though the upperclassman had never given him any indication that he was violent.

“This wasn’t-“

“No!” Sehun hurried, knowing where Jongin’s thoughts were going. “He would never.”

“Then who?” Jongin questioned.

“Before I tell you, he didn’t hit me.”

“Sehun!” Jongin cried, his anger getting the better of him.

“It was Kyungsoo,” Sehun finally answered, wanting Jongin to shut up. “He was talking shit and I just wanted him to stop. He beat me in three seconds flat in a duel and his last spell knocked me into a wall.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jongin demanded. Sehun bit his lip and looked away.

“I didn’t want to worry you,” Sehun admitted. “And you were already down. I didn’t want to make you angry on top of being distressed.”

“You stood by me when he was picking on me, too,” Jongin reminded Sehun. “I think it’s fair that I return that favor. I can’t just let you get bullied.”

And he wasn’t going to. A plan was already forming in his head about his next plan of action. Kyungsoo’s magic was more advanced than his own. He couldn’t beat him with silly spells. It was time to try something new. Something beyond not only his year but Kyungsoo’s year as well.

“Jongin, no,” Sehun said, already seeing the gears in Jongin’s head turning. “Let the teachers deal with him. He’ll get caught eventually. Anyway, he, uh, almost looked apologetic when he knocked me into the wall.”

“No,” Jongin insisted. “Besides, if this works the way I want it to, you’ll stop laughing at my patronus.” Then he grabbed Sehun’s arm and yanked him out of The Three Broomsticks, dragging him into the nearest apothecary to grab some ingredients. Sehun had no idea what Jongin was up to, but he let himself be dragged along.

-----

Months later, Jongin still hadn’t completed what he had set out to do. He had messed up the process more than once and had to start over completely. The end of the school year was upon them now, and Jongin was just glad that nothing else had happened between Sehun and Kyungsoo again. In fact, Kyungsoo had been strangely quiet for the remainder of the year.

Jongin still caught Kyungsoo staring at him from across the Great Hall, but now Jongin understood. He was looking because he was curious. Jongin tried to believe that his Uncle Jae was right. He wanted to believe that Kyungsoo was a good person. He gave him every excuse in the book, shy, socially awkward, anything to explain why Kyungsoo kept approaching them only to insult them or give them backhanded comments that evolved into harassing statements.

“Will you tell me what you’re doing, yet?” Sehun whined for the millionth time. Luhan sat on his other side, finishing up his essay. He looked tired beyond anything Jongin had seen before. That was probably the O.W.L.s. Sehun had had a lot of alone time with Jongin lately because Luhan had been studying hard to pass his exams.

“Nope,” Jongin sighed, his fourth mandrake leaf sitting under his tongue. His last failure hadn’t been his fault. Mother nature had interfered. On a night he needed clear skies, it had been cloudy enough to hide the moon. “You should know what I’m doing already, Transfiguration Tutor Extraordinaire. But you would tell me not to if I admitted it. I’m hoping you don’t figure it out before we go home.”

“A few weeks,” Sehun grumbled. “You’ve been doing this for months.”

“And I either keep doing it wrong or I eventually progress,” Jongin said, repeating himself for the twentieth time.

“I’m sorry guys,” Luhan finally pipes in, rubbing the exhaustion from his face. “I’m going to go to the library to finish this. You’re a bit distracting.”

“Sorry,” Sehun apologizes, looking like his day was just ruined. “We’re still on for dinner, right?”

“Of course,” Luhan said, smiling at Sehun. He leaned down and planted a chaste kiss on the crown of Sehun’s head. “I’ll see you later.”

Then he was gone, and he took some of Jongin’s anxiety with him. While Sehun looked after Luhan’s retreating form, Jongin kept his eyes on the back of Sehun’s head, the mandrake leaf still sitting under his tongue.

That night, when he was getting ready for bed, Jongin picked up his comb and tried to smooth the nest in his hair. He thought of Sehun’s approval and tried to tell himself it would get his friend off his back. But he couldn’t deny for long that that wasn’t the reason he was doing it.

Growling to himself in frustration, Jongin tossed the brush down and ruffled his hair back up.

-----

The end of the year came quickly, and the night before their departure, Jongin had a dream. In it, he was upset, but he didn’t know why. Sehun stood before him, clear expressions of frustration and hurt. There was dialogue between them that Jongin couldn’t hear, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Then Sehun’s face changed to one of anger. Jongin had never seen him this angry before. He had made Sehun mad before, but not like this. This was different, and it changed his face so dramatically that Jongin almost couldn’t find his best friend in it anymore.

Jongin woke with a little start, his eyes snapping open to the night. His heart beat a little faster than usual, but he didn’t stir much.

It was a strange dream, but it didn’t seem like a dream.

-----

Jongin chooses not to mention the dream when he and Sehun took a seat in their train compartment. Instead, they discussed summer plans and how their year had gone. Jongin mentioned that his Transfiguration exam went well because of Sehun’s tutoring. Sehun returned the sentiment about his Potions final.

“Will you stop with the leaf thing?” Sehun complained

Jongin made a slurp around the leaf in his mouth just to annoy Sehun further. Sehun let out a shriek that sounded something like a battle cry and pounced on Jongin to try to pry his mouth open. Jongin laughed and kept his mouth firmly shut to protect its precious cargo. Sehun continued to struggle with him.

A loud bang came to the door of their compartment. It startled them from their play, making them both jump at the noise. When they looked up, there were words painted on the window of the door and a tall Slytherin retreating with a cackle. A moment later, Kyungsoo passed by, glancing at the word and seeming to snort before moving on.

Sehun read the words first and opened the door to wipe them away once the two Slytherins were gone.

“Scourgify,” Sehun muttered after taking out his wand. Jongin managed to read the words before they completely disappeared. He didn’t ask about them until Sehun was back in his seat, digging through his things to find his sweets.

“What’s a half-breed?” Jongin finally asked.

Sehun didn’t decline to answer, but he took a moment to formulate a response. He pulled out his chocolates and popped one in his mouth before he spoke.

“Someone with only one human parent,” he finally answered, mouth full of sweetness. “Or only one fully human parent. Depending on the tone used, it’s not a very nice word. Do you want a jelly slug?”

Jongin accepted the offer just so they could move on. Sehun didn’t seem to like the topic and Jongin didn’t want to bring up more if it made Sehun unhappy. But he was curious: why would someone put that term on their door?

-----

At the return from summer, Jongin no longer has the leaf in his mouth and he felt very accomplished. He’s also spent quite a bit of the summer brushing up on some spells beyond his year. Maybe he’ll stand more of a chance against Kyungsoo this year if it came to it.

But just because something went right this summer didn’t mean that this year was going to be easy. In fact, this year would be the hardest year yet.

Jongin woke up with constant headaches and images running through his head. He couldn’t process everything all at once and he took to consulting Professor Trelawney just to see if she knew anything. She had been the one person he ever told about his abilities and she had guided him through some exercises the prior year in attempting to call visions.

However, it seemed that his father had been correct that his gift was temperamental. When he didn’t want the distraction of the future, he got it. When he wanted to know things, it eluded him.

His teacher could not do anything for him. She called these periods of constant insight “Storms” and they would pass. But it seemed like they were trying to tell him something. Something was going to happen.

Jongin wasn’t getting much sleep. Quidditch became more of a chore than a joy, but he refused to drop it. He kept up with tutoring with Sehun. But even Sehun seemed busy these days and it made Jongin feel alone.

Sehun was discovering what he liked to do, and Jongin couldn’t stop him from doing it. Potions was only an aid, but he was starting to learn things from Madam Pomfrey and still more from Yixing. He hung out more with Baekhyun and seemed to gravitate towards the Hufflepuff tables these days.

Jongin still saw him, and they still hung out, but it was less frequent than in prior years. He still dragged Sehun to Hogsmeade for butterbeer every weekend to be sure they never got out of touch with each other. Luhan followed along on half of these trips, and Jongin left them be when it was clear they wanted alone time.

Sehun had shot up like a rocket in height over the summer. He was taller than Jongin now, but while Jongin was struggling with his gangly limbs, Sehun carried himself with the grace that he had always possessed. Jongin was jealous.

He would deny to everyone that watching Sehun walk sometimes gave him a boner. It wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was wrong. Sehun was his best friend, taken, and definitely not a piece of meat. Every time something happened, he willed it all away and prayed no one saw it.

Turned out, it might not have been his fault anyway.

It wasn’t until two months into the school year that everything changed. With one piece of information found in a textbook, Jongin connected the dots and his world began to fall apart.

-----

He felt betrayed. Four years of knowing Sehun and he never thought this part of his life was important to tell him. After escaping class, he made his way down to the Hufflepuff common room. It was not difficult to break in. Sehun always gave him the passwords and had taught him the rhythm of “Helga Hufflepuff” in first year.

No one seemed to bat an eye at a Gryffindor entering the Hufflepuff sanctuary (except perhaps first years). Jongin looked around and spotted Sehun with a book in front of the fireplace. He looked far too small for that overstuffed armchair, but he looked comfortable.

Jongin resisted the urge to run up to him. Instead, he approached his best friend with a terrifying calm.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded, crossing his arms as he stepped in front of his best friend.

“Tell you what?” Sehun questioned, turning another page in his book. “That your hair is a mess? Did you get turned down by a girl or something?” He snickered. Jongin didn’t find it very funny and being ignored didn’t sit well with Jongin either. Not when it came to this.

“Oh, come on,” Jongin growled. “You know exactly what I’m talking about.”

Sehun looked up at Jongin then, the smile slipping from his face. They shared a look, having a conversation with their eyes that only they could understand. Finally, Sehun sighed and closed his book. When he got up, he grabbed Jongin by the wrist and hauled him out of the Hufflepuff common room. This conversation didn’t need to be heard by everyone. As upset as Jongin was, he respected Sehun enough to give him the privacy he wanted.

Sehun dragged him up from the dungeons and over to a less traveled corner of the castle where they could be alone to talk. When Sehun stopped, he let go of Jongin and turned to face him, a window the only thing illuminating Sehun’s fucking perfect skin.

“So, you’ve finally figured it out?” Sehun asked.

“Yeah,” Jongin answered, hands at his side, clenched with his anger. He would never hit Sehun over this, it was just a place for his negative energy to go; clenching and unclenching to work his muscles. “And I want to know why you never told me!”

“I want to hear what you have figured out, first,” Sehun interrupted. “I want to be sure we’re on the same page.”

Jongin let out a growl of frustration and fished his textbook out of his bag. He opened it up to the very page he had been looking at when he realized the truth. He pointed to the page where an image of a very pretty woman stood, smiling up at him. The subject at the top of the page read, “Veela” and all the indicators and descriptions of a veela fit too much to not be his best friend.

Sehun didn’t need to lean in to see what was written on the page. He only waited patiently for Jongin to say it himself.

“You’re a veela,” Jongin finally hissed.

“Half veela,” Sehun corrected. “You surprised me with your ignorance last summer. I thought for sure you would have sent me an owl two days after getting off the train. Your cousin certainly knew before you did.”

“You forget that he was brought up engulfed in the magical world,” Jongin retorts. “I was not. I don’t know anything about creatures I have not studied.”

Sehun snorted. “You know everything there is to know about potions and yet you are oblivious to everything else.”

“I’m not in the mood to be teased, Sehun,” Jongin said, shutting down Sehun’s attempts to lighten the mood. Sehun looks rightfully scolded. “Now answer my question. Why. Didn’t. You. Tell. Me.”

“I was advised not to,” Sehun answered, voice so soft Jongin almost couldn’t hear it.

“By who?” Jongin prodded.

“My mother,” Sehun admitted, standing a little taller. “Tell me what your book said about veela. Tell me what it said about the effects they have on other people.”

“They appear to be beautiful humans,” Jongin began, pulling details from his book. “Men flock to them as a result. White-gold hair, skin that appears to shine like the moon.”

“Graceful and beautiful,” Sehun continues, sounding as if he were about to recite a mantra that had been drilled into him his whole life. “They seduce humans and cause them to do strange things to get closer to the veela. Never anger one. If you do, their beauty fades in an instant as they become like harpies with scaly wings and birdlike faces. They toss fire from their hands when this angry as well.”

Jongin nodded.

“I have known all of that for as long as I can remember,” Sehun told Jongin. “I have known that, while not pure veela, I still retained some of the images and abilities of one. My mother made me self-conscious of it but wanted me to embrace it. It’s part of my heritage and a very large part of who I am. My mother advised me not to tell you because she thought it would be better for our friendship to not. I wanted to tell you. If you had asked sooner, I would have told you everything you wished to know. But you never did. So, I kept quiet.”

“How was I supposed to know anything, Sehun?” Jongin questioned, irritation clear in his voice.

“I’m sorry,” Sehun responds, shrinking into himself.

“Sorry isn’t good enough!” Jongin bursts. Why was he so angry? Sehun didn’t owe him an explanation for this. But why was he demanding one? It was all just coming out and he couldn’t stop himself. “I’m your best friend! I have been for four years! You should have told me!”

Something about the combination of words and emotion Jongin was letting out caused something to snap in Sehun. Jongin noticed the change immediately and it startled him. Sehun clenched his jaw and tried to will away the anger building in him. But it refused to be quelled.

His teeth sharpened to points and the shape of his pupils change from circles to slits. Even the color of his eyes changed to a bright, sickly yellow. He stood taller, pulling his height up to stand toe to toe with Jongin.

So, that dream before summer last year had been a vision after all.

“You know what?” Sehun hissed. He stabbed an angry finger to Jongin’s chest. “What’s it any of your business?”

Jongin gulped, regretting all his anger.

“Best friend or not, you deserve to know only what I want you to know,” Sehun growled.

He was terrifying like this and Jongin fought the urge to tremble under that fierce gaze.

“My mother was right,” Sehun commented, retracting his finger from Jongin. “It was better when you didn’t know.”

Then he backed away from Jongin, giving him room to breathe. The anger seemed to leave Sehun as quickly as it had arrived, returning his teeth to normal and his eyes back to their usual color. Now he just looked sad.

“I thought you cared about who I was, not what I was.”

Jongin blinked and Sehun was already running off down the hall. Jongin didn’t have the courage to follow him and apologize.

-----

The storms returned a little worse after that fight.

Jongin couldn’t even think in his next class and had to be asked to be excused when a variety of images passed his eyes. When asked what was wrong, Jongin cited a bad headache. The professor let him go and Jongin made his way to Trelawney’s office.

“I can’t help you,” she said upon seeing him. “Have they gotten worse?”

“A bit,” Jongin admitted, sitting down on a trunk next to her desk. “I had a fight with my best friend and suddenly they doubled.”

“Ah, that would be why,” she hummed. “A stressful event can make them worse. Have you tried the mind exercises I gave you?”

“I have,” Jongin answered. He was actually running through some of them right now, slowing his thoughts and thinking of clear spaces. They helped a little, but the headache remained a dull throbbing pain in the back of his head. “They’re not doing enough.”

“Have you considered telling anyone of your gift, my boy?” she asked. “You’ve kept it a secret for a long time. Perhaps-“

“I’m not ready for that,” Jongin interrupted. He looked away when the pain flared again. Even the thought of revealing his gift gave him anxiety. “I want to tell someone, too. I want to have someone to talk to about it. But I’m scared. You yourself have said Seers are both revered and feared. I don’t want that kind of attention; good or bad.”

“Then your best bet is to wait out the storm and make up with Mr. Oh,” she advised. “Then I suggest you try using your gift more if you are able.”

“It doesn’t want to come when called,” Jongin protested. “Then it starts whenever it feels like it.”

“While I can’t promise that it will stop doing as such,” Professor Trelawney said, “I can promise that if you practice, you will have some measure of control over it someday. It may take a long time, and you may not learn in your time here, but you will learn. So, any amount of using it and practicing with it will he of help to you.”

Jongin lowered his head and nodded – a movement which caused his head to spin – before thanking her and turning towards the door. She stopped him before he left.

“I would also recommend you reconsider finding someone you can talk to about it that is closer to you,” she said. “It helps to have someone who understands and can be a pillar of support.”

Jongin didn’t say anything to that. The only person that came to mind was Sehun, but Jongin just wasn’t ready. He didn’t even know where to begin. He didn’t have the words, yet. It didn’t matter how much he wanted to tell Sehun. He just couldn’t bring himself to say it, and the guilt of not trusting his best friend with that knowledge weighed heavy on his chest.

-----

Jongin and Sehun moped about for weeks after the fight. Jongin’s usually raging appetite was gone and he had no desire to do more than attend his classes and sleep off the last of his storm. Sehun didn’t appear to be faring any better. He ate, but only because Baekhyun and Yixing forced him to every day.

Baekhyun sometimes looked over his shoulder at Jongin to fix him with a glare. Jongin agreed that he deserved every single one. But Jongin didn’t make any moves to fix it. For a Gryffindor, he was a damn coward when it came to anything and everything Sehun. Chanyeol urged Jongin to apologize and put the incident behind them, but Jongin didn’t know how.

It isn’t until he finds himself in front of Kyungsoo again, cornered, that Jongin realized just how badly he missed Sehun. Last time he was in this situation, Sehun came to his defense without question and landed on his butt right next to him. Now, he felt alone.

“Lost that half-breed?” Kyungsoo asked, a smirk on his face.

“Don’t call him that,” Jongin growled, fingers itching to pull out his wand. But his Uncle Jae had asked him to not engage.

“What?” Kyungsoo questioned. “It’s what he is. You on the other hand, are at least fully human. You don’t need him, right? Otherwise you would have straightened things out.”

But Jongin did need him. He needed everything to do with Sehun. He hated not having it on demand like he used to. It sent him into a state of shutdown, looking at the floor while Kyungsoo spouted nonsense. He was ashamed of himself. He almost didn’t notice when someone in Hufflepuff robes stepped between them.

Jongin’s head snapped up, praying it was Sehun. But the hope died as soon as he saw a head of brown hair.

“Picking on littles again, Kyungsoo?” Baekhyun questioned. “Better bugger off before I report you to your Head of House.”

Kyungsoo laughed and took a few steps back. “Always sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong.”

Baekhyun smiled back at him. “You like me,” Baekhyun teased. “I keep you from making yourself look like more of a goblin than you already do.”

Kyungsoo made a face and turned on his heels. Baekhyun and Jongin watched him go and Baekhyun called after him something about seeing him in choir practice. Kyungsoo waved him off.

When he was gone, Baekhyun’s attention turned to Jongin. He didn’t look happy at all. Jongin didn’t blame him.

“I should hex you right now for what you’re doing to Sehun,” he growled. Jongin’s gaze returned to his feet, letting the guilt eat at his insides. “Kyungsoo is right about one thing: if you care as much as you seem to, you’ll fix it. Come on, Jongin. You know him better than anyone. You can apologize to him.”

“Will he even listen if I do apologize?” Jongin questioned. “I don’t even know why I reacted the way I did.”

Baekhyun’s eyes seemed to soften at that and he took Jongin over to a bench to have a talk with him.

“It’s been clear to everyone but Sehun for a long time that you have feelings for him,” Baekhyun said, finally putting Jongin’s secret into the air. Jongin stiffened and looked at Baekhyun with wide eyes, scared. Baekhyun continued, not letting Jongin have the chance to run from this conversation. “You found out something very important about him. Some of the anger you felt was from being kept in the dark for so long. But sometimes anger comes from being uncertain as well, doesn’t it?”

“I don’t understand,” Jongin breathed, his brow creasing in thought.

“Hm, let me try to explain,” Baekhyun hummed. Then he pointed to himself with a small smile. “I am one sixteenth veela. It’s this similarity that Sehun and I became friends over. I’m not nearly as close to original veela as Sehun is, but I still encounter some of the same problems he will. When I tell someone, I can see them running over the information in their head. They start to doubt what they feel and that frustrates them. Did they like me for me? Did they like me because somewhere in my genes lives a seductive magic? It frightens them and makes them feel like a trick was played on them.”

“So, I was questioning my feelings when I got angry?” Jongin asked. He hadn’t really thought about it until now, but yeah, he wasn’t certain what he felt for Sehun anymore. He still wanted to be his friend and wanted to apologize more than anything, but was his wanting to kiss and hold Sehun real?

“I can see you doing it right now,” Baekhyun pointed out. “Don’t think so hard about it. Right now, those feelings aren’t important. They can’t do anything for you if you don’t fix what’s wrong between you now. Right now, do you want your best friend back?”

“Yes!” Jongin blurted immediately.

“Then find a way to apologize,” Baekhyun reiterated. “He’s been waiting for you to do something. Anything at all. You know that as long as you’re sincere, he’ll take you back in a heartbeat.”

It took a moment, but Jongin gave Baekhyun a slow nod. An apology was long overdue. But he still didn’t move just yet.

“What do you mean everyone knows?” he asked. “Everyone but Sehun.”

“Sehun is oblivious to the feelings of others,” Baekhyun snorted. “And to an extent, you are pretty oblivious, too. But it’s plainer than day to everyone else. Most of us aren’t as dense.”

Jongin’s thoughts seemed to drift to Chanyeol for a moment. “’Most of us’?”

Baekhyun smiled, mischief twinkling in his eyes. “Some of us are biding our time. Some of us are waiting for the right moment. Sometimes I like to believe that is what you are doing when you dance around Sehun the way you do.”

Jongin flushed and looked away.

-----

Jongin started slow. He wasn’t quite so brave as being a Gryffindor made him believe he should be. He feared losing Sehun for good. So, when he started to move towards putting the situation behind him, he bought Sehun’s favorite chocolates.

He bought a few packs of the noise producing chocolates, because he knew one pack wouldn’t be enough. But he snuck into the Hufflepuff dorm when he’s sure Sehun is out to place the first one. He just wanted to soften him up a tad. Enough to make him fight a smile, but never enough to fix this on its own.

Later, he found Sehun giggling with a bunch of his friends while making elephant noises. Jongin kept his happiness hidden, but he couldn’t deny how good it felt to see that smile again. It was a nice incentive to keep it going.

His next attempt to bridge the gap between them was more forward.

He waited a few days to be sure Sehun ran out of chocolates. But when he was ready, he sent Sehun his owl with a small parcel and a message. Jongin watched as North made the short journey to the other end of the hall to land on Sehun’s shoulder.

Sehun was startled by the arrival of an owl, but he seems to recognize her immediately and smiled. He scratched North’s feathers fondly before accepting the parcel. Then he sent the bird back, his eyes following her until she landed in front of Jongin, awaiting her praise. Jongin fed her a little chicken off his plate as a reward.

Sehun left the hall then. Jongin could only hope that Sehun read the note and agreed to meet him.

-----

Jongin had a table at the Three Broomsticks already. He ordered two butterbeers and has a bunch of Sehun’s favorite sweets. But that wasn’t the apology. This was just incentive for Sehun to show up and listen to him. So far, Jongin was halfway through his butterbeer, and Sehun hadn’t shown up.

But he waited, staring at the second mug cross the table from him. Sehun could be petty sometimes, but Jongin didn’t typically think it was over things like this. Sehun would show up for sure. Jongin just had to be patient like a Hufflepuff.

While he waited, Jongin ordered another butterbeer for himself. Madam Rosmerta gave him a funny look because he still had a butterbeer across the table, but she didn’t argue. Jongin leaned back into his seat to prepare for the wait.

He closed his eyes and tried to see if his special talents felt like appearing today. Turned out, they did. Jongin immediately fell into the future, images passing through him and around him but very little passing on information he could translate.

There were his parents, bickering one minute and holding hands the next, even in their old age. There was Kyungsoo, standing before him and saying something Jongin couldn’t hear. Jongin was smiling at whatever it was. There was a girl, someone he knew from quidditch. Her name was Krystal. She was kissing Jongin’s temple and his vision didn’t tell him why.

Then there was Sehun. He was running from someone. Jongin wanted to follow Sehun, but he needed to know what he was running from. Jongin looked back and found Luhan, an expression of guilt on his face.

Jongin hesitated for a moment before letting the vision continue.

When he followed Sehun, he found him running up a series of stairways that Jongin knew too well. They all changed for him as he approached, seeming to know when to mess with a student and when to comply. He whispered a password Jongin already knew and burst into the Gryffindor common room. He threw himself onto Jongin and the tears finally came.

The visions stopped when a hand clamped down on his shoulder.

Jongin came out of his visions like he was coming out of hypnosis; a snap into wakefulness but sleepy and slow. Before him stood a concerned looking Sehun, calling his name and giving his shoulder a shake.

“Jongin, wake up,” he urged. Jongin blinked a few times and jumped, finally coming back to his senses fully.

“Where did you come from?” Jongin blurted, eyes scanning his surroundings in momentary fright.

“I’ve been standing in front of you for two minutes,” Sehun said, disbelief coloring his voice. He sat down right next to Jongin then, the most natural action in the world for him after four years of friendship. “What’s wrong with you?”

Jongin shifted away, the cracks in their friendship feeling like spikes in his flesh. “Nothing is wrong,” he answered.

“You were muttering things,” Sehun said, not letting Jongin slip away. “Who’s leaving?”

Jongin’s mind flashed back to the vision of Luhan and Sehun and Sehun running to Gryffindor Tower. He used this week’s password. It would be soon. He shook his head to rid himself of the thought.

“No one,” Jongin finally answered. “I just…”

Sehun sighed and pulled back. “You’re weird,” Sehun says, reaching across the table to pull his butterbeer to himself. Jongin bought it for him, so he might as well drink it. “You get mad at me for keeping secrets, but you have your own secrets.”

Jongin bit his lip. He recognized that as an invitation to talk, but he still felt the nerves get to him. He turned to fully face Sehun then, hands limp in his lap and eyes still trying to cope with Sehun’s beauty.

Since learning of Sehun’s lineage, thoughts had made their way into Jongin’s head. Sehun was still beautiful and still graceful. He had eyes that threatened to draw Jongin in deeper every year and his skin was still so perfect Jongin always held Sehun’s hand so that he could touch. He gave in just a little to himself and grasped Sehun’s hand now. But in the back of his head, while his thumb smoothed over Sehun’s flawless skin, he wondered why he needed to touch like this.

Was it because of Sehun’s veela blood? Or was it because Jongin wanted Sehun.

“I’m sorry,” he finally uttered. Sehun listened, and he didn’t take his hand away. “I don’t know why I reacted the way I did when I found out. It was not a fair response to you. You were right, you didn’t owe me an explanation for anything. I just thought, after all this time that you would trust me enough to tell me yourself.” He cringed inwardly. He was doing the same thing. Why should he expect Sehun to share when Jongin didn’t?

“I tried,” Sehun muttered, squeezing Jongin’s hand back. “I tried to tell you so many times. But like your Uncle said of Kyungsoo, I too am a victim of my upbringing. My mother instilled the fear of discovery in me. I’d become the school freak, an outcast, or the target of bullying. I trusted you, but everything in me screamed to not say anything. Logic tells me it would have been easier to tell you earlier. The latest should have been second year. You wouldn’t have been so hurt, then. For that, I am also sorry.”

“Please don’t,” Jongin said. “I was the one in the wrong. I shouldn’t have enforced those fears of rejection.”

“But that’s just it,” Sehun piped up. “I saw your fear of rejection in your reaction to my secret. ‘Why hasn’t my best friend told me this?’, ‘Am I not trustworthy?’, ‘Are we friends at all?’ In my insecurity, I made you feel insecure, too, and I will be sorry as much as you are.”

Sehun was only a little off, but Jongin wasn’t going to say anything about that. As long as they were okay, that’s all Jongin cared about. Sehun didn’t need to know about his questionable feelings, especially when Jongin wasn’t sure of them anymore.

Instead, he opened his arms out to Sehun in an invitation for a hug.

“I’m sorry for this whole mess,” Jongin said, repeating what the point of this conversation had been. “Still friends?”

“Of course, dummy,” Sehun giggled, falling into Jongin’s arm for a warm hug. “And I forgive you. Just don’t ever do that shit again.”

“I don’t plan on doing it again,” Jongin sighed, wrapping himself around Sehun’s elegant form. He worried a little that this would be where Sehun vanished and he woke up, but it never happened. He just settled into Sehun’s familiar touch and decided now was okay to poke a tiny bit of fun at Sehun again. “Besides, I don’t want to see you that angry ever again. You’re ugly when you’re that angry.”

Sehun momentarily froze when he realized what Jongin was talking about. Then he caught on to Jongin’s teasing tone and he pushed Jongin away with a pout.

“You ruined a perfectly good best friend moment!” Sehun whined.

Jongin laughed and tried to pull Sehun back to him. “Oh, come on. Now that it’s over, it’s funny!”

“But it’s not!” Sehun complained, not returning the hug this time. “I don’t lose it with people like that.”

“Then I’m honored!” Jongin assured him. “As your best friend, I have seen all sides of you!”

Sehun flushed with embarrassment, but he didn’t continue to argue.

“Aw, don’t be embarrassed,” Jongin cooed as kept Sehun enclosed in his arms. He needed to catch up on the lost hugs. “I have more sound producing chocolates. Does that make things better?”

Sehun’s hands shot into Jongin’s pockets to search for the sweets. Jongin laughed and pushed his best friend away long enough to get them out for him. Sehun was making happy animal noises all the way back to the castle.

-----

It was only four days later that Jongin’s vision from The Three Broomstick came to pass.

He was studying by the fireplace when Sehun burst into the Gryffindor common room. Jongin couldn’t even utter a word before he had a lap full of him. He began crying almost immediately and all Jongin could do was hold him and promise everything was going to be okay.

“Can we go outside?” Sehun sobbed. It was getting close to dinner time and getting dark. Still, Jongin didn’t want to disappoint him further.

“Yeah,” Jongin breathed, getting up from his seat and taking Sehun with him. “Yeah, we can go outside.”

Sehun led the way out and Jongin followed without hesitation. Jongin was glad Luhan wasn’t dumb enough to come looking for Sehun right now. He stayed away from the dorm all together, because he knew Sehun would go looking for Jongin.

They didn’t say anything until they were at the quidditch pitch. Sehun grabbed a broom and shoved it into Jongin’s hands.

“Take me up,” Sehun snapped.

Jongin gripped the broom in his hands and looked at Sehun with confusion. “Sehun, what’s wrong?”

“Just take me up!” Sehun cried. Then there was a stretch of silence between them. Jongin’s eyes were wide in fright and Sehun was staring at the ground, breathing. Finally, in a much calmer voice, Sehun added, “Please.”

Jongin hesitated for a minute more before he mounted the broom and waited for Sehun to get on. He took them up and farther away from the school than usual; skirting the edges of the castle grounds. Sehun sounded like he needed a longer flight.

The arms around his waist kept his thoughts in a million different places at the same time. He had to focus on flying, but he was worried about Sehun.

“What happened?” Jongin finally asked. Sehun was quiet, not wanting to answer. A wet spot was forming on his back where Sehun’s tears soaked through his cloak.

“We had a talk,” Sehun muttered. “It turned into a fight on my part. It was stupid, but it was all it took.”

“He ended it?” Jongin asked. “Or…?”

“Yeah,” Sehun answered vaguely.

“Was it your blood?” That realization tore at Jongin’s heart. The arms already wound tight around his waist gripped him a little tighter. Right on the nose.

“Maybe,” Sehun sighed. “At least a part of it. Everyone warned me this would start happening. People would start looking at me differently and I would have to make choices. Pick and choose who was real. Wade through the fakes and those that aren’t enough. I thought Luhan was going to be real.”

“Am I real?” Jongin asked, without thinking about it. He shut his mouth as soon as the words came out, wishing he could stuff them back in. But despite his obvious embarrassment, Sehun gave him an answer.

“I think you’re real,” Sehun muttered. “You better be, anyway. School would be a lot harder to handle if you weren’t. You’re not perfect, but you’re trying and I appreciate that.”

That at least placated Jongin for the time being. He smiled and Sehun leaned a little more on Jongin’s back.

“Take us over the lake,” Sehun whispered. Jongin did.

They spent another hour outside, flying around before they landed. Sehun gave him a hug and took a breath.

“Thanks,” he sighed. “I feel better now.”

Jongin smiled and reached into his pocket to pull out some chocolate. Sehun snatched it from him with a smile that looked too big to be real. Jongin just laughed and let him have it.

Jongin didn’t let Sehun sleep alone that night. He didn’t even care that they had to squeeze themselves too close together on a tiny bed to make it work.

When Sehun finally fell asleep, tucked close to him in the Gryffindor dorm, Jongin could still make out the tear tracks on his face in the dark. He was still beautiful like this, but sadness dulled the shine of his skin. The moon rivaled him for the first time in years and it felt so wrong.

In an effort to correct the image, Jongin reached forward to brush the stray tears away. Sehun shifted in his sleep at the touch and buried his head a little more into the pillows. With the comfort, he seemed to glow just a little brighter.

Jongin let his fingers ghost over Sehun’s cheeks, so close and yet not touching anymore.

“That’s the Moonbright Boy I know,” Jongin whispered. With a last brush down Sehun’s cheek, he too tried to fall asleep.

-----

It’s a few weeks later, when the worst of Sehun’s emotional hurting was over, that Sehun asked the question that had burned in his mind for a year.

“You were taking steps to become an animagus, weren’t you?” Sehun hummed.

“So, you did figure it out!” Jongin said with a smile.

“Not right away,” Sehun admitted. “But I remembered how much you loved Transfiguration and how you teased me about it. So, I dug a little deeper. Anyway, did you ever complete the preparation?”

“Yeah!” Jongin said excitedly. “After the failure you witnessed, I had to start over again, but it was as if someone was rigging nature to help me after that.”

“Well?” Sehun prodded.

“Well, what?” Jongin asked, confused.

“Show me, you thickhead!” Sehun clarified. “Show me your animagus!”

Then Jongin smiled and looked around to be sure no one was looking. He wasn’t exactly registered, yet. Once sure there was no one, he turned back to Sehun with a victorious smirk. “You don’t get to make fun of my patronus anymore.”

Then he transformed, human features giving way to that of an animal. He grew a few sizes larger, fur sprouted on his body, and claws grew where once were human fingernails. Jongin felt rather proud of himself as the form of a bear came out to greet Sehun.

At first, Sehun’s mouth dropped open in awe. But that only lasted a moment or two. Then he was falling over laughing again and Jongin couldn’t for the life of him figure out why. Sehun was not forthcoming with answers.

Still in bear form, Jongin nudged Sehun with a paw in irritation. He rolled his best friend around on the ground and made disgruntled growling noises before returning to human form.

“Why are you laughing at me?” Jongin whined. “I’m cool!”

“You just wanted a bear animagus to outshine your bear cub patronus,” Sehun laughed, slowly getting his laughing under control. “It’s cute that you care so much.”

Sehun finally managed to get himself up from the ground and dust himself off. It was a wasted effort; his robes would need to be washed to remove all the dirt.

“Now if only you cared about your hair. You know your bear’s coat looks unruly because you don’t maintain your hair.”

Jongin tackled Sehun to the ground and threw tiny dirt clods at his face. Sehun shrieked, called him an ogre for the millionth time, and laughed harder than he had in weeks. Jongin paused with another clod in his hand. Somehow, he had found himself straddling Sehun’s waist in his fervor.

Sehun was still laughing and Jongin knew there were problems he needed to fix. He leaned down to touch their foreheads and share more laughter together. He let the dirt clod slide out of his hand and he just enjoyed the moment with Sehun, being silly children.

Next year, they will be facing down their O.W.L.s and they would have to begin growing up. Jongin would have to start putting distance between him and his feelings to understand what they were. Because hiding his want to kiss Sehun was difficult and he didn’t want to risk following through for the wrong reasons.

There was one way for sure that he knew he loved Sehun. He loved him as a friend and he would be devastated to lose him over something that wasn’t real. At least, if he lost Sehun over something real, he could accept it. But if it really were real, he was going to fight for it.

-----

Summer break held too much unwanted excitement. It all started out nice. Jongin spent a lot of time unwinding from school. But halfway through the summer, he invited Sehun to his place for another week of fun with his best friend. Sehun agreed and made Jongin promise to take him out to experience the muggle world for the first time.

It was made a requirement for his visit when Jongin hesitated to say yes.

Sehun arrived by chimney again and Jongin’s mother huffed as she cleaned up Sehun and her once pristine floor. She still seemed to adore Sehun as she had the last time she saw him. Now Jongin understood why. She was under the spell of the veela. The only difference was that her fondness for Sehun was easy to pass off as a motherly affection.

It took less than two days of munching on snacks and playing video games before Sehun demanded his visit into town.

“You promised,” Sehun grunted. “I want to go.”

“Mom won’t let you bring your wand, you know,” Jongin said with an amused smile.

“Why not?” Sehun questioned. “I don’t have to use it. And if I hide it, she won’t know I have it.”

Jongin rolled his eyes. “Fine,” he sighed, getting up from his seat on the couch. “But I mean it. Do not use it.”

“I won’t! I won’t!” Sehun assured him. “I’m still underage anyway.” Then he went to get his coat while Jongin went to ask his mother if she could take them into town. She agreed when Jongin lied and said they would be leaving their wands at home.

Jongin’s father came down while they were getting their things. Jongin’s eye strayed towards him and stayed put. His father looked stiff for some reason. Something was wrong, but Jongin didn’t know how to place exactly what it was.

“Where are all of you going?” his father asked lightly. He was trying to hide his discomfort.

“I’m going to explore the muggle world!” Sehun answered happily. “I never have before!”

“Ah,” Jongin’s father breathed, letting out a little laugh. “Well, enjoy. Just be careful. Don’t call anyone a muggle to their face.” Then he turned to his wife. “Are you going with them?”

“Just to drop them off,” she said with a nod. “They can call when they’re finished.”

“Why don’t you stay out with them?” he suggested. “Get lunch with them, perhaps?”

“But I have things to do here,” she argued, brow knitting.

“I’ll take care of the house, dear,” he promised. “Relax a little.” Then he pressed a kiss to the side of her head and that had her agreeing. He fixed his gaze on Jongin then. “You two aren’t bringing your wands, are you?”

“No, sir,” Sehun piped up, the lie slipping easily off his tongue. Jongin didn’t verbally reply, but he locked eyes with his father. There was some silent communication going on between them for only a fast couple of seconds. His father wanted at least one of them to have a wand on them.

Jongin folded his arms across his chest and let his fingers discreetly indicate where his wand was hiding under his shirt.

“Good,” his father grunted to keep his wife in the dark. “You’re still underage after all.” Then he cleared his throat and tried to smile. “I’ll walk you to the car.”

He walked them out the front door and watched as the three of them piled into the car. Sehun was already looking at the car with a little more than usual fascination. He had seen a car before, but not one this new or high tech. He wanted to press all the display buttons, but Jongin kept Sehun from climbing out of his seat to mess with things in the front.

“Have a good time, Sehun!” Jongin’s father called from the door. Sehun leaned out the window to smile at him and they were off. Jongin noted that his father didn’t stop watching them until they were out of sight.

-----

They had been out a few hours already when Sehun started to catch on that something was off.

“You’ve been distracted since we left the house,” Sehun whispered when Jongin’s mother left to use the restroom. “What’s going on?”

Jongin turned to Sehun and ducked his head. “My father was nervous about something when we left,” he told Sehun. “He made sure I had my wand, and I’m pretty sure he told mom to stay with us so that she wouldn’t be home for a while.”

“But why?” Sehun questioned.

“I don’t know,” Jongin answered. “But something tells me we might be in trouble. My mom doesn’t have magic. If we get targeted out here, we’re basically screwed.”

“They wouldn’t with so many people around, right?” Sehun asked.

“I don’t know,” Jongin said. “Depends on what they want, I guess.”

Sehun bit his lip and kept a subconscious hand over the place he had hidden his wand.

They weren’t attacked, but Jongin remained alert the whole time, keeping an eye on anyone who stared at them for a second too long. Sehun eventually grew too fascinated by the muggle world to think of much else. He liked the electronics and sometimes thought of excuses about why he would need one. Jongin had to remind him that excessive magic around them causes them to break. Jongin only got away with a cell phone when he was home. Otherwise, he went without all electronics.

Nothing seemed to be off at all. They were left in peace to explore and eat and it felt almost like a normal day. Normal, anyway, except for the fact that he had to keep quelling Sehun’s surprise and instruct him on how to address others.

He promised to answer questions Sehun had when they returned to the house.

However, upon returning to the house, Jongin immediately felt the tension. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one, because his mother hesitated to get out of the car. They all sat in the car, quieter than mice for a long while.

“Stay here for a minute,” his mother finally said. Then she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the car door.

Jongin and Sehun shared a meaningful glance with each other. Should they do as they were told? Should they disobey? Jongin worried for his mother’s safety if magic was involved here. Sehun seemed to be thinking the same thing.

About thirty seconds after Jongin’s mother disappeared into the house, they both scrambled to undo their seatbelts and fling themselves out the car doors.

Rushing to the door of the house, Jongin felt a vision threaten his consciousness. But now was not the time. He tried with all his might to push it away. He saw a brief flash of Kyungsoo’s face, angry and waving a letter in the face of a woman older than him. Jongin exerted all his will on this vision, pushing it back. With reluctance, it heeded his plea and retreated.

But as soon as he and Sehun came through the door, he understood why it had appeared at all.

The woman from his brief vision was seated on the couch in his home, legs crossed and her wand resting in plain sight but not pointed at anything in particular. She was glaring at Jongin’s mother who stood behind her husband. However, her eyes immediately shifted to him as soon as they appeared in the doorway. She sneered.

“Merlin, he even looks exactly like you did,” she spat.

Jongin took a step into the house, and the angle change was enough for him to see his father had his wand out. Unlike the woman’s, his father’s wand was pointed squarely in the stranger’s direction.

“Boys,” Jongin’s father grunted. “Get upstairs. Take your mother with you, Jongin.”

Jongin swallowed all his questions and stepped forward to take his mother’s hand. She was stiff with fear, but she did not resist his tugging. He was just beginning to lead her away, Sehun close to her other side to keep her calm, when the strange woman lunged forward, fury blazing in her eyes. But it wasn’t Jongin or his mother that she went after. Instead, her fingers found Sehun and they gripped him tightly by the throat.

Sehun choked on air and his surprise at the sudden hand around his neck. Jongin found himself pulling his wand on the woman without a second thought.

“Let him go!” Jongin shrieked.

“Mirae!” his father growled in a warning tone. “Let the boy go.”

She didn’t relinquish her hold on Sehun just yet. He clawed at the hand around his throat, desperate to breath and even more anxious to get away.

“First you dilute the bloodline,” she hissed, the words meant for Jongin’s father. “Now you’re allowing him to cavort about with half-breed filth! Have you no shame?”

“Let him go, Mirae,” Jongin’s father repeated. “Don’t make me tell you again.”

Her hand fell from Sehun’s neck and he collapsed to the ground, gasping for air. Jongin went to collect him and hurried both his best friend and his mother up the stairs to the second level of the house. He didn’t put his wand away in this process. But the whole way up the stairs, any further conversation rang in his ears.

She spat the words half-breed and mudblood and blood traitor with conviction and venom Jongin had never heard from anyone else. Even Kyungsoo’s use of these words hadn’t felt this heavy. Now they almost sounded – dare he think it – teasing coming from Kyungsoo in comparison to this.

Jongin shut them all up in his room and locked the door with a spell. At first, his mother was in shock from the event unfolding downstairs. They could all hear the screaming from the woman and calm but firm responses from Jongin’s father.

Then Jongin heard a spell fired downstairs. A whimper made itself known to the room.

Jongin and his mother both looked up to find Sehun shaking and tears in his eyes. The boy rubbed at his eyes with agitation and tried to quiet himself. Jongin could see the red marks around Sehun’s throat where the woman had grabbed him. But it had to be more than that.

Jongin’s mother reacted first, slowly moving across the room to gather Sehun in her arms. Sehun sank into them as if she were his own mother and buried his face against her shoulder.

“You’re okay, dear,” she whispered to him. “You’re safe.” Sehun didn’t stop shaking just yet, so she kept talking. “I don’t know what being half-breed means. But I know you are more than that word.”

“It means…” Sehun breathed, wanting to explain but not having the breath to do so. He fixed teary eyes on Jongin, giving him permission to explain.

“In the simplest of terms, it means not fully human,” Jongin finally said, the words quiet in the room that still echoed with screaming from downstairs. “It’s technically a proper term to use to describe someone with any non-human ancestry. But some people make it an insult that means less than human instead.”

“I see,” his mother hummed, stroking Sehun’s hair gently. Only Jongin could see her discomfort from this piece of knowledge. But he could also see her fighting it. He could see her resisting her impulse to want to put distance between herself and the boy who biologically wasn’t completely human. He watched her convince herself that Sehun wasn’t a dragon in disguise or a goblin or a troll.

Even with education and knowledge that most creatures were kept away from Jongin at school unless supervised, Jongin’s mother never got used to the idea of magical creatures. But now she had to sit with someone part magical creature and part human because they were important to her son.

That was the bravery that Jongin had always wanted to emulate. This was where his Gryffindor bravery had come from. She had so much courage in her tiny body and Jongin was never prouder of his mother. His own courage felt like a candle compared to her bonfire.

“May I ask?” she questioned. “It’s okay to say no.”

“Veela,” Sehun answered.

“And what is a veela?” she asked.

“Veela are magical beings that present themselves as very beautiful and elegant people,” Jongin answered, because Sehun hid his face again. “But when angered they almost look harpy-like. They get elongated bird heads and sprout scaly wings. They even throw fire.”

“My goodness!” his mother gasped. Then she looked down at Sehun with both curiosity and concern.

“He’s only half veela,” Jongin told her, reminding her of the term half-breed. “I assume it would be a case by case scenario based on what genes were inherited, but he can’t do most of that.”

“Most?” his mother repeated, skeptical.

“Well,” Jongin said, scratching the back of his head. He had the decency to look guilty at the memory of incurring Sehun’s anger. “His eyes change color and shape and his teeth get really sharp. But no wings or bird head and no fire throwing.”

His mother seemed to consider this information for a moment before getting comfortable again. She calmed herself and kept holding Sehun until he had calmed down. When he stopped shaking, she loosened her hold on him and looked down at him with a sweet smile.

“Can I take a look at your throat?” she asked. “I want to be sure you are all right. Your mother will worry.”

Hesitantly, Sehun leaned back and nodded. Jongin’s mother placed gentle hands under his chin to raise it. She took a look at the redness around his neck and nodded her head a little while humming.

“You might have a bruise. But you will be just fine,” she assured him.

While she made this assessment, Jongin vaguely recognized her behavior as that of a mother to a child in need. It came so naturally to her once the fear was gone. She did not view Sehun as a threat, and Jongin couldn’t be more relieved and pleased.

There was less noise from outside the door now. Jongin only just noticed. He hadn’t heard much more since explaining what a veela was to his mother.

As if the thought was heard, there was a knock on the door.

“You can come out now,” his father called from behind the door. “She’s gone.”

Jongin undid the spell on the door and opened it slowly. His father stood there, looking tired but unharmed. He looked past Jongin to Sehun and his wife.

“Sehun, are you all right?” he asked. Sehun nodded but didn’t verbally respond. He was feeling better, but he was still obviously shaken. “I’m going to send an owl to your parents to let them know what happened and assure them that you are safe. But I would like to ask you if you would prefer to go home.”

Sehun bit his lip and looked at Jongin. Jongin could only smile at him weakly. He didn’t want Sehun to be uncomfortable for the rest of his stay.

“I know you two have been looking forward to this all summer,” Jongin’s father added. “But I’m sure Jongin will not be hurt if you decide you need to go home early.”

Jongin nodded in agreement, but it didn’t matter. Sehun smiled at him and turned his gaze back to Jongin’s father.

“I would like to stay,” he answered.

That night, he cuddled up extra close to Jongin. He never said anything about what he was feeling, but Jongin could tell he was scared. However, it was a source of comfort for Jongin that Sehun felt safer with him. Sehun would never admit it, but being at Jongin’s side all day after the incident was proof enough.

Jongin took the moment to hug Sehun while they slept.

The next morning when Jongin woke, he found Sehun staring at him, serious and unashamed. They were still so close and Jongin felt his heart hammer in his chest. He tried not to let Sehun know just how nervous that made him.

Sehun was the first between them to speak.

“You’re not even fifteen,” he began, speaking softly in the early morning light. It made his skin shine brightly and Jongin couldn’t help it. He allowed himself to touch, taking Sehun’s hand gently in his and grazing his fingers across Sehun’s palm and up to his wrist and arm. Sehun didn’t mind. “Yet you pulled your wand on an adult witch who knows how to use spells neither of us has dreamt of.”

“I didn’t want her to hurt you,” Jongin reasoned, circling his fingers around Sehun’s thin wrist.

Kiss him.

You could have gotten hurt,” Sehun reminded him.

Kiss him.

 “I didn’t care,” Jongin told him. “You’re important to me.”

Kiss him.

Sehun gave him a small smile. “I’ll remember that. Thank you.”

Then he cuddled up under Jongin’s chin and went back to sleep for a little while longer. Jongin wrapped his arms around Sehun’s waist, feeling ashamed of himself.

Coward.

-----

“Did you know?” Jongin asked after Sehun had returned home.

“Did I know what?” his father asked, measuring out the proper amounts of bean juice to his potion.

“About Sehun,” Jongin clarified. “Before all this. You looked at him funny the first time you met him.”

“Ah, finally learned, did you?” his father said, not looking away from his potion. “Yes, I knew. I even asked him about it.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”  Jongin asked.

“Because it was something for you to figure out or for him to tell you.” He stirred a few times and then set a timer before turning to Jongin with a soft smile. “What are you going to do about it?”

“Nothing,” Jongin answered.

“Is that because you believe it to be best for Sehun?” his father asked. “Or for you?”

It was then that Jongin realized his father wasn’t talking about Sehun’s veela heritage anymore. He had known all along what Jongin felt for Sehun. Jongin didn’t answer his question.

“You never clarified,” his father went on, “but I’ve always suspected he was your Moonbright Boy. The one you saw in your first vision. Am I right?”

“Yeah,” Jongin answered, closing his eyes and going back to that first vision. Sehun looked so happy to see him in that vision. What Jongin wouldn’t give for that to really be his future.

“Could you feel anything in the way of emotions from this vision?” his father asked.

“A little.”

“Does it feel familiar?”

“I don’t know.”

“Try to figure it out,” his father encouraged. “If you can identify what you felt, it might help you.”

-----

Jongin did try to figure it out.

The very next day, he set aside some time to attempt to engage his gift. He had tried to do this a few times, but he usually grew discouraged when it didn’t respond to his calling.

He shut the door to his bedroom to ensure peace and quiet and then sat on his bed to relax. He started with some deep breathing exercises to clear his head. That was how Trelawney had told him to start. He went into a deep meditative state for a while, ensuring that he would be undistracted while trying to call on his gift.

The next part was more difficult. Jongin had no idea what was supposed to happen here, but he was meant to reach out to the future; hoping it will come to him. But no matter what he did, it usually refused to show him anything. This time, he wouldn’t give up so easily. He needed answers and he wanted to know more about his gift anyway.

After gaining the quiet mind he was looking for, Jongin tried his best to reach out to the future. He tried to summon up the vision he had had back when he was being fitted for his robes. He wanted to see it one more time and try to read more into it like he hadn’t been able to back when he was eleven.

He sat there in silence for a long time. He tried over and over again with different thoughts, attempting to trigger the vision through different methods when another didn’t work. He even reset his meditation a couple times when he realized nothing was working.

When he started straining and the sweat started to pour down his face, he finally let go of trying and opted for a break.

He groaned loudly in frustration and tossed himself back onto the bed, feeling defeated. He would try again in a few minutes, but he wished this would come easier to him after all this time. About the only thing that had improved was the shakiness after his visions.

In the beginning, he had been so afraid. With his magic coming in late, he hadn’t had much time to acclimate to it before the visions started. Then, when he accepted it as a normal part of life, he had wanted to talk about it when it stressed him out. He wanted to share it with someone he trusted. But he didn’t have anyone except his parents and Professor Trelawney. But they weren’t enough. They weren’t with him every day at school. They didn’t know how it made his life difficult.

Jongin groaned again and rolled onto his side in yet more frustration, trying to think of what he should do next to coax out a vision. At this point, it didn’t even have to be a replay of his first vision. He just wanted it to show him something.

A knock came to his door, quiet and sounding almost hesitant in the spacing of the knocks. Jongin looked up.

“Yeah?” he called. The door didn’t open, but his mother’s voice came from the hallway.

“May I come in?” she asked.

“Go ahead,” Jongin said, sighing quietly to himself before she opened the door.

“Are you okay in here?” she asked. “You were making some weird noises.”

“Yeah,” Jongin assured her. “I’m fine. I’m just… I’m just frustrated. I’m trying to figure out my Sight, and it’s not working.”

“Oh, so I’m interrupting,” she muttered.

“No,” Jongin hurried to say. “I’m taking a break. I couldn’t get anything to happen.”

“Is it… stuck?” she asked.

Jongin blinked. “Stuck? What do you mean stuck?”

She made a face while she tried to come up with the words to explain what she was thinking. Jongin almost laughed, but it wasn’t every day that his mother made the effort to speak to him about his magic. This was nice.

“When you were little,” she said, starting hesitantly, “your magic came late. Your father suggested it might be because I heavily influenced you with my distaste for it. You blocked it up because I was scared and you didn’t want to scare me.”

“Maybe,” Jongin said, rubbing his arm with slight discomfort. “I thought we didn’t really know that for sure.”

“We didn’t,” his mother agreed. “But I didn’t want to risk the obscure-thing.”

“Obscurus,” Jongin supplied.

“Right,” his mother said. “I didn’t want to risk that, so I tried to be brave for you. And as soon as I stopped worrying you and your father took you to work, your magic came in just fine. It was like it was stuck for a bit. But a love for the world of magic… I don’t know. I guess it unclogged it?”

He laughed a little. He couldn’t help it. “But what does that have to do with my Sight?” Jongin asked, a smile on his face.

“Do you like your Sight?” she asked.

That gave Jongin pause. Did he like it? Not really. He saw it as more of a nuisance than anything. It was something to hide and keep to himself.

“You don’t?” his mother asked when Jongin gave no verbal reply.

“Not really,” Jongin finally muttered.

“Maybe you need to learn to love it,” his mother suggested. “It’s a part of you and it’s something that isn’t going to leave you.”

Jongin nodded, but he was giving a look of skepticism.

“Really,” his mother assured him. “It’s worth a shot, right? Do you not like it because it showed you something bad?”

“No…” Jongin said, realizing that was a truthful answer. “Unhappy, yes. Once. But bad… Not really.”

“Then what makes you dislike it?” his mother pressed, reaching out a hand to place over Jongin’s.

“I don’t know,” Jongin answered. He took a few short moments to think about it. “I’m a little nervous it will show me something bad someday. Maybe it’ll show me someone I love who dies young. Maybe it’ll show me some failure of mine. What if I’m never happy in the future?”

“Jongin,” his mother said, reeling him back in. “Everyone has some point in their life that is hard to handle. You’re not going to be happy all the time, but you’re not going to be sad all the time, either. Sometimes you will feel scared, and other times you will feel on top of the world. You’ll be in love and you’ll be heartbroken. But that’s life, and it is a wonderful thing to experience with the people around you. You shouldn’t fear it or hate it because it isn’t perfect.”

“And I know that!” Jongin said. “But I dread getting the hard things because I’m going to have to live through it twice.”

“And you get to live through the good things twice,” his mother reminded him. Jongin’s mouth snapped shut. She was right. “Tell me about the good things you can’t wait to live through again. Tell me what you’re excited to see one more time.”

It didn’t take long for Jongin to summon the memory of some of his visions. Friends and family experiencing success and happiness. It all made him smile to himself.

“Moments with you and dad,” he answered first. “Smiles with friends. A classmate becoming minister. Couples getting married. Every moment where Sehun just smiles.”

He stopped then and slapped a hand over his own mouth. He hadn’t meant to voice that last part because it was so person specific and obvious. But the look on his mother’s face was not surprise. She was smiling at him as if she already knew.

“Life is wonderful,” she repeated to him. “Think of your gift as a way of appreciating all of life; good and bad. Learn to love it, and maybe it will heed you more.”

Jongin tried. He closed his eyes for a few moments and went quiet, thinking of his mother’s hand on his. He tried to think of the good things he had always seen from his visions. He thought about the fullness of life and what that meant. And before he knew it, new images sprang to the front of his mind.

The first was of his mother, sitting in a high boxed seating area. She was clinging to Jongin’s father as he pointed out a particular figure, dressed in red and flying on a broom. His mother’s eyes followed that figure with pure amazement as they zipped by, chased closely by someone in blue.

It was a quidditch match, and it was Jongin she watched so closely.

His father grew restless with excitement and his mother leaned forward against the railing to watch her son fly. She cheered with excited screams as Jongin’s hand wrapped around the golden snitch and raised it high for the whole stadium to see.

Her eyes were alight with the fireworks of her bravery; a heart of Gryffindor in a small muggle body. Jongin couldn’t believe it.

Then it faded and gave way to another shorter, much simpler vision.

She was in the kitchen of their home, pulling a sheet of cookie from the oven. White chocolate macadamia nut. After allowing them time to cool, she even set some aside and wrapped them up before handing them to Jongin.

Then it was over, and Jongin came back to the present where his mother watched him, searching his face for signs of his return to reality.

“You made cookies?” he croaked, voice strained with his return to normalcy.

“They will be ready in a couple minutes,” she said, suddenly smiling at him. “Do you want some?”

“Yeah!” Jongin said with a bright smile. He stumbled quickly to his feet, feeling like his legs had just fallen asleep. Then he kissed his mother on the cheek in thanks. “Love you, mom.”

She laughed. “Love you, too, baby.”

Later, when the cookies had cooled, she packed up some for Sehun. Jongin penned a quick letter that acknowledged the fact that white chocolate was not real chocolate. He didn’t think Sehun would mind all the same. Then he sent the parcel off with North.

He watched her fly away while he thought about how he hadn’t learned anything about him and Sehun today, but that was okay. It could wait a little bit longer.

-----

Fifth year was where they grew apart a little.

It wasn’t on purpose. They just got busy with studying and their extracurricular activities. Jongin still didn’t know what he wanted to do when he graduated, and the O.W.L.s were supposed to help you gear your studies towards what you wanted to do. Because he didn’t want to be limited, he would have to get O’s in everything.

On the other hand, he still had quidditch and had become the captain this year. There was a lot on his plate and Jongin found himself busy more often than not.

It was much different for Sehun. He was discovering a love for herbology and medicine. His passions for it seemed to grow every day to the point where Jongin would have to interrupt his rants about the uses of certain mushrooms in various potions.

Sehun would have to do well in Potions and Herbology the most, but Charms would be a useful skill as well. Part of his studying found him helping out in the Hospital Wing. It left him smelling funny sometimes, but it was necessary for him to further his knowledge.

When they did find time together, it was to eat or study. Trips to Hogsmeade for butterbeer became rare, and Jongin at first thought this might be a good thing. It helped him get that distance he wanted but without being abrupt and causing Sehun to ask questions. It was a natural separation that would give him time to think until next year.

They spent the whole year like this, catching up over a monthly butterbeer and helping each other study the subjects they lagged in. Jongin found himself missing Sehun’s constant presence more than a little. He just wanted to play with Sehun like they had when they were first years again. Back when Kyungsoo was a nuisance, but not actively making their lives difficult. Back when Jongin didn’t know about Sehun’s bloodline. Back before he got the vision of that girl dancing with Sehun.

“Hey.”

Jongin looked up from his book. Sehun was leaning over the table towards him, parchment and books spread across the table, everything crumpling under his fingers. Jongin blinked up at him shortly before Sehun grabbed his hand and yanked him from the table.

Jongin made a lazy attempt to stay in his seat, but ultimately allowed Sehun to drag him away while he whined pathetically. They left their things in the library. It’s not like anyone was going to steal a bunch of study material.

“Where are you taking me?” Jongin questioned.

“To the quidditch pitch to borrow a broom,” Sehun answered.

“Why?” Jongin asked dumbly.

“Because I’m still awkward on a broom, and I miss my best friend.”

Jongin felt a swell of happiness in his gut that he tried to push down. It was futile. He smiled at Sehun and squeezed the hand holding his, the contrast between their complexion looking more appealing than even. Sehun’s shining flawless skin in comparison to Jongin’s bronzed, burn scarred hands.

“You want to fly…” Jongin says, clarifying Sehun’s words.

“Yes, Jongin,” Sehun laughed. “I want to fly.”

Jongin spent the next two hours starting from the basics. Sehun was awkward, but he did improve the longer persisted. All Sehun was looking for anyway was comfort. He did not need to know how to dive and roll and climb high into the air. If he felt the need for that later, Jongin could teach him that, too.

“How is quidditch going?” Sehun questioned, tightening his legs around the neck of the broom. Jongin had a firm hold on Sehun’s hand to keep him stable. “I’m sorry I missed your last game.”

Jongin shook his head with a genuine smile. “No need to apologize,” he assured Sehun. “We’ve been doing well.”

“Hufflepuff, too,” Sehun said. “Baekhyun says they’re going to win the Quidditch Cup this year.”

Jongin couldn’t help it. He laughed. “Not a chance,” he sang.

“And what? You think Gryffindor is going to win the cup?” Sehun returned, a pout on his rosy lips.

“What if I do?” Jongin asked, amused by Sehun’s sudden defensiveness.

“The Hufflepuff team will trample you!” Sehun declared, getting so excited that he nearly pitched over on his broom. Jongin’s hand tightened its grip to keep Sehun in the air.

“Whoa, calm down there, little badger,” Jongin laughed, watching Sehun’s eyes go wide in fright.

“I’m not a baby,” Sehun snapped.

“If you’re not,” Jongin laughed, “I can let go of your hand, right?”

“No!” Sehun cried, gripping Jongin’s hand so tightly Jongin feared his fingers might snap.

“Ow! Ow!” Jongin hissed. “Okay, okay! I’m not going to let go!”

Sehun relaxed then and floated a little closer to Jongin as they drifted over the edge of the Black Lake. They drifted along for a while before Sehun seemed to have a thought.

“Want to make a bet?” he questioned, smiling at Jongin.

“A bet over what?” Jongin yawned.

“The Quidditch Cup,” Sehun clarified.

“And what would we be betting?” Jongin questioned.

Sehun shrugged and thought about it for a minute. “If Hufflepuff beats out Gryffindor in the Quidditch Cup, I want you to tell me your secret.”

Jongin’s eyes snapped up to meet Sehun’s, suddenly nervous.

“Too much?” Sehun asked, sounding worried himself.

But the longer Jongin let the request sit in the air, the more he realized it wasn’t too much at all.

“No,” he said. “I think that’s a fair request. I keep meaning to tell you. Just…”

“You don’t have the right words?” Sehun asked.

Jongin’s eyes softened. “Yeah.”

“I understand,” Sehun said, giving Jongin’s hand a little squeeze. Then he cleared his throat and moved back to the original conversation. “Well? What about if Gryffindor beats out Hufflepuff?”

Jongin’s lips twitched with amusement. “If Gryffindor beats out Hufflepuff, I want to be invited to your place this summer.”

Sehun blinked, seemingly surprised by the request. Then he laughed. “Really?” he asked.

“Yeah!” Jongin said with great enthusiasm. “I want to meet your family.”

“Then you have yourself a deal!” They would have shaken on it, but Jongin was already holding Sehun’s hand and Sehun refused to let go with his other hand.

Jongin helped Sehun through the rest of their flight until Sehun was more stable on the broom. He even got the boy to land with some grace after getting him to believe he could do it. Flying around was a matter of confidence after all.

Jongin never let go of Sehun’s hand even once.

-----

The day of the Hufflepuff vs. Gryffindor match was upon them sooner than they thought. It was a sunny day and Jongin had been running his team hard in preparation for this match. They would not underestimate Hufflepuff.

Sehun was watching from the front row, leaning over the banister of his house section with eager eyes. He almost seemed conflicted on who to cheer for. But because they had a bet riding on this game, he likely sided with his house.

Hufflepuff scored too many quaffle points within the first ten minutes of the game with stupid ease. Jongin couldn’t decide if it was because the Hufflepuff chasers were just that good or if the Gryffindor keeper needed to be replaced next year. He would have to think more on that later. Right now, he had to find that bloody golden snitch and quick.

He saw Baekhyun batting away bludgers from his teammates out of the corner of his eye, but he didn’t pay him much mind for now. What concerned him more was that he had just seen the Hufflepuff seeker make a dive off to the left of the pitch.

Jongin zeroed in on him and tried to follow his line of sight. Sure enough, his worried were founded. A flash of gold caught the light and Jongin sped off after his rival seeker. It didn’t take long for him to catch up. He had gotten his own broom at the beginning of the year as a gift from his father and it was fast. He inched up alongside the Hufflepuff seeker and tried to get closer to the snitch.

He reached out a hand, but it eluded him when the Hufflepuff seeker nudged him in the side to get there first. The snitch fluttered away from him as well and flew behind them both.

Growling with frustration, Jongin clutched his broom tightly and pulled a flip to get back on course. It was apparently a much smoother move than the Hufflepuff had managed. Looking behind him, Jongin found his rival making a wide turn to get back on track. It was a maneuver that gave Jongin precious seconds.

Soon enough, he was back on the tail of the golden snitch, heading back into the ring of the pitch. He heard the bell ring as someone scored points with the quaffle. It pleased Jongin greatly to hear them be announced as Gryffindor points.

Soon enough, he was within reach of the one hundred and fifty points and the end of the game. Just a little farther and he could snatch it from the sky. Jongin reached for it, no Hufflepuff seeker in sight.

His fingers closed on the little golden ball.

“JONGIN!”

That was Sehun’s voice, but Jongin didn’t have enough time to register it before a bludger gutted him. For a long moment, Jongin felt the world around him go quiet and he couldn’t breathe. He fell backwards, letting go of his broom and falling to the ground. He wasn’t more than twenty feet up, but he was sure in the time it took for him to fall and hit the ground, he passed out.

He woke again only a few seconds later, five faces hovering over him. The face front and center was Sehun’s, lightly slapping his face to bring him round.

“Hey, Jongin!” he said urgently. “Answer me, you stupid…”

“I’m sorry,” Baekhyun groaned from just behind Sehun. “I’m so sorry, Jongin. I didn’t mean to actually hit you. I’m so so so so sorry!”

But Jongin had to look to his side before he spoke. He had to check something.

He smiled.

“Jongin, please,” Sehun whined. “Say something!”

Jongin obliged. “I win,” he rasped out.

Sehun froze, blinking at Jongin in confusion. “Huh?”

Then Jongin thrust out his hand that still held onto the snitch, putting it right under Sehun’s nose.

“I win!” he said louder. “I get to go to your house this summer!”

There was stunned silence before Sehun smacked him on the head, hard.

Madam Pomfrey only treated the bruised ribs.

-----

That night at dinner, Jongin felt he deserved a little treat for the win.

Making sure no one was looking, Jongin grabbed an entire tray from the table, piled high with grilled chicken. He was seated at the back of the hall, making it an easy escape. He just had to get past Filch on his way out.

However, it turned out Filch was easier to slip past than a best friend.

“What are you doing?”

Jongin froze and slowly craned his neck to look at a very amused Sehun.

“That isn’t yours,” Sehun pointed out, keeping a laugh in his mouth. It passed through his eyes instead, his face twinkling with humor.

But just like a best friend, Jongin knew how to keep Sehun quiet.

“I’ll help you sneak out that plate of fudge if you don’t say a word,” Jongin offered.

“Deal!”

They went back in for the fudge plate before making their way away from the Great Hall. Halfway up the first staircase on their way to the Gryffindor common room, Joonmyun caught them.

“Jongin, Sehun,” he called, a tone of warning in his voice. “What are you two doing?”

They bolted, not wanting to lose their loot. When Joonmyun used his prefect authority to deduct house points from them, all they did was laugh.

-----

“Want to go on a date?”

Jongin’s spoon stopped halfway to his mouth at the words. He looked up, eyes wide and mouth still open for a bite of food he had already completely forgotten about.

“I-I’m sorry?” he squeaked.

Krystal laughed and repeated herself. “Want to go on a date?”

Jongin was dumbstruck by that question. But then he remembers the snippet of a vision he had gotten of her and him. Perhaps this was what it was telling him.

“Of course, he does!” Sehun volunteered for him with a happy smile.

“Sehun!” Jongin hissed, looking at him in horror.

“Oh, come on!” Sehun urged, getting up from the Hufflepuff table. He stood at Krystal’s side to offer his support. She looked a little embarrassed, but at the same time, she seemed to appreciate the help. “You’re not committing to a relationship by going on one date. Give her a chance.”

“We can keep it light,” Krystal assured Jongin. “I don’t want to cause friction between us if it doesn’t work out. We’ll still be on the same quidditch team next year, after all.”

“See?” Sehun said. “It’ll be fun!”

Jongin looked at the two of them while he bit his lip. Krystal was a nice girl. She wouldn’t pressure him for more if Jongin wasn’t feeling it. One date couldn’t hurt, right?

Then he zeroed in on Sehun and felt his heart sink. Sehun was throwing him at someone else. He was trying to be helpful, but it didn’t sit well in Jongin’s heart.

Still, Jongin finally nodded. Maybe this would be good for him. He wanted space from his feelings for Sehun anyway.

“Okay,” he agreed. “One date. This weekend? We can go to Hogsmeade and have lunch.”

“Sounds good!” Krystal piped up. She smiled brightly at him and turned to head back to her friends. “I’ll see you then!” Then she waved.

Jongin gave a little awkward wave of his own before she disappeared.

“What would you do without me?” Sehun said, mentally patting himself on the back.

“I don’t know,” Jongin muttered. “Probably live a better life.”

Sehun’s smile fell and he smacked Jongin on the back. Jongin’s bruised rib throbbed. “See if I get you a date again!”

Jongin giggled and pulled Sehun in for a hug. Sehun resisted at first but ultimately gave in. Jongin used it as an opportunity to hide the sad expression that threatened to mar his face. He buried his head in Sehun’s stomach, thinking that he smelled a lot like one of the greenhouses right now. He also kind of smelled like chocolate, and Jongin wished he could have this instead of quidditch air and perfume.

-----

Despite not looking forward to it, Jongin’s date with Krystal went well. He found her to be a nice distraction with her long hair and cute laugh. They talked a lot, but she kept her promise and kept the conversation light. This was just a test run after all.

But at the end of the date, Jongin bit the bullet and asked her out on a second one. She agreed in a heartbeat, flashing him a genuine smile.

They ended up dating into the summer, but Jongin never outright told anyone. He just planned dates and said, “Krystal and I made plans,” when anyone asked him to do something.

Sehun always had impeccable timing, though.

-----

Want to come over to my place next week?

It wasn’t signed, but Jongin would know that scrawl anywhere as well as the owl attached to it. Sehun was finally making good on their bet.

It took a good portion of the summer before Sehun finally invited him. Jongin assumed it had something to do with his veela mother and not wanting to make either her or Jongin uncomfortable by surprising either of them. But this simple invitation caused happiness to bloom in Jongin’s stomach. Sehun hadn’t fought him on this at all. It felt like he was finally letting Jongin see everything. He was finally letting Jongin into the sectioned off parts of his life.

Jongin wrote his eager reply and sent it back with Sehun’s striped owl Arrow. He tried not to make it a big deal in his letter, but in his head, he was swimming in the happiness.

What made it even better was that he and Krystal hadn’t made plans for the coming week. Jongin didn’t have to disappoint either of them.

-----

Please brush your hair before arriving. Mother will think you’re an uncivilized muggle if you don’t.

Jongin had rolled his eyes when he got the letter, but he did as he was told and brushed his hair down before getting into the fireplace.

“Have fun, baby,” his mother called, trying not to scrunch up her nose when he grabbed a fistful of Floo powder. She’d never like it, and Jongin would just have to tolerate that part of her. She was great about everything else these days after the events with Sehun and Jongin’s Aunt Mirae the year prior. She had even approved getting Jongin a newer, faster broom after his father talked her into going to the Quidditch Cup championship with Ravenclaw. That was where Jongin got to relive his vision of his mother screaming for him to fly faster. He caught the snitch only seconds later and brought it to her triumphantly.

Regardless of her small things, Jongin grew more proud of her by the day for facing all of her fears. He would never be able to put into words how grateful he had been to her for calming Sehun in his moment of distress and all the progress she had made since.

“I will,” Jongin said with a smile. “I’ll see you at the end of the week.” Then he stood tall and spoke his destination clearly. “Oh Residence, number 94.”

He dropped the Floo powder and green flames took him away.

-----

When he finally slid into the proper chimney, Jongin was a lot less graceful than Sehun had been the first time he arrived at Jongin’s place. Where Sehun stood on solid feet and only a little soot on his face to indicate his travels, Jongin slid out on his butt, coughing up chimney dust and making a mess.

When he opened his eyes, Sehun was standing over him, smirking.

“Ace on a broom, but you can’t take a chimney flight with more finesse.”

“Ace in a chimney, but you can’t take a broom flight with more grace,” Jongin shot back.

Sehun laughed and reached out a hand for Jongin to take. Jongin pulled himself up with it and gave Sehun a hug.

“It’s good to see you,” Sehun hummed, hugging him back. “But I wish you had brushed your hair like I asked.”

“I did!” Jongin whined. “The chimney messed it up!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sehun laughed before he was shoving a damp towel in Jongin’s face to get the soot off him. It was very much like Jongin’s mother had done for Sehun on his arrival. Jongin just sat there and let him clean him up. He was obviously concerned about how his parents viewed Jongin already. The least he could do was make Sehun feel comfortable.

When he finished, he set the towel aside on the mantle and took Jongin’s hand. He didn’t say he was taking him to introduce him to his parents, but it was assumed. Jongin didn’t know why he was so nervous all of a sudden. Sehun had never said anything that would make Jongin scared of them, so he didn’t know why.

He tried to keep himself calm. Maybe it was because Sehun had kept his lineage a secret for so long and finally being allowed to see where he came from felt like being let in. He was trusted.

Jongin squeezed Sehun’s hand when he noticed how stiff he was. Sehun looked back at Jongin with a small smile on his lips but said nothing.

They came to a set of doors before Sehun stopped him and turned to him with intent in his eyes.

“You will meet my mother first,” he told Jongin first. Then he paused for a moment, seeming to be picking words. “I know what full veela do to people regardless of intent. Just do what you can to minimize the amount of staring you do. She will understand.”

Jongin nodded his head to indicate he had heard and listened. Sehun kept his eyes on him for a moment longer before deciding this was still okay. He turned back to the door and pushed it open with a sigh.

Jongin followed Sehun into the room and looked up to the only other person there. Jongin’s eyes went wide as he took in her features. But he did not stare because of her beauty. Was she beautiful? Yes, very much so. Was he entranced? Perhaps a bit. But the true surprise was in her hair and her face and her skin.

Jongin had seen this woman before.

She was the source of a large portion of Jongin’s jealousy since first year. Now, he recognized all that jealousy as wasted anguish. He stopped in his steps and looked down, letting a little laugh out. When he had seen Sehun dancing with a woman, it had been his own mother. How had Jongin not seen the resemblance?

“Jongin,” Sehun hissed in warning. The woman raised her hand to quiet Sehun’s worries. Then she turned to Jongin with a kind face.

“You are Jongin?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Jongin replied with a cheerful smile and another little laugh.

“Why are you laughing?” she asked, looking down at her attire. It was a painfully plain black dress but lovely on her figure. “Is it something I did?”

“Not at all,” Jongin assured her, still smiling. “It was nothing you did at all. I merely felt as if I have met you before and it was a soothing thought.”

“Ah,” she hummed, giving him a sweet smile. This was where Sehun’s smile came from; the one Jongin wanted to protect above all else. “I’m sorry I cannot say I feel the same. But my son thinks highly of you and I thank you for keeping an eye on him for me.”

“Of course,” Jongin laughed. He felt so light without the jealousy weighing him down. “Though, he looks after me plenty, as well.”

Jongin could see how others fell for the tricks of the veela. They were indeed bewitching; beautiful as well as seemingly kind and welcoming. But for whatever reason, Jongin wasn’t getting the worst of it. Now that he was aware of them as magical beings, Jongin was aware that some people would do almost anything to gain a veela’s approval. However, Jongin wasn’t feeling that compelling of an urge to satisfy Sehun’s mother.

Perhaps he was prepared for it. Perhaps he was one of the few that was not naturally drawn to veela. But he couldn’t be sure which it was. When he looked at Sehun, he still felt a powerful pull to get closer. He always wanted to touch. He always wanted to hold him. He always wanted to have things he couldn’t.

With one more look at a smiling Sehun, Jongin concluded that he was just prepared for Sehun’s mother.

-----

“Mom, you promised!” Sehun argued later that day. “I didn’t complain all summer. You said I could have a week off while Jongin was here!”

“I promised no such thing,” his mother refuted. “I said I would consider it, and I did consider it. But you need the practice. These are skills that need to be constantly maintained, especially when you are not full veela.”

“I’m not going to forget how to dance in seven days, mom.”

Jongin found this conversation amusing. He didn’t know what Sehun was arguing over with his mother, but Sehun was clearly losing.

“May I ask?” Jongin interrupted, no longer able to contain his curiosity.

“Has he not told you he has lessons in veela etiquette?” Mrs. Oh questioned.

“I didn’t know there was such a thing,” Jongin admitted. “I would have asked about them if I did.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sehun grumbled. “Mom told me if I practiced hard all summer and didn’t whine then she would let me hold off practice for the week you visited.”

“I told you, Sehun,” she said, her tone firm, “I promised you nothing. I said doing such things would give you a good case, but I deemed your practice every day necessary.”

Sehun slumped into Jongin’s lap with a dramatic sigh. It was clear he would be making up for the whining he held off on now that he knew it had been in vain. Jongin laughed lightly and ran a soothing hand through Sehun’s hair while he laid in his lap.

“Can I watch?” Jongin asked.

Sehun scowled up at Jongin.

“You can say no,” Jongin assured him with a smile.

“I would welcome you watching,” Sehun’s mother agreed. “But I suppose Sehun might have a different opinion.” Then Sehun turned his scowl on his mother and she chuckled. “A very different opinion.”

“Whatever,” Sehun muttered.

“I can watch?” Jongin questioned with a smile. Sehun didn’t reply, but he didn’t say no.

A lot of Sehun’s mandatory practice was the practice of graceful movement. Veela carried an ethereal grace that came naturally. It seemed that Sehun only inherited some of that natural grace. The rest was earned through these practices. His mother instructed him with a strict eye, aiding him with simple touches to change his movements ever so slightly or remind him to relax.

In some ways, this made Jongin think of himself being a toddler and learning to walk. He knew his mother held his hand for that process. This was a similar thing in nature. A veela’s grace was a right of passage, and Sehun was obviously proud of his heritage. It was also clear in his concentration that these lessons were not imposed on Sehun without his consent.

Sehun had asked for these lessons himself at one point or another. But a commitment was a commitment and his mother held him to it, even when Sehun only intended to take a short break.

“Do you want to try?” Sehun’s mother asked him at one point.

Jongin blinked his surprise and came out of his trance. He had been mesmerized by Sehun’s movements, trying to get that smooth movement his mother had just demonstrated. Jongin turned his eyes to the veela, shrinking at her smile.

“I couldn’t,” Jongin said, shaking his head.

“Veela children have an easier time than humans,” she agreed, echoing his thoughts. But she had more to add. “However, even they had to learn once. Come. I’ll teach you one of my favorites.”

She convinced Sehun to lead, but she encourages Jongin to react to any feelings that came up while they danced. After all, though the initial emotions the dance is meant for are playful and happy, she knew that looked different for veela and humans. She reiterated that she was not trying to teach Jongin to be veela. She was trying to teach him that it is okay for him to be a part of Sehun’s more personal life. And it’s okay for Sehun to learn to let Jongin in as well.

They started at arm’s length apart, Jongin staring into Sehun’s eyes. Mrs. Oh told Jongin to oppose Sehun’s steps at first to begin the dance. She put on some music for them to make it easier for Jongin. Sehun usually practiced in silence because the music his ancestors danced to was all in their heads.

Sehun moved slowly at first, easing Jongin into the movement. Jongin listened to Mrs. Oh and did the opposite of everything Sehun did, keeping it strictly within the rules. But he was also finding himself falling into a strange headspace while watching Sehun take the lead.

Jongin found himself responding without thinking to the small changes Sehun made to the dance. If the pattern were left right left right left right and suddenly Sehun threw in a little twist of a leg, Jongin followed effortlessly. Maybe it was magic, maybe it was because Sehun knew how to lead, or maybe it was both. Jongin wouldn’t be surprised.

Then Sehun reached out a hand for Jongin’s, inviting him in. He smiled at Jongin and Jongin took that hand that he trusted with his life. Jongin found himself smiling at this connection between them and remembered what Sehun’s mother had told him at the beginning.

He acted on his happiness and initiated a spin, Sehun’s hand coming up easily to assist. When he came through it, Sehun’s hand resumed its steady hold and they went on a little walk, the grace rolling off of Sehun in waves. Jongin didn’t know how he himself looked, but he must look like a newly born foal wobbling around on unsteady legs by comparison.

Jongin didn’t care and neither did Sehun.

There was much more. There was more between them as they continued this dance. Mrs. Oh had stopped instructing long ago. There were more spins and tilts of someone’s body and support from each other. Jongin could see Sehun thinking about all his movements too much at the start. He could see the creases of worry in his features. Was he veela enough? Was he beautiful enough?

Jongin laughed out loud when he wiped those worries from Sehun’s brain. Eventually, Sehun danced with Jongin to the tune of his freedom. Sehun laughed with him. There was so much movement and happiness between them Jongin was filled up with it and more.

There was a comfortable tangle of feet beneath them, barely missing toes and shins because they knew each other too well. There were stomps of their teasing friendship in the dance and so much push and pull. And the circles. So much spinning and going around each other. Laughing until breathless.

Spinning and spinning and spinning.

Jongin’s mind flashed with a vision, them close, too close, Jongin pulling, pulling, pulling, and he gasped before it faded back to reality. Everything stopped, and he found Sehun’s face too close.

Jongin and Sehun were pressed up against each other, leaning on each other in their dizziness now that the dance had finished. There was barely an inch of breath between them. Jongin wanted to close that distance, the replay of the vision in his head encouraged him to do so; that flash of close, close, close and Sehun’s tie in his hand. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it when a laugh bubbled out of Sehun’s mouth.

He looked over at his mother then with a knowing expression. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you?”

She smiled almost sheepishly as she approached the two boys. “You’ve been thinking about it all too hard,” he admitted. “You forget that it is okay to bring your humanity to being veela. Learning of your ancestry only helps you honor it. I do not want you becoming either human or veela. You are both, and it is okay to display both.” Then she kissed his temple like only a mother knew how.

“So, practice is over?” Sehun asked, skeptical.

“For now,” she agreed. “We’ll resume after Jongin has returned home.”

Sehun smiled brightly and grabbed Jongin’s hand to drag him back to his room. Jongin still felt breathless.

-----

Sehun’s father was significantly less interesting, but no less kind. He was an author, though admittedly, Jongin had never heard of him or read any of his books. Sehun shrugged and made a comment about it managing to pay the bills anyway.

Jongin hardly ever saw the guy during the week he was there. He was always busy up in his office working on whatever he needed for his next book. He had come down to speak with his wife and Sehun a couple times and greet Jongin with an enthusiastic handshake. He kind of looked like he wanted to hug Jongin but didn’t know if Jongin would appreciate that very much.

He ended up making their dinner on the final day of Jongin’s stay. It was simple, but the food was no less spectacular. It seemed to be somewhat of a hobby for Mr. Oh to mix magical and muggle cooking techniques. Sehun enjoyed watching like Jongin enjoyed watching his own father make potions. This left Jongin alone with Sehun’s mother in the dining room.

He felt a little awkward but still mostly calm because of the veela demeanor. He took a sip of his water to clear his throat, but before he could even swallow, she spoke.

“Do you love my son?”

Jongin choked on his water and started coughing up a storm as he put the cup back down on the table.

“Did I startle you?” she asked with a laugh. “I’m sorry, but I had to ask.”

“H-how did you…?” Jongin began. He didn’t finish the question, but Sehun’s mother answered anyway.

“You’re not very good at hiding how you feel,” she said, smiling. “My son may be oblivious, but I am not. However, only you can tell me the extent of your feelings.”

“I don’t know,” Jongin finally answered, keeping his voice low. This conversation was reminding him a lot of the one he had had with Baekhyun at school. Sehun was in the kitchen, laughing with his father over something, but Jongin still worried he could hear this conversation. “I thought I did love him for a while. But I’m not so sure.”

“Well, at least what I can tell is that you love him like family if nothing else,” she hummed. “He sent letters home when you two fought and he was inconsolable. Then when you made up, he sent us very happy letters again.”

“I reacted badly to the information of his bloodline,” Jongin admitted. “But I didn’t know why I did at the time. I promise I didn’t have a problem with his family and what that made him, I just…”

“You wondered why he hadn’t trusted you,” Mrs. Oh clarified. “And that is my fault.”

“He was right to hide it,” Jongin admitted. “Some kids at school knew before I did. They are less nice about it.”

“But what of how you feel?” Mrs. Oh pressed, returning to her original question. “I gather you’re struggling.”

Jongin bit his lip before answering, knowing he finally had someone to discuss this with. She was the closest thing he would get to answers.

“After I found out, I wondered how much of what I felt was because of his veela blood,” Jongin finally answered. “I didn’t want to hurt him just because I made a mistake.”

Then she leaned forward to fix him with a smile. Her face was full of knowing. Jongin sat back in his chair and took in her features while he could. Until just now, he hadn’t realized how much of herself she had passed on to Sehun. Sehun almost seemed to look like her when he was younger. Now that he was more mature, his father’s features were coming out to create a very stunning face.

This passed through his head even before Mrs. Oh spoke to him.

“I think you’re like me,” she finally told him. “You worry too much.”

“I do?” Jongin questioned, blinking in confusion.

“I think so,” she said, sitting back again. “There’s a few things about you that are different than most humans. Call it a veela’s intuition, I suppose. But you’re not acting how most people act when they meet me.”

“I’m… I’m not?” Jongin asked, not sure where this was going.

“Not at all,” she said. “People that meet me are compelled by something to do things outside their normality in order to please me. At first, I thought you might fall into that category of people. But you laughed almost as if you were relieved and act as if you knew who I was. After that, you haven’t looked at me like you did when you first saw me. The spell that most humans fall under when around a veela just never took hold.”

“I don’t understand,” Jongin admitted.

“Then let me try to suggest something,” she continued. “Have you ever considered the possibility that you could be immune to veela charm?”

“I’m not immune,” Jongin said, knowing this to be a fact. “There are certain things about him that I look at all the time. I know I want to touch and I know I can’t. I have found myself doing things for his benefit, small things, but things I don’t usually do.”

“Like?” Mrs. Oh prodded.

“I haven’t had a single bit of chocolate since I met Sehun,” Jongin giggled. “And… And my hair. I was distressed over losing him. I wanted his attention back. So, I brushed my hair to get him to say something. But I caught myself doing it and scrapped the idea.”

“And how do you know none of that is genuine?” Mrs. Oh finally asked. “Giving things they like to them, making their life easier or happier in any way you can. That is how love starts.”

“But was I doing it because he’s half veela?” Jongin repeated. “I don’t know.”

“Think about this,” Mrs. Oh said, bringing Jongin back. “Do you want to do those kinds of things for me?”

Jongin blinked and thought about it, but the answer was obvious in his head. “No,” he answered.

“Wouldn’t it stand to reason that a full veela should have more of a pull on you than a half veela?” she asked, smiling at him.

“I… I suppose.”

“Then, if you are sure you are affected by the veela charm, you have found a way to override me.”

Jongin suddenly got what she was talking about and felt uncomfortable. Was that really true? Did he override a full veela? He didn’t know, but as he thought over her words, he thought about that vision of her and Sehun he had had back when his gift was still new. All he had cared about in that vision was Sehun and his happiness. On the other hand, the woman in the vision had been a source or anxiety and depression for years. She hadn’t been what drew Jongin’s eye at all.

Now, he was sitting with the very woman he had thought he hated and realized he felt completely at home. But he still did not feel any attraction to her. He still did not want to connect with her the way he desired to connect to Sehun. She was kind and seemed to understand his confusion. She wanted to help.

Jongin couldn’t be mad at her for that vision. It wasn’t her fault that his gift was finicky and refused to show him the whole story. In fact, he didn’t want to be angry with her at all anymore. He didn’t want to hold onto his frustration over that anymore.

It was freeing to let all that negativity go. Now, he only needed to know how he was overriding her.

“Think about it a little longer,” she encouraged Jongin. “And trust whatever that sixth sense of yours is telling you.”

“Shh!” Jongin hissed, scared out of his thoughts. He wasn’t trying to be rude. He just wasn’t used to anyone but his family knowing.

“Oh, he doesn’t know,” Mrs. Oh giggled.

“No one but my family and one teacher knows,” Jongin muttered. “I don’t know much about it. It’s unpredictable.”

“Do you not trust him?” she asked.

“Of course, I do,” Jongin gritted out. “I want to tell him. I’m just-“

“Then when will you tell him?” she asked. It was a fair question.

Jongin opened his mouth to respond, but then Sehun and his father walked in, both carrying plates of food.

“Time to eat!” Sehun announced with a smile when he set down his plates. Then he sat down next to Jongin.

Jongin never got to answer Mrs. Oh. He spent the rest of dinner thinking about it and thinking about a lot of other things.

-----

Sixth year was stressful for more reasons than just one, but the stress started early.

Krystal had distanced herself from him ever since right after his visit to Sehun’s place over the summer. The dates came less frequent and Jongin wondered what happened. Maybe she was getting bored of him already?

They still practiced for quidditch without issue. She even continued to poke fun with him and at him like she usually did. It wasn’t as if the way she acted around him had changed. It was just how often she allowed herself to be around him that had changed.

“Are you guys having problems?” Sehun asked one day. He seemed to be Jongin and Krystal’s biggest supporter. Jongin wasn’t sure why.

“I’m not sure,” Jongin answered truthfully. “She still acts the same when we go on dates and stuff. So, I don’t think so?”

“I don’t know mate,” Sehun said, clicking his tongue. “Something doesn’t look right between you. Have you talked to her?”

“No,” Jongin said. “I didn’t think there was anything to talk about.”

“I didn’t think there was anything to discuss with Luhan either,” Sehun commented. Since their breakup, Sehun and Luhan had gone back to being friends. But now, Luhan had graduated and it was harder to keep in contact. Jongin wondered briefly if that would be him and Sehun after school, too. “Talk to her before it’s too late.”

Except, Jongin didn’t know for sure if it was too late or not already. He didn’t want to try very hard with Krystal. He liked her, but the feelings were not like what she seemed to hold for him. He felt bad about that, but it just wasn’t happening on his end. But Sehun was right. After all this time, hoping feelings would blossom and then not having them, he owed Krystal a conversation.

“You’re right,” he sighed. Then he hesitated one more moment before getting up from his seat on the steps. “I need to talk to her. I’ll see you later.”

Sehun gave him a little wave and popped another chocolate in his mouth.

-----

It didn’t take long for Jongin to find Krystal. She was hanging out in the common room with her friends. They all knew the two of them were dating, so it was not considered unusual for Jongin to butt in and make himself comfortable.

However, this was not a discussion he wanted to have with an audience.

“Hey,” she greeted him with a smile. She saw right through his forced smile. Her own return smile dropped slightly when she noticed his hesitation and discomfort. “Is something wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Jongin muttered. Then he swallowed and said, “Can we… Can we talk?”

A few of her friends shared worried glances between them, but Krystal didn’t seem surprised by the request.

“Of course,” she said, getting up from the comfortable couch. “I know the astronomy tower is empty right now.”

Jongin nodded and followed her there. It was a quiet walk for the most part. She seemed just as serious as he was, and it made him nervous. Without saying so, and without a vision telling him so, he felt like this could be the end of his illusions.

When they reached the top of the astronomy tower, she turned to him. She was smiling, a little too happy for the sad look in her eyes.

“Have you figured it out?” she asked.

“No,” Jongin answered. He sounded a lot calmer than he felt.

“Well, I have,” she said, moving around to his side. “I really should have known it all along, but I didn’t want to believe it.”

“I don’t understand,” Jongin said.

“Do you even like girls?” Krystal asked. “Because if not, I’ll at least feel special for being the only girl you dated.”

“What are you talking about?” Jongin questioned, losing some of his cool. “Quit asking confusing questions.”

“Oh, for goodness sake,” Krystal huffed. “You are so oblivious to your own feelings it’s ridiculous.”

“No, I’m confused by my own feelings,” Jongin hissed.

“So, you admit it,” Krystal cheered. “Good for you!”

“I don’t like you right now,” Jongin groused.

“Well, I don’t like being used because you felt insecure,” Krystal commented. “You’ve been in love with Sehun this whole time and you can’t even admit it to yourself.”

“That’s not true,” Jongin said, lowering his voice. “I admitted it to myself forever ago. Then things changed.”

“He started dating someone else,” Krystal drawled, holding up a finger. “He told you about his bloodline.” She held up another finger. “Pushed you off on me.” A third finger. “I get it. Everything is telling you he’s not interested, and you want to stay his friend at all costs. But come on, Jongin. You’re only happy when you’ve had all your time with him. Do you know how distant you were during the summer? Then one week at Sehun’s place and you can’t stop talking or smiling. Forget everything else because you’re in love with him and it’s so cute its gross. Fucking tell him, you idiot.”

“I can’t!” Jongin cried.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

Both Krystal and Jongin jumped at the new voice in the room. Jongin spun around to find his Slytherin cousin standing in the doorway, arms crossed and an irritated scowl wrinkling his nose.

“Don’t you get it?” Kyungsoo hissed. “She’s breaking up with you so you can go use that dumb jock lion heart of yours and face your fear of rejection.”

“What’s with it being any of your business?” Jongin hissed after recovering from his surprise. “You hate us.”

“I don’t hate you,” Kyungsoo rebutted. “I think you’re both stupid and I don’t like Sehun’s lineage or yours. But if anyone belongs together, it’s a half-blood and a half-breed.”

Jongin saw red at the way Kyungsoo spat those words like poison. Jongin let out a roar of anger like a battle cry and charged at Kyungsoo, calling on his magic to aid him. Krystal stood behind him, a yell of surprise escaping her lips, but Jongin had forgotten all about her. Before he realized what he was doing, he was standing over Kyungsoo’s shocked face, bear claws holding him down to the stone floor and sharp teeth inches from his face.

“When did you learn to do that?” Kyungsoo breathed. His voice was quiet, almost reverent at the display of complex magic. Jongin had no time for pride, however. He needed to knock some sense into Kyungsoo right now and get him to shut the hell up.

“Jongin, get off him,” Krystal hissed pushing at the girth of Jongin’s bear form. “You’ll get in trouble.” Jongin didn’t care and the longer he and his cousin stayed in this position, the less frightened Kyungsoo became.

“You know you could have botched that transformation, right?” Kyungsoo commented, staying still under Jongin’s claw. “You could have made a mistake and ended up half bear half human for the rest of your life. Didn’t that scare you?”

Jongin let out another growl; his only means of communicating while in this form. He had been a little scared while learning, but he wanted to learn so badly. He pushed through that fear to do it.

“If you knew,” Kyungsoo muttered. “Why did you do it anyway?”

For Sehun. Jongin wanted to protect him. He wanted to be sure he could deter anyone trying to give Sehun a hard time and that required some risks while learning complicated magic. He was why Jongin was able to be brave.

“It was because of that half-breed, right?” Kyungsoo said, seemingly able to read Jongin’s mind.

This time, when he used the word Jongin hated, he could hear the teasing in his voice. Had that always been there? Still, Jongin wasn’t in the mood to be teased. He snarled.

“Doesn’t that tell you something?” Kyungsoo questioned. “You risked potential permanent mutilation for him without blinking at the fear. Yet, you let him push you around and decide what’s good for you because you’re too afraid to kiss that disgustingly perfect veela face. Some Gryffindor you are.”

The animal in Jongin wanted to roar some more and display his frustration, but the human part of him heard what Kyungsoo was saying. The snarl faded, and he retracted his claw from Kyungsoo’s chest. Shortly after, Jongin reverted to human form and Kyungsoo sat up. Krystal sank to the floor in relief and smacked Jongin on the back of the head.

But despite the scolding she was trying to administer to him, Jongin was only focused on Kyungsoo; confused.

“Why do you care at all?” Jongin questioned. Kyungsoo didn’t answer right away. “Why does it matter to you what I do or don’t do with Sehun?”

Finally, Kyungsoo gave him an answer, and it was not what Jongin expected.

“Because like it or not, we’re family,” Kyungsoo answered, voice softer and more sincere than Jongin had ever heard it. It gave the impression of vulnerability that Jongin knew instinctively Kyungsoo hated. Kyungsoo continued, looking away. “You and I don’t have to like each other. We don’t have to agree with each other. We don’t even have to hang out. But your father and my mother are siblings and that makes us cousins and family. On some level, I watched you struggle and I want you to succeed.”

“Then why do you undermine me?” Jongin asked.

“Regardless of what you may think,” Kyungsoo grumbled, “I don’t set out to make your life difficult. I’m awkward and shy around the people that I am not comfortable with. If you recall that time outside, you were doing a spell wrong, the intention was to help you learn. But it came out wrong and you reacted badly to it, so I reverted to the things I knew. You were a half-blood and he was a half-breed. But you two were the ones to point your wands at me first.”

“And when you knocked him into a wall?” Jongin questioned further.

“An accident,” Kyungsoo admitted. “He was doing something stupid, I told him as such. He took it wrong just like you did. When I defended myself, I didn’t realize the wall was as close at his back as it actually was. I’ve got the glasses to prove my sight isn’t great.” He even pulled them from his pocket to show Jongin; a pair of round lensed spectacles.

Jongin frowned and said nothing. He still didn’t like Kyungsoo much. If he really held no malice towards either of them, he could have just knocked their wands out of their hands rather than retaliating, right? Kyungsoo didn’t mind the fights. But whatever he was doing now didn’t feel like he was asking for a fight anymore.

“We don’t have to be friends,” Kyungsoo reasserted, leaning towards Jongin a little more. “You don’t have to like me. But can we stop fighting? It’s a pain to keep beating you both in duels that last two spells.”

“We can do better than that,” Jongin whispered, facing the ground. “We could be friends. All you have to do is stop referring to us by our blood status.”

“That’s going to be a hard habit to break,” Kyungsoo grunted. “My mother-“

“I know,” Jongin interrupted. “I know about her. But if you want things to get better between us, you have to make that effort. If you really can’t control yourself, then you’re right, we don’t have to be friends. But it would be nice to have magical family I can talk to sometimes.”

Kyungsoo looked thoughtful for a moment. He bit his lip and considered Jongin’s words, probably wondering if he could manage it. Finally, he nodded his head. “I can try. I make no promises for the outcome.”

“Now that that’s settled,” Krystal huffed. “Can we please get back to the point of this entire conversation?” She pinched Jongin’s ear to pull him back. Jongin whined and turned to look at her. “I’m breaking up with you so that you can be with Sehun, you thickhead!”

Jongin shook his head anxiously, his already messy hair flopping around on his head with the swiftness of the motion.

“I can’t!” he reasserted. “Break up with me if you want, but I can’t do anything about Sehun.”

There was a flash of hurt in her eyes, but she smiled all the same. His lack of a desire to work things out with her was apparent, and it must have been expected. However, hearing it straight from Jongin’s mouth likely stung all the same.

Jongin felt like shit, but he couldn’t take it back now.

“Kyungsoo is right,” she laughed, bitterness in her voice. “Some Gryffindor you are. What do you know of courage or daring or nerve?”

“Or pride, or recklessness, or easy boredom,” Jongin continued, listing what he knew to be the typically terrible qualities of a Gryffindor. Then he pointed a finger at Kyungsoo. “Slytherin: ambitious, cunning, resourceful, but also power-hungry, bossy, successful but at the cost of everything else.” He continued. “Ravenclaw: Intelligent, creative, witty, but also antisocial, rude, and have superiority complexes. And Hufflepuff…” He took a breath and swallowed before he went on. “Loyal, kind, fair, hardworking, but also pushovers, forgiving to the point of it being detrimental, passive aggressive, and they avoid as much conflict as they possibly can. I may not be textbook Gryffindor – almost no one is the embodiment of their house one hundred percent of the time – but Sehun… Sehun is a perfect copy of the ideal Hufflepuff at heart. If I step wrong, I could lose him forever. Everyone seems to be saying what I’m feeling is real. But how do I know it’s worth it to try? I don’t want to hurt him.”

“You’re hurting yourself to not try,” Krystal said. “And whether or not you like me back, I still care about you and want the best for you. If he says no, he says no and you learn to move on. As long as no complications occur, you keep your friendship. But if he says yes, imagine how the world will open up for you. Just imagine that for a moment. Don’t give me that look. What could happen if he said yes?”

Jongin thought about it. He closed his eyes and thought about that vision he had had over the summer. The one he had had while still at Sehun’s home. In it, Jongin had Sehun by his stupid black and yellow tie. He pulled the surprised boy forward, taking a brave moment for himself. Beyond that, the vision faded. But Jongin had a few ideas where it could go.

Right now, Krystal had asked him to envision a yes. So, Jongin imagined a longer kiss, dates, laughter and smiles, and a mixture of their skin that he hadn’t dared allow himself before. He found himself smiling, feeling his cheeks warm with the happiness.

Then he felt a brief press of lips on his forehead. Jongin opened his eyes and Krystal was moving away, leaving the room. He almost asked where she was going, but a hand on his arm stopped him. Jongin turned back to Kyungsoo.

“She just saw the answer to the question you keep asking,” Kyungsoo informed him. “Let her be and focus on that answer. If you’re still unconvinced by it, write it down and write all the reasons it could be wrong. Then write all the reasons it could be right. Decide when that list is complete. And remember what you just said: almost no one is the embodiment of their house one hundred percent of the time. That goes for Sehun, too. We all aspire to be the best parts of our houses. We all aspire to eliminate the negative and focus on the positive. Give him a little more credit when it comes to his loyalty to you.”

Then Kyungsoo was gone, too. Jongin just sat there, too many things running through his head.

-----

“I can’t believe you broke up with her,” Sehun whined for the millionth time, his thoughts drifting away from his movements. “You two looked good together!”

“She broke up with me,” Jongin reiterated as he watched Sehun practice. Another spin and Jongin felt his gut stir uncomfortably. Sehun had been less conservative about hiding his practice sessions from Jongin. Now, they were an excuse to hang out more in the Room of Requirement on their study breaks.

Sehun would spend the two hours somehow transcending his humanity and it always sent Jongin’s body into a tizzy. As much as he tried to keep particular thoughts away, Jongin was a healthy teenage boy who wondered and wanted things.

He put his Transfiguration book away and took out some parchment to write a letter home. Maybe that would be distraction enough.

“Why didn’t you stop her?” Sehun asked.

Jongin shrugged.

“Were you bored of her?” Sehun asked.

“I don’t know, Sehun,” Jongin snapped. Then he thought better of the tone. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. I’m just thinking of other things.” The curve of your spine is not one of them.

Sehun didn’t appear bothered. “Nah, it’s okay, mate. I’m just being nosy,” Sehun breathed, relaxing into another movement. He wasn’t even dancing anymore. He was just standing tall, pretending to grab things from imaginary shelves and bend and just move.

Jongin curled up a little and slouched against the wall with his half-written letter to hide his boner. This was so not okay, and yet, he couldn’t take his eyes off of Sehun as he moved.

Suddenly, Sehun stopped and let his arms fall to his side as he sighed.

“Jongin, get over here,” he said with a wave of his hand. Jongin didn’t move from his spot, not wanting to reveal his little problem. Sehun pouted. “Come on, I need a dance partner.”

“You look fine to me,” Jongin assured Sehun, trying to keep his voice even and unhurried.

“Come on,” Sehun whined.

“Nah, I’m good over here,” Jongin squeaked.

“You’re acting weird,” Sehun proclaimed. It wasn’t the first time Sehun had told him so, but Jongin never minded. “I thought you found dancing fun last time. Are you okay?”

Just then, Jongin realized he needed a bathroom. He needed a place to hide. He was just lucky that he was in the Room of Requirement, because as soon as he thought it, a door appeared to his side with a little rumble.

“I just have to go to the bathroom!” Jongin proclaimed suddenly. Then he scrambled to his feet to get into the magically added bathroom and closed the door. Outside the door, he could hear Sehun let out a surprised laugh.

But on the inside of the bathroom, Jongin was absolutely dying. He sat on the lid of the toilet with his pants up and tried to will it away. He tried not to think of how Sehun would look in bed with him. He tried not to think of what his face might look like when rosy with arousal. He tried not to imagine exploration between them. Too much touching and too much need and not enough time.

“Think of mom,” Jongin whispered to himself. “Mom is not sexy. Mom is not sexy. Dad is worse. Dad is definitely not sexy.”

But it took forever for it to have any effect. In the middle of him thinking of his parents and how not sexy they were, memories of all the perfection that was Sehun filtered through him, reminding him of all his problems and all the solutions at the same time.

Sehun whispering in his ear in the middle of class. Sehun pinching his butt as a joke after winning against Ravenclaw. Sehun dancing in the Room of Requirement. Sehun, Sehun, Sehun, Sehun, SehunSehunSehunSehun- FUCK!

Finally, a knock came to the door.

“Did the toilet eat you?” came Sehun’s joking tone.

“Piss off!” Jongin retorted naturally. “I’ll be out in a minute.” His boner was almost dead anyway.

“I finished your letter for you,” Sehun said, sounding further amused.

Jongin put his head in his hands and groaned. He sat there for another two seconds before he went to the sink and ran the water for a few seconds. Then he left the bathroom at long last.

“You’re helping me take it to the Owlery,” he said, stomping over to his things to see how Sehun had butchered his letter home. It wasn’t too terrible. Just some standard stuff about how he was keeping Jongin in line and making sure he ate. “You’re a menace,” he groaned to Sehun.

“Why should I help you deliver it?” Sehun questioned. “You didn’t help me practice.”

“Because you wrote half this letter!” Jongin pointed out, pinning it to Sehun’s chest with a hand. “So come help me find North. You can feed Arrow while you’re at it because I know he’s been dying for more of your special owl treats.”

In the end, they wound up climbing the steps to the Owlery together. He heard Sehun’s feet slide a bit behind him, stones wet with pre-summer rains. Jongin turned his head to check on him. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Sehun said, a hand on the wall to stabilize himself. He kept moving and breathed easier as soon as they got to the top of the stairs. He looked relieved. “Make it quick. This place radiates cold and I’m not a fan.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it,” Jongin said, rolling his eyes. He looked in a few of the perch holes for his barn owl, wondering where she could be hiding. “That’s strange,” he muttered. “Usually she comes out to greet me.”

“Maybe she realized she doesn’t like you,” Sehun teased as he began looking for her as well after greeting Arrow.

“Oh, shut up,” Jongin hissed. “She loves me.”

Sehun snickered and bent down to check one of the lower perches. “Oh! Found her! Hi, North. What are you-“

There was some distressed hooting and Sehun froze in his bent over position.

“Uh, Jongin?” Sehun said, sounding uncertain. Jongin was already on his way over, made nervous by the tone Sehun was using. “You’re going to want to look at this.”

“What?” Jongin asked. “Is she hurt?” He bent down to get a good look at what Sehun was seeing. But it was clear upon one glance that she was most certainly not hurt.

“Worse,” Sehun groaned.

His owl North was sitting on a nest of eggs.

“You’re going to be a grandpa.”

-----

Suddenly, Jongin found himself in and out of the library with information about owls and raising them. Most of the incubation period was the mother’s duty, but he wanted to be prepared when the babies hatched.

“Dude, what’s gotten into you?” Sehun asked when he saw Jongin with a third stack of books. Somewhere in there had to be information on raising owls for letter delivery in the magical world. Why did he want to know that? Jongin wasn’t sure. But it all came to his head as things he would like to know.

“I don’t know!” Jongin said, smiling too brightly. “I just spent two hours in the library looking up owl care. I’m so ready for these babies to hatch!”

Except when the day finally arrived, Jongin was a mess.

“I’m going to be a terrible parent!” Jongin blubbered as the first chick pushed its way out of its shell.

“I’m pretty sure North is the one who is the parent,” Sehun laughed, rubbing Jongin’s back soothingly.

“But I’m in charge of North!” Jongin cried. “She’s my baby and now she has babies!”

“Oh, hold yourself together, you idiot,” Sehun snorted. “You’ve been reading all the books you can find for the past few weeks. If anyone can get these chicks into adulthood, it’s you.”

Jongin whimpered and whined a little more while three other owl chicks pushed their ways out of the egg shells. One remained unhatched; a late bloomer.

The world didn’t end, but it felt like something in Jongin’s head clicked when he looked at the chirping chicks. What he had been trying to find all this time was finally becoming clear.

“I know what I want to do…” he finally said, breathing it out like he couldn’t believe it.

“Huh?” Sehun said, his hand stilling on Jongin’s back.

Jongin sat up and looked at Sehun.

“I know what I want to do!” he said, speaking louder and with more excitement. “You want to heal. You’ve always known that. But I didn’t know what I wanted until now.”

“You figured it out?” Sehun asked, starting to get what Jongin was so excited about. His expression brightened up. “What is it?”

“Owls!” Jongin finally said. “I want to breed and raise owls! I’ll sell them to students and families and the school and breed hereditary diseases out of them and train them to deliver mail!”

“Really?” Sehun questioned, the glee shifting to something else on his face. It wasn’t judgement at all. Perhaps it was uncertainty? “That’s what you want?”

“Yes!” Jongin cheered. “It explains why I’m so worried about fucking this up and it explains all the willing research I’ve been doing in preparation for them to be born. You know how much I hate research.”

“I do,” Sehun acknowledged. “I just…”

“What?” Jongin asked, brow furrowing in worry. “Aren’t you happy for me?”

“I am!” Sehun assured him. Then he gave him a half smile. “It’s just a shame that you put all that work into your studies and now you won’t need most of it.”

Jongin blinked. Sehun blinked back at him. Then Jongin burst into laughter. Before long, Sehun followed him with his own laughter. They laughed until they were breathless and red in the face and crying with how dumb it all felt. But Jongin was so relieved and he had never felt this sure of himself.

He opened his eyes and Jongin was again overwhelmed with how beautiful Sehun was when he laughed like that. Maybe it was time after all. Maybe with this small discovery of a part of himself, he was ready to try. The list that Kyungsoo had recommended he write was not finished, but it had begun and it was already clear what he should do.

Jongin summoned all the courage he had in him, turning his candle into the bonfire his mother modeled for him, and reached forward to grab Sehun’s black and yellow tie. In his head, he was moving a whole lot slower than he actually was. He pulled Sehun forward, his best friend’s eyes going wide when he realized what was happening.

It wasn’t graceful in any way how their mouths came together. There was a painful clacking of teeth right after Jongin smashed his lips to Sehun’s. Jongin didn’t even know what to do when he got there. He hadn’t ever gotten around to kissing Krystal. He had turned his head away every time she tried. But at least this was sincere.

For a split second, he thought he felt Sehun pressing into this mangled kiss, trying to reciprocate. But then reality hit back, hard.

Sehun pushed him away, shoving him as far from him as he could get him. Jongin woke from his happiness to crash down to earth where Sehun looked betrayed. He stood and gathered his cloak about him, making for the exit of the owlery.

“Sehun, wait!” Jongin croaked, scrambling to get up from the ground. “Let me explain!”

Sehun just looked back at him, eyes cold. Jongin had fucked up.

“I thought you were different,” Sehun whispered. Jongin’s words got caught up in his throat. Sehun continued. “You were the one person I didn’t have to worry about doing this to me. I felt safe with you.”

“You are safe with me,” Jongin blurted out. “I shouldn’t have-“

“Yeah,” Sehun agreed. “You shouldn’t have.”

“Sehun-“

“Goodbye, Jongin.”

Just like that, Sehun walked away from him and Jongin could only stay there, too stunned to cry and in no shape to move. His worst fear had just come true. He had just lost Sehun. Lost his friendship and his trust and everything that he has fought to maintain.

This was why he didn’t want to do this. He had pulled his courage from deep inside him, but his sincerity hadn’t come across. Now it was over. All Jongin could do was nurse a broken heart and pray that Sehun gave him another chance as a friend.

-----

It was a long time before Jongin gathered the strength to leave the Owlery. He didn’t know where to go. With no Sehun, his emotions were running wild. The baby owlets were momentarily forgotten. North could take care of her babies and her mate had to be around somewhere to help her with food. They would be okay.

For now, his feet ran him all the way to Gryffindor Tower, hoping to find Chanyeol. But he would soon find out that Chanyeol was of no help this time. In fact, even seeing Chanyeol’s face made him feel worse. That was because he found Chanyeol with Baekhyun, his own Hufflepuff, kissing like everyone had wanted them to for as long as Jongin had known them.

Jongin should be happy for Chanyeol, but right then, he couldn’t bring himself to be. It wasn’t fair. Why did everyone else deserve to be happy and he had to be the only one hurting?

He stepped back out of the common room, and that was when the storm of visions and information began. He winced and took one last look in Chanyeol’s and Baekhyun’s direction before he ran off again.

His head filled with images of their future. They would be happy. They would be happy for a very long time. Baekhyun is the one with more courage between them. He’s the one that takes a knee when the time is right. Chanyeol makes more money, but he also takes care of the house better.

Jongin shook it all away when he saw the daughter they adopt. He wanted it all to stop.

He made a run through the halls, down the moving staircases and past paintings that told him to slow down.

A sharp pain spiked through his head and he nearly screamed. He only just managed to keep it to a whimper while he clenched his eyes shut. He then ran into someone and they both went sprawling on the floor.

“What the hell, Jongin!” Jongdae cried, his papers and books everywhere.

Jongin saw the Ravenclaw’s future job as a muggle studies professor, teaching children everything under the sun about the wonders of muggles and using muggle artifacts to prank his students. He saw success and fashionable haircuts and scarves. It was all so colorful and bright and Jongdae smiled in every single image.

“Hey,” Jongdae uttered, tone far softer than it had been only moments ago. “Are you okay?”

Jongin didn’t answer. He was sure that as soon as he opened his mouth, he would scream. Instead, he scrambled to his feet and kept running without apologizing.

He saw so many more images of passing students. Some he knew well, others he didn’t. But it meant nothing to his storming gift.

Another sharp pain, as if someone were driving a blade through his skull, ripped through him. By this time, he couldn’t stop himself from screaming as his feet stilled at the mouth of the Great Hall. Most students backed up from him in fright at the pained noises he was making.

It was almost a relief when he felt hands on his shoulders, pulling him back down to earth. Jongin was so out of it that he almost couldn’t tell who it was. But the person didn’t stop shaking him until the screaming stopped.

Jongin found himself looking down at his cousin, disorientation and confusion clear on his face. Then Jongin saw visions of Kyungsoo, too, first small things like a meal he was eating. Then bigger, following his family around to shops in Diagon Alley to prepare him for his first day at his new job. He meets someone at work that becomes important to him.

“Jongin!” Kyungsoo shrieked when Jongin screamed again. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Get Trelawney!” Jongin screamed, holding his head as if he were afraid letting go would allow it to split apart. “Get Trelawney!”

Kyungsoo turned to the crowd of disturbed students and pointed out someone. “You, go get Madam Pomfrey.” Then he pointed to another student. “You, go get Professor Trelawney. Quickly!”

The two singled out students scurried off in a hurry to complete their assigned tasks. The way Jongin screamed in agony seemed to spur their steps on faster.

“Jongin, what the hell is wrong?” Kyungsoo demanded.

“It hurts!” Jongin cried. “It hurts! It all hurts!”

He opened his eyes to try to look at Kyungsoo, but he found Sehun beyond him, staring at him. His eyes were wide in horror and his face was lined with worry, but he couldn’t bring himself to be at Jongin’s side. It didn’t matter anyway. Visions came to Jongin far too quickly for him to comprehend them all.

Visions of Sehun. So many smiles and too much laughter. Somewhere in there, he was holding Jongin’s hand again. Somewhere in there, Sehun was the medical wizard he wanted to be, with a specialty in medicines made from plants. Somewhere in there, Jongin thought he saw another kiss, one that Sehun initiated. Why was the future toying with him? Why give him hope when there was none left?

Jongin didn’t have much time to dwell on it. The visions, the pain; it was all too much. He fell over backwards, landing with a heavy thud on the floor. His vision was fading, but two faces appeared above him, calling his name over and over again, getting louder in volume but quieter to Jongin’s ears.

Jongin passed out.

-----

He woke to words.

They were whispers of serious conversations that Jongin couldn’t make out. His head was still splitting, but at least he was laying down in a comfortable position now.

“He’s waking up,” someone said close by him. It sounded like Sehun, but why was he there? He had walked away from him. His departure had sounded so final.

“I’ll be back later to check on him,” another voice said; Kyungsoo’s voice.

“That’s fine.”

When Jongin finally managed to crack his eyes open, it was a mistake. Sehun’s face hovered over his, determined and worried and a million shades of confusion. Jongin’s eyes snapped shut again as the visions assaulted him again.

He groaned and rolled over, clutching his head again.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Sehun questioned in irritation.

“It fucking hurts you dimwitted-“

He gasped as an image of Sehun’s bloodied face passed through his conscious. He was smiling even then and Jongin didn’t understand. Why couldn’t his visions play him full sections of these events rather than give him images or snippets?

“Name calling will get you nowhere,” Sehun grunted. “Give me your hand.”

Jongin hesitated, so Sehun grabbed his hand instead. He slapped something round and damp into Jongin's hand that made him cringe.

“Chew on that like you would a piece of gum,” Sehun instructed when Jongin looked at the thing in his hand. It was just a ball of different magical herbs, but Jongin didn't like the idea of putting that in his mouth. When Sehun felt further explanation was needed, he added, “It'll help with the pain.”

Jongin considered it for another minute before hesitantly putting it in his mouth. It tasted as disgusting as he imagined it might, and the texture alone made him want to gag. But the effects were almost instant. Jongin still got visions all over the place, but the pain was significantly diminished. Now he just had a hard time keeping focused on one thing.

Sehun reached up to touch Jongin's eye, pulling the eyelids apart to get a look at it better. Jongin reflexively pulled back, not used to this kind of treatment from Sehun. Jongin had never been one of his patients until now.

“Hold still,” Sehun huffed. Jongin did, and his stillness allowed Sehun to finish his examination quickly. “It's like you're dreaming while you're awake. Your pupils are all over the place. Professor Trelawney said it was just a really bad ‘storm’. She wouldn't tell me what that meant, but she said bad ones can come out of nowhere or they can be triggered by stress.”

Jongin didn't say anything.

Sehun met the silence and they descended into an awkward space they had never reached before. It felt like an eternity before either of them spoke again.

“I never told you everything about my breakup with Luhan, did I?” Sehun whispered, quieter than Jongin was used to hearing from him.

“I had a few guesses,” Jongin admitted, words muffled a little by the herbs in his mouth. He refused to meet Sehun’s eye.

“You asked if it was because of my veela heritage,” Sehun recalled. “And it was. But he saw it before I did. I was warned that I could be tricked by people I cared about. They could react differently than they might if I were fully human and not part magical being. But I liked Luhan and he was kind to me, so I ignored the signs telling me that something was wrong.” Sehun had to swallow before he continued.

“He figured it out when I finally got around to telling him. He got this look on his face like he was horrified. He said he might have made a mistake and he took some time to think about it. He promised it wasn't because I was veela that he wanted to break up. It was because he didn't think his feelings were real. He came to that conclusion himself and it hurt. It hurt a lot. I didn't want to tell you the whole thing because Luhan told me you helped him get closer to me. I didn't want to make you feel bad.”

“I felt bad for different reasons,” Jongin said, alluding to his own feelings.

“Don't start,” Sehun growled. “I'm trying to explain how I'm feeling, too, and if you want to remain my friend, then you will listen.”

Jongin shut his mouth. Sehun was giving him an opportunity here and he didn't want to miss it because he was stupid. It was at this moment that Sehun said something that sparked the hope in him again.

“I'm not asking you to stop feeling what you're feeling,” he said. “I know it's not easy. I just want you to understand why I'm cautious. Take a little longer to figure it out.”

“I've spent 6 years figuring it out!” Jongin blurted in frustration, finally turning his gaze on Sehun. That was a mistake. His vision swam with more visions of Sehun’s future almost to the point of not seeing the Sehun of the present but seeing a patchwork of future Sehuns.

Then Sehun leaned over him, getting too up close and personal for Jongin to feel comfortable. His head was spinning as he pressed back into the pillow to get away.

“Then make me believe it's real,” he breathed. “And in return, I'll decide if I want it to be real or if I want us to stay as we are.” Then he backed off, giving Jongin room to breathe again. “When the pain stops, spit out the pulp and get some more rest. I'll check on the owlets until you get better.”

Then he was gone and Jongin was alone in the hospital wing.

-----

Jongin woke up again much later to find Kyungsoo sitting at his bedside. He wondered if it was even the same day of if he had slept through the night and into the next morning.

One glance at Kyungsoo caused the visions to flare and the pain to crop up again, but it was not as intense as it had been when it started.

“You’re awake,” Kyungsoo muttered, putting his book down. He scooted closer and helped prop Jongin up in his bed so that he was comfortable while entertaining a guest. Jongin wasn’t expecting this care and found it strange to accept from Kyungsoo.

“What…” he began. But he didn’t know what he wanted to ask. Kyungsoo ignored the unfinished question as if Jongin hadn’t uttered a single syllable.

“Sehun left you this,” Kyungsoo said, offering Jongin another herb ball. Jongin made a face but accepted the disgusting ball of pain medicine. He popped it in his mouth before he could change his mind and shuddered. Kyungsoo sat by, quiet for a while.

“Why are you here?” Jongin asked, working his voice around the herb ball clumsily.

“I told you,” Kyungsoo sighed. “At the end of the day, we’re family. I was worried about you.”

Jongin averted his eyes from his cousin, feeling a little shame for not welcoming Kyungsoo. He had been the one to suggest they be friends. He was doing a very poor job of starting that process.

“Thank you,” he muttered.

“Want to tell me what happened?” Kyungsoo asked. “Want to tell me why Sehun isn’t standing over you at all hours of the day until you’re better?”

Jongin bit his lip and clenched his fists in frustration. The visions became more aggressive with his agitation and he chewed more aggressively on the herbs to combat the incoming pain. It took the edge off and he started to feel better.

“You made a move, didn’t you?” Kyungsoo said, moving from the chair to sit down on the side of Jongin’s bed. “You put yourself out there, and he rejected you?”

Having it verbalized was like a punch in the gut. For a moment, the visions of the future faded and all that remained was the past. He felt his lips tingle with the kiss and then the cruel sting of being pushed away. Jongin’s eyes filled with tears and he curled up on himself.

“Don’t hide from it,” Kyungsoo advised. “Come here.” Then he pulled Jongin into a comforting hug, placing Jongin’s head on his shoulder. “Let it out. It’s okay.”

Jongin didn’t need more invitation than that. He started to cry, the tears soaking Kyungsoo’s shoulder and his heart aching. He was scared, and he didn’t know why he was letting Kyungsoo take care of him like this. But something about the older Slytherin was comforting and Jongin couldn’t help but sink into that comfort and pretend the world was okay.

“I kissed him,” Jongin admitted after the tears had stopped. “I just felt so confident and brave right then. It felt natural to just pull him to me and do it. But then he pushed me away and stormed out. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I had lost him for good.”

“He was surprised,” Kyungsoo assured him. “You should have talked to him first. But he was here when you needed him to be. That still matters.”

“I know,” Jongin agreed, closing his eyes and sitting back. “I still have my best friend. But things aren’t going to be the same now. He’ll pull back from me. He’ll hide things from me again.”

“The way you’re hiding things from all of us?” Kyungsoo asked.

Jongin looked up again and squinted through the patchwork of the future to see Kyungsoo in the present. Jongin didn’t say anything.

“What exactly is happening to you?” Kyungsoo asked, not wanting to beat around the bush. Jongin found himself smirking at that.

“You’re from the same family,” Jongin croaked. “You should have a hunch. If you don’t, then I’m not ready to discuss this with you. I wanted him to be the first one I told.”

“Then why haven’t you told him?” Kyungsoo asked. “Hasn’t he earned that trust?”

“A million times over,” Jongin confirmed. “I’ve wanted to tell him for a long time. I’ve wanted someone to understand. But I haven’t found the right words. I blew up at him for keeping his secret from me. How was I supposed to follow with a secret I’ve kept for even longer? Not to mention I didn’t want the attention revealing this secret would bring.”

“You get plenty of attention as it is,” Kyungsoo said with a wave of the hand. “One of the top quidditch players at the school. Potential for future Potions Master if you so wished and growing up to be quite the stunner if rumors are to be believed.”

“But how many people are great quidditch players?” Jongin asked. “How many people can brew amazing potions? How many people are handsome? Too many for it to be considered fascinating when it happens to someone. But this is different. My father has said I might get the attention of a lot of people for this gift if I ever learn to control it. It’s not common. I don’t want that kind of attention. I don’t want the world at my doorstep.”

Kyungsoo leaned forward to challenge those thoughts. Jongin’s head spun, but he didn’t back away the way he had when Sehun got close.

“What matters the most to you?” Kyungsoo asked. “The world? Or him?”

“Him,” Jongin answered without hesitation. “He’s the most important to me.”

“Then fight the world for him,” Kyungsoo told him. “I don’t care if you always feel brave. Muster up everything you have and tell him everything. Take the opportunity he’s giving you and fight for him. You love him, right?”

Jongin nodded.

“Then prove it.”

-----

Aside from the owlets and Jongin's quiet planning, things were normal after his vision storm passed. Almost scary normal. Sehun pretended like nothing had changed between them and Jongin didn't try to challenge that illusion. Kissing Sehun felt like it had been a dream more than anything.

The only indication that Sehun now knew was that he limited physical contact. That was difficult for Jongin to adjust to. He was so used to grabbing a hold of Sehun’s hand or leaning on him when he was tired or hungry. But now Sehun would retract his hand most times or conveniently move away when he knew Jongin was about to lean forward.

Jongin chose not to bring attention to it. He just let Sehun pull away and pretended nothing happened. He threw himself into nurturing the baby owls now in his care and Sehun teased him for being as much a mother as his owl North was. Actually, Sehun considered it a miracle that North hadn’t pecked Jongin’s eyes out yet for all the handling of her babies he was doing.

“If you don’t give her babies back, she might really stop loving you,” Sehun warned.

“I’m almost done,” Jongin assured him, still fiddling with the tiny wing of the final owlet to be sure it was comfortable in his hand. It had hatched two days later than the others and it held a soft spot in Jongin’s heart. But because the other owlets had already gained some weight, this little guy was having a harder time competing for food between its bigger siblings. Jongin finally got it to eat another bit of rat meat from his palm before he released it back to the safety of North’s nest.

“Can we go now?” Sehun questioned with a huff. “It’s getting close to dinner and I’m starving.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Jongin grunted, waving Sehun off while he gathered his things. “All you think of is food.”

“Like you’re any different,” Sehun snorted.

Jongin’s lips twitched upward in a smile, but he was thinking of a million other things that were not food right now. Most of there were options for proving what he felt was real.

He considered contacting Sehun’s mother and asking for advice. Then he went to Baekhyun and asked for advice, but he told Jongin to figure it out himself. Against his better judgement, he asked Kyungsoo next, but his cousin smacked him across the head with his copy of the Daily Prophet.

Jongin settled for continuing to write that list of reasons. The more he thought about it, he had been showing all the signs early in their friendship. It was all stupid stuff, and he still sometimes questioned the veela influence, but he had listened when Mrs. Oh had suggested it was the beginnings of love. It was all real and valid, whether either of them recognized it as such when it happened.

-----

Jongin wanted to kiss Sehun one more time before they parted ways for summer. He knew it was against the unspoken rules, but he wanted it all the same. Every time Sehun made some smartass comment, Jongin wanted to steal one. Every time he bit his lip when he struggled with his homework, Jongin wanted to sooth the reddened flesh. But more than anything, he wanted to go back to shoving mashed potatoes down Sehun’s back and letting Sehun laugh at his bear cub of a patronus.

He was sitting with Sehun in a compartment on the train home when he wrote that one down on his list. He could only create a patronus when he thought of Sehun, but he suffered some embarrassment for the form it took. If he was being really, truly honest with himself, deep down, he didn’t mind the teasing. It was attention, and it also got Sehun to laugh.

“What are you always writing down?” Sehun questioned from the other side of their compartment, munching on a chocolate frog. “You haven’t gone anywhere without that notebook since right after North’s chicks were born.”

“I’m writing down proof,” Jongin answered honestly. There was no reason to hide it anymore. Sehun knew, and Jongin was running out of time to convince him to give him a chance. There was only one year left before they graduated. The professional world could swallow them and pull them apart if they weren’t careful. He needed to keep himself connected to Sehun on some level.

“Proof?” Sehun repeated dumbly. He almost seemed to have forgotten. Then it dawned on him and he rolled his eyes. He appeared to want to drop the subject, but Jongin wasn’t having it.

“Let me just say one thing before we arrive at the platform,” he said, closing his notebook to give Sehun his full attention. “I deserve to be heard as much as you do, and I’ve waited to say this.”

“Make it quick,” Sehun grumbled.

“I waited six years to tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you,” he finally said. “When I still didn’t know what it was, I was afraid to tell you because I didn’t want to lose you. When I found out about your secret, I was afraid it wasn’t real, too. I wondered if I could live with your very veela anger. I questioned how much of an effect your looks had on me. I won’t deny they make you fascinating – I’ve always known that – but I asked myself for a long time what you were to me. I didn’t decide until that moment I kissed you.” Then he smiled. “Prepare yourself, because I’m going to embarrass the Hufflepuff right out of you when I have all the proof I need.”

He didn’t know where this surge of confidence came from, but it was worth it just to see Sehun’s face light up a pretty shade of pink before he returned to his chocolates.

“I’d kiss you again if I wouldn’t lose you,” Jongin added, feeling the bravery keep him high as a kite. Sehun choked on his sweets and pointed his wand at Jongin. Through coughing, Sehun threatened him with hexes if he continued to be dumb. Jongin just laughed and took this as a good sign.

“That isn’t funny!” Sehun whined. But Jongin thought it was as long as he didn’t actually kiss Sehun right here and now.

“What?” Jongin questioned. “It is funny. Because I know you. You would have hexed me already if you were actually angry with me. Your inner veela isn’t even showing.”

To prove he was serious, Sehun cast a spell that hit the seat right next to Jongin’s head. Jongin wasn’t convinced by this display. They were too close for Sehun to miss like that on accident.

They pulled into the station then, and Jongin had one more thing to say to his best friend. Through laughter, Jongin gathered his things, feeling too brave for what this situation could result in. Sehun was looking at him like he was nuts, but that was okay. Jongin might very well end up with a few curses aimed at him before he convinced Sehun anyway.

When they began to move out of their compartments, Jongin blocked the door to be sure Sehun had to listen to him.

“Just know that I am aware you have thought about us before,” Jongin said, smiling knowingly.

“And how would you know that?” Sehun mumbled, not looking Jongin in the eye.

“Because before you got scared, you kissed me back,” Jongin replied. “I don’t blame you for being scared. I’m scared shitless right now. I just want a chance to see where things go.”

“So, what if I kissed you back?” Sehun grumbled. “Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. You still have to convince me it’s real before I let you have anything resembling a chance.”

“And I will,” Jongin assured him. “But it won’t be this summer. So, if you still want to hang out, don’t feel uncomfortable. I’m not going to do anything until I’m done proving what I need to.”

Sehun snorted and pushed his way past Jongin. But he did grab Jongin’s wrist to yank him out with him. It was at least a return to normalcy.

-----

Jongin spent the summer revising his list. It was all the things he could remember about his friendship with Sehun. He remembered all of Sehun’s favorite things. His favorite foods and drinks. His favorite scarf and his favorite animal. His patronus and his least favorite classes.

Jongin never forgot any of it and he would prove it to Sehun.

When Jongin spent time at Sehun’s house that summer, it was much like it had been the last time. However, this time Sehun avoided dancing with Jongin directly. Jongin hadn’t asked, but Sehun never stepped up either. It was the distance steadily growing between them that made Jongin hesitate, even though he ached to dance with Sehun.

Mrs. Oh seemed to understand right away that something had happened between them, but she had no details. She only saw the lack of touch that had not been present the year prior. She saw the briefest of hugs upon Jongin’s arrival and little else. However, she seemed to smile at Jongin and encourage him to keep going more times than he could count. She knew her son better than anyone, and if she was encouraging Jongin to not give up, then Jongin wouldn’t. He would just have to be patient and a little braver in action rather than word.

“Do you want to dance, too?” Mrs. Oh asked when Sehun began moving to that song in his head. Jongin could only weakly nod as he stared at his best friend. Mrs. Oh placed reassuring hands on his shoulders. “Then dance.”

Without her saying anything else, Jongin knew what she was telling him. She was encouraging him to lay his heart bare. Jongin took a breath and got up from his sitting position where he had been observing.

Sehun locked eyes with him and Jongin tried not to let the captivating gaze deter him. Instead, he gave himself no time to turn back and went straight into the dance, imitating Sehun’s moves from across the room. When they deviated, Sehun remained full of elegance and Jongin let his heart do the talking, unrefined though the movement was.

As the deviation from the veela dance grew between them, he fell into his heart while his body moved and closed his eyes to fade away. Hands came to his shoulders, but they were not Sehun’s. All they did was support and provide strength while he expressed his humanity. It was vulnerable and scary, but he knew he was safe here. The woman holding his shoulders encouraged this expression and the only other person in the room was his best friend.

Visions played out behind his eyelids, more steps in a dance he didn’t yet know. He was staring the hem of someone’s dress robes and their shined shoes. There were warm hands in his, comforting and strong.

Spinning and spinning and spinning and then flashes of that smile and moonbright skin.

The hands on his shoulder disappeared when he spun, but they were replaced by new hands holding his waist. Jongin didn’t have to look to know who those hands belonged to. They guided but did not tame the emotion Jongin allowed himself to feel right now. Maybe this was part of proving what he felt for Sehun. Maybe it wasn’t. But he felt safe in Sehun’s hold. Everything was okay while spinning, spinning, spinning.

Then he was dizzy.

“Hey!” Sehun called when Jongin collapsed against him, his legs losing their strength. He lowered Jongin to the floor slowly, not wanting him to fall over and hurt himself. “What’s wrong? Is it another storm?”

Jongin shook his head and the visions faded before he finally opened his eyes. “No. Not a storm.”

“I’ll get him a glass of water,” Mrs. Oh uttered before disappearing from the room. Jongin wondered later if she had done that on purpose.

Sehun didn’t take his eyes off of Jongin. “What the hell was that?”

“What was what?” Jongin muttered, fighting to get his heartbeat and his spinning head under control again.

“That dance,” Sehun exclaimed. “I've never seen anyone try so hard to become a veela on demand.”

Jongin stayed silent at that and looked away.

“What was it, Jongin?” Sehun demanded.

“I wanted to dance with you…” Jongin answered, voice softer than the drop of a pin. “That's all.”

Sehun froze, but his hands stayed where they were, supporting Jongin's form.

“You could have asked,” Sehun returned.

“Would you have said yes?” Jongin asked. Then Sehun's head dropped down, resting fondly against Jongin's.

“How could I have possibly said no to that?” he questioned.

Mrs. Oh chose that moment to return with water for Jongin. The moment was broken and gone. Jongin didn't have the courage right now to ask what Sehun had meant.

-----

They got Jongin into a bed to rest for a while. He didn’t feel sleepy, but just sitting down made him feel more stable. Sehun said he would make some broth and scurried out of the room. Mrs. Oh stayed to tuck the sheets around Jongin comfortably. She didn’t say anything right away, and that made Jongin nervous. He felt like she was waiting for him to say something rather than her say anything.

He settled for a truth he never thought he would admit out loud.

“I thought I hated you,” Jongin finally whispered. Mrs. Oh didn’t appear bothered by that statement and took a seat on the edge of the bed. “I didn’t know you, but I thought you were someone else. All I saw was a pretty woman dancing with Sehun. He was happy, and I thought the two of them were matched in both grace and looks. I wondered why that couldn’t be me.”

“I don’t really understand,” Mrs. Oh said. “But I do understand the difficulty of seeing your loved one with someone else.”

“It was why I laughed when I met you for the first time,” Jongin continued. “I was relieved. You weren’t his girlfriend or his future wife. You were his mother, and I hadn’t known for so long. In those couple moments between laughing and you asking what you had done, I felt lighter than air. I should have known what I felt then. I should have turned around and told him I loved him.”

“Did you not tell him that today?” she asked. “When you danced, that wasn’t a simple heart you displayed. You bared your soul to him and he saw everything you had to offer. If you had only opened your eyes, you would have seen that he was trying to return the gesture. My son loves you very much.”

“But he doesn’t believe I love him, yet,” Jongin asserted. “So, as his mother, I want to ask if you believe I can convince him. Are my efforts wasted? Will he ever believe me?”

“Your efforts are not wasted, child,” she assured him, gripping him firmly by the arms. “They are never wasted. My boy is stubborn, but he will come around to believe you. He wants everything to be rational. But the heart, no matter if it is a veela’s heart or a human’s, is not rational. Don’t ever think your efforts are wasted. I like what you bring out in him. I feel like I can trust him to you without any fears despite the concerns I once had. You are that balance he needs between becoming veela and being human. He needs you, and he’ll realize that soon enough.”

Then Jongin smiled and said, “Then I won’t give up just yet.”

-----

The day of reckoning had finally arrived.

Jongin was ready with his list, buried deep in his pocket as he waited for Sehun's arrival. They were shopping for their school supplies for their last year at Hogwarts and as far as Jongin was concerned, it was now or never. If he waited until school started, he wouldn't be able to do it.

As it was, his courage was already threatening to leave him. He had gone to Eyelop's Owls to calm himself. All summer, he had been watching his little owls, and they were about ready to start training. Someday they would look just like these fine owls. He would need someone to apprentice under, however. This was a good place to start until he knew what to do on his own.

“Jongin!”

Jongin looked up at the call of his name and smiled when he saw Sehun approaching him. Even though this was the source of his stress walking straight towards him, Jongin could never be unhappy with Sehun around.

“Hey,” Jongin breathed. Sehun got taller again. Neither of them was done growing just yet, and it felt like Sehun was only going to continue to surpass him.

“Got your books yet?” Sehun asked. “You probably have a mountain to buy.”

It was true. Jongin had committed to all his classes in sixth year when he still didn't know what he wanted to do. Now he was stuck with it all until graduation. In comparison, Sehun only had a few to buy for classes and a small selection of specialized books to buy for his own personal growth.

“Not yet,” Jongin answered. “I was going to get potions ingredients first. But we can do books first if you want.”

“It's the closest shop, so why not?” Sehun shrugged. He grabbed Jongin's hand, tugging him along with a gentle thumb on the back of his hand.

That was different. Sehun hadn't been that comfortable since before the incident with the kiss. Jongin didn't fight it and tightened his grip just a small bit. If Sehun noticed, he didn't say anything about it.

Going into Flourish and Blott’s was as hectic as it always was right before the new school year, but Jongin needed to keep his wits about him. This would be where he initiated the first step in his plan to convince Sehun.

He needed to start with the truth.

They collected the books they needed first. Everything on the list went into their arms and Sehun offered to carry a few of Jongin's to make it easier. Then Jongin deviated from the list.

“I want to get you a book,” Jongin said, dragging Sehun off to a small table of books in the back of the store. “I read it a long time ago and it was fascinating.”

Sehun recognized this section of the store by titles alone.

“Is this why you are so close with Professor Trelawney?” Sehun giggled. “You like pretending you can see the future?”

Jongin only gave him a knowing smile and picked up one of the books. He really did read this one once, when he was having a hard time with his visions one summer. Storm after storm plagued him, but they were all mild and this book helped him banish them for a time. It was less effective on the bad storm he had gotten in his sixth year. But maybe, when Sehun knew, he might be interested in being an anchor for Jongin to keep him in the present.

They paid for their books and made their way out of the store. It was time to go clothes shopping now. But as they approached Madam Malkin's, he took a breath and gripped Sehun's hand to stop him just outside the door.

“This was where I first saw you.”

It could barely be heard over the hustle and bustle of people around them, but Sehun heard him, and he gave Jongin the strangest look.

“We met at Hogwarts, Jongin,” Sehun corrected. “You crashed into me-“

“I didn’t say I met you here,” Jongin replied. “I said I saw you here.” Sehun still looked confused, so Jongin continued to explain. “I was barely eleven and my father was getting me fitted for robes. Then I was suddenly in a shop, my future owl shop or a shop I apprentice in, I don’t know which, but you were there, and you were so happy to see me.”

Sehun looked at him like he was crazy. “I don’t understand,” he finally said, voice what was already quite clear. Jongin just smiled and handed Sehun the book he had bought him earlier. Sehun looked at it in confusion, wondering how this book of Seer magic was relevant right now. But when he got it, his eyes went wide in shock and he just stared at the cover for a long moment.

“This was where it all began,” Jongin continued, “and this is where I’m going to tell you everything that I’ve wanted to tell you for so long.”

Sehun’s mouth dropped open and his face went completely white.

“Here?” he squeaked. “In front of all these people?”

Jongin continued to smile and pulled his list from his pocket. He unfolded it and cleared his throat, swallowing his fears and fighting back the embarrassment that was threatening to overtake his tongue.

“Jongin, I swear to god, if you-“

Jongin ignored Sehun’s protests and began.

“Sehun Oh!” he began, voice loud enough to attract witches and wizards around him. Sehun momentarily lost all words. “You are my best friend and you have been since we first talked. But before that, I had already been introduced to you, and you didn’t know it. Don’t think I’m a creep who stalked you at eleven, because I wasn’t.” There was a little chuckle from a pair of girls to the side. Jongin ignored them and tried to fight off the blush rising to his cheeks. “You have told me on more than one occasion that I acted weird. You were right, I was acting weird. I was acting weird because I was hiding something from you and I felt ashamed from trying to deny you your privacy while I kept my own. You had a secret, but so did I. This is mine:”

Jongin swallowed, preparing himself for how many people would hear this confession. He called on his heart of Gryffindor to provide the courage to say the one thing he had always dreamed of saying but never did.

“I’m a Seer,” Jongin confessed, feeling the weight on his chest lift. “I can see the future, and my first vision was of you. At eleven years old, robes not yet spelled to fit me, I fell in love with you and didn’t realize it.”

“Jongin-“

“I know what you’re thinking, but listen first,” Jongin interrupted. “I didn’t know what love felt like as a kid, but since that first vision, a lot has happened. I have thought hard about what I felt and doubted myself and tried to find reasons I wasn’t in love with you, but after all this time, I’m sure. Here is some evidence that my affections are real.” His eyes went to the first item on his list and he read it out loud clearly. “I haven’t had chocolate in six years. I have no regrets giving it all to you even though I like it, too. You can keep the cavities.”

Sehun jumped at him, reaching for the parchment list. Jongin was quicker and took a few steps out of Sehun’s reach, smiling. When he got a rise out of Sehun like this, it always amused him greatly.

“I took you on broom rides before you knew how to fly effectively on your own even though in my head, I complained. Later, you let me borrow your Hufflepuff patience. I taught you to fly. I taught you how to brew your best potions. I sat through your impromptu lectures on transfiguration because you knew how much it fascinated me. But Merlin, you are a terrible teacher.”

Sehun reached for it again, chasing after Jongin to the amusement of surrounding witches and wizards. “Jongin, seriously!”

Again, Jongin avoided Sehun’s grabbing hands and moved back again. The bystanders parted around them, not wanting to be caught in the middle.

“I gave you away to someone else because I thought that was what was best for you. And when I was wrong, I let you cry on my shoulder over someone else while my heart broke for you.”

“Stop it, Jongin!” Sehun shrieked, finally getting ahold of Jongin. Jongin kept his list just out of Sehun’s reach and pushed at Sehun to keep it that way.

“And when I found out your secret in fourth year, I was more afraid of losing you than I was of the form your anger took.” Sehun’s hands stilled then and he looked at Jongin with a stunned expression. Jongin hadn’t ever clarified that with Sehun before. They had preferred to keep that fight in the past. He continued on. “But after making up with you, I did start to question what I felt. I wondered if what I felt was real or if it was a response to your biology. I know you have been hurt before, and I know it must be difficult to trust. I never wanted to hurt you like that. But after so much time thinking, I started writing this list with too many things on it. We would be here all day if I read it, so I’ll let you read it on your own. Most of it you knew. Some of it, is influenced by you. For example, I realized you were all I thought about when I cast a patronus. I had been thinking about all of our time together so much. So, when it all came to a head and my emotions came spilling out, I kissed you.

“I should have known you wouldn’t understand,” Jongin acknowledged. “I should have known I needed to talk to you first. But even Gryffindors have cowardly moments and I tried to avoid talking to you about what I felt. I’m sorry for doing that to you. Just know that my feelings are sincere. I love you, and I want to continue loving you at your side if you will allow it.”

And that was it. He stopped talking.

Sehun was stuck in place, hand stretched out but not actively reaching for the list over Jongin’s shoulder anymore. His eyes were cast downward. The silence stretched between them for a moment, but Jongin waited.

“Are you finished?” Sehun muttered.

Jongin swallowed and nodded his head. “Yeah.”

Then he found Sehun a lot closer than he expected and a pair of lips molding themselves to his. Jongin made a sound of surprise that was quickly swallowed up by Sehun. But Sehun finally managed to grab the list before pulling back. His face was redder than Jongin had ever seen it and he was crumpling up the list in his hands with violent clenching and crushing.

“You owe me Honeydukes for this, Jongin Kim!” he hissed with a pointed finger in Jongin’s face. He even used the gifted book on Seer magic to bash Jongin on the shoulder in his frustration. “You owe me more for the secret! Six fucking years. Mine was three and a half and you were pissed!” Then he turned on his heels and the assembled crowd laughed before dispersing.

Jongin stood there, stunned into silence and stillness and rubbing his sore shoulder. It didn’t occur to him what had just happened until Sehun came back, grabbed his wrist, and dragged him down Diagon Alley. Then he broke into an impossibly happy grin that refused to go away no matter how many comments Sehun made about it being gross.

Sehun hadn’t tried to dissuade him again, but he made it clear that Jongin was on relationship probation for an indeterminable amount of time.

-----

It took about half of their final school year for Sehun to start asking questions. This time it was after Jongin tried to steal a kiss in public. Sehun turned his head away and pinched him on the back of the hand in warning. Jongin sighed and gave up for the time being.

They hadn’t made it very far at all, and truthfully, Jongin didn’t mind one bit. At least he got peace of mind knowing Sehun was technically his. They would progress when Sehun was ready.

That wasn’t to say that Sehun didn’t allow anything at all. He allowed a few things when they were in private, but still, the furthest Jongin has gotten was pushing Sehun’s shirt up a few inches. It was just enough to touch that perfect, shining skin and nuzzle his face in Sehun’s stomach. He hadn’t expected them to go further than that anyway, so when Sehun disengaged, Jongin wasn’t disappointed.

Jongin did sometimes think that his probation was going on for a long time, but he never verbally complained about the blue balls. He didn’t want to pressure Sehun at all when he was already so hesitant about this whole thing. Sometimes he just had to hide a boner. Mostly when he watched Sehun dance. But there were other times, too. Jongin would have to be patient and wait for Sehun to decide he was ready to move forward.

They were already making visible progress, however.

“You said you had a vision of me,” Sehun hummed.

Jongin blinked, knowing where this conversation was going. “Yeah.”

“What did you see?” Sehun asked.

“Which time?” Jongin asked reflexively. Sehun raised an eyebrow at that.

“The first one.”

Jongin smiled a little. “Some things about it are hard to remember. It was my first vision ever. ButI was working with owls. I was tired, and it was getting late. Then you came running in, smiling at me. That was it. After that, I came out of it and my father asked me who the ‘Moonbright Boy’ was.”

“The Moonbright Boy?” Sehun questioned. “Is that what you called me?”

“When I didn’t know your name, yeah,” Jongin answered. “I still think moonbright is a good descriptor for your skin.”

“Kind of explains all the touching you’ve always liked to do,” Sehun muttered, a little smile on his face. “What other things did you see with me in it?”

“I saw a celebration of some kind,” Jongin responded. “You were dancing with your mother. Though, when I had the vision, I didn’t know her yet. I thought for a while that you were straight, or bi at the very least, and thought this was some girl you were going to date.”

Sehun laughed then, understanding where Jongin’s thought process must have gone. “Were you jealous?”

“Yeah,” Jongin admitted, not letting himself feel ashamed.

Sehun couldn’t help the further laughter that burst from his lips right before he leaned in to give Jongin the kiss he wanted so badly. Jongin found himself laughing, too, when he kissed back.

“You have me now,” Sehun said softly when he leaned back. “No more jealousy.”

“No more jealousy,” Jongin repeated. “Except when you get all the chocolate.”

“If you’re not used to that by now, you’re in trouble,” Sehun teased.

“It’ll be worth it if we end up married,” Jongin joked.

Sehun’s face scrunched up in distaste, but his cheeks reddened.

“We can’t get married,” Sehun muttered.

“Why not?” Jongin asked.

“Don’t you know the rhyme?” Sehun questioned.

“What rhyme?” Jongin returned, blinking dumbly.

“Oh, right,” Sehun sighed. “Muggle upbringing. It’s a superstition.”

“What does the rhyme say?” Jongin asked.

“It says, ‘When his wand’s oak and hers is holly, then to marry would be folly.’ Yours is holly and mine is oak.”

Jongin just broke into a fit of laughter and kissed Sehun again. “Then it’s a good thing I’m not a girl!”

-----

Years later, at their wedding, Jongin watches one of his first visions play out before him. Sehun is dancing with his mother, smiling with all the happiness in the world. Jongin still finds himself jealous, but not for the reasons he used to be.

“Why am I here again?” Kyungsoo questioned next to him. “I didn’t help you two out to be a wallflower at your wedding.”

“Then find someone to dance with,” Jongin mumbled, eyes still glued to Sehun and his mother. “Joonmyun came without a partner.”

“I’m not dancing with Joonmyun,” Kyungsoo growled.

“Oh, come on,” Jongin laughed. “You know he’s fond of you. You two work in the same department together. He’s even a pureblood. Makes your mother happy.”

“If I was just after my mother’s approval,” Kyungsoo grunted, “I wouldn’t have come to your wedding at all.”

Jongin knew that well. Kyungsoo’s RSVP had been late in coming and an apology was sent with it. But even before that, Jongin remembered the summer he met his Aunt Mirae. Right before seeing her, he had seen Kyungsoo in his head, arguing with her and waving about a letter that Jongin now knew to be a wedding invitation. Apparently, Aunt Mirae was not pleased with Kyungsoo’s decision to attend.

“I’m glad you could make it,” Jongin said with a soft smile, managing to tear his eyes away from Sehun for a short while.

“Don’t start,” Kyungsoo grumbled.

“Really,” Jongin insisted, ignoring Kyungsoo’s warning. “I know you haven’t had it easy with your mom lately.”

“I really hate that Seer shit of yours,” Kyungsoo hissed. “Stay out of my personal life.”

“I wish I could,” Jongin chuckled. “It’s not exactly easy for me to control. Sehun still gets mad when it happens during-“

“I don’t need to know this,” Kyungsoo interrupted. “I’d much rather tolerate hearing you tell me about how Joonmyun and I are going to be a thing.”

“Well, you are,” Jongin laughed, finally turning back to watch Sehun dance. “You’ll kiss him first. Don’t fight it. Doesn’t mean you’re going to marry him. I haven’t seen that far ahead.”

“He’s just so…” Kyungsoo couldn’t seem to come up with the word he was looking for.

“Ravenclaw,” Jongin supplied, making a mocking face as he imitated Kyungsoo’s usual disdainful tone. Kyungsoo hit him. Jongin just laughed.

“Anyway,” Kyungsoo sighed, settling back into chair. “My mom and I will be fine. I just needed her to back off. I listened to her for too long. Besides, this wedding is a lot more fun than the stuffy joining of pureblood houses. Mom wants that for me. I think I would enjoy this much more.”

Sehun did a twirl in tandem with his mother and Jongin could do nothing but stare with all the love in his heart.

“Are you going to dance with him or not?” Kyungsoo questioned, grunting like an old man as he rose to his feet. Jongin would tease him about it later.

“Do you think it’s time?” Jongin asked, not looking away from the mother and son.

“It’s your wedding,” Kyungsoo answered flippantly. “Do you want to dance with him?” Then he walked away, making his way towards Joonmyun just to prove to Jongin that he could tolerate him after all.

With a smile on his face, Jongin got up from his seat where he was resting. He approached and tapped Sehun’s mother on the shoulder politely. She turned to him with a smile and stepped away from her son without hesitating a second. Jongin smiled at her and bowed to her in thanks.

Then he stepped up and took Sehun in his arms. His husband looked at him expectantly with a smirk on his face. While Jongin didn’t possess the same grace that a veela or half veela did, he had his own grace and it was time to bring it out.

“Are you going to show my veela cousins how it’s done?” Sehun breathed. “Because I spent half my childhood getting teased by them. It’s time for me to show them something they’ll never have.”

Jongin laughed and kissed Sehun to the hoots and hollers of their friends and family.

“You know I let my heart do the talking when I dance,” Jongin said when they parted.

“That will be more than enough,”

They started dancing and Jongin indeed laid his heart bare on the dancefloor. After all this time, Sehun learned to follow Jongin and even display his own grace when the moment presented itself. They grew intimate in their gazes, something much different than the intimacy of a bedroom. It was a million promises and a thousand wishes for the future.

However, it also meant that Sehun noticed when Jongin’s eyes glazed over and his body went on autopilot. Jongin took in the vision that passed before his eyes. Sehun gave him some time before calling him back to the present. This was a common practice between them since Sehun had learned to identify Jongin’s episodes.

“Hey,” he said, winding a hand around the back of Jongin’s neck, curling fingers into the hair there. “That’s enough for now.”

Jongin came out of it and smiled at his new husband.

“So,” he began. “I know we just got married, but…”

“Yeah?” Sehun questioned skeptically.

“I’m looking forward to the coming years,” Jongin said, smiling. “All of them with you. We fight, and we disagree, but we have fun and I love you more than anything.”

“Tell me about it later,” Sehun said, keeping his mouth set in a thin line. Then he bit his lip and Jongin didn’t even need to see the future to know what Sehun was going to say next.

Sehun and Jongin were different in how they expressed their affections. Sehun was definitely an action-oriented person. He did things to prove how much he cared. Jongin was a verbal person, which helped his relationship with Sehun greatly in the early days. Sehun had needed a lot of reassurance for a while to be sure it was all real. Jongin hadn’t minded and he kept up the practice. Sehun kept up his practice of action as well, and words fell by the wayside unless he was moved to say them.

Apparently, this was one of those times.

“I love you, too,” Sehun returned, smiling, looking forward to the years ahead with his best friend. “More than chocolate.”

They danced on and Sehun still shone brighter than the moon even far into the night.