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Jungkook first sees Jimin in the Great Hall during the feast marking the start of a new school year. He hears of Jimin before then, which is remarkable considering the fact that it is Jimin’s first day at Hogwarts.

He had met up with Taehyung at King’s Cross Station as always, a tradition since they had met in Jungkook’s first year during a frankly dangerous Potions class in which Tae had managed to not only set his own hair on fire, but also the robes of the professor leaning over to look into his cauldron. Since then, Jungkook has always spent several weeks of summer vacation at Taehyung’s place (which has helped Jungkook in his Muggle Studies classes more than all the textbooks in the world).

They boarded the train bound for Hogwarts and holed up in their usual compartment where they caught up with friends and Jungkook managed to show off his brand spanking new quidditch captain badge to anyone that looked in his direction (he may or may not have fiddled with it in a way so as to prompt inquiries and subsequent cheers of congratulations). All was fine and dandy and his fourth year was going swimmingly in the .2 seconds that had actually passed of the school year. Taehyung was laughing it up with Hoseok over Jungkook’s expression upon being in an airplane for the first time that summer when Namjoon ambled in.

“Taking a break from your prefect-ly duties?” Jungkook asked.

“Hush.” Namjoon looked around the hallway as if to spot anyone listening in, then took a seat next to Jungkook. A squirming chocolate frog with a leg bitten off tried to escape Namjoon’s grip.

“I can’t take it anymore. Minseo and the rest of them won’t shut the hell up. How am I supposed to do anything with this unholy migraine?” He massaged his temples and closed his eyes in exasperation. The frog hadn’t managed to budge an inch.

Taehyung moved to the other side of the compartment and patted his lap. Namjoon shook his head but looked like he wanted nothing more than take to a long deep rest and remain dead to the world.

“What’s the deal this time?” Taehyung asked. “Is it that new Chudley Cannons player? Or the Tornados Keeper? Because he is fine as hell—“

Namjoon waved his hand quickly in dismissal and in fact looked vaguely nauseous. Jungkook snickered at the green tinge in his face.

“No, god no. They’re going on and on about the ‘most beautiful boy’ they’ve ever seen, whoever that is. Apparently his hair looks good enough to eat along with the rest of him. They’re driving me up the wall. Maybe someone charmed them all.”

“Oh, you mean Jimin?” All three heads whipped toward Hoseok. He grinned and scratched the back of his head. “I’m guessing that’s who you mean. I don’t know if he’s that pretty, but he’s up there.”

Namjoon looked at Hoseok as if he’d just turned down a butterbeer and decided to visit the Shrieking Shack. Taehyung looked positively excited at the prospect of a new person to befriend.

Jungkook, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so flabbergasted as Namjoon but he didn’t want to go prancing around looking for the new piece of fresh meat either. Instead, a strange feeling made itself known in the pits of his stomach, like the pumpkin pasty he’d had earlier wanted a way out.

He had absolutely no reason to be ill. Nope, none at all. So what if this new kid hadn’t even stepped foot in Hogwarts, yet had people singing his praises? It didn’t mean a thing.

And so Jungkook quashed the strange feeling as best he could and ignored the queasiness, joining in on the conversation about this year’s prospects for the Cannons.

He did just fine the rest of the ride. By the time everyone had gathered in the Great Hall he only had room on his mind for the mouthwatering meat-filled pies awaiting them after the Sorting.

The room is filled with the chatter of students reuniting after several months, which means uproarious laughter and general loudness. Jungkook is at the Hufflepuff table with Taehyung and Hoseok as well as Yoongi who had migrated from Slytherin. Soon the Headmistrss taps her glass and the magnified sound signals the start of the Sorting Ceremony.

They spend most of the Sorting as they usually do—that is to say, with Yoongi’s head nestled in his arms on the table and the rest of them playing a guessing game about the new students’ houses. Loser buys the rest firewhisky. They watch the first years, then the new second, third, fourth and fifth years get Sorted. Hoseok is in the lead, barely edging out Jungkook.

“Owens, Alex.”

“Definite Ravenclaw,” Taehyung declares. Jungkook can see where he’s coming from—the girl has thick square glasses and the library seems to be the picture-perfect place for her.

“No, she’s a Gryffindor,” Hoseok argues. “Appearances can be deceiving.”

The hat is placed on her head, then shouts “Gryffindor!” a moment later. Hoseok laughs as Taehyung lets out a dramatic groan.

“Park, Jimin.”

Jungkook perks up. Eerily enough the talk dies down and the gnawing feeling in his stomach returns. Even Yoongi is neglecting sleep for this one Sorting, his eyes bleary and staring up at the front.

Jungkook angles for a better look, but from here all he can see is a shock of cotton candy pink hair making its way to the rickety stool. Everyone’s attention is on the boy and Jungkook feels almost uneasy on his behalf. He elbows Taehyung in the side to hopefully get some insight but Tae ignores him.

“Slytherin!”

Jimin hops off and walks toward his table. He’s a foot away when the boy sitting at the front trips over himself to offer his place to Jimin and ends up a pile of limbs on the floor.

It’s like the sudden crash breaks the spell cast over the Hall, and everyone looks away from Jimin once he sits down.

That… was quite possibly the strangest thing Jungkook has ever experienced, barring the incident with Taehyung’s ancient contraption of a toaster and all the ketchup packets he hoards.

“Slytherin?” Hoseok says in surprise. Jungkook shrugs. He forgets all about Jimin after the Ceremony finishes and he stuffs his face with meat-filled pies.

-

His Jimin-free state of existence lasts a grand total of one night, because the very next day Jimin just can’t leave him alone.

What makes it worse is that he doesn’t even see a glimpse of the kid, not one hair of his candy floss head. Nope. Jimin has apparently made quite a splash, making friends with every student in school, the teachers, the centaurs, the merpeople and all their ancestors and their owls.

That is the only reason why, during their first week back at school, Jungkook can fathom hearing about Jimin in the classroom, at supper, in his dormitory, in the library, in the restrooms.

“Did you hear? He got expelled from Beauxbatons! Can you believe it?”

“Professor Greensmith swooned just at the sight of him.”

“Do you think he ever persuades the Prefects to let him go scott free? Or even the teachers?”

It’s enough to sour Jungkook’s opinion of Jimin even further. Not because he actually believes the rumors, as Hoseok had accused him of doing during a particularly bloodthirsty game of exploding snap, but because, well…

“You’re jealous!” Taehyung screeches, eyes wide and finger pointing at Jungkook’s chest.

Not that Jungkook would ever admit to such a thing. Not in confession, not on his deathbed, not to himself.

Madam Torvel looks up from her desk, hawk-like gaze homing in on them. Yoongi shushes Taehyung while Jungkook kicks him under the table.

“Shut up. Why the fuck would I be jealous of some new kid?” Jungkook hisses under his breath. His quill is pressing into the parchment hard and he relaxes the pressure. Can’t have him ruining his first Arithmancy paper of the year.

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “The ‘kid’ is two years older than you. Might want to show some respect.”

“You know what I mean,” Jungkook grumbles. He curses as he realizes his calculation is wrong, and utters a short spell to remove the last line of ink from his paper.

“Actually, I don’t,” Yoongi says. He is leaning back on the back legs of his chair; Jungkook wishes he’d fall.

Okay, so maybe he has a point about being respectful.

“He isn’t bad. He certainly isn’t the dementor you make him out to be,” Yoongi continues.

“Well, if not being a hideous soul-sucking creature isn’t a glowing stamp of approval, I don’t know what is.” Jungkook knows he is just being petulant, but damn it if he isn’t going to stick to his guns on this one.

Yoongi releases a long-suffering sigh. Taehyung giggles. “Jungkook. I’m in the same house as he is. We have classes together. We sleep in the same room, for god’s sake. Just because you have a stick up your ass doesn’t mean you’re right about this.”

Jungkook gasps. Yoongi, the master of having a stick—no, multiple sticks—up his ass is calling him out on it?

Taehyung is full on cackling now after seeing Jungkook’s reaction but shuts his mouth quick as the sound of heels stalks toward them. A hand pushes Yoongi’s chair forward and his wide eyes are almost enough for Jungkook to not totally regret this conversation.

After they’re shooed out and the door slams shut behind them, Taehyung claps in excitement.

“Kicked out during our first week back! We probably set a historical record. It’ll be the way future students remember us.”

Jungkook turns tail without a word and heads toward Ravenclaw tower. His paper is not going to do itself.

-

The first week of classes are introductory lessons, with professors emphasizing the importance of the upcoming O.W.L.s next year.

First week and already back to business. Sometimes Jungkook wishes classes were more like muggle lessons with, as Taehyung says, a “whole lot of dicking around” during the first lessons of the year.

The second week rolls around and he already has to hand in an Arithmancy paper, a report on Polyjuice potion, and his findings on blast-ended skrewts’ mating habits.

He spends a great deal of time in the library, sometimes alone but mostly with Taehyung (who almost never studies but seems to do fine for himself regardless), Hoseok (when he isn’t busy with the Herbology club) or Yoongi (although he spends most of his time in his dorm).

He doesn’t actually need to spend so much time hitting the books. He knows that. But he wants to be at the top of his year, like he has been for his entire time at Hogwarts. He would eat his Firebolt 3000 before even dreaming of letting go of his coveted position as Hogwarts’ Golden Student.

(Jungkook groaned when he first heard Namjoon call him that embarrassing as hell nickname but inside he was preening and decided he liked the sound of it. He also decided he didn’t want anyone else to have it.)

And so even if he’d rather sit at the back of class and brainstorm new quidditch plays, he takes a seat at the front and pays as much attention as is needed to attain a near-perfect grade.

Which isn’t much, sometimes. It’s not because there’s no competition but because he just has a gift for certain things (Jungkook has never really been a humble person).

One of these things is Defense Against the Dark Arts. Last year he was, according to Professor Vallant, performing at a fifth-year level. Along with quidditch, D.A.D.A. is one of the few things Jungkook well and truly enjoys. Something about learning to combat the Dark Arts and other such dangerous creatures is fun to him. The sense of adrenaline that seeps into him at the thought of one of these lessons being the difference between life and death is similar to the one he gets while soaring over the earth on his broomstick with his robes billowing behind him—an overwhelming feeling of freedom that makes his heart race and palms sweat.

(Jin, when he was still at school, used to called him an adrenaline junkie. Jungkook is inclined to agree.)

A passion for D.A.D.A. meant Jungkook poured his soul into it even outside of class. His room back home is filled with books on dueling technique, how-to guides on facing off against inferi and other monsters, and tomes on theory. This past summer he dabbled in several nonverbal spells (but failed to persuade anyone to spend a while in Azkaban for allowing him to practice resistance against the Imperius Curse).

During the past school year Professor Vallant—a new hire for the D.A.D.A. post—deemed it useless for Jungkook to continue attending third-year level classes. So she appealed to the Headmistress to allow Jungkook to take D.A.D.A. lessons with the fifth-year Ravenclaws. With the Headmistress’s permission Jungkook also sat the O.W.L. and passed with an ‘outstanding’ grade.

(He likes to brag about being the youngest person ever to achieve an O.W.L., even if he isn’t entirely sure of this claim’s validity.)

This year, he is taking D.A.D.A. with the sixth-years in joint Ravenclaw-Slytherin classes. He is friendly with almost everyone in the class despite being two years younger (a result of his position on his quidditch team as well as his friendship with known rumor mill and social butterfly Taehyung), but he doesn’t really know them. Yoongi had unfortunately not done so well on his D.A.D.A. O.W.L. and so for the first two lessons Jungkook sits with a girl whose name he forgets as soon as he leaves the room.

The third week he is five minutes late because Hoseok needed help with his snargaluff. The door is loud as he enters and he quickly apologizes to Vallant for the interruption.

“Five points from Ravenclaw. Try to be on time next week,” she says. She quirks an eyebrow and flicks her wand at his hair, removing several leaves. “Playing in the forest is not an adequate excuse for being late.”

The class titters in amusement. Jungkook goes to the back where there are two unoccupied seats side by side. He pays rapt attention to the lesson on the inner workings of a stunning charm and its practical use as he scribbles down notes. Vallant is about to split the class into pairs when the door creaks open.

“I’m sorry, Miss. I couldn’t find the classroom.”

The scratching of quills stops as the soft voice descends upon the ears of the students. Jungkook keeps writing, concentrating on getting his thoughts onto parchment.

“That is quite alright. Just don’t let it happen again.” Jungkook pauses, looks up. Why the fuck is this person not being punished when Jungkook—

Ah.

Of course.

Standing at the front is Park fucking Jimin, with his bright hair and eyes curved up in a smile.

“Please have a seat.”

Oh shit. No no no

Jungkook stares straight ahead, knowing full well that he is beside the only empty seat in the room. He resists the urge to drop his textbooks onto the vacant chair. He isn’t that petty.

Just, you know, petty enough to hate the guy’s guts.

Vallant redirects everyone’s attention to the front. Only a few sets of eyes trail Jimin as he takes the seat. The class is separated into pairs to practice the stunning spell and because the world hates Jungkook right now, he ends up with Jimin.

Just great.

The desks are moved to the side so that the students take the floor. This is the first time he has seen Jimin up close, and Jungkook’s first impression is that Jimin is small. Not tiny, but definitely smaller than himself.

Jungkook tries to talk to Jimin or at least signal for someone to start first (the fewer words spoken the better) but there is always someone trying to get closer to Jimin. The first time it is a Slytherin boy who stumbles backward and holds onto Jimin for balance for longer than is necessary, the second time a Ravenclaw girl is hovering around him despite the sheer empty space in their vicinity.

Jungkook ignores the first time. The second time makes his eye twitch. The fifth time he points to an empty corner of the classroom and leads Jimin there. He just wants to get on with the lesson, damn it.

“What’s your name?”

Jimin seems to get the hint, because his voice is low and no one seems to hear. He’s even smiling. Still, Jungkook makes a poor attempt to stifle a sigh.

“Jeon Jungkook. And you’re Park Jimin, charmer extraordinaire. If you don’t mind, I would like to put this spell to use sometime before I die,” Jungkook says.

If any of his seniors were here he knows he’d get an earful about not being an asshole, especially to an older person he’s just met. In his defense, Jimin isn’t exactly doing much to dissuade attention. Jungkook needs this class and fuck it if he’s going to let some runt get in the way of precious class time.

Jimin’s smile falters, a minute flicker that Jungkook would have missed had he not been looking right at Jimin’s face. It’s only for a second, but Jungkook—for the first time—feels like he has overstepped some boundaries.

“Ah… I missed the beginning of class and I hadn’t yet been taught this spell at my old school. Could you help me?” Jimin asks. His smile is back on his face and his tone is laced with honeyed sweetness.

Jungkook feels his inner Yoongi come to life as he rolls his eyes. He doesn’t mind lending a hand to friends (he once spent an all-nighter helping Taehyung study for a Potions exam), but the way Jimin so obviously succeeds at charming people into doing his bidding (and expects it to work on Jungkook) puts Jungkook off like nothing else.

But despite his (perhaps uncalled for) ill will toward Jimin, even Jungkook knows he’s being a dick when he says, “You could, I don’t know, try being on time? Or I heard actually coming to class is a great start.” He had seen no sign of Jimin during the first two classes.

Jimin’s expression shifts into one of curiosity, lips turning into a frown and brows knitting together. He crosses his arms and cocks his head, regarding Jungkook as if he is a puzzle. There are no signs of his prior flirtatious inflections or sweet smile.

A weird sense of accomplishment washes over Jungkook and he wants to smack himself upside the head. It’s just strangely satisfying to so obviously send Jimin for a loop.

“You don’t like me, do you?”

Jungkook laughs, actually laughs out of disbelief. No trace of offense is present in Jimin’s question, just a simple desire for a real answer to a real question. That makes it even more unbelievable, because—

Why would I like you?” Jungkook demands. “I know nothing about you except that you have everyone wrapped around your little finger.”

Jungkook doesn’t mean to be loud, but by the time he’s done a couple other students are staring at them. He shoos them away and turns back to Jimin. What he sees next is, plain and simple, the oddest thing he has ever had the (dis)pleasure of witnessing.

Jimin just looks at him for a moment, arms still crossed. Then a broad smile blooms on his face, a wide smile that makes his eyes crinkle and exposes the white of his teeth. It is so unlike the saccharine and almost seductive quirk of the lips he used before.

“Except for you,” Jimin says. He sounds happy, excitement clear in his voice.

Two thoughts manifest and run rampant in Jungkook’s brain. The first is that he has never seen anyone so overjoyed at being disliked. The second is that his heart did not just skip a beat. No way, no how. He has to be dying, there is absolutely no other answer.

(He does end up helping Jimin, just a little bit and with the barest minimum of instruction needed to carry out the rest of the class. He hates how much of a fast learner Jimin is.)

-

The quidditch pitch is the only place where Jungkook feels some reprieve from the Jimin-obsessed student body.

Practices are filled with rigorous training. It may be Jungkook’s first year as captain but that only means he has more to prove, not only to himself but also to those who are undoubtedly unhappy about someone so young being made captain. Two members in particular, Jules and Yejun, have never been Jungkook’s biggest fans.

During the first session he and two seventh-years on the team screen possible candidates for the positions of chaser and keeper. The would-be chasers are almost all duds except for the last one, a fifth-year that Jungkook has a passing recognition of. She is incredibly fast and has a good handle on her broomstick. With a bit of work Jungkook thinks she has what it takes to be a great member of their team.

They narrow it down to two people for keeper, one a burly third-year and the other a sprightly sixth-year. They call the two back for another session a week later and choose the sixth-year.

The pitch is Jungkook’s haven, always has been. When he first rode a broom over the grounds of his childhood home it was like the pieces of his life had fallen into place.

He is going to take his team to new heights this year, no matter what it takes.

-

Jungkook guesses it was a bit obvious in hindsight.

He is lounging in one of the courtyards, arms behind his head and body laying on the grass. Namjoon and Hoseok are playing hangman with Taehyung’s miniature and portable gallows complete with noose and keys for entering letters.

It is a balmy Thursday evening. The three of them have no classes and Jungkook is already finished with his paper on dementors for tomorrow’s D.A.D.A. class. Handfuls of students mill on the stone pathways surrounding the greenery, leaving the Great Hall after finishing supper or hurrying to get schoolwork done.

Namjoon shakes his head after Hoseok presses the ‘B’ button. “Always go for vowels first.”

Jungkook listens to them bicker back and forth as he watches stars flicker in and out of the inky canvas of sky. He isn’t a poetic person but he thinks he could bust out a few soliloquies about the beauty of the glittering jewels among a cobalt landscape or some shit.

His eyes start closing a few minutes later. He could probably sleep here the whole night, but he is rudely interrupted when Hoseok’s voice rings out loud and clear over the grass.

“Jimin! Over here.”

What the hell? Jungkook startles awake but ends up wincing at the vertigo. Shit.

“Hoseok, what are you doing?” Jungkook says under his breath.

Hoseok, for his part, looks genuinely confused. “What do you mean? I called out to Jimin—“

“Yeah, I got that much. But—“ Jungkook is interrupted by Jimin’s arrival. The boy’s hair is mussed by the slight wind and he is smiling again, a small one that grows slightly when he sees Jungkook.

Jungkook doesn’t want to stop and think about what that might mean, so he doesn’t.

“You should play a game of hangman with us,” Namjoon says. “It’s pretty graphic.”

Jimin’s fingers play with the fringe of his green and silver scarf. The over-long sleeves of his robe make his hands seem even smaller. “I’m sorry, but I need to finish some Transfiguration assignments. Maybe next time?”

“Is Dorel giving you a hard time? I remember having to conjure up a thousand birds because I couldn’t get them the right species. I think I made him hate the sight of parrots,” Hoseok says.

Jimin gives a soft laugh. “No, it’s going well. I just need to get some work done.”

He politely says goodbye to Namjoon and Hoseok. Jungkook is ready to lay back down but Jimin turns his gaze to him and says with a small wave, “I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”

Jungkook nods. He wasn’t even expecting to be acknowledged at all. Once Jimin is gone both Namjoon and Hoseok swing around to look at Jungkook.

“What?” he asks, feeling vaguely creeped out.

Hoseok looks at him with something akin to awe. Okay, something is definitely going on here.

“How can you not like him?” Namjoon says.

“What?” Jungkook repeats. “You could tell?” It is the first question to invade his mind, although there is also the obvious what the fuck are you talking about?

“You were glaring at him like he took your Firebolt and broke it over his knee,” Hoseok says. Before Jungkook can protest he continues and echoes Namjoon. “Why aren’t you affected? You have the resolve of a madman.”

At this point Jungkook is baffled. No test or lesson has ever given him this much trouble. He’s sure he sounds like a broken record. “What? I mean, I know he’s attractive and I can acknowledge that objectively but everyone’s acting like he isn’t even human. It’s not like he’s a siren or a nymph or even a god damn vee—“

…Wait.

Jungkook bolts upward into a standing position and starts pacing back and forth in short quick strides because he doesn’t think he can stay still right now. Wait…

Namjoon and Hoseok are two pairs of round eyes staring at Jungkook. He ignores them as he pieces the whole thing together: Jimin’s strange behavior in D.A.D.A., the looks Jimin gets that broadcast everyone and their mothers’ willingness to take a killing curse for him…

“…For someone so good at everything, you can be really dumb sometimes. Like, insult-a-hipogriff dumb,” Namjoon says helpfully.

Hoseok stops staring at Jungkook long enough to guffaw loudly. Jungkook throws his hands up in the air and looks down at them.

“Why do all of you know this? And more importantly, why has no one told me? I think a half-veela going to Hogwarts would be pretty big news.”

Namjoon shrugs. “Yoongi said you couldn’t get your head out of your ass. Even a mention of Jimin had you going for the nearest exit. Why would we talk to you about something you don’t want to hear?”

“Besides,” Hoseok chimes in, “everyone knows. It’s kind of hard not to when he doesn’t even need spells to control you.”

Jungkook pauses. “Wait, how can you be so sure you actually want to be friends with him? What if it’s just because he’s veela?”

Namjoon and Hoseok look at each other before turning back to Jungkook. Hoseok presses the ‘L’ key on the game and Jungkook watches as a small panel slides out from underneath the tiny figurine, sending it to its untimely death.

“Who knows,” Namjoon says. “All I do know is that he’s a nice guy, and that’s good enough for me.”

-

Despite what Jimin said, Jungkook does not see him in class the next day.

He isn’t sure if he wants to meet him. He still doesn’t like him, but at least now he knows why Jimin makes everyone act so strangely. Jungkook probably owes him an apology, but he doesn’t exactly want to admit he was in the wrong.

When Jimin doesn’t show, Jungkook feels automatic relief. He doesn’t see Jimin around at all, although Yoongi and Taehyung speak of him.

His relief is short-lived because a week later, not even ten minutes after sitting down with Taehyung and Hoseok at their table (he’s a proud Ravenclaw, sure, but so many of them are nose-deep in their books) after a grueling early morning quidditch practice, a familiar head of pink hair comes to their table.

“Jimin!” Taehyung practically shouts. “How was the Encyclopedia of Modern Art?”

Jimin stands in front of them, waffling on whether he should sit or not. Jungkook would be fine with him just standing there but Hoseok waves at him to sit down opposite.

“I’m almost done. Thanks for letting me borrow it,” Jimin says once he takes the seat. He’s looking at the table, more specifically the sausages Taehyung is scarfing down. Jungkook doesn’t blame him; Taehyung eating is not a pretty sight.

“Um,” Jimin continues before anything else can be said. His finger taps the grain of the tabletop. Like their previous encounter, he looks antsy, even nervous. Jungkook files it away in his mental Jimin database.

Not that he would ever admit to having one. He just has one for every person of interest.

“I wanted to ask Jungkook something. Do you think we could step outside?”

Hoseok’s mouth gapes open in surprise as Taehyung elbows Jungkook in the side and smiles lewdly. Jungkook wants to punch the expression off Taehyung’s face but settles for pinching his cheek and reveling in the pained yelp it elicits. He glances sideways at Jimin and sees the red staining his cheeks.

Interesting.

Once outside they hover awkwardly on the stone path bordering the courtyard. It’s the first time they’ve been alone and Jungkook just wants to leave. What does Jimin even want? Does he like being hated that much to seek it out?

The annoyance must show on Jungkook’s face, because Jimin again regards him with a Look, a Look that makes Jungkook feel like a particularly difficult arithmancy problem.

“I don’t have all day,” Jungkook says with impatience.

“I’ve been trying to figure it out,” Jimin says pensively. “Why I have no effect on you.”

Jungkook is curious despite himself, because he hasn’t the slightest clue. “Yeah? And did you find anything out?”

“Are you veela as well?”

“No!” Jungkook says. He’d have noticed if he garnered the kind of attention Jimin did. “No, I’m not.”

“We’re unaffected by our kind. It’s the only explanation I could think of, but,” Jimin gestures toward Jungkook, “that’s out the window.”

Jungkook shrugs, a tad disappointed. “Well, does it matter? There’s no changing it. I’m sure having one less person fawn over you won’t be a huge blow.”

“You’re right,” Jimin agrees. “In fact, it’s perfect.”

Huh?

“I came to ask you for your help with Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Jimin says. He sounds eager for a reason Jungkook can’t even begin to pinpoint.

“Why don’t you ask Vallant?”

“You saw how she let me off the hook for being late. She’s hasn’t even punished me for my late assignments,” Jimin says. Well, at least he’s got some self-awareness. “I can’t have that kind of lenience. I’ll never learn anything even if I ask for remedial lessons.”

Jungkook secretly wonders why everyone has the willpower of a kid in Honeydukes, even professors.

“I don’t know—“

“Jungkook,” Jimin says firmly, shutting down Jungkook’s would-be panicked statement of refusal. “You’re the only one who is impartial, the only person to actually dislike me. And Yoongi tells me you’re one of the best at D.A.D.A. Please, you’re the only one I trust to be honest with me.”

Jimin’s face is serious, mouth set in a thin line and eyes hard. Jungkook wonders at the stark difference between this request for help and the one Jimin made during their first and only lesson together. He supposes Jimin’s dropped the coy attitude around him because he knows it won’t work.

Jungkook isn’t sure if this is the ‘real’ Jimin or if his flirtatious persuasions are purely a manifestation of his veela side.

Jungkook is sure that Jimin is actually tolerable like this, when he isn’t a walking honeypot.

“Okay. Sure, I’ll help you.” It’ll be interesting, if nothing else.

“Really?” Suspicion coats Jimin’s voice. Once it’s clear Jungkook is serious, he smiles wide. “Thank you so much. You don’t want anything in return?”

Jungkook mentally shakes his head clear of any unsavory suggestions (1. He isn’t that scummy and 2. he doesn’t even like Jimin) and says, “I’ll think of something later. My schedule’s tight, though. How’s Saturday night?”

Jimin is radiating happiness, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Jungkook hates himself for finding it endearing.

Jimin heads to class after they agree on a time (Thursday evenings) and Jungkook goes back to the Great Hall to finish off breakfast. When he returns to his seat Taehyung needles him for details. Jungkook doesn’t say a word as he helps himself to a couple eggs.

As far as Jungkook is concerned, no one needs to know a thing.

-

The next week passes in a blur of lessons and quidditch practice. When he isn’t doing something for school or on the pitch he’s fooling around with Taehyung, or less frequently, Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok. The last three are busier than usual now that it’s their seventh year.

Before he knows it the months change and the trees around the castle are painted in reds and yellows. He comes across a couple of the other quidditch teams preparing for the first match of the season next month.

By the time Thursday comes Jungkook almost forgets about his promise to Jimin. He rushes out of Ravenclaw tower fifteen minutes after eight and heads to their agreed meeting place (a classroom in an area of the dungeons that Jungkook knows for a fact is unfrequented—if nothing has changed since Taehyung and Hoseok stored all their Whizzbangs there last year).

He slows down once he reaches the entrance to the dungeons and does his best to look nonchalant as he passes several Slytherins on their way to their common room. Standing before the classroom, he runs a hand through his hair and pushes open the heavy stone door. Hopefully Jimin decided not to show. Jungkook could really use the extra work time.

“What took you so long?”

Well, a man could dream.

“I forgot,” Jungkook answers. No need to sugarcoat it.

The sconces along the wall are already lit, courtesy of Jimin. He eyes the room—cobwebs fill the corners and the floor is filthy with dirt and dust. He conjures up a couple brooms and sets them to work.

Jungkook takes in Jimin’s thick cloak and scarf swallowing his small frame. It is pretty cold down here. Maybe he’d have to look into relocating their little lessons for the winter.

That is, if either of them doesn’t end up driving the other mad beforehand.

“Okay, so,” Jungkook starts, same as all the other times he’s helped his friends with school. He is leaning on the teacher’s desk at the front of the room, hands behind him on the edge and legs reaching out. From here he is eye level with Jimin, who is sitting on a desk with his feet swinging back and forth above the floor.

“What do you know?” It’s an extremely general question but one that needs to be asked. He has no idea what the curricula at other schools even entail.

“Well,” Jimin says, chin in hand and brow furrowed in thought. “We did diminuendo the last class at my old school. Reducto too. Duels were a part of our testing. I was always great at that.” He says the last part with pride.

Jungkook whistles. Damn. Having students face each other in (some cases probably cutthroat) duels would never fly here.

“Why do you think you were good at them? How would a duel of yours usually go?”

Jimin moves to cross his legs on top of the desk. “I’m fast,” he says, this time in a more matter-of-fact manner. “My opponent would be on the floor the moment it started.”

So assumedly Jimin would launch some kind of jinx or hex and leave no time for his partner to react. His offensive capabilities are probably on par (or even better, Jungkook thinks bitterly) than Jungkook’s own.

“Do a shield charm. Any one of them,” Jungkook demands suddenly.

Jimin doesn’t hesitate as he hops off the desk and takes his wand out. He points at one of the nearby chairs with his wand and utters, “Protego.”

Jungkook uses progressively more harmful spells to test the strength of Jimin’s charm. A few spells in the chair is viciously knocked over with a relatively weak jinx. Jungkook turns back to Jimin with a nod.

“Vallant places more emphasis on defensive spells, but they’re also your weak point so we’ll focus more on those. We’ll run through the material for each class during our lessons the day before.” Jungkook stops, then adds, “It’ll take a while. A child could dismantle your shield charm.”

Jimin blinks, mouth open slightly in shock. Jungkook shifts uncomfortably, the weight of Jimin’s gaze heavy.

Finally Jimin says, “No wonder you’re a Ravenclaw. I thought you’d be shitty at this teaching thing, to be honest.”

Jungkook scoffs and crosses his arms, irritation bubbling. “Look, I don’t care if you fail. Don’t be a jackass or this deal is off the table, okay?”

As soon as the words are out of his mouth embarrassment washes over him because, really, he realizes he’s being hypocritical, but Jimin just laughs. The sound of it is pleasant, like chimes echoing off the walls and in Jungkook’s ears.

“I’ll try,” Jimin says. He puts his hand on Jungkook’s upper arm and rubs up and down in a comforting gesture. And, loathe as Jungkook is it to admit, it works. The warmth from Jimin’s hand and his curved smile are nice.

Then the heat is gone and Jungkook comes back to his senses.

“Let’s get on with it,” he says.

-

Jimin actually proves to be a good student.

He learns fast, maybe even the fastest of everyone Jungkook’s taught. He is receptive to criticism and suggestions, unafraid of and always willing to make changes to the way he casts a spell.

Jungkook likes that. It makes their Thursday meet-ups painless and seamless. They easily cover one, sometimes two classes’ worth of material in the two hours. Jungkook’s hunch was right—Jimin’s defensive spells are underdeveloped.

What Jungkook feels much more ambivalent about is the shrinking distance between the two of them.

 

First case in point:

Jungkook arrives early to D.A.D.A. a few weeks after he starts tutoring Jimin, ‘early’ meaning before every other student and the professor.

He sits at one of the tables at the front and pulls out a piece of parchment tucked inside the cover of his textbook. On it are a series of diagrams and scribbles detailing ideas for quidditch plays Jungkook would like to try out during practice. It is nigh incomprehensible to others (Taehyung mistook it for ancient runes once) but that doesn’t matter as long as it makes perfect sense to Jungkook.

There’s still quite a bit of time left until class starts, so Jungkook picks up where he last left off during Transfiguration that morning. From his time on the team last year, he remembers the most points being scored against them due to their subpar defensive line, but their chasers were second to none. If they could keep the other team’s chasers on their toes for the whole game…

He doesn’t look up as the door opens, too engrossed in his scribbling. The sound of a chair being scraped along the floor doesn’t register.

“Is that supposed to be the pitch? Or some horribly deformed and terribly long arithmancy equation?”

Jungkook’s quill runs off the page and it startles him out of his thoughts. Jimin is sitting across from him, elbows on the desk and looking curiously at the paper.

“Yeah, it’s the pitch,” Jungkook answers. He no longer feels the irrational twinge of annoyance when it comes to anything Jimin, but Jungkook isn’t particularly fond of him either.

Jimin hums, points to one of the dots scattered around the drawing. “What’s that?”

“A chaser,” Jungkook says. Specifically Isla, but the name would likely fall on deaf ears.

“Where are the other two?”

Jungkook puts his quill on two other blobs of ink, one near the goalposts marked with an ‘R’ for ‘Ravenclaw’ and the other next to the first chaser.

“They’re so far apart,” Jimin observes.

“Two of them trap one of the other team’s chasers. The last one stays to help the keeper,” Jungkook says.

The door opens and admits a Ravenclaw student who sends them an inquisitive look before sitting a few rows behind them.

Jimin lowers his head and speaks quietly. “Why not keep them together? Like this.” He uses a finger to draw a triangle on the parchment. “A formation like that would break through the opposition easily.”

“Scoring isn’t the only important part of a game.”

Truthfully, Jungkook hadn’t thought of pulling off a move like that. He wants to focus on improving his team’s defense but files away Jimin’s suggestion for later use.

“Do you play?” Jungkook asks. Either that or Jimin is a rigorous quidditch fan.

Jimin laughs, a short sweet sound. “Don’t be so surprised. I was seeker for a few years before I left.”

“Me too,” Jungkook says with excitement rising in his voice. Damn his quidditch obsession. “I mean, I play seeker.”

“I heard,” Jimin says, wry amusement clear in his tone. “You look more like a beater, though. Seekers are usually small.”

“Hey, I’m really fast on a broom. That’s all you need.”

“So you aren’t fast off a broom, got it,” Jimin teases.

Jungkook reaches over to lightly punch Jimin’s arm. “I can show you. What do you want me to do?”

He inmediately regrets asking when Jimin raises a brow, eyes raking slowly over Jungkook’s chest and up to his face.

“I don’t think now’s an appropriate time, Jungkook,” Jimin says. His mouth quivers from trying to keep his laughter in but one look at Jungkook’s saucer eyes sends him over the edge and he bursts into giggles.

Shit. Jungkook kicks him hard under the table which makes Jimin laugh even harder.

Still, Jungkook is glad to see Jimin is clearly joking. Because there is not a chance that he is into Jimin like that.

Right?

 

Second case in point:

The time finally comes for the first visit to Hogsmeade.

For Yoongi and Namjoon, the excitement of these trips has mostly diminished and are really just excuses to get out of school. For Taehyung and Hoseok, it’s like an early Christmas—Namjoon once told him that the two of them stayed up the night before their first Hogsmeade visit together planning where to go and ended up sleeping in, missing half the day.

Jungkook is somewhere near Taehyung and Hoseok’s end of the spectrum. Hogsmeade is still relatively new to him and he always drinks enough butterbeer to give himself a stomachache each time he goes. This time, Taehyung and Hoseok accompany Jungkook to town with the three of them planning on meeting Namjoon and Yoongi at the Three Broomsticks later in the afternoon.

Their boots crush the fallen snow and the steep roofs of the village are blanketed in white. They pass storefronts decorated with enchanted jack-o-lanterns, the flickering flames inside the pumpkins visible through their changing faces. Taehyung and Hoseok make a beeline for Zonko’s Joke Shop and Jungkook has no choice but to follow.

Taehyung and Hoseok spend so long perusing the shelves upon shelves of wares that Jungkook starts to get a bit restless. He grabs a few sugar quills to nibble on in class while they stock up on extendable ears and dungbombs. Jungkook thinks the extendable ears are actually useful (having used one with Taehyung to listen in on one of Namjoon’s conversations with his ex once—poor girl was bored to death, if the snoring they heard was any indication) as opposed to a pile of stink pellets.

By the time they leave the store Jungkook is ready to drown in butterbeer. They make their way to the Three Broomsticks, shopping bags levitating along beside them.

As soon as they enter the inn they are hit with the sounds of bustling conversation and the strong aromas of mead and rum. The warmth of the place makes Jungkook reach up to loosen his scarf. Locating Yoongi and Namjoon amongst all the patrons is a task in and of itself. Finally Hoseok manages to spot them and Taehyung and Jungkook follow.

When they get closer Jungkook notices a third person at the table. Their head is obscured by their wool hat but that laugh is one Jungkook is becoming increasingly familiar with…

“Ouch. Did you get petrified or something?”

Taehyung rubs his shoulder where he ran into Jungkook and peeks around Jungkook’s immobile form, because for some unfathomable reason Jungkook’s legs have seemed to stop working. When Taehyung spots Jimin he gives the worst shit-eating grin Jungkook has ever had the misfortune to see, and Jungkook knows he’s fucked.

“Oi! You’re here, Jimin!”

Jungkook makes a mental reminder to put some U-No-Poo in Taehyung’s food tonight.

Then Jimin turns, his face lighting up at the sight of Jungkook, and Jungkook thinks this might not be so bad.

There are already glasses of butterbeer waiting for them and Jungkook gladly takes one and sits between Yoongi and Namjoon. Taehyung and Hoseok take the other stools, their bags crowding the space beneath the table.

“What happened after?” Namjoon asks. He turns to the new arrivals and adds, “Get this—Jimin took a dive in the Beauxbatons lake and got bitten by a mermaid.”

Namjoon tries to stifle his laughter while Yoongi looks incredulous and deadpans, “In winter. Because you were dared.”

Jimin throws his head back and laughs, letting Yoongi’s comments roll off his back.

“That was in my first year. I wanted to prove this rude prick wrong, and I did,” Jimin says triumphantly. “He was too scared to even go in, especially after I regaled him with stories about the fangs of merpeople dripping with the blood of their victims.”

Taehyung looks supremely grossed out while at the same time enjoying every minute of the story.

“Yeah, your blood,” he says in horror.

Jimin nods. “Apparently my veela pheromones make me more appetizing, and not in the way they usually do.”

“Show us the scar!” Hoseok exclaims. He pales as he continues, “She didn’t… take a bite, did she?”

Taehyung slaps a hand over his mouth and even Yoongi blanches.

Jungkook prepares for the worst as Jimin pulls at his cloak to reveal his shoulder, exposing a circle of pale pinpricks.

“I spent a day at the hospital. Gave me a potion to drink and sent me on my way.”

As Taehyung and Hoseok run their fingers over Jimin’s scar Jungkook thinks that even if he knows all his friends have essentially welcomed Jimin into their little circle, it is still odd seeing it in action. Jungkook was the last to enter Hogwarts four years ago, and until Jin left last year they have always been together. They each have their own friends, sure, but all of them know they always come back to each other.

To see Jimin integrate himself into their group so easily—Jungkook feels a little defensive, honestly, if only because they haven’t taken to someone so quickly since, well, himself. But then Jungkook remembers he’s the one giving Jimin private lessons and he realizes he has no room to talk.

As if sensing Jungkook’s thoughts, Jimin turns to him. “Did you actually faint when you saw a centaur for the first time?”

Taehyung immediately snickers and when Jungkook accios Taehyung’s butterbeer in revenge the rest of the table joins in laughing and generally embarrassing the hell out of Jungkook.

Their circle of friends might be changing, Jungkook thinks, but it may be for the better. He knows that regardless of his own feelings, one thing’s for sure—like a glove, Jimin is a perfect fit.

-

As the winds pick up and the sun sets earlier, more and more students are carrying around house pennants around the school grounds. November is here, and with it a rise in team spirit. Beyond the Triwizard Tournament and year-end ceremonies, only one event is really capable of turning passive students into die-hard supporters of their houses—quidditch season.

Jungkook has been practicing almost non-stop. Any time he has free when he is not in class, doing work, with friends, or tutoring Jimin is spent on the pitch. He gets the team meeting as often as they can. Otherwise he is by himself, trying to get as close as he can to mastering control of his broom and all the sudden twists and turns he puts it through.

The first match comes and goes, resulting in a win for Slytherin. Jungkook spends the game watching the players’ techniques and idiosyncrasies.

Soon after is Ravenclaw’s match against Hufflepuff. Jungkook isn’t too worried. Hufflepuff is known for many things, but their quidditch team is not one of them.

On the day of, his team arrives at the pitch first. The stands are already packed. Around half the spectators are waving blue and bronze flags. More elaborate shows of support are present in a giant hat displaying the head of a badger, and signs enchanted to display an eagle and a badger duking it out.

From the ground Jungkook can make out his friends in the stands. Taehyung and Hoseok are carrying both Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw pennants, torn between dedication to their house and loyalty to Jungkook. Yoongi and Namjoon are with them, because even though they’re not ones for quidditch they know how much it means to him.

And beside the four of them, pink hair looking almost white in the sun, is Jimin. His small Ravenclaw banner makes Jungkook smile inexplicably.

The Hufflepuff team arrives and both teams march onto the pitch. Jungkook shakes hands with the captain (who has also taken up her post this year) and all of them kick off into the air. The quaffle is thrown, and the game begins.

Jungkook immediately gets to work trying to find the snitch. He focuses his vision, on the lookout for the tiny golden ball. Soon the first points are scored by Hufflepuff to thunderous applause in the stands, with still no sign of the snitch. Jungkook circles the stadium with the rival seeker always in his peripheral vision in case she catches sight of the snitch first.

Jungkook gets antsier as more and more points are scored. Despite his earlier judgement, Hufflepuff is leading by fifty points. Even though he had tried to get his team’s defense up to snuff for their first game, it still didn’t seem to be enough.

After a near-collision with a bludger, Jungkook finally sees a shimmer of gold above him. A rush of euphoria fills him; he takes in his surroundings—almost all of the players are elsewhere. The other seeker is below him, nearer to the ground.

Thinking quickly, he dives downward and is met with a cacophony of shouts from excited spectators. The other seeker follows suit and takes a nosedive in pursuit of Jungkook. Once he is sure she is set in her course, he angles upward and flies back into the air. The resounding crash as she collides with the ground elicits groans of sympathy from the stands that are overtaken by cheers once Jungkook holds the captured snitch above his head.

-

Jungkook wouldn’t trade anything for the intoxicating ecstasy of victory.

For the next few days he is stopped in his common room, the halls, during mealtimes. Other students (Ravenclaws and non-Ravenclaws alike) clap him on the back and offer congratulations for his performance during the game. Namjoon promises to treat him to as much as he can eat during their next Hogsmeade trip, and Taehyung presents him with a cake with a distorted version of Jungkook’s face on it in sloppily applied icing.

He basks in the attention for as long as it lasts, but with each passing day normalcy returns and replaces the euphoria with lingering dredges of disappointment. Because being captain didn’t help improve his team in the slightest.

He keeps his downcast attitude at bay, and fortunately classes help keep his mind off things. It still seems to takes up a large part of his mind though, because as he is doodling on his parchment during the last few minutes of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Jimin whispers, “What’s wrong?”

Jungkook looks at him, then at his paper. Most of the page is covered in spirals and other curly shapes in black ink. He shakes his head.

“Nothing. Just distracted.”

Jimin regards him for another second. Vallant dismisses the class and Jungkook follows the others, getting up and packing his things away.

“Are you free right now?” Jimin asks.

Jungkook hesitates, hand hovering over his bookbag because yeah, he is. What gives him pause is the fact that they have never hung out alone (unless one considers tutoring sessions ‘hanging out’) despite undeniably becoming closer since they first met.

“Uh, maybe? Why’re you asking?” Jungkook winces at how cagey he sounds.

Jimin rolls his eyes. “I’m luring you into the Forbidden Forest so no one can hear you as you get devoured by centaurs and tossed into the Great Lake. Haven’t you caught on to my plan?”

Jungkook just looks at him, face aghast. He lets himself be dragged away as Jimin tugs gently at his sleeve.

“Follow me.”

-

Of all the possibilities, Jungkook does not expect Jimin to bring him to the quidditch pitch.

Once they’re out of the classroom Jungkook shakes off Jimin’s very loose grip and follows the other boy through the halls of the castle. They don’t speak for the duration of the trek from the eastern side of the school to the west. Eventually they stop at the bottom of the tower leading up to the Ravenclaw common room.

“Get your broomstick,” Jimin prompts. “I’ll wait here.”

The common room is a ways up so it takes Jungkook a while to climb the tower, retrieve his Firebolt, and walk back down. When he returns Jimin pushes off from where he was leaning on the stone wall and leads Jungkook outside and onto the pitch.

The first thing Jungkook does upon stepping foot outside the castle is wish he’d had the foresight to bring some gloves. He wraps his scarf once more around his neck and shoves his free hand inside a pocket of his robes.

After Jimin takes a practice broom from the nearby shed, Jungkook says, “Now what?”

Jimin cocks his head, grin on his face.

“Fly, obviously.”

So they do.

They fly over the school grounds, over the lake, the enormous willow tree, the forest. They ride side by side and race each other as they circle around and weave through the numerous towers of the castle, past the windows looking in on classes and common rooms. They create circles in the sky and laugh until their faces hurt as the sun setting behind the mountains casts an amber glow on the castle.

It is the most fun Jungkook has had flying in a long while—not aiming to win a game, but just for the joy of it.

When it gets too dark and visibility becomes too poor, their feet touch the ground. Neither of them want to go back inside yet, and so they climb and sit in the stands with their hands numb and spirits high.

One question has been buzzing in Jungkook’s head for a while, and this is as good an opportunity as any.

“Why didn’t you try out for the Slytherin team this year?”

Jimin’s face is still flushed from excitement. He’s blowing into his hands to give them some semblance of warmth but pauses and looks at Jungkook sidelong before answering.

“I’m suspended from playing, at least in official games.”

Jungkook almost chokes on his tongue. The great Jimin, captivator of hearts, having his quidditch privileges revoked!

He nudges Jimin in the side and says, “What did you do? Destroy Dorel’s prized Celestina Warbeck limited edition recording? Stage a protest for house elves?”

Jimin shakes his head. “Nothing that dramatic. Something happened back at the school I used to go to.”

Jungkook is about to press for more details until Jimin continues, “I’ve never seen you not pay attention in class before.”

A particularly strong gust of wind makes Jungkook’s hair fly into his face and he has to extract a hand from its warm sanctuary in his cloak to move the strands away. He makes a face as he does so, mind slowly turning back to the game.

“Yeah well, there’s a first time for everything.”

“Right, today is a day of firsts. I made you smile and laugh for the first time.” Jimin is practically glowing, eyes turned smaller from his smile. “But is there going to be a first time for you telling me what’s wrong?”

Jimin’s happiness must be infectious, because even though Jungkook thinks Jimin’s cheesy as hell, warmth floods into his cheeks and he laughs.

“Okay, sure. You did earn it,” Jungkook says. He sobers but no longer feels the heaviness of his previous bad mood weighing him down.

“I just became quidditch captain this year, right? I know it sounds dumb but I really wanted to be good at it. So we practiced every chance we had and I made sure to patch up the areas I thought we were lacking in. And then what happens?” Jungkook gripes. “We lagged behind in points, and the only reason we managed to win was because I caught the snitch in time.”

Jimin clicks his tongue in sympathy and takes a moment to mull over his words. “Your team might have done worse if you hadn’t worked with them all term. I’m sure they’ve improved since you became their captain.”

Lights are starting to pop up throughout the castle, little windows of flickering yellow dotting the walls. Jungkook watches them with disinterest as he says, “But it’s still not good enough. Gryffindor and Slytherin’s teams are even better than Hufflepuff’s. How are we supposed to win the cup? My position as captain is already being doubted as it is.”

Jungkook is fully aware he’s whining and in fact feels vaguely embarrassed about it, if only because he doesn’t want to sound like a baby in front of a guy two years older than him.

His time stewing in shame is cut short as Jimin presses his leg close against Jungkook’s own and puts a hand on Jungkook’s knee.

“There’s still a couple months until the next match. Maybe you should try a different approach, if you don’t think the one you’re using right now is working out.”

Jungkook is about to ask Jimin to repeat himself, because Jimin’s hand is burning a hole through Jungkook’s trousers and the warmth coursing through the side of his leg is extremely distracting.

Then Jimin moves even closer, pressing into his side (for relief from the cold, Jungkook reminds himself) and Jungkook has to stop himself from instinctively putting an arm around him.

Okay, what the fuck.

Jungkook almost makes himself dizzy standing up. Jimin looks at him in surprise as Jungkook’s mind races. Without thinking he unwinds his scarf from his neck and hands it to Jimin, thrusting it under his nose.

Jimin stares at the scarf uncertainly. “Aren’t you cold too?”

Jungkook takes in Jimin’s red nose and the scarlet dusting his cheeks. Cute, he thinks. He immediately wants to kick himself.

“You need it more than I do.”

When a wide smile blooms on Jimin’s face as he takes the scarf and puts it on, Jungkook sits back down and puts into practice the deep breathing exercises he always makes fun of Namjoon for doing.

In… he’s just attractive… Out… that’s all… In… you’re overreacting… Out… you’re just happy you have a friend that loves flying as much as you do…

Yeah, that’s definitely it.

“So? Have you figured out what you’re going to do with the team?”

Right. Jungkook turns to face Jimin (now swaddled in an indigo and copper scarf) and thinks back through their conversation. A different approach… Something he hasn’t tried yet…

“I was seeker… before I left.”

Jungkook shocks Jimin a second time when he suddenly stands up once more.

“Okay, stop doing that,” Jimin complains. “You’re taking away my only heat source.”

Jungkook ignores him. “I know how you can repay me.”

-

Jimin readily accepts when he hears the plan. Jungkook is grateful, had already been preparing for him to refuse.

The plan is this: carve out even more time from their schedules at least once a week so that Jimin will be able to coach Jungkook in quidditch tactics he had used during his time at Beauxbatons. From what he has gathered Jungkook knows that whatever team Jimin was on, they focused heavily on offensive strategies. It’s the perfect counterpoint to everything he has been telling his teammates so far, Jungkook thinks. He can think of no other approach as different as this.

Jungkook entertains bringing Jimin to regular practice, but no one would probably take too kindly to being taught by someone in another house. So they settle on having Jungkook relay everything he learns to the team.

Their first session takes place on an early Monday morning before the rest of the school wakes. Jimin meets him on the pitch, hands rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and pink hair barely combed.

Jungkook has always been in Jimin’s position as the informal teacher, so being the student takes getting used to. He asks many questions and makes so many (not disparaging, honestly) comments that Jimin tells him (in more words) to shut the fuck up.

So Jungkook treats it like any other class. Jimin isn’t the best at explaining concepts and plays, and he can be pretty vague at times. Jungkook manages, though, and asks for more clarification when he needs it.

All in all, Jungkook learns a lot. He wonders again what happened to force Jimin out of quidditch, when he clearly would have made waves on Slytherin’s team.

-

“Jungkook, what the hell? You didn’t tell me you two were dating!”

Jungkook doesn’t even look up from his book, because Taehyung must be talking to someone else. Even if he did shout his name like Jungkook was hard of hearing.

He is sitting at the Ravenclaw table in the Great Hall for breakfast along with Taehyung, Yoongi and Hoseok. He flips to the next page of his Muggle Studies textbook and idly munches at a buttered croissant.

“Yeah, what happened to hating the guy? You couldn’t even bear to look at him for too long,” Yoongi adds. Jungkook can hear his smirk.

That makes Jungkook look up. He wipes his fingers on his robe as he says slowly through a mouthful of food, “What? Who are you talking about?”

“Oh, sorry. Are you just hooking up?” Taehyung asks with excitement. “Whose common room do you go to?”

Hoseok almost spits out his drink. Others nearby at the table look over to them at hearing Taehyung’s question.

“Again, what? Do you mind actually making sense?” Jungkook whispers.

“You know!” Taehyung prods. Jungkook in fact does not know. “You and Jimin! Everyone’s talking about you guys.”

The blood drains from Jungkook’s face. He probably would’ve dropped his croissant if he hadn’t already eaten it.

“We’re not dating, or fucking, or anything,” he says, palms on the table. “Absolutely not. Not even close. What the fuck, Taehyung?”

Taehyung holds his hands up in a show of surrender. “That’s just what I heard. We didn’t even need to leave our common room, right Hoseok?”

Hoseok frowns, mostly at Jungkook’s distress and having to be dragged into the conversation. “There were only a couple people. They didn’t have anything better to talk about.”

“’I saw them making out in a broom closet’ were their exact words, I think,” Taehyung says. “Unless they were talking about another ‘Jeon Jungkook.’”

Yoongi cuts at his bacon with a fork and knife, the loud utensils scraping across the plate grabbing everyone’s attention. “I overheard something in the halls this morning. A girl said she saw you two on the pitch a couple weeks ago, but because it was so dark she mistook you for a couple. She realized who it was when you two returned to the castle.”

Taehyung makes an annoying-ass ooh sound that makes Jungkook narrow his eyes.

“How romantic. When did you even start going out?” Taehyung asks. Hoseok looks upward as if praying profusely for Taehyung’s safety.

Too bad. Tomorrow they’d receive a copy of the Daily Prophet: Hogwarts Student Strangled Amidst Eggs and Bacon.

Jungkook doesn’t want to go to Azkaban so early in life, so he just says through clenched teeth, “I told you. We’re. Not. Together. We were just talking about quidditch.”

“Uh huh. Alone. At night. Just the two of you. Close enough to kiss,” Taehyung says. “Totally platonic, of course. And those little quidditch lessons you have going on? Obviously you loathe him so much you want to show him just who the best player in the school is.”

“He doesn’t even need to loathe you to do that,” Yoongi scoffs.

Jungkook is about to ask how people even know about his quidditch rendezvous, but figures the chances of them being spotted in the morning aren’t too low with the numerous towers soaring over the pitch.

“We only do that because he owes me,” he says instead.

“Oh? And what did you do for him?” Taehyung asks, elbows on table and chin on folded hands like he’s waiting for storytime. Jungkook should’ve kept his mouth shut.

“I’ve been tutoring him in D.A.D.A.… for a couple months,” Jungkook trails off so that he mumbles the last part.

Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “I was just joking before, but you do remember how you acted when it came to him, right? Back in September? You were this close to stabbing your ears out with your wand when people wouldn’t stop talking about him.”

“Yeah, including you guys,” Jungkook grumbles.

“So you found out you were wrong, in other words,” Taehyung singsongs, ignoring Jungkook’s comment. “You were totally wrong. We were right.”

They are definitely not making this easy for him. And really, he can’t blame them.

“Fine. Fine,” Jungkook says. He takes a deep breath but he still has to bite the words out like he is confessing to some heinous crime. “I was wrong. Jimin isn’t as bad as I thought he was. You were right. For once.”

Taehyung dissolves into whoops of laughter. Even Hoseok and Yoongi smile.

“I suppose that’s the best we’re ever gonna get,” Yoongi says.

Jungkook props up his Muggle Studies textbook to make a wall between himself and the others.

“Don’t get used to it,” he says.

-

Jungkook has to hand it to Jimin: all of Jimin’s advice and quidditch tactics are working.

Jungkook and his team aren’t able to put everything into practice until the next game a few months from now, but they do what they can. Each week he spends an hour or two with Jimin on the pitch, working with him to learn new plays (and even ways to become a better seeker). Then during practice he uses what he’s learned as guidelines for captaining his own team.

He can see the changes amongst his teammates already. Though they are surprised by the change in strategies, they take everything in stride. Their chasers are already great players in their own right; once their skills are further developed and taken advantage of, Jungkook is sure they will be the key to winning the cup.

While Jungkook is thankful to most of his team for cooperating, the operative word is most.

After a particularly tiresome practice one Sunday morning, most of the team leaves to catch up on sleep. Jungkook envies them; the blazing fireplace in his common room is an oasis in the snow-covered fields that is the Hogwarts grounds. Instead, he says goodbye to each one that goes until he is left on the pitch with Jules and Isla.

He is usually the last one left, busy with putting the practice balls away and leaving the broom shed neat. This time, he welcomes the extra company and chats idly with Isla as she helps him with his duties as captain.

“That feint you showed us might be a little difficult to pull off,” she says, locking the snitch into its compartment. “Jun can’t swerve on his broom so quickly.”

“He’s getting there. His control was worse a few weeks ago. I’m sure he’ll get it down soon,” Jungkook says, and it’s true. He remembers Jun’s new broom giving him so much trouble that Jungkook suggested switching over to a school broom, a much more inferior model.

After Jungkook catches the bludger and secures it tight into the case, Jules says from his place leaning on the wall of the shed, “What brought on this change of heart, captain?”

Behind the very convincing tone of friendliness Jungkook reads a spark of animosity and sarcasm. Apparently Isla does too, because she takes a step in between them.

“What are you getting at?” Jungkook asks, weary. Starting a fight is not very high on his list of priorities.

“You’re actually paying attention to our chasers. Did you realize that there are other ways of scoring than getting the snitch?” Jules says.

“We’ve been holding practices this whole semester. If you’ve been dying to say something, say it.”

“But it seems that my ideas are no longer needed.” Jules’s lips lift into a smirk. “Since someone’s been taking pointers from Slytherin’s new wonder boy.”

Shit, why was this guy even allowed on the team in the first place? Jungkook would take someone with less talent but a nonexistent attitude problem any day of the week.

Isla frowns. “You have? Is that what you’ve been doing out on the pitch with him?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook says. He avoids their eyes by concentrating on locking the chest containing the practice balls. “I thought it would help.”

“It’s not a bad thing,” she clarifies. “I’m just surprised.”

Jules moves closer, his broomstick creating a trail in the snow behind him. He stops in front of the chest and Jungkook gets to his feet; he doesn’t relish the thought of being talked down to.

When he sees Jules’s face, the sneer there makes Jungkook instinctively tighten his hands into fists.

“Our poor little Jungkook can’t even be captain without running for help. Are you capable of doing anything on your own?” Jules says. “You’ve been coasting on your family’s name for your whole life here, always crying to your mother. That’s the only reason people know you—the Jeon name.”

“Hey,” Isla says, coming closer. “What’s your problem?”

“My problem? Our captain here can’t stand on his own two god damn legs, that’s what. He needs someone from another house, some delinquent, to teach him how to lead! Why the hell should I accept a person who’s useless on his own as captain of my team?”

Jungkook’s nails are pressing against his palms so hard he thinks his hands might bleed. He steps over the chest and reaches out to shove Jules in the chest when Isla grabs his shoulder in a firm grip.

“Jungkook, stop,” she says. Turning to Jules she continues, “He was chosen by our head of house for a reason. You can take it up with her but don’t be a fucking douchebag. We’re supposed to be a team, got it?”

Jules’s mouth is in a tight line and his breathing has turned slightly heavy from his tirade. With a poisonous glare at Jungkook, he marches off of the pitch, knocking into Jungkook with his shoulder along the way.

“You think we should say something to Vallant?” Isla asks, worry clear in her voice.

As head of Ravenclaw house, all problems within the team that can’t be foreseeably smoothed over should be reported to Vallant. Jungkook, however, does not want this mess with Jules being bigger than it needs to be. As long as the team can get their shit together by the next game, Jungkook doesn’t care how Jules feels about him. Despite his obvious hostility toward Jungkook, he doesn’t think Jules will let his feelings interfere with the game.

“It’s fine,” he says. “She doesn’t need to know.”

They head back inside after finishing up at the pitch. Before he turns to go the Great Hall (he’s starving from practice), she says quietly, “Don’t listen to him, okay? Don’t let him get to you.”

It’s too late for that, he thinks. He’s been hearing it since his first day at Hogwarts—it’s part of why he takes so much pride in his grades and why he almost cried when he heard he’d been made captain. They are his own accomplishments and things he can be proud of because they are the fruits of his labor, no one else’s.

He wonders how much more it will take for him to be his own person in the minds of others, and when he’ll finally bring himself to stop wondering, caring.

“I won’t.”

-

If Jungkook thought it was cold before, it’s nothing compared to the biting winds and sheer white snowscape that arrive at Hogwarts a week later. It is the coldest December he has experienced while at school.

Inside though, floating candles keep the halls warm and illuminate the tall trees being set up throughout the castle. Combined with the comforting scents of sharp pine and cinnamon, the holly strung along the walls and fairies lighting up the Great Hall, Hogwarts is in full holiday spirit.

The students are feeling it too—they are just about ready for the term to end, daydreaming in class and talking about their plans for break. A handful of teachers show up to class wearing santa hats and standard wizards’ hats spelled to look like Christmas trees.

Jungkook listens to his friends discuss their own arrangements for their two weeks off; Taehyung is going with his family to France while Namjoon is visiting his sister in London. Yoongi is staying at school as he always does (due to family living too far away) and surprisingly, Hoseok is staying back this year as well (something about disastrous family get-togethers he’d rather avoid—the only details he divulges are of an uncle whose idea of a good gift for a niece was The Monster Book of Monsters. She still has nightmares about carnivorous books, Hoseok says, shaking his head).

They ask Jungkook what he’ll be up to like every previous year, and like every other year, his answer is the same: exchange pleasantries and a small gift with his mother through owl post (‘small’ for his mom being last year’s present of a top-of-the-line broomstick servicing kit, a first-press and signed copy of Dark Magic and Their Countermeasures, and a 100% cashmere sweater from her favorite brand), followed by eating and drinking himself into a coma at the Christmas feast, then waking up for the first day of second term.

He loves his mother, but has never once gone home during winter break to see her. Even though it’s stupid and frankly ridiculous and something he would never let reach the light of day, he refused to go home his first year because he wanted to dissociate from his family and everything they were. His mother was (and still is) also facing long hours at the Wizengamot, leaving her with little time to herself. Thus, he reasoned, staying at Hogwarts would work out for both of them. Since then, the habit has stuck.

The day before the train departs for King’s Cross, the five of them throw an impromptu and secret party in the Hufflepuff common room near the kitchens. Namjoon tsks in disappointment but brings the firewhisky in a display of very un-prefectly manners, and thanks to Taehyung’s popularity around the school the place ends up being pretty crowded.

It’s a good thing the walls of the castle are so thick, Jungkook thinks, because they could wake the dead. With lessons done for the year, everyone is willing to let loose and have fun. Bring in the alcohol, and ‘letting loose’ turns into making complete fools of themselves (he can hear Hoseok and Taehyung singing terribly off-key in a couple pitches too high, and wants his memory obliviated at the sight of Namjoon performing a pseudo-strip show to much applause) and otherwise becoming utterly shitfaced.

Jungkook started off with a shot of firewhisky right when people were starting to come in—Namjoon and Yoongi allowed him the one drink. Then Namjoon started becoming too inebriated to even care and Yoongi moved off to a quieter area to get away from everyone, and Jungkook snuck another shot. Two shots became three, then four.

He almost regrets it. Almost.

He can’t even walk straight or string together a few coherent thoughts, but the pleasant buzz in his head makes him forget about all the bullshit he’s dealing with in his quidditch team and everything else that annoys him in the world. It makes the world instead seem lovely and fantastic and himself feel warm and all-around ecstatic.

Something feels missing though, like this celebration isn’t complete somehow.

He sidles over to Yoongi (who is the only sober person, or at least the only one who can hold his drink) with his hand on the wall to keep his balance. When he gets there, Yoongi is sitting on a yellow upholstered loveseat and flipping through a copy of the latest Witch Weekly. How Yoongi can even read a word of it in this chaos is a mystery to him. Jungkook collapses onto the seat beside him and extracts the magazine out of Yoongi’s hands with two fingers. He ignores the glare he gets.

“Do you know where Jimin is?” Jungkook asks with great difficulty. He ends up elongating the s sound at the end, and it sounds like he’s speaking some mangled form of parseltongue.

Yoongi grabs his magazine back. “Christ, you’re drunk.”

“I know I’m great,” Jungkook says, confused. “But you don’t have to call me that.”

“God, just—“ Yoongi takes an empty glass from a nearby table and shoots some water into it with his wand. “Drink this. You’re cut off for the night, by the way.”

Jungkook whines but takes the cup regardless. He looks into it with suspicion then drinks the whole thing in one huge gulp.

Yoongi’s hand is on his forehead like he’s experiencing a killer migraine. “I told Jimin about the party yesterday. He said he’d come, but he could’ve changed his mind.”

That right there is just about the most heartbreaking thing Jungkook has ever heard or at least it is to his addled brain. His face scrunches up and tears start forming in the corners of his eyes.

Yoongi, for his credit, looks like he wants to crawl into a hole but awkwardly pats Jungkook’s back when Jungkook goes in for a hug.

“Okay, it’s not that bad…”

Easy for Yoongi to say. He doesn’t have a Christmas present that urgently needs delivering! …Does he?

Jungkook pulls back suddenly and puts his hands on Yoongi’s shoulders. Yoongi’s eyes are wide in surprise.

“Do you have presents?” Jungkook asks, totally serious.

“Y-yes? You got me that new copper cauldron, remember?” Yoongi says, clearly distressed.

“No, do you give presents?”

“Jungkook, we did all that yesterday—“ Yoongi starts impatiently, but he gets distracted by something in the distance. He pulls away from Jungkook and waves someone over. “Jimin, you’re finally here.”

Jungkook turns around to see Jimin making his way over through the mass of people. How is he even able to get his hair that perfect shade of pink? It’s not hideously bright and blinding like the ribbons in Madam Puddifoot’s, but it’s the soothing color of bubble gum Bertie Botts beans. Or something. Does it taste as good as it looks?

As soon as Jimin arrives, Jungkook asks, “Can I eat it?”

Yoongi puts his face in the palm of his hand. Jimin looks between the two of them and smiles in amusement.

“Depends. What do you want a bite of?”

Jungkook raises a finger at Jimin’s hair. It looks more like he’s pointing at his face, but Jungkook nonetheless says, “That. On top of your head.”

Jimin looks above him. Seeing nothing worth noting, he taps the side of his head. Jungkook nods and shifts closer to Yoongi as Jimin sits at the edge of the couch next to Jungkook. Jungkook doesn’t know what he expects, but it isn’t Jimin guiding Jungkook’s hand and placing it on top of his head. Jungkook is mesmerized by the softness of it. Cotton candy without the sticky mess. Without prompting he runs his fingers through it again and again. He smells the faint tangy scent of the sea and moves to get a closer whiff.

“You can’t eat it though,” Jimin says. “It won’t taste very good.”

Yoongi sighs in relief, happy to have foisted Jungkook onto some unsuspecting victim. “You decided to come.”

“I would’ve come earlier, but I had to wait around for someone to pass by. I forgot how to get in,” Jimin says, sheepish.

Right then the sound of a crashing flowerpot resonates over the loud partygoers followed by a voice that sounds distinctly like Namjoon moaning in pain.

“It looks like we’re the only ones not drunk off our asses,” Yoongi says. “Do you mind looking after that kid hanging all over you? I’ve got to keep all the other dumbasses in line.”

Jimin laughs. If toffees came to life and decided to take on human form, they would be Jimin. “Sure, I’ll keep him busy.”

Yoongi reluctantly gets up from his seat to check on Namjoon. Before stepping away he turns to them and says, “I really have no clue, but I think he has something he wants to show you. He was babbling about presents before you came.”

Jungkook stares at Yoongi’s retreating back, annoyed. How did he know? What if he had been totally wrong, then Jungkook wouldn’t have any gift to give and Jimin would be really disappointed and Yoongi would be really sorry then—

“Jungkook? Are you okay?”

Jimin must’ve noticed something strange because Jungkook’s hand has stopped moving, just laying on top of Jimin’s hair like the world’s longest head pat.

Jungkook nods and puts his hands in his lap. Now that Yoongi’s gone he feels awfully nervous for no reason he can fathom.

Must be the firewhisky.

“Is Yoongi right? Do you have something to show me?” Jimin doesn’t sound expectant at all, only curious.

Again, Jungkook nods. “Not here. It’s in my room. Do you wanna go?”

Without waiting for an answer he pushes up from the loveseat and winds up swaying on his feet. Jimin is beside him in an instant, arm sliding around Jungkook’s waist and gripping Jungkook’s side to keep him steady. Once Jungkook is 70% sure he won’t topple over, he lets Jimin lead the way out of the common room.

When they’re outside and still hidden from any passersby, Jimin casts a spell on Jungkook to make him regain most of his balance and wash away some dizziness.

“Supporting you all the way through the castle will look suspicious,” Jimin notes.

They start walking toward Ravenclaw tower, through barely inhabited hallways lit with moonlight. The cool breeze calms Jungkook slightly and allows him to think a bit clearer. He asks, “Are you going home tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Always used to at Beauxbatons, too. Even though I’ve had to go back a lot recently, it’ll be nice to go because I want to and not because I have to, you know?”

So that’s where Jimin always is? “That’s where you are when you aren’t in class? You haven’t been coming to D.A.D.A. for a while.”

Jimin hums in agreement. “No, I haven’t. Your lessons are helping me keep on top of everything, though.”

“Where do you live, anyway?” Jungkook vaguely remembers hearing Jimin and the others talk about it, back when Jungkook had first met him.

“London. The train doesn’t run all the time so I always have to use portkeys,” Jimin says, shuddering. “The nausea is terrible.”

Half of Jungkook’s mind is screaming at him to ask why Jimin spends so much time away from campus. The other half is focusing all its attention on walking in a straight line, even with Jimin’s spell.
“You haven’t told me your plans yet,” Jimin says. “Are you raising dragons in Bulgaria? Smuggling baby acromantulas across borders?”

Jungkook’s snort of laughter turns into a hiccup. “I’m trying to have a good time, not expel myself from school. I’ll be doing what I always do—eat, sleep, and eat some more at the feast here.”

“Sounds perfect,” Jimin says. He sounds like he means it.

They arrive at Ravenclaw tower at last, and this time Jimin follows Jungkook up. Jungkook answers the knocker’s riddle and the door swings open for them, revealing high walls and a domed ceiling painted in midnight blue and decorated with flickering stars.

Not a soul is present in the common room, so he sits Jimin down in a plush armchair and has him wait there while Jungkook goes to his dormitory.

He takes longer than strictly necessary (the gift is right on the desk beside his bed, where he placed it) because the butterflies in his stomach just won’t stay calm. His nerves are magnified tenfold by the alcohol and because the moment at hand is close. Like, right-outside-the-door close.

During their last Hogsmeade visit of the year a week ago, Jungkook had woken up early and gone alone for two hours before meeting up with the others. He wanted to get a gift for everyone on his list—which had expanded to include one more name this year. While he had very clear ideas of what to get for some (a cauldron Yoongi had been eyeing for a while, a remembrall and silken black robes for Taehyung), he decided to shop for the others once he got there.

He managed to find something for Hoseok, Namjoon, and Seokjin with ease (a pair of gloves made from the hide of a Hungarian Horntail, a leather-bound journal with self-inking quill, and a chest filled with jelly slugs and chocolate frogs to be delivered, respectively). He got a present for his mother (a tea set with pale blue lace detailing along with a necklace inlaid with sapphires), and still had not found anything for Jimin.

One hour passed, then another thirty minutes. He had gone through almost the entirety of the tiny village, browsing shopfronts and stalls. The problem was that he had much less of a handle on Jimin, having only known him for a few months. Sure, Jungkook knew him but not at all like he knew all his other friends.

He was about to throw in the towel and get Jimin some sherbet lemons when he checked out a dusty old antique store at the end of the road and found exactly what he needed.

It’s an unorthodox present and something he isn’t even sure Jimin will like, but it’s the best he’s got.

When Jungkook enters carrying the wooden box, Jimin turns away from the rows of books filling the shelves in the rounded alcove at the back of the room where he had been examining the spines.

“I can’t believe you have a library in here,” Jimin says, impressed. “I’m jealous.”

The small box is light but Jungkook takes extra slow steps to make sure he doesn’t faceplant on the carpet. He sits on the récamier sofa in front of the shelves and once Jimin joins him, pushes the box into his hands.

“What’s this?”

Who told the room it could spin? Jungkook really should not have drunk so much. He rests his head on Jimin’s shoulder for support and focuses on not making himself more nauseous. Unfortunately that also has the added side effect of being close enough to detect the scent of vanilla from Jimin’s skin.

“Obviously a present,” Jungkook says. “How come you smell so good?”

“How much have you had to drink?”

Jungkook noncommittally shrugs one shoulder and gestures toward the box.

“Open it before I collapse in a pool of my own vomit.”

“Gross.”

Jimin wrinkles his nose in disgust and does as he’s told, but not before running his fingers over the elegant arabesques of interweaving tendrils delicately carved into the mahogany lid. The design had caught Jungkook’s eye from the store window—he had seen nothing like it.

At last Jimin opens the box, gently turning the key placed in the lock at the front and pulling back the lid. Insantly a small pedestal rises bearing a miniature figurine of a dancer enchanted to go through the steps of her dance to the music being emitted from the box.

As the soothing piano washes over Jungkook, his nerves settle and a calm tranquility creeps its way into Jungkook’s body, just like it had when he first listened to it in the store.

“The salesperson told me it’s charmed to make the listener relax. And I heard you like listening to this kind of thing, so,” Jungkook says.

He stops talking as they watch the dancer move around the platform, her body graceful and movements fluid. Jimin still doesn’t say a word when the song ends and starts over again.

“Uh,” Jungkook hesitates, “it’s fine if you don’t like it. I can get you something else but it’ll have to be next month—“

He lifts his head, expecting to see Jimin looking horribly offended at Jungkook’s choice of gift. He continues prattling off drunken apologies until he gets a good look at Jimin’s face.

Jimin’s lips are turned up in a small but tender smile, and the crimson flush in his cheeks makes Jungkook’s stomach turn.

Watching Jimin like that, with the candlelight around the room reflecting in his eyes, Jungkook can’t help but think that he is beautiful.

And if that isn’t the most shocking thing, Jungkook’s mind lazily thinks through the haze of intoxication. He’s known for a while, but to admit it to himself (albeit in a state like this) is a novel feeling.

“I love it,” Jimin says with fondness tinging his voice. “Thank you.”

“Uh-huh,” Jungkook says eloquently.

“I actually went to the party to give you something,” Jimin confesses. “For all the times you’ve tutored me.”

Jungkook can’t pull his eyes away from Jimin’s even when the latter places the music box on the table beside them and reaches inside his robes, fishing out a small paper package tied with string. Jungkook takes it gingerly, afraid of mishandling it. He puts it in his lap and unties the string, then unwraps the package.

On top of the paper lies a pair of brass omnioculars. Jungkook brings it to his eyes and fiddles with the dials. He looks at the flame in the fireplace across the room through the lenses and adjusts some knobs so that the flickering tongues of the fire move at super speed.

“They’ll come in handy next summer,” Jimin says.

Jungkook aims the omnioculars at Jimin’s face and replays Jimin’s sentence, watching his lips move in slow motion.

“Why?” Jungkook asks.

“The Quidditch World Cup.”

Jungkook puts the omnioculars down. “Tickets have been sold out a year. I couldn’t even get one.”

“Well, I might have a ticket. You know, if you want one.”

Jungkook stares at him. “Seriously? You’re not shitting me right now?”

“My mom works for the Committee and I have extra—oof—“ Jimin doesn’t get to say anymore as Jungkook throws himself at him, engulfing him in a hug.

“Oh my god—I need to tell everyone—I love you.” Jungkook is aware he’s jabbering but he really honestly feels like crying, and not solely because of the firewhisky.

Jimin squeezes him back and pulls away. “Yeah, I love you too,” he laughs.

Jimin’s joking—or at least not meaning it like that—but Jungkook hesitates anyway. Their faces are close and it’s not the first time but this time something is different and Jungkook’s sure it’s not just because he’s smashed.

Jungkook leans in as Jimin places a hand on Jungkook’s forehead, then the side of his face. He could fall asleep here, with the wind hissing against the windows and Jimin’s warm hands all over his face.

And he does, or at least starts to. His eyes close and his forehead touches Jimin’s, his body beginning to sag with exhaustion.

“We need to get you to bed, Jungkook. Come on.”

Jungkook lets himself get pulled to his feet. He holds his omnioculars in one hand, his other hand busy holding onto Jimin’s as Jimin guides him to the entrance to the dormitories.

Right on the threshold into the dorm, Jungkook opens his dumb mouth to say something to the effect of I’ve got it or you don’t have to come in, but at the same time he’s thinking he’s famished and he could totally go for some of that strawberry pie he had during supper, which makes him think of berries, which leads him to think of—

“Mistletoe.”

Jesus. He is never drinking again.

They look up and sure enough, a branch of mistletoe is dangling from the high arched doorway. Jungkook curses whichever horny housemate put it there. Find a better way to get some action, damn it.

Jimin doesn’t let go of his hand. Panic bubbles to the surface and Jungkook starts blurting out excuses: “I was kidding, I don’t know what I’m talking about really I never do I thought you knew that by now—“

“Jungkook. Shh.”

Jungkook shuts up, mouth clamping shut. His hand is beginning to be awfully clammy and ugh Jimin can probably feel it, he’ll say something about it right now—

Jimin doesn’t say anything, opting instead to harden his grip on Jungkook’s hand and pull him down. Jimin is standing on his toes so that they’re eye level. Their faces are again so close, Jungkook can see specks of amber in Jimin’s eyes.

Jungkook’s eyes instinctively close shut as Jimin moves imperceptibly closer, his breath hot on Jungkook’s cheeks. Then—

He feels lips on his own. Jimin is kissing him.

Jimin might have an immense sweet tooth, because he tastes exactly how Jungkook thought he would (not that he ever thought about it before), like spun sugar. His lips are rough and Jungkook is just about to get into it, reaching up to tangle his fingers in Jimin’s hair and returning the kiss when Jimin steps away.

Jungkook can’t help the groan that escapes him. “Jimin,” he whines.

Jimin just chuckles and taps Jungkook’s cheek with a finger.

“You’re drunk. We can continue next time, if you still remember.”

Jungkook wants to complain some more but he gives a huge yawn.

“Yeah. Okay. Next time,” he says, half-asleep.

He ambles into his bed and collapses on top of the quilt. Sleep immediately claims him before he hears Jimin’s good night.

-

…though their powers are most potent upon first exposure. There are no recorded cases of veela causing delayed reactions in individuals of suitable persuasion…

…the magic specific to the veela race only weakens in strength the longer one is subject to it. A veela’s dance and voice carry particularly strong magic…

…possible symptoms include instantaneous feelings of sexual and/or romantic desire, and an undeniable inclination to do whatsoever the veela demands…

Jungkook drops his head onto the open pages with a soft thump. He wonders if Madam Torvel wouldn’t be opposed to leaving him there for the night, surrounded by dusty books and drooling onto the paper.

He is sitting in the library amongst the fiery glow of the candles at a table meant for four. The librarian is the only other living soul in the place, haunting the bookshelves and ensuring everything is in its proper spot. He sighs into his book but ends up coughing up a storm when he breathes in the musty odor of the pages.

Well, he thinks, just perfect.

“This has to be the saddest thing I’ve seen in a while.”

Jungkook looks up to see Yoongi taking out a chair and Hoseok hoisting himself up onto an empty part of the table.

“Only since that time he bet us he could down five butterbeers at once,” Hoseok adds.

“That was less sad and more stupid. But yes, since then.”

“Did you only come to be assholes? Why would you do that. That’s basically the antithesis of Christmas spirit,” Jungkook says, flat.

“Christmas spirit doesn’t exist after Christmas day,” Yoongi says. “It’s the first law of the universe.”

“You know what the second law is? Leaving me the fuck alone,” Jungkook says without venom.

Hoseok takes a book from one of the piles strewn across the table and reads the title, Non-Human Beings: Your Guide to the Other Side. “Seriously, classes don’t start for another week. We know you like to keep on top of things, but this is all the time we get off until Easter.”

“Hoseok’s saying you need a hobby, and one that preferably does not involve you starving to death in an empty library. It’d be unfortunate,” Yoongi says.

Jungkook rubs at his eyes and glances at the clock on the wall. 7:30 p.m. Almost closing time. Damn, how long has it been?

“It’s not for school,” he says, closing the book in front of him.

Hoseok tilts his head sideways to scan the spines of a couple piles, then raises his eyebrows. “This has to be all the books we have about veela.”

Jungkook shakes his head and starts organizing the books into more manageable stacks in preparation for returning them back to the shelves.

“There’s still a few more. I’ll check those tomorrow.”

“Er,” Yoongi says. “Do you mind telling us why you’re doing this?”

“I’m reading up on veela’s magic over humans,” Jungkook answers.

“And that’s because…? Did you realize you’re quarter-veela or something?”

Jungkook wavers for a moment because he wants to tell them the truth. He weighs the possibility of getting this weight off his chest and his pride, and decides, fuck it.

“I kissed Jimin,” he blurts out.

Hoseok drops the book he’s holding onto the floor and Yoongi’s eyes expand to twice their usual size.

They stare at him without saying anything so Jungkook continues partly to fill the silence, “The night of the party. I was wasted and honestly I don’t even know if I dreamed the whole thing but it seemed real the next morning because I could. Um. Recall the details. Like how it tasted—“

“Okay!” Hoseok interrupts. “That’s, yeah—kind of—“

“Unbelievable,” Yoongi interjects. “Yet oddly enough, a long time coming.”

Jungkook looks at his open hands in his lap, like the lines on his palms are the most interesting things he’s laid eyes on. “Yeah. So I don’t know if his powers are just affecting me now or what. But it doesn’t seem likely.”

Hoseok reaches down to pick up his fallen book and places it on the table. He turns back to Jungkook and says, “So you’ve come to like him because of him. It’s not because of his magic.”

“Hey, I didn’t say I like—“

Hoseok’s slight shake of his head silences Jungkook.

“Whatever it is you feel for him, then. It’s because of who he is as a person.”

Sounds easy enough, Jungkook thinks. But he isn’t quite sure what his feelings are. He knows that he was undeniably attracted to Jimin that night (and in general) even through the drunken mist fogging his mind. He knows that it’s the best kiss he’s had in his short life. He knows Jimin is a good friend and that he likes spending time with him.

Does that mean Jungkook likes him, wants to be with him?

Probably.

“Thanks,” Jungkook says. He means it. “Now make yourselves useful and help me put back these books. I can hear the roast turkey calling my name.”

-

The holidays pass in no time at all, and as the train rolls in and classes start up again Jungkook sorely misses actually having time to breathe. Even though he would much rather be dicking around, he jumps right into the routine: lessons, quidditch practice, homework, rinse and repeat.

He resolves to ask Jimin out and hopefully not make a complete fool of himself in the process. He steels himself the morning students are set to return, talking it out with himself to make sure he’s not making a terrible mistake.

There’s only one problem: Jimin doesn’t show. Jungkook keeps a lookout for him during breakfast but there is no pink hair to be found.

That’s fine. He’ll just wait until they have class together.

Friday comes around and Jungkook sits in his usual spot in D.A.D.A. Jimin doesn’t appear for the entire period. It’s not unusual—Jungkook is used to Jimin skipping for whatever reason. So he doesn’t get too worked up about it.

Then the month stretches on. Days turn into weeks and there is still no sign of him.

Jungkook isn’t worried per se, but then he starts hearing things—and not in a way that would earn him a ticket to St. Mungo’s.

It starts in class. He is measuring out the proper amount of hellebore syrup for his potion when he hears part of a whispered conversation taking place in the seats behind him. He only catches a few words, but the one that sticks out the most is Beauxbatons.

It doesn’t really mean anything and has no bearing on Jungkook so he brushes it aside and continues working.

Except it happens again. And again.

At supper he listens to other people at his table while Namjoon rattles on about his new girlfriend. A boy a couple seats away from Jungkook relates to others what he’d been told that morning, about that Slytherin sixth-year, that veela? He’s a lot more dangerous than he looks…

When Jungkook is taking the stairs to go to Astronomy, he passes a girl talking to her friend. He picks up some of her hushed words: …saw him at the Ministry. Said he was waiting for trial…

There is no reason for any of these conversations to be connected, really. Despite this, Jungkook can’t help the paranoia.

Jungkook returns to the Ravenclaw common room after a late dinner one evening. Only a few housemates are still awake and scattered around the room on the several chairs and couches. Jules and Yejun sit at a table with a newspaper in front of them and are in the middle of talking, but fall silent and watch Jungkook as he enters.

He doesn’t even spare them a glance, too tired to get involved in something he’d regret. Instead he crosses the room to go to his dorm. His hand is on the doorframe when he hears Jules call his name.

Jungkook looks back. Some of the others have looked up from their own business at the loud interruption. He really is in no mood to deal with the two of them right now so he faces forward again and starts climbing the few steps to his shared room.

“Have you heard? About your little boyfriend?”

Jungkook sighs and makes the split-second decision to go back to the common room. He prays he can keep his temper in check; Isla isn’t here to keep him in line.

Jules smirks once Jungkook stands at the head of the table, arms crossed. Jungkook doesn’t take a seat and he isn’t offered one.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“He hasn’t told you?” Jules asks, furrowing his brow and placing his chin in his hand. He tilts his head and looks up at Jungkook. “You mustn’t be that close then, huh?”

Jungkook taps his fingers on his arm in impatience. “Just get to the point. I don’t have time to beat around the bush all day.”

Yejun laughs, his voice rough and low unlike Jules’s polished tones. “All that quidditch getting to your head? Or are you not pulling your head out of your ass long enough to pay attention?”

They’ve laid the bait and are chomping at the bit for Jungkook to take it. He knows better than to get fooled by a scheme so transparent but, well, Jungkook has never considered himself a very wise person.

He slams the table with his palms so abruptly and with so much noise that if anyone wasn’t looking their way, they sure are now. He takes some measure of satisfaction from the way Jules recoils and removes his elbows from the table.

“Tell me what the hell is going on or you’re both off the team for the next game,” Jungkook says. “I don’t care how good you are if you can’t learn to not be assholes for two minutes.”

He looks them in the eye and waits for them to back off. His threat is entirely a bluff and is truthfully not the best way to handle things but it’s too late to try a different tack. So when they look away Jungkook tries not to let the relief show.

“Here,” Jules snarls, shoving the newspaper at Jungkook. Then, loud enough so that everyone in the quiet room can hear, “If I were you, I’d stay the fuck away from him. Wouldn’t want our captain ending up dead, would we?”

Jungkook takes the proffered paper, body numb. As Jules and Yejun leave to go to their dormitory, the bystanders hurry to look away and presume ignorance.

Right away Jungkook wants to laugh because Jules’s dramatics would give Taehyung a run for his money. He opens the paper and lays it down flat on the table. After flipping through several pages his heart jumps into his throat and breathing becomes hard. What the fuck?

The headline reads: Student Facing Potential Time in Azkaban for Assault.

He skims the article. It’s accompanied by a moving image of Jimin from the chest up, gaze shifting from the camera’s lens to something unseen beside him. His face is set into impassive hard lines and is nothing like Jungkook’s memory from their last time together.

Jungkook just looks at Jimin on the page, watching him make the same repeated movements over and over again. His head swims with so many thoughts and unanswered questions as he follows Jimin’s eyes.

When he’s had enough, he throws the newspaper into the fireplace and leaves it to burn.

-

Even when confronted with the Daily Prophet article and the sympathetic glances he receives when he so much as steps foot out of his dormitory, he still doesn’t believe it.

More accurately, he doesn’t want to believe. The whole situation is just so peculiar and implausible to Jungkook that he is hard pressed to accept that it might be true.

(His more rational side tells him his own perception of Jimin might be wrong, that even if he knows Jimin is kind and funny and caring it doesn’t mean that’s who he really is. Or that Jimin actually is all these things and a criminal.)

Above all, his reluctance to take the story as truth stems from the impossibility of asking Jimin and from Jimin’s inability to defend himself. Not even talking to Jimin about it feels wrong, somehow.

He resolves to keep it out of his mind until (and hopefully not if) Jimin returns. His standard routine keeps him busy and so it does the job for the most part, but sometimes he finds himself wondering how Jimin is handling things or if he’s alright. More than once he regrets not asking for Jimin’s address so he could send an owl or visit him via floo or do anything to break the silence.

Jungkook obviously must not be doing a very good job of not thinking about it, because he is sitting down for lunch on a Wednesday during early February when Taehyung asks, “How are you holding up?”

There is only one reason for Taehyung’s question, but Jungkook puts his spoon down on his bowl of roast potatoes and beans and says anyway, “What do you mean?”

“With Jimin,” Taehyung says like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “I didn’t expect that all.”

Who did, really? “Do you believe it?” Jungkook asks.

Taehyung rolls a small carrot around his plate with his fork. He looks down at it and avoids Jungkook’s eyes.

“Not really. But—I don’t know—some of it might be true?” Taehyung waves his hands in front of his face with fervor when Jungkook looks about ready to fight. “I’m not saying I totally believe it, okay, it’s just—I heard about it from someone who knows Jules.”

“That douchebag told me about it,” Jungkook says. “What, does he know everything? Why does it matter where you heard it?”

Taehyung leans in conspiratorially and lowers his voice. “His cousin goes to Beauxbatons. You know, Jimin’s old school? Supposedly the cousin was in the same year as Jimin, but suddenly landed in a hospital during the year because of some accident. Jimin left around the same time and then came to Hogwarts.”

Shrugging, he impales the carrot and brings it to his mouth. As he’s chewing, he continues, “Probably a coincidence. Not everything might be true, but there could be a grain of truth in there somewhere.”

“Yeah, deep in there. Twenty-thousand leagues deep,” Jungkook says.

Taehyung moves onto another topic (some fancy new muggle technology his mother bought) and Jungkook helps himself to more potatoes. He buries Taehyung’s words but they remain there in his head, persistent and annoying.

-

As February staggers on, snow continues to fall silently and muffle the sounds of the castle. Some only go outside for as long as they have to while others take full advantage by starting snowball fights and creating snow creatures (a highlight being a particularly sculpted centaur outside of the Forbidden Forest). For Jungkook, February means one thing: quidditch.

Even though Jimin isn’t here to hold their private quidditch lessons, Jungkook continues using practice time with the team to work on their offense. He works as best he can, but two things impede his and the team’s progress.

The first is Jimin’s disappearance. Jungkook tries not to think about it but it remains a heavy weight in his mind that preoccupies his thoughts and prevents him from giving his all.

The second is Jules and Yejun’s increasing refusal to cooperate. They were always difficult to work with even before Jungkook took on the role of captain, but never to this extent. Even with Jungkook’s clear but repressed irritation and the rest of the team putting in effort during practice, the two of them are stubborn and challenge Jungkook’s authority at every turn—needling him with useless questions and playing half-assedly.

He realizes he should try to iron things out like a captain should, try to get everyone doing their best. Then he remembers how they’ve talked to him (as well as how he’s talked to them, to be fair), and assumes any attempt to do so would be futile. Isla talks to him again about going to Vallant but he refuses. Jules and Yejun are good players, and Jungkook just hopes they care more about winning the game than their own personal vendetta.

When the time comes for Ravenclaw to face off against Slytherin, Jungkook doesn’t feel very prepared at all. Slytherin as a whole is a much better team than Hufflepuff and if he thought his team had trouble during the first game, well—he’s counting on all the practice they’ve been putting in to put both teams on equal ground.

Blistering winds and snow mark the day of the game. It’s not ideal playing conditions, but there is still an impressive showing regardless. The stands are packed with spectators eager for the first game of the year.

If nothing else, the limited visibility is an equal handicap to both teams. The match progresses slower than usual with the first points being scored ten minutes into the game.

Jungkook keeps on the lookout for the snitch, a pop of gold amongst the endless white. For the first part of the match no team carries a substantial lead over the other, both scores neck to neck.

He smiles. Ravenclaw may not be pulling into the lead, but knowing his team has only gotten better since their last game fills him with the same sense of accomplishment he gets when he casts a charm right for the first time.

He can’t take all the credit of course. Still, he can’t deny his role in their improvement. The Slytherin team is unmistakeably surprised by Ravenclaw’s change in strategy, with Ravenclaw’s chasers easily breaking through Slytherin’s defense. The risks he took during practice are paying off.

The match begins to drag on with at least a couple hours gone and still no sight of the snitch. This is far from the longest game he’s been in, but the poor conditions are a test of endurance. Some of the other players are starting to show signs of flagging stamina: sloppier turns, slower plays.

Then, something odd happens.

Jungkook doesn’t see it, but he hears the pained groans from the crowd. He flies closer so that he’s level with the goal posts and most of the other players. Once he’s close enough, he sees Isla near the middle of the field, hunched forward on her broom and holding her right arm close to her chest.

“Be careful!” Jun shouts. “One more hit by a bludger and you’ll be down.”

A bludger? Jungkook has never seen Isla even graze one, let alone get her arm smashed by one—her speed and sharp eye ensured her inability to be caught off-guard by a wayward bludger and were the main reasons for her being first put on the team years ago.

The loss of Isla’s good arm immediately causes the tide to turn. With Ravenclaw’s best chaser extremely disadvantaged, their points scored start to gradually slow. Soon Slytherin gains the lead by ten, thirty, sixty points.

Fuck. Jungkook hates how powerless he is without the snitch. He keeps his eyes wide open for it despite the now severe snowfall and wind almost blowing him off his broomstick, hearing points being scored all the while.

As the game carries on the gap between scores gets increasingly wider. Jungkook has no idea as to how Slytherin is able to get ahead in so short a time, because 1) no matter how much of detriment Isla’s injury is to the team, it should not affect the game this badly, and 2) he can’t see shit.

For as much as he can hear and see of the other players, Jungkook might as well be alone on the pitch. The only clear sound is the resounding buzz of points being scored. He knows he needs to catch the damn snitch and end the game now.

Finally he glimpses a bright flash of gilded metal and swoops down to retrieve it. He reaches his hand out, flattening his body against the broom and fingers grazing the ball, almost

He jolts to the side as a bludger comes dangerously close to his head. The distraction causes him to lose sight of the snitch and he swears under his breath. He looks around to check where it could have gone when he sees Jules close by, bat in hand and just hovering there, watching him—

No fucking way.

Jungkook’s hands squeeze tight around the handle of the broom. Taking in a deep breath and feeling the chill in his lungs, he turns away and concentrates his anger on finding the snitch for the second time.

He does end up catching it but only when Slytherin is a good 200 points ahead, resulting in a loss for Ravenclaw.

When they land, Jungkook has the urge to throw a punch or at least a well-aimed hex at Jules. Even if Jungkook might be wrong about his assumption, he doesn’t really have any doubt about what Jules had tried to do.

The team consoles each other on the pitch after the game with reassurances of a job well done and urgings to play even harder next match. Jules shakes hands with each teammate. When he comes to Jungkook, Jungkook wishes he could reject the fake show of sportsmanship.

After their handshake (Jungkook lets go first), he hisses in an undertone quiet to the rest of the team, “What the fuck was that?”

When Jules adopts a cocky grin, any sliver of confusion Jungkook might have had goes up in smoke. God, Jules can’t even feign ignorance. “Try to pay more attention during the next game, captain. The bludgers can be very dangerous.”

Fuck. Jungkook wants to scream in frustration and cuss out Jules in front of the entire team, every single student and teacher in the stands. He would even go to Vallant about taking him off the team (and, in his dreams, expelling him from the school) but knows no one was able to see their encounter during the game because of the piss-poor weather.

Instead, Jungkook clenches his teeth and puts a hand on Jules’s shoulder. He squeezes hard and his fingers dig into the flesh there. The only sign of discomfort is Jules’s smirk faltering.

“Leave the rest of the team out of this. I don’t care how fucking petty your ass is, just don’t make the team lose because of a shitty grudge,” Jungkook says. He doesn’t trust his ability to hold back for any longer, so he pushes Jules away and leaves the pitch.

-

For the first couple of days following the match, his anger manifests into a chill that practically freezes his surroundings and puts up a blaring sign telling everyone to Piss Off.

As consolation Taehyung presents Jungkook with a shitload of candy that he’s been hoarding since before Christmas. Mostly, his friends sidestep the issue completely beyond a few pats on the back and varied words of encouragement.

They know he takes losing badly. They also know that he’d much rather be alone as he works through what Namjoon likes to call Jungkook’s Three Stages of Loss (of the competitive kind, not the dying kind): denial, anger, and acceptance.

The first time Namjoon posited his Theory like a arithmancer specializing in the new and mysterious field of Jeon Jungkook, Jungkook laughed. By the third time Jungkook believed there might be some truth to it.

This time, though, he is stuck at the second stage. He doesn’t even experience the first one as he knows god damn well his team lost—there’s no repudiating that fact. No, Jungkook is furious because he almost got his skull crushed and managed to lose the game in the process all thanks to a fucking vendetta.

He deliberately avoids going to the common room when he knows Jules and Yejun will be there. When he sees them in the halls, he immediately turns the other way. Evading them is most likely not the healthiest way to deal with his rage, but at the very least it prevents him from getting into a fight and allows his anger to simmer instead of boil over. Soon his ire becomes an undercurrent, assuaged but nonetheless still there.

Needless to say, he isn’t exactly in the greatest of moods when Jimin finally returns.

Like always, news travels fast and so Jungkook hears others whisphering about it, referring to Jimin with various epithets even though everyone knows his name by now: that one Slytherin, the veela, and most egregiously and inaccurately, the murderer.

He doesn’t encounter Jimin at all. Not during mealtimes, in the halls, or on the grounds. Jungkook thinks he is either mishearing things or the entire school is passing around some potion of quality dubious enough to induce shared delusions, at least until Yoongi clarifies that, yes, Jimin is in fact now back and sleeping in the Slytherin dorms.

Jungkook isn’t fool enough to pretend Jimin’s avoidance doesn’t hurt. The only thing that makes it hurt less is that Jimin hasn’t talked to any of their other friends either. (Not even Yoongi, who usually goes back to the dorms to find Jimin asleep. Jimin is never at the common room when Yoongi wakes, but Jungkook suspects that’s because Yoongi just sleeps way too damn much.)

Friday comes and with it D.A.D.A. Jungkook goes early in the hopes of being able to talk to Jimin but Jimin doesn’t arrive until a minute before class starts. When he enters the room Jungkook doesn’t fail to notice the chitchat dying down and the students trying to look at Jimin without being too obvious. Jungkook tries to catch Jimin’s eye from his seat in the middle of class, but Jimin takes an empty desk at the front without a second glance.

And maybe it’s the residual irritation from the game taking over, but Jungkook is just a little bit annoyed. They haven’t seen each other in months, but for the week Jimin’s been back he’s been awfully intent on ignoring him.

Jungkook counts down the minutes until the end of class. He rarely gets distracted during lessons, but today he can’t pay attention to Vallant and the spell she’s teaching—he is drawn to Jimin, pink hair like a magnet. When class is dismissed Jungkook jumps out of his seat and corners Jimin, putting his hand on Jimin’s desk.

“Can we talk?”

Jimin looks up at him. The bags under his eyes and the hard line of his mouth momentarily startle Jungkook. It’s a surprise how much he is used to Jimin’s smile and bright gaze.

Jimin stays silent as he packs away his things and slings his black leather bookbag over his shoulder. He stands up and gestures for Jungkook to lead.

After they leave the classroom, Jungkook turns right and into a sunlit corridor with stained glass windows all on one side overlooking the lake. It’s a long drop, and the halls are less densely populated this high up. Nonetheless, Jungkook wants to talk somewhere completely empty, and so he leads Jimin to a disused restroom elsewhere on the floor.

The door shuts behind them with a bang. Tall windows reach up to the vaulted ceiling and through them Jungkook can see snowcapped mountains in the distance. Over the faucets is a long strip of mirrored glass.

Jimin walks up to a sink and places his hands on the rim. Jungkook watches Jimin peer at himself in the mirror like he is only noticing himself for the first time.

“Where have you been?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin’s eyes meet Jungkook’s in the mirror. A sardonic smile crosses his lips.

“That’s all you have to ask me? No other questions?”

“It’s the one I’ve had the longest,” Jungkook shrugs. “I’ve wondered why you always fuck off so much, even before…” He waves his hand as a way to mean what you did. What they say you did.

“Before…? Before what?” Jimin says, turning around to lean against the sink and look at Jungkook fully. “You can say it, you know—‘before I got put on trial for attempted manslaughter.’”

Jimin’s tone is casual as if he is discussing something as mundane as the weather. It leaves Jungkook cold, like his veins have turned to ice.

“There were—are—a lot of things to deal with back at Beauxbatons after I left, so I had to go back to France often,” Jimin says. “And the lawsuit’s been keeping me busy.”

This is not the answer Jungkook was expecting, but he is strangely relieved at Jimin finally deciding to be honest with him. His next question, though, is one that Jungkook isn’t sure he wants an answer to.

“You didn’t do it, did you? There’s no way in hell you would do something like that, but everyone was convinced as soon as they read that article and—“

“Jungkook,” Jimin interrupts. His stare is piercing and breaks down Jungkook’s defences.

“It’s true. The newspaper was right, what everyone’s saying—it’s all true. I almost killed someone.”

Jungkook looks away and takes a deep breath to calm himself. What. The. Fuck. He can’t look at Jimin nor keep still so he starts pacing back and forth, mind racing a mile a minute.

“Why would you even do that—I can’t—“ Jungkook shakes his head. “Are you mad? Why the fuck were you even allowed to come here, to another school, when obviously something’s wrong with you and you’re saying all this shit like it’s normal—“

Jimin’s eyes narrow and his knuckles turn white from his grip on the sink. Jungkook can tell he’s upset Jimin and this is the first time Jimin has legitimately looked intimidating but Jungkook can’t bring himself to care because he’s tried to fucking kill—

“You don’t understand,” Jimin says with a voice loud and laced with exasperation. “I had to do it, I had no fucking choice—“

Jungkook laughs, short and harsh. “No choice? What, someone held their wand to your head and forced you to do it? Or let me guess, you hated the guy so much because he didn’t fall for you at first sight like everyone else—“

“Shut up.” Jimin’s face is red as he enunciates each syllable in a rough staccato. “Shut the fuck up. Don’t you dare say that when you’re not even trying to understand me or understand what I did.”

“There’s not much of an excuse,” Jungkook says with what sounds like the beginnings of hysteria. “I can’t sympathize because I’ve never thought about killing someone. I can’t believe this, especially after I—after we made out—you’ve been lying this whole time—“

“I never lied—“

“But conveniently neglecting to mention some very important facts is okay, right?”

They are both panting heavily and their breathing echoes off of the high ceiling. Jimin looks frustrated almost to the point of tears, jaw clenched.

“Are you going to treat me like everyone else does now? Like I’m some animal on display?” Jimin whispers. His voice is calm.

Jungkook looks at the mirror next to Jimin’s head because even though he thinks how can I possibly treat you the same as before and what else do you expect me to do, he can’t look at Jimin as he does so, not when Jimin is watching Jungkook like he hopes for something different.

The resounding silence is answer enough. Jimin turns away and lowers his head but not before Jungkook sees his wet eyes and shaking shoulders.

A few voices sound nearby and Jungkook prays the restroom doesn’t get any other visitors today. The voices pass by and Jungkook sighs in relief.

When Jimin lifts his head again and regards Jungkook through the mirror, Jimin’s countenance is stony and aloof.

“Fine. If you have nothing else to say to me, leave.”

Even though Jungkook is fully responsible and he realizes he’s not wanted, he still feels it’d be remiss of him to just leave Jimin here. So he hesitates before asking one more question.

“Do you regret it? What you did.”

Jimin keeps Jungkook’s gaze. Jungkook swallows.

“No. I would do it again if I had to.”

-

Not having Jimin around should be the same as every other time he’s taken an extended leave from school. It’s no big deal, really. It’s not like they ever hung out that much, anyway. At least theoretically (if not in practice) things shouldn’t be any different.

That’s what Jungkook tells himself, but having Jimin gone because he isn’t even at Hogwarts is common and expected. Having Jimin at school but avoiding Jungkook like the plague is a novel experience—and not a particularly enjoyable one.

During class they make sure to sit apart. Fortunately the castle is big enough that they never really see each other in the halls, and their common rooms are on opposite sides of the school.

Even though Jungkook knows he is partly responsible for leaving things on such a sour note, he stills feel shitty, like when he had a huge blow-up with Taehyung two years ago over something trivial and insignificant (specifically Taehyung “borrowing” Jungkook’s sweater for the millionth time). This, on the other hand, is actually serious and therefore on a whole different level.

The worst part is just how much their argument has fucked him up. Every time they’re in the same room Jungkook tenses and pretends to ignore Jimin’s presence while at the same time remaining hyperaware of Jimin’s every move. Jimin can scratch his nose at the opposite end of the Great Hall and Jungkook will probably know because he seems incapable of tearing his eyes away from him.

Jungkook isn’t obsessed (or likes to think he isn’t), but it’s impossible for him to leave things as they are. It isn’t even because Jungkook still has feelings for him (though he does, even now), but because they’re friends and Jungkook hates fighting with people he loves.

As soon as Jungkook stepped out and left Jimin in the restroom he wanted to go back in and pretend nothing happened. Then he remembered Jimin’s confession and the tight fury in the set of his shoulders and Jungkook knew Jimin would hate him if he did.

To distract himself, Jungkook throws himself fully into his schoolwork and quidditch. He works ahead on the syllabuses for all his classes and completes essays and reads books that aren’t needed until weeks later. Quidditch practices are increased to three times a week, a feat considering the team’s conflicting schedules. Jules and Yejun are as dickish as they usually are on the rare occasions they show up (due to remedial lessons being in full swing in preparation for the N.E.W.T.s), which is perfectly fine to Jungkook because he starts concentrating more on helping Jules and Yejun’s substitutes. Jungkook plans on never playing with the two of them again, if he can help it.

Jungkook’s general bad mood and preoccupation with doing absolutely everything humanly possible doesn’t escape the notice of his friends. More than once Taehyung almost stands up and shouts across the Great Hall to get Jimin’s attention until Jungkook stomps on his foot and casts a silencing charm on him. Yoongi even skips out on them sometimes to hang out with Jimin in their common room.

Jungkook doesn’t understand how no one else cares about what Jimin did. “It’s not just me, right? Do all of you even know what he’s done?”

He is in one of the greenhouses with Namjoon, helping Hoseok with his venomous plant. All their cloaks are shed and placed on one of the tables—the place is humid despite the still-cold spring air outdoors. Jungkook’s sleeves are rolled up and his tie is safely tucked away to prevent being grabbed and choked to death.

Namjoon grunts as the whip-like vines he’s holding in his fist thrash around. “We’re not living under a rock, Jungkook. Of course we know.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know you were cool with attempted murder. That’s great. Good to know.”

Hoseok clips off a small branch, sending the plant into a frenzy. Jungkook has to tighten his grip on the vines as the plant croons pitifully.

“Do you think that might be your mom’s influence talking?” Hoseok says, biting his lip in concentration as he reaches for another branch. “You know, being the child of a judge.”

“You don’t know her. She always talks about giving everyone an equal chance, even if they have someone’s blood on their clothes,” Jungkook scoffs. “Why is it so weird for me to actually be affected by this? You don’t have to be a genius to know that assault is generally not very good.”

“It’s not weird,” Namjoon agrees. “But the trial hasn’t even finished yet. Shunning the fuck out of him right now seems premature.”

“He admitted it. He came straight out and said that he did it. There was no denial or even a shitty excuse,” Jungkook exclaims.

A vine almost escapes from Namjoon’s fists but he manages to catch it in time before it slaps him across the face. “What did he say to you when he told you that he did it?”

“Uh,” Jungkook says, thinking back. “That he was forced to.”

Hoseok takes a clipped leaf and places it on the table to be put in the storeroom later for future potions classes. “He said that to me, too. I think that’s the same for all of us?”

Namjoon nods. “Yeah. I asked him for more details and he wouldn’t budge.”

“I can’t be the only one to find that really fucking strange,” Jungkook says.

“He just probably doesn’t feel comfortable telling us,” Hoseok says as he puts on a pair of gloves and searches for the plant’s poisonous seeds.

Jungkook looks down at his feet. He digs circles into the ground with his heel. “He’s not helping his case, then.”

“No one’s saying you should believe him,” Namjoon says, rolling his shoulders to ease away the stiffness. “We don’t know everything though, so don’t write him off so quickly.”

Jungkook just thinks they’re making excuses for Jimin, but he has to concede one point: he doesn’t know everything, but he wants to if Jimin will let him.

-

As much as Jungkook tries to keep busy, he keeps wishing for an opportunity to talk to Jimin again. Weeks go by without a peep but Jungkook still holds onto that hope.

He is rewarded in early April in the most unexpected of ways.

On a quiet Sunday Jungkook is up at the asscrack of dawn for a monthly meeting with Vallant about the team and other various administrative duties. Usually these meetings are at a reasonable hour (thank fuck, or else Jungkook might have to rethink being captain), but Vallant had to reschedule.

Sunlight is filtering into the hallway through the windows when they finish. Regardless of the still-early hour on a Sunday, some students are up and about. Jungkook would really rather not be one of them, so he starts the long trek back to his common room and a few more hours of sleep.

At least, that was the plan. When he nears the entrance to the Great Hall a crowd of loud students blocks his way and fills the wide space, and he sighs in frustration. Hasn’t anybody heard of sleeping in for once?

He tries excusing himself but no one pays him any attention. Right when he is about to shove his way through the circle, he sees a familiar face.

“Tae,” Jungkook says, pushing through a couple bodies to reach him. “Why are there a million people here? Do they think they need to line up for breakfast—“

“Oh my god, you’re here,” Taehyung interrupts with relief flooding his features. “Let’s go—“

Taehyung grabs his arm and begins dragging him past the crowd with no further explanation.

“What—were you waiting for me—“

“Hurry up,” Taehyung says. “Before he gets himself into trouble.”

“What the hell, Taehyung—“

Jungkook jerks his arm away when they get to the front of the crowd. A sense of creeping dread immediately fills him from the inside out, making his pulse beat fast.

At the centre of a circle of whispering students is Jimin, expression frigid and uncaring. Jules and Yejun surround him like a pair of vultures with faces twisted into sneers. Looking at Jimin, Jungkook is reminded of their altercation and the indignation broadcast in his tense posture.

The possibility of a fight breaking out is painfully clear.

“What happened?” Jungkook murmurs.

“I wasn’t here,” Taehyung shrugs. “Someone told me they just bumped into each other and Jules exploded.”

So otherwise par for the course.

“Get Vallant. She should still be in her office,” says Jungkook.

Taehyung nods and heads back the way they came. He’ll take a while given the size of the castle but Jungkook trusts him to be quick. Jungkook turns back to the scene in front of him, ready to step in when Jimin speaks.

“Was he the one who told you that? Well, he was always a bit dull.”

His acerbic tone doesn’t seem to sit well with Jules, because his face flushes and his eyes narrow. His height allows him to tower over Jimin in a show of domination, but Jimin remains unperturbed.

“If you’re going to survive in Azkaban, you might want to learn to watch your mouth,” Jules growls. “He was truly a saint to put up with you, yet you repaid him by practically tearing him apart.”

The whispering surrounding the three of them intensifies in volume. Jules looks up at the onlookers, his eyes raking over them until he stops at Jungkook. His crooked smile widens.

“Look who it is. Your boyfriend’s here,” Jules says, spitting the word like it’s poison.

Jimin turns to look at Jungkook, his now round eyes the only show of emotion cracking his mask of disinterest.

Jungkook feels everyone’s eyes on him when he steps forward. “Up so early? Nice to see you can make the effort to wake up and talk shit but not for quidditch practice.”

Tittering erupts from the crowd and even Jimin cracks a smile. Further provoking someone on his own team probably isn’t Jungkook’s brightest moment but it’s worth seeing Jimin happy.

Jules’s hand fists. For a moment Jungkook thinks he’s going to throw a punch and moves to defend himself but Jules only takes a few steps back and raises his voice for all those gathered here.

“Why don’t you tell us, Jimin. Let us know what happened at Beauxbatons,” he says, rousing the crowd. “Now that he’s here, be honest with your boyfriend about how much of a little whore you are.”

Some of the congregation are shocked into silence or fervent whispering. Others catcall and whistle and although Jungkook wants to glue each and every one of their mouths shut, it is nothing compared to what he wants to do to Jules, whose lips are contorted into a smug sneer.

Jungkook hears Jimin take a deep breath. He knows Jimin is trying to calm himself, but Jungkook wouldn’t blame him if he fails. Putting aside their own fight and what Jimin may or may not have done, it pains Jungkook to see Jimin being attacked like this and to see so many people unabashedly judging him.

Because in spite of it all, they are still friends.

“Go on,” Jules pushes. “Tell us how you wanted it, begged for it. But you couldn’t even put out, could you—“

“That’s enough,” Jungkook almost shouts. “Get the fuck—“

He is cut short when Jimin puts a hand on his arm. His clutch is viciously tight and his nails dig into Jungkook’s skin. It is painful, but Jungkook doesn’t pull away because he suspects Jimin needs this tether right now.

“Are you done fucking around?” Jimin asks, barely repressed anger boiling right under the surface.

Jules’s veins throb in his neck. “What—“

“Alright, I’ll tell you and everyone here,” Jimin says, voice emphatic. “Your shithead of a cousin wanted to fuck me. And I had eyes, so I obviously refused.” Jules flushes even harder at the raucous laughs Jimin evokes.

“He would not get the fucking hint. Did he tell you how he would follow me to class? About how he found out where I lived and the letters he would send me everyday during the summer? Did he ever mention how he tried to spike my drinks with amortentia, or threatened me when I had had enough? No? Or maybe he did, and you just didn’t care because he told you that I wanted him.”

Everyone falls silent. Jungkook’s mind is racing. Disgust causes his face to burn and pulse to quicken, not only at what he’s hearing but at his own words echoing in his head and how terribly he must have hurt Jimin.

You hated the guy so much because he didn’t fall for you at first sight—

Fuck.

Jimin isn’t done.

“Is that what you call a saint?” Jimin says in a shaky voice. “Someone who tried to force me into sex then cried victim when I fought back? Nothing I said worked, until I blasted his legs clean off. Funny how that works, isn’t it? If I had known that was all it took for him to back off, I would’ve made sure to do it sooner. Pity it isn’t permanent.”

Jimin’s small form is trembling when he finishes and his hand is hot on Jungkook’s arm. Jungkook takes a step closer to him.

“You are such a fucking liar,” Jules spits. “He loved you—“

“That was not love,” Jimin yells. “He was obsessed, he was terrifying and repulsive and I would’ve been hurt or killed if I hadn’t gotten to him first—“

“And we’ll just change that right now, won’t we?” Jules roars, taking out his wand. “Cruci—“

Everything happens all at once. Jungkook whips out his wand right when he sees Jules doing the same but Jimin is faster than both of them, casting a well-aimed stunning spell at Jules. Combined with Jungkook’s spell of his own, Jules crashes to the floor with a sickening crunch. Yejun sends another curse their way, but Jungkook shoves Jimin and they dive behind a pillar. The flyaway curse causes students to scream and scatter.

“What is happening here?”

Jungkook looks up to see Vallant marching into the space vacated by the students with Taehyung at her heels. She casts an eye over the scene—one student laying unconscious on the floor, three others in the middle of a duel, and the disappearing crowds.

It does not look good. At all.

“Lee and Hawthorne,” she says to a couple of nearby senior students. “Bring Jules to the hospital wing. You three, follow me.”

-

Jungkook never thought he’d see the inside of Vallant’s office twice in one day.

Like the Ravenclaw common room, her office is dominated by incredibly high ceilings and a calming shade of cerulean. Cabinets of books and assorted artifacts line the walls along with rows of masks leering down at the room’s occupants. A massive globe sits beside the desk, permanently set to spin at a slow pace and currently enchanted with small flashes of light marking migration patterns of thestrals. Vallant is sitting at her desk with Jungkook, Jimin, and Yejun standing on the other side.

After hearing their highly simplified versions of events (without specifics about the heated exchange), Vallant pinches the bridge of her nose and dislodges her spectacles in the process.

“You are all fortunate no one else was hurt. To cast spells like that in an extremely populated space—recklessness is one thing, but this was a danger to everyone else around you.”

She continues reprimanding them on their idiocy and disregard for themselves and those around them for a long while. The three of them stay silent. Jungkook glances over at Jimin: his face is hidden, gaze directed down at his feet.

Finally, Vallant nears the end of her speech.

“Now, for punishment,” she says. “All of you have committed some of the most serious infractions I have seen during my time here. I will work with the headmistress to decide your future at this school. However, for now the three of you will be serving detentions with me for the rest of the year. One hundred points will be removed from Slytherin, and three hundred from Ravenclaw.”

She pauses, a disappointed frown forming on her face as she looks at them each in turn. Jungkook waits with bated breath to see what else she has up her sleeve.

“Jungkook and Yejun, both of you will be removed from the quidditch team posthaste. I will appoint one of your teammates as the new captain.”

Jungkook’s heart sinks. “The season’s almost over, it’ll be impossible for the team to adjust so quickly—“

“It pains me to do so, Jungkook,” Vallant says. “But this is a very grievous matter and not one to be taken lightly. Considering the severity of your transgressions, you could be facing a much worse penalty.”

“What about Jules? He was about to use an Unforgivable curse. What’s going to happen to him?” Jungkook asks.

Vallant raises her eyebrows. “And he will be justly disciplined. Nevertheless, that has nothing to do with your own punishment, Jungkook.”

Jungkook’s first instinct is to put up more of a fight—all of that work he had put into the team, gone because he couldn’t even last a year as captain. His role in the fight is undeniable, though, so he doesn’t say another word.

Vallant opens one of the desk drawers and pulls out a sheet of parchment.

“Wait for me outside my office,” she says. “I’ll take the three of you to see the headmistress.”

Yejun immediately storms out, lips pressed together and hands stuffed in his pockets. Jungkook turns to do the same, but Jimin puts a hand on his shoulder to keep him in place.

“Professor,” Jimin says.

Vallant looks up from her parchment and examines the both of them. She gestures for Jimin to continue. Jungkook tries not to let his confusion show.

“Jungkook only stepped in to help when he saw I was in danger. If he hadn’t, Jules would have surely succeeded in casting the Cruciatus curse.”

“What?” Jungkook protests. “You had it under co—“

Then Jungkook stops half-way, because suddenly his tongue is attached to the roof of his mouth and it won’t budge

He looks at Jimin in the corner of his eye. Jimin is watching Vallant, face expressionless and devoid of any sign that he had just silenced Jungkook.

“Yes?” Vallant says, brows knitting together.

Jimin speaks again, this time with a lower voice. “He gave me enough warning so that I could defend myself.”

To Jungkook’s surprise, Vallant nods.

“I don’t think his actions should be punished so harshly, Professor,” Jimin says sweetly. “Don’t you agree?”

For all intents and purposes, it’s like Jungkook is having an out-of-body experience, looking on but unable to do anything. He watches Vallant smile pleasantly.

“Of course,” she says.

“Taking him off the team seems too brutal a punishment. Perhaps you could reconsider, do what’s best for the team?”

Jimin lets the soothing melody of his voice wash over Vallant. Her mouth is slightly open and her eyes are glazed over.

Jungkook has seen firsthand the effects of Jimin’s powers, but to watch Jimin use them to get him out of trouble does not sit well with him. Even if the damage is most likely done and Jungkook would hate to give up his position, he doesn’t want Jimin to do this for him.

“You’re right, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Vallant says. “I will—“

Before she can finish Jungkook stamps his foot hard on the floor, startling Jimin into taking his hand off of Jungkook’s shoulder. Vallant is snapped out of her trance, her customary frown returning to her face.

“I will consider it. Now get a move on and wait for me in the hall.”

-

Vallant does end up rescinding her punishment (whether or not Jimin had anything to do with it), or at least her desire to take Jungkook off the team. The detentions, on the other hand, are still in place (not that Jungkook’s complaining).

The three of them go in separately to see the headmistress. After ensuring that he did in fact only act in self-defense and after corroborating his story with the others and with several witnesses, Vallant lets him know his spot on the team is hanging by a thread in case there are any future fuck-ups (in his words, not hers). Aside from having to help Vallant sort some documents twice a week, the headmistress sends a letter to his mother to notify her of the offence. All in all, Jungkook is let off the hook.

Jungkook doesn’t see Jules at all, mostly because Jules is cooped up in the hospital wing all day. Even after he is discharged, Jungkook only finds out from common room chatter that he has been expelled because of his attempted use of the Cruciatus curse. Jungkook doesn’t want to revel in someone else’s hardships, but he has to admit he does experience some schadenfreude—just a bit.

Where Jungkook is out of the loop is Jimin’s punishment. The next couple of days after the confrontation, Jungkook is swamped with schoolwork and altering the team to accommodate for the loss of two of their players. He wants to smooth things out with Jimin as soon as possible, but he hardly has time to sleep.

An opportunity comes his way when Yoongi settles down across from him during supper and asks, “Are you free tonight?”

“Er, thanks,” Jungkook says without looking up from his book. “But I’m not interested in you like that—hey!”

Jungkook rubs the crown of his head where Yoongi smacked it. “You dumbass. I’m asking for Jimin.”

“Really?” Jungkook closes his book and reaches over to drain his glass of pumpkin juice. “Yeah, where is he?”

“Not now,” Yoongi says. He piles on some roast beef onto his plate. “At ten. You know where the armoury is?”

Jungkook nods. He went through it once to see the trophy room where his name got engraved onto the list of Ravenclaw quidditch captains.

“Jimin said he’ll meet you there. He looked tired as hell, too, so don’t keep him waiting.”

“Don’t worry, sir,” Jungkook says with a mock salute. “I’ll bring him back safe and sound.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes but fights off a smile. “I don’t know what he sees in you.”

That leaves Jungkook speechless, because he isn’t too sure either.

-

The armoury is essentially a long gallery with massive suits of armor standing guard along one wall. The only traffic it receives is from students wanting to rendezvous, as it and the adjacent trophy room are one of the only unlocked places after hours.

At about twenty to ten Jungkook sneaks out of the common room and makes his way to the armoury, taking care to keep the noise to a minimum. It’s not the first time he’s broken curfew (that would be with Taehyung in his first year), but wandering the now empty castle this late still kind of gives him the creeps.

He eases open the doors slowly when he gets there. Jimin is resting his forearms on one of the many windowsills in the corridor, leaning forward to look out onto the grounds below. The moonlight illuminates his face, sharpening his features and casting a pale glow on his skin.

Jimin turns toward him when the sound of footsteps fills the room. His expression is indecipherable so Jungkook has no idea what to expect as he approaches, but it isn’t a hug. Jungkook stands still out of shock as Jimin wraps his arms around him and breathes deep. His own pulsing heart roars in Jungkook’s ears at the contact. Only when he also feels Jimin’s heart beating in time does he raise his arms and return the embrace.

The sweet scent of Jimin’s hair reminds Jungkook vaguely of that December night that seems so long ago now. He buries his nose in Jimin’s hair to breathe in more—it is strangely comforting, calming his puse down to a reasonable rate.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin says, voice muffled by Jungkook’s shirt.

Jungkook pulls back to look Jimin in the face. His eyes are glassy but there is no redness or any other signs that he may have been crying.

“What for?”

“I dragged you into this whole thing,” Jimin says. “I almost cost you your spot as captain and you could have been expelled because you helped me—“

“That wasn’t your fault. They were assholes and I just wanted to put a stop to it. So,” Jungkook shrugs. “So, don’t blame yourself for something I did.”

Jungkook takes a deep breath and continues.

I need to apologize. I was as much of an asshole as they were when we—when we had that fight. In the restroom.”

Jimin is quiet, watching him without interruption. He isn’t smiling, but he also isn’t glaring a hole into Jungkook’s head, so Jungkook takes it as a cue to go on.

“I said some really shitty things and I jumped down your throat even though I didn’t listen to what you had to say. I know I must’ve upset you because—“ I made it sound like it was your fault. “—because I was wrong. The wrongest I’ve ever been.”

Jimin smiles then, gentle and kind.

“You didn’t know. I wasn’t… in the greatest of moods then either. I recall being a bit rough on you.”

“Still,” Jungkook says. “Just because I was ignorant doesn’t excuse what I said, especially because of what actually happened—“

Jimin shakes his head. “No, it doesn’t. But it does explain what you did.”

It is Jungkook’s turn to fall silent. Jimin moves back to the window and Jungkook follows, placing his forearms on the sill like Jimin did previously. He neglects the view outside the window and turns to watch Jimin.

“Do you remember what Jules said? About his cousin loving me?” Jimin asks. Jungkook nods, but Jimin’s gaze is directed at the window. “He was right, in a way. He thought he loved me, even if it was fucked up. But it was pure infatuation at first. He saw me during my first game as seeker years ago and asked me out afterwards. I shrugged it off, thinking it was harmless.”

Years ago? Resentment swells in Jungkook’s chest. He wishes Jules wasn’t the only one to have gotten blasted (again) that morning.

“Well, it wasn’t. Everywhere I went I would see him, or one of his friends following me. Watching me. I had to have someone with me at all times because it was horrible—“

Jimin’s breathing is coming a bit faster now, and Jungkook squeezes his shoulder.

“You don’t have to force yourself to finish.”

“I know,” Jimin sighs, leaning into the touch. “I don’t usually get this bad—I’ve already had to talk about it a dozen times.”

Another deep breath. Then he continues—

“You know how it ended. He caught me alone one night and it was the most aggressive he’d been. Thank god I take my wand everywhere.”

“Shit,” Jungkook says. “I hope he’s still in the hospital.”

Jimin laughs. “Yeah, he is. That might not work out for me so well, though. His family is one of the most influential in the country, maybe even more than yours. Facing their wrath in court isn’t exactly a fun time, especially when they keep drawing out the trial so much that I suspect I’ll die before it ends.”

“How long’s it been?” Jungkook asks, referring to the trial.

“Long enough,” Jimin says tiredly. “I have to leave again tomorrow, but I don’t know how long I’ll take this time.”

At Jungkook’s look of alarm, Jimin continues, “He wants to use the fact that I attacked his cousin against me. If more of the Wizengamot decide I’m guilty, it may mean a guaranteed trip to Azkaban soon enough.”

“But,” Jungkook says, confused. “You did what you had to do. You can’t be faulted for that.”

“Money can make you turn a blind eye,” Jimin says simply.

Jungkook looks away and out at the sparkling water of the lake. He has met some of the members of the Wizengamot because of his mother, but to know they may be the same people stooping low enough to accept bribes…

“And being who I am,” Jimin continues, “complicates things.”

“You mean…” Jungkook says slowly. “Because you’re veela.”

Jimin rests his chin in one hand and uses the other hand to trace patterns onto the window. “Mhm. He probably took an interest in me in the first place because of that, like everyone else.”

His lips lift into a smile. “I used to hate it. I do like the spotlight when I’m asking for it,” he says, “but I hate having everyone’s eyes on me when I just want to be alone.”

“I guess I can see that,” Jungkook concedes.

Jimin laughs and pushes Jungkook slightly. Jungkook pretends to tip over, even though Jimin probably wouldn’t be capable of it with full force.

“I appreciate you trying to be nice, but you sounded like a jackass,” Jimin says, still laughing.

“You use it though, sometimes,” Jungkook tries to explain. “Your veela magic or whatever, like when you’re trying to get out of being late.”

“That was unintentional,” Jimin says. “Most of the time it just oozes out of me—don’t make that face, it’s true—but I do use it for some small things.”

Jungkook lifts an eyebrow. “Hypnotizing a teacher is small?”

“It was only to prevent you from leaving the team. That’s small—tiny, even.”

Jungkook sighs, then thinking of something, asks curiously, “Did you try it on me?”

Jimin grins and turns to face Jungkook completely. “Yeah, in that first class we had together. I turned it up so high the others were starting to climb over each other to help me when you declined.”

“Now I don’t know why I ever refused,” Jungkook says automatically, but immediately burns up at how fucking corny that sounded.

Apparently Jimin doesn’t feel the same, because even though Jungkook wants to hide in a hole, Jimin blushes as he looks away.

“I was thrilled when I realized everything I tried didn’t work on you,” Jimin says softly. “So I could experience a normal relationship for once.”

“Was it what you expected?”

“I’m not sure,” Jimin says, moving closer. “How do they usually go?"

Jungkook watches him step forward, Jimin’s full lips open and head cocked to the side.

“You feel each other out, see if you can be friends,” Jungkook says, paying almost no attention to his words. “And, sometimes—if you can be something different.”

“We’re friends,” Jimin says, looking up at Jungkook with a hand caressing the base of Jungkook’s neck. “But what else can we be? Classmates? Teammates? Fuck buddies?”

Jungkook hisses through his teeth at the spike of arousal that hits him. Feeling bold, he circles an arm around Jimin’s waist and pulls him even closer.

“You know I want to fuck you,” Jungkook whispers, head bent down and breath tickling Jimin’s hair. He smiles at the way Jimin shivers against him. “I want to know what sounds you make when you come. But I also want to kiss you good night. I want to hold your hand when we go to Hogsmeade. I want to learn all about your friends, and your family. I want to play quidditch with you. I want to surprise you with dumb little gifts. I want to go to the Yule Ball with you next year. I want to know more about you and what you love. If you’ll let me.”

The whole thing is entirely off the cuff (and new to him, considering his lack of effort with either of his exes), and Jungkook has no idea how it’ll be received. Jimin just holds his free hand tight but stays mute.

“Jimin?”

Jungkook tries moving away to get a look at his face but Jimin turns his head away and further into the crook of Jungkook’s neck.

“Don’t look at me,” Jimin says, voice soft.

Jungkook unlinks their hands and takes Jimin’s warm face in both of his, tilting it up.

His breath catches when he sees the deep flush in Jimin’s cheeks, radiating embarrassment and pleasure. His broad smile lifts the corners of his eyes and looking at him like this, like Jimin is the happiest Jungkook’s ever seen him, makes Jungkook lightheaded.

“I can’t believe you said all that,” Jimin says, covering his face with his hands.

“Is that a ‘yes Jungkook, of course I want to do all that with you too because you’re hot and I love you so much?’” Jungkook teases.

“Stop,” Jimin laughs. “You are so stupid—“

“Stupid enough to hope that you feel the same?”

“Yeah. You are,” Jimin says fondly.

It seems like the entire castle is asleep, silent except for their breath intermingling as they kiss, slow and sweet with Jimin’s arms around his neck and their bodies pressed together. Jungkook’s hands travel down to Jimin’s ass, and Jungkook can feel Jimin harden against him.

It isn’t their first kiss, but sobriety definitely makes for an overall better experience. Jimin tastes the same as in Jungkook’s muddled memory—like cotton candy—but he notices details that slipped his intoxicated state of mind last time—the fluttering of Jimin’s lashes, the little whine he makes when Jungkook shifts his leg just so.

Jungkook is close to asking if he can undo Jimin’s trousers when Jimin pulls away, eyes blown and breathing heavy.

“Hey, can I—“

Jungkook doesn’t even need to know what Jimin’s asking before he just nods.

Jimin gestures at Jungkook’s fly and utters a quick spell, not even bothering to deal with the fastenings manually. Somewhere in the back of Jungkook’s head he’s thinking he should hit Jimin up sometime for pointers on wandless magic, but all thoughts are wiped away when Jimin breathes hot against his cock, which is soon engulfed by a wet heat.

Jimin alternates between using his tongue to tease the tip and taking Jungkook in as far as he can go. His fingers are always at the base, pumping at a varying pace. Jungkook holds out as long as he can, but one peek at Jimin’s half-lidded gaze looking up at him and his full lips bobbing around his cock sends him over the edge.

Jesus.

Seeing come all over Jimin’s face is enough to make Jungkook half-hard again. He does up his trousers, takes out his wand and and casts a quick cleaning spell, removing the spunk. He kisses Jimin hard, pressing into him and pushing him so that Jimin’s back hits the window sill.

He reaches down and undoes Jimin’s pants without breaking the kiss. Jimin pushes his hips forward, his hands linked around Jungkook’s neck and mewling into his mouth as Jungkook wraps a hand around Jimin.

Jungkook leans back slightly and is met with a whine when he removes his contact with Jimin’s cock. He lifts a hand and brings his fingers to Jimin’s lips. Jimin gets the hint—he takes each finger in his mouth, tongue wrapping around each one and sucking, the sounds bordering obscenity.

When his hand is ready, he takes Jimin again. The lubrication creates a slick sound as he strokes, slow at first. Jimin’s tongue darts out to lick his lips. His breathing is ragged against Jungkook’s ear.

Jungkook starts going faster, dragging the precum with his thumb up and down Jimin’s shaft as he pumps. Jimin is almost purring and reaches up to whisper in Jungkook’s ear.

“T-tell me what you think of me, Jungkook, I want to hear it. What do you want to do with me?”

Jungkook kisses him softly and says the first things that come to mind.

“You are beautiful, Jimin. Even when I didn’t like you I thought you were the most beautiful person I’d ever seen,” he says, hand moving swiftly as Jimin’s breath hitches. “You are adorable and gorgeous and too sweet for your own good. I’ve been dreaming about making you come apart, making you beg for it and hearing that sweet voice of yours call my name when you can’t take it any longer, watching you fit yourself onto my cock as I tell you again and again how beautiful you are—“

Jimin comes with a shaky moan, come splattering all over Jungkook’s shirt. He lifts his chin lazily and Jungkook complies, kissing him through his post-coital bliss.

When they separate, Jimin smiles warmly. His hair is mussed and his lips are sore from all the kissing, and Jungkook thinks again that he is beautiful.

-

The next day, Jungkook sees Jimin off.

Outside of the headmistress’s office where the portkey is, Jimin stands on his toes and kisses Jungkook.

“I’ll be back soon,” he says, then turns to open the doors.

Jimin leaves the uncertainty out of his voice, but Jungkook remembers their conversation from last night. Even if he does come back, there’s no saying if or when he’ll be off again.

It’s enough to bring Jungkook back down to earth and off of cloud nine.

For a few days he worries non-stop. When he’s in class or at practice the trial is always on his mind, burrowing into his thoughts and reminding him Jimin’s freedom may have a time limit.

While he doesn’t think the Wizengamot is faultless by any stretch, he’s never imagined (or cared about) any kind of corruption or shadiness in the court, or how it even operates. Really, he didn’t care much about the court at all, the whole thing like a different world he had no intention of crossing into and inhabited by his family, never himself. His mother never brought work into the home, and a kid’s interests don’t exactly encompass the inner machinations of the law.

So he takes a crash course on the Wizengamot, in other words skimming through the library’s books for mentions of cases similar to Jimin’s and anything that can yield a clue as to how Jungkook can even begin to think of helping him.

There isn’t much pertinent information—all the acknowledged cases are either too banal (inability to repay debt, petty robbery) or bizarre (one wizard was prosecuted for casting strange charms on a goat). Either way, Jungkook is worse off than when he started reading all about the Wizengamot’s oddities.

Otherwise, every waking moment he is preoccupied with figuring out the key to this problem, like surmising the answer to each new riddle guarding the entrance to Ravenclaw’s common room. The only difference is that there is so much more on the line than being locked out for a few hours—this involves someone Jungkook cares about and his impending sentence that he shouldn’t even be facing in the first place.

It’s about serving justice, really. Jungkook would laugh if the circumstances weren’t so dire—maybe he should pursue a career in law after all.

So he passes the nights restlessly, coming up with increasingly harebrained solutions that do not go anywhere. Being at a complete and utter loss is unsettling for someone used to having all the answers.

 

A week later he literally runs into Namjoon, colliding into him as he turns the corner. Namjoon shoots his arms out to steady Jungkook.

“Woah there. Are you okay?” Namjoon asks.

Jungkook makes a noncomnital mm in his throat. He really isn’t, and in fact he could use about a month of sleep, but Namjoon doesn’t need to know that.

“Why’re you awake?” Jungkook says.

Namjoon squints. “It’s six o’ clock.”

Is it? Well, Namjoon would know.

The shining badge on Namjoon’s cloak catches Jungkook’s attention. A big letter ‘P’ is emblazoned on it. P?

“You need to take another prefect’s badge,” Jungkook says, pointing to Namjoon’s chest. “Then you can be peepee.”

Jungkook dissolves into giggles because this right here is the funniest idea to his sleep-deprived brain. Namjoon stares at him.

“Open your mouth.”

Jungkook does as he’s told and wrinkles his nose when Namjoon takes a sniff.

“You’re not smashed,” Namjoon says suspiciously.

“What?” Jungkook says, offended. “Am I supposed to be? Not all of us have access to the kitchen elves’ secret stash.”

Namjoon frowns. “Are you sure you’re fine? You didn’t bump into me that hard, though.”

“Perfect. I’m perfect. I’m like I’ve never been before.”

“What’s going on?” Namjoon asks. “We don’t see you for days and now you’re acting like you’ve been sniffing Greensmith’s potions that he keeps in his cabinet he thinks we don’t know about.”

“Nothing,” Jungkook says instantly. “Nothing’s going on.”

“Is this about Jimin?” Namjoon says.

Jungkook doesn’t say anything.

“Look. I know you want to help him. We all do,” Namjoon sighs, rubbing the back of his neck. “But this is the Ministry we’re talking about here, formal and important business, not school. We’re all just kids, you most of all. We have no power over things like this, especially alone.”

“What am I supposed to do, then?” Jungkook says.

“Everything you can do, Jungkook. That’s all anyone can ask for, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be enough.”

Jungkook grudgingly looks away at the badge glinting underneath the candles. It’s not the answer he wants to hear. He knows he’s just a student, a child compared to those at the top. He knows he’s powerless, has always known even as he’s trying to figure out how to win a game he isn’t part of. But why does that matter? Surely, even he can do something to help Jimin, no matter how ineffectual…

He does want to do everything he can, he thinks. Even if it isn’t going to be enough.

…But what if someone else could do more, so that it would be enough?

Jungkook breaks into laughter as the key slots into place. How could he have missed something so obvious?

-

It’s pretty simple, nothing dramatic or thrilling, but it does require persistence and some finesse.

As he observes the moons of Jupiter during Astronomy, he deliberates how to go about it. Time is of the essence—he can’t spend too long planning things out, but he doesn’t want to give Vallant another excuse to take his position away in case things go awry.

He first thinks of using the post. The idea is immediately vetoed; sitting around on his ass waiting for a reply would drive him off the deep end. To better impress the urgency of the matter, he needs to appear in person—the problem is sneaking out of the castle unnoticed, not to mention going to and from London in the span of a few hours.

Another alternative is using the only known portkey in the school, the same one Jimin has presumably been using since he got enrolled. Unfortunately, its mildly inconvenient location in the headmistress’s office invites a high probability of failure and Jungkook doesn’t fancy the possible suspension awaiting him.

 

At Transfiguration he discreetly licks his sugar quill as the professor goes on about the technicalities of transforming the tiny oblivious hedgehog in front of him into a pincushion. The professor’s droning goes in one ear and out the other. Jungkook mulls over each and every option as the quill gets smaller and smaller.

Only one choice remains, but the logistics would be a nightmare. Luckily he is nothing if not determined.

 

Sitting at one of the desks in his common room, he sets about planning everything to a T. There are at least a dozen fireplaces in the castle, but as part of the school’s security none of them are connected to the floo network. That leaves fireplaces that are outside of the school but still accessible to students.

Well. Looks like his weekend Hogsmeade plans have just changed.

Of all the stores in Hogsmeade, only a handful have fireplaces. Of these, Jungkook has seen two of them being used for traveling. One of them is in the Hog’s Head, the other at the Three Broomsticks. The first is in the front, visible to the bartender and (limited) clientele. The second is in a back room, but the place experiences a lot of traffic. Jungkook keeps both in mind.

It comes time to enlist some help. He needs someone that won’t bow out at hearing an admittedly last-minute and shoddy plan. Someone that will humor Jungkook’s eccentricities.

 

“You want me to what?”

“Just make sure no one’s looking when I go in.”

Taehyung looks up at Jungkook from his seat underneath the massive willow tree by the lake. Jungkook stands, skipping stones over the water.

“What about when you leave? Anyone would notice a student falling out of the fireplace.”

“I’ll deal with it then,” Jungkook pleads. “I just need help getting in.”

“You know I’m gonna go along with whatever you do, Jungkook,” Taehyung says carefully. “But are you even sure it’s going to work? It doesn’t seem very… foolproof.”

“I have never been more doubtful in my life,” Jungkook admits, bringing up an arm to cover his eyes from the blinding sunlight. “Remember that time I was skeptical when you said you could set off fifty dungbombs in the entrance hall before noon without getting caught? This is worse than that.”

“Ye of little faith,” Taehyung sniggers. “Easiest ten galleons I’ve ever made.”

“Are you in?” Jungkook asks. He picks up a stone and weighs it in his hand before throwing it onto the surface of the lake. It bounces five times before sinking, its ripples disturbing the calm of the water.

“Obviously,” Taehyung says. Then, “So this is what it takes for you to reach out to her after trying so hard to avoid it?”

Jungkook studies Taehyung, whose form is submerged by the tree’s shadow.

“It’s the only thing I can do,” Jungkook says.

Startlingly, he realizes he can’t bring himself to care anymore about what people may think about him or his family name—not when there are far more important things at stake.

-

Saturday comes and Jungkook and Taehyung leave the castle right after breakfast. They met up right when the Great Hall opened, chowed down some food, and set off for Hogsmeade.

They haven’t told anyone else, mostly because Jungkook is aware of the numerous holes in his plan and he would rather not have them pointed out to him, thank you very much. He doesn’t need anyone telling him he’ll probably (okay, most likely) fail.

The town is empty of students when they get there, most of them probably still in bed. The walk to the Three Broomsticks is short, and the sound of light chatter trickles outside when they open the door. Jungkook wants nothing more than to sit down over a butterbeer. Instead, he heads to the bar with Taehyung and gets the attention of the bartender.

“Excuse me, can we get a room?”

The bartender places her glass on the counter and raises her brows.

“What do you two kids want with a room?”

“We… are interested in the fine architecture?” Jungkook means to say, but his voice involuntarily rising at the end makes it sound more like a question.

“Nice try,” she says. “Go fool the guy at the Hog’s Head instead.”

She begins to leave but Taehyung cuts in and says, “Please, madam. We don’t get much time alone.”

Jungkook refrains from stepping on Taehyung’s foot. It seems to catch her interest though, because she stops and turns back to them.

‘It’s eight in the morning,” she points out, still looking at them suspiciously. “You’re both that desperate?”

“Uh,” Jungkook says, “Yes. We want to take full advantage of the time we have together. We’re in different houses, so we never get to—“

“Have sex!” Taehyung finishes. Okay, um. So much for beating around the bush.

She is still unconvinced and now slightly uncomfortable. “Well—I guess, as long as you have the cash—“

“We do,” Jungkook says with relief as he pulls out a small pouch. “Two galleons and eight sickles. Right here.”

After she is done counting the coins, she reaches underneath the bar for a key.

“Here you go, boys,” she says, “And don’t forget to be safe.”

 

Upon closing the room door behind them, Taehyung collapses onto the bed in a fit of giggles.

Jungkook starts stripping off his school uniform. “I can’t believe that worked.”

“Hey, slow down,” Taehyung says in between laughter. “You need to get me into the mood first.”

“Me? But I wouldn’t dream of separating you and your hand.”

“What a romantic. Jimin is so lucky to have you.”

Jungkook throws his discarded tie at Taehyung’s face. He busies himself with pulling on the change of clothes he brought in his bag. After he finishes, he stands in front of the musty floor-length mirror in the corner of the room.

“What do you think?” he asks.

Taehyung examines him as he strokes his imaginary beard. “Very posh-and-offbeat-old-hermit that comes out of his tower once a year. I like the purple hat.”

“I have no idea what that means,” Jungkook says, “But as long as I don’t look like myself, I’m good to go.”

 

Taehyung goes first. After making sure no employees are lurking around, he signals for Jungkook to come down.

The place has filled up considerably since they arrived. Most patrons are students, but some are witches and wizards from the area. With his new get-up Jungkook fits right in with the older clientele.

“Good luck, man. I’ll be here when you’re done,” Taehyung says.

Jungkook heads toward the back room without trying to look fishy. Just walk.

The bartender is wiping down the mantel of the fireplace when he comes in. He groans inwardly; of all the things—

“Good morning, sir,” she says, looking over at him.

Jungkook nods and lowers the brim of his hat. He is about to leave and return later but she says, “I’ll be done in a few. Don’t go anywhere.”

He steps to the side and observes the photographs on the wall depicting what he presumes to be the inn through the years. Finally she comes to him.

“All ready now, sir. Ah, fine piece of work, isn’t it?” she says, pointing to a picture of the building’s exterior and a jolly man waving enthusiastically out front. “That’s my grandpa. Refurbished the place when it started to fall apart.”

Jungkook nods again and hopes the silence is a clear indicator to end the conversation. In what is hopefully not an omen of bad luck, he feels her eyes on him even as he goes to the fireplace and takes out a small bottle of floo powder.

He has the powder in hand, its fine grains falling through his fingers when she says, “Hey, aren’t you that kid—“

A ringing crash reverberates through the inn, interrupting her sentence. She looks away and rushes out into the main room where a familiar voice repeats hurried apologies.

Jungkook releases the breath he’d been holding. Thank fuck for Taehyung. Jungkook would kiss his feet if the thought didn’t make him retch.

With the coast clear, he tosses the powder into the flames and watches them turn an emerald green. He steps in and the fire envelops him, obscuring his vision.

“Ministry of Magic,” he says, and his surroundings twist into a blur.

 

Once the atrium of the Ministry settles around him, he walks out into the grand entrance area and takes in the colossal fountain in the centre with golden statues spouting out streams of water. The high walls are composed of dark brick and together with the polished inky wood of the floor lend the place a rather impressive air.

The Ministry is a lot less busy than Jungkook remembers, although his last visit was during his childhood on a weekday. Now only several officials walk the halls and none of them give him a second glance.

He heads down the corridor past the fountain and allows his wand to be checked by security. When he’s given the go ahead he enters a circular room lined with lifts. One is already waiting and he takes it to the second floor.

As expected, the offices are almost empty when he arrives. He fervently hopes his mother hasn’t given up her habit of working on the weekends.

He retraces his steps to the Wizengamot offices at the back. Nothing has changed since his last time here, including the immaculate redwood paneling and snoozing portraits of past judges. Looks like even the dead don’t wake up before noon.

The door to his mother’s office bears a golden plaque engraved with her name. He puts a hand on the carved ornate knocker but now that he’s right here, a thousand indecisions swarm his mind—why did he even think he could interfere with her work, especially after he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with it? What would she even think of him coming here?

But then he thinks, what else can I do? What else is there to do?

He forces himself to put these thoughts at bay just long enough to get this over with. Steeling himself, he prepares to knock but the door opens and he jumps back in shock.

“Excuse me? May I help you?”

Jungkook tries to bring his heartrate back down, which is hard seeing as how his mother just shaved ten years off his lifespan by somehow being psychic. On the bright side he is glad she is looking healthy despite the slight dark circles under her eyes.

He doesn’t think she would take too kindly to an apparently complete stranger calling her ‘mom,’ so he takes off his hat and watches her expression change from suspicion to surprise to worry.

“Jungkook? Is everything alright? What are you doing here?”

“Yeah—yes, I’m fine. Mom, can I talk to you?”

She looks out into the hall, then ushers him inside and closes the door. There are a couple cream armchairs facing the desk but he stays standing.

“What are you doing outside of school?” his mom asks, her violet robes of the Wizengamot settling around her after she whips around. “Don’t tell me no one knows you’re here.”

“Taehyung knows,” Jungkook says. She throws her hands up in exasperation. “This is important, I needed to talk to you face to face—“

“You and that boy get into too much trouble. There was that U-No-Poo incident last year, then that time with the chickens, and now he’s helping you sneak out of school,” she says, arms crossed. “Not to mention that letter I received about you getting into a fight, you’re lucky I didn’t send you a howler about it—“

“Mom. I wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t urgent,” he implores. “I wouldn’t risk suspension if I didn’t think I had to.”

“If this doesn’t concern your own well-being, I find it hard to believe anything else can be important enough for—this,” she says, waving at his entire costume.

“It’s about your work.”

“What are you talking about, Jungkook? That’s why you came here?” she says, her brow creasing in confusion.

Jungkook decides to test the waters. “Do you know about Park Jimin’s case?”

“The one being handled by Maccia, yes, I know it,” she says. “Been going on unusually long, that one.”

“He—Jimin—he’s innocent. I don’t know what’s happening with the case right now, but I know that whatever he’s accused of, he did it all in self-defence. He shouldn’t be in court.”

“Jungkook,” she says slowly, like she’s choosing her words carefully, “It’s not my trial to overlook. I understand you might have become friends and you want what’s best for him but the case wasn’t handed to me. I cannot overstep and interfere in another judge’s work, regardless of what I personally believe.”

“And I realize that,” he presses. His foot begins tapping an anxious rhythm on the plush carpet. “I’m not asking you to jump in and take over—“ He pauses. “—okay, well, maybe that’s what I’m asking. Can’t you make an appeal to the Chief to undertake the case?”

She sighs and rubs her temple. “I’m going to need a lot more than ‘my son wanted me to help his friend.’ Requests like these are only made and fulfilled in extreme circumstances.”

“Is corruption serious enough?”

“If this is one of your jokes—“

“Some members of the Wizengamot might have… incentives for believing so strongly in Jimin’s guilt.”

“Did the defendant tell you this?” she says.

“Yes,” he says, “and I don’t know if he’s right. But it makes sense—even you can see the prosecution doesn’t have a leg to stand on, yet instead of dismissing the case it’s still going on. The bastard’s been trying to sway more members for a majority ruling since it started and has been dragging it out as long as he needs to.”

“Language,” she reprimands. “It’s hard to believe, Jungkook, especially with no hard evidence.”

“It’s a long shot,” Jungkook admits. “But you were the only person I could ask. I would hate myself knowing Jimin got wrongly punished and I did nothing to help.”

She shakes her head in disbelief. Silence falls over the room as she looks at Jungkook, then at the carpet beneath her feet. He can almost hear the cogs moving in her head.

“I might be able to make an appeal for an investigation,” she says, eyes still on her feet and mind turning. “It’ll be filed by Monday, but there are no guarantees that it’ll go through or that they’ll find something.”

“No, that-that’s more than enough,” he says, reeling. Truthfully, he’d been expecting to be turned away or to be met with a stern admonition for making this request. A huge weight is lifted off his shoulders at his mother’s words, because even if it might not work at least it’s something.

She covers her mouth as she yawns. “Now get to school. I do not want to hear about you getting suspended for this.”

“Thank you,” he says. “Don’t work too hard.”

As he prepares to leave, she says, voice casual, “You should come back for the holidays next time. It’ll be nice having you around.”

He smiles. “Okay. I will.”

-

In an abrupt but welcome turn of events, he doesn’t get caught.

After returning via floo to the Three Broomsticks, he walks past the bar and upstairs. He changes back to his uniform in the empty room and leaves the inn without trouble. Taehyung immediately ambushes him when he exits.

“So? Did it work?”

“Who knows?”

Taehyung pinches Jungkook’s ear for the vague answer.

“You are so difficult,” he complains. “You owe me a year’s worth of butterbeer. And anything I want from Zonko’s.”

Jungkook laughs. Yeah, he does.

 

Jungkook tells no one about what he’s tried to do (and he’s sworn Taehyung to secrecy), so when he comes back to the castle in a lighter mood their friends assume the time out of school has done him some good.

As much as he would like to sit in the owlery waiting for an update from Jimin or his mother, time marches on and so does life. He diverts his nervous energy into studying for the upcoming exams and working as much as he can with the team. Since Jules and Yejun’s loss of their positions Jungkook has been concentrating on helping their substitutes. The reserve players are quick learners, but changing up the roster so close to the season’s end isn’t a recipe for success.

During this time he is met with with complete radio silence. It neither placates nor intensifies his concerns—no news is better than bad news, but good news would obviously be preferable. Still, he tries not to let the quiet get him down. Every morning he waits for a letter but the only thing his owl delivers is the Daily Prophet, which also carries no news of anything relevant to the case.

He feels like he is in limbo, waiting for the executioner’s axe to drop.

The longer daylight hours and warmer days do their part to somewhat relieve his apprehension. Jungkook and the rest vacate the library and their common rooms in favor of the sunlit grass of the grounds, laying their books around them as they try to get work done. Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok are going into overdrive preparing for their N.E.W.T.s, with notes and books permanently in their hands.

Dangling his legs in the cool lake with the sounds of the wind in the trees and the voices of his friends surrounding him, he thinks, I’ll miss this. It was one thing having Seokjin already graduate, but the six of them left (six because Jimin is and will always be one of them no matter what happens to him) will be split in half soon.

It’ll be strange without them, and he wonders how long it’ll take to get used to their absences. Then he watches all of them laughing underneath the shade of the willow tree, and he knows he needs to make this time last.

Jimin, he thinks. I want you here with us.

-

The conditions for Ravenclaw’s last quidditch game are leagues better than the previous game’s snowstorm from hell. The skies are crystalline and a pleasant breeze ruffles his hair. Everyone welcomes the reprieve from exam prep, the stands filling up quickly with students and teachers.

And there’s nobody wanting to cause Jungkook grievous bodily harm, which is always a plus.

After wishing him luck, Taehyung and the rest squeeze into the stands. When they settle into their seats Jungkook can see the huge Ravenclaw banner above their heads.

Jungkook uses the remaining time to give his team members a pep talk, which may or may not be effective (he honestly isn’t huge on the idea but he figures it’s part of his duty as captain). No one rolls their eyes so he considers it a success.

Truthfully, he is split on their capability to obtain victory. They’ve practiced as much as possible and have tried to adjust to a line-up change so late in the game, but it might not be enough to win. Slytherin has the most points in total and currently have the quidditch cup in their sights—if Ravenclaw can beat Slytherin by scoring 150 points before the end of the match (and if Gryffindor doesn’t manage to achieve a major upset with 200+ points), the cup is theirs.

The whistle blows and the players take to the skies. Although Ravenclaw has a rough start with Gryffindor scoring the first few goals, Jungkook is just glad he doesn’t have to watch his back in case a teammate decides to go rogue.

The match continues to be relatively uneventful, with (thankfully) a lack of serious injuries. No team is close to their score goal in what seems to be the first half hour.

And then, a lot faster than Jungkook expected, the rival seeker speeds upward and veers close to the stands. The resulting cries from the audience attract Jungkook’s attention and he surges in the same direction. Gryffindor must want to take the game away from Ravenclaw regardless of points—they’d win the match, but not the cup.

When he nears the stands Jungkook notices in the corner of his eye some of the spectators pointing to somewhere below him. It’s not the snitch (because he has it in his field of view) so he wonders if a player got injured.

The other seeker flies close to the ground, and Jungkook follows. He is so close to her that their robes graze. She tries to bump into him to knock him off his broom but he moves away in time. He pushes himself further and his broom begins to edge out the other player’s. Just a little bit more, and the win is theirs. The snitch is right in front of them, he looks back for a split second and her hand is out, about to latch onto his robes. He throws caution to the wind and himself off his broomstick, making a grab for the snitch as he rolls onto the ground—

He gets up, opens his hand, and the snitch flutters weakly in his palm.

The stadium explodes into excited applause. The rest of his team lands and immediately surrounds him, congratulating him and each other on their victory. His friends come next, having already descended from the stands and bearing down on Jungkook to hug him to death.

When Taehyung lets go, he laughs, “It worked, Jungkook.”

“Huh?”

Taehyung doesn’t answer him, and just moves to the side to reveal a familiar face that some part of Jungkook thought he’d never see again.

“Congratulations,” Jimin says with a shy smile.

Jimin looks better than Jungkook remembers, eyes bright and with no trace of the fatigue that has plagued him during the last few months.

“You’re back,” Jungkook says, awestruck. Everyone else on the field has turned into white noise.

“I told you I would be.”

The two of them move closer at the same time. Jungkook is sure he has a dopey as fuck grin on, but he can’t help it. Jimin draws his fingers over Jungkook’s lips, his cheeks, his nose, as if familiarizing himself with Jungkook all over again.

“Thank you,” he whispers. “Thank you for being a big enough idiot to do what you did for me.”

Jungkook can’t look away from Jimin’s eyes (and he doesn’t think he wants to), drawn to them like a moth to flame. He places an arm around Jimin’s waist and puts a hand on his chin, tilting his head up further. Although the kiss is gentle, unhurried, Jungkook still feels dizzy from the words left unsaid but imparted through that kiss; I’m glad you’re here now, I missed you.

Jungkook doesn’t say any of that. Instead, he presses their foreheads together after they break apart and murmurs into the space between them—

“Welcome back.”

-

“Come on, that’s the fifth time. Have you no decency?”

“I love you guys, but stop before I throw up on your robes.”

“You’re just jealous,” Jungkook says, giving them the finger.

“Ah, yes,” Yoongi scoffs. “I’ve always wanted you all to myself.”

“Admitting it is the first step to recovery,” Jungkook says after kissing Jimin a sixth time.

They are all in the Great Hall, the ceiling displaying the bright blue sky above the castle. All the tables are abuzz with laughter and the animated conversations of students about to leave school for the summer. The teachers make no effort to reinstate calm, and in fact are as loud as the kids.

After the last game, the rest of the year passed by in a whirlwind of exams and summer preparations. Jimin had to get back into the swing of things and play catch up for a bit (with the process expedited by everyone’s help). They spent countless hours out on the grounds and in the library on cooler days poring over notes and helping each other study for exams.

Jungkook didn’t do too shabby a job on his tests if he does say so himself, even with a very serious distraction in the form of his pastel-pink boyfriend.

“I think I liked it better when you two hated each other,” Taehyung says as he inhales his food.

Jimin shifts in Jungkook’s lap, making himself more comfortable and running his hand through Jungkook’s hair.

“I never hated you,” Jimin says. “I thought you were hot.”

“Couldn’t I hate you and think you’re hot?” Jungkook asks. “Wait, you liked me even though I was shunning the hell out of you?”

Jimin smiles, sheepish. “It was new to me… and kind of attractive, how angry you were.”

“Okay, I will pay you to stop right now,” Yoongi interjects. “Name anything you want, I’ll give it to you—my Felix Felicis, my collection of chocolate frog cards, the shirt off my back—”

Jimin laughs so hard Jungkook has to steady him with a hand on his hip. Eventually Jimin’s giggling dies down and he takes pity on Yoongi, sliding off of Jungkook and plopping down next to him on the bench.

“You gave in,” Jungkook grumbles.

“Thank god for that,” Yoongi says, cutting into a lamb chop. “At least one of you feels sorry for us.”

A newspaper lands on the table beside Jimin. Hoseok slides into the seat a second later.

“Hey,” he says, “Did you see this?”

He passes the paper first to Jimin. Jungkook leans over to read the headline: Probe Leads to Shocking Arrests of Wizengamot Members. He shares a look with Jimin as Taehyung plucks it from Jimin’s fingers.

“Wow,” Namjoon whistles. “Seven esteemed members of the high court have been convicted of corruption… Does your mom know what happened?”

“I don’t know,” Jungkook says. “I’ll ask her when I get home.”

Taehyung moves his eyebrows up and down. “I’m waiting for all that butterbeer. Just so you remember.”

Jimin and Jungkook laugh as the others look on in various degrees of puzzlement. The plinking of a utensil against glass rings out over the heads of students and the noise soon dies down. The headmistress stands at the front table, her purple robes cutting an imposing figure.

“As you all know, today is the last day of term. I must thank each and every one of you for making this year a resounding success.”

She waits for the applause to stop, then continues, “First order of business: the quidditch cup. Each house had a particularly strong showing, but one house pulled to the front to secure a stunning victory. Congratulations to Ravenclaw.”

Jungkook grins so hard that his face hurts when the clapping begins once more, with his table being particularly loud. Jimin kisses his cheek as Taehyung and Hoseok try to out-clap each other. Yoongi and Namjoon make less noise but look on with proud smiles plastered on their faces.

“Now, the house cup,” the headmistress says once everyone has settled down. “Every student here has done their best to represent their house, and for that I commend you. This year, the house cup goes to the most loyal and kindest of us all, Hufflepuff.”

Banners appear high above them from thin air and unfurl themselves to reveal the yellow and black of Hufflepuff. Hoseok and Taehyung join in on their house’s booming applause, whooping and cheering, and Jungkook and the rest laugh and clap along as Hoseok does an impromptu victory dance.

“One last thing before I leave you all to dig in,” the headmistress declares. “The end of year celebrations are at once joyous and daunting for many of us. Every year we have to say farewell to our closest companions as they leave to start life anew, facing new challenges that may be frightening, or exhilarating. To our seventh-years: I and all your friends wish you the best in your endeavours. Even if you may not remember my words tomorrow, next week, in ten years, I do hope you remember that Hogwarts will always be here for you, no matter the path you take.”

It takes a couple seconds for her speech to sink in, but when it does the resulting cacophony is almost deafening. Hats are thrown into the air, shouts of encouragement and support entwine with the roaring ovation.

Yoongi frantically wipes his eyes, and Jungkook realizes Yoongi is tearing up.

“Jungkook,” Jimin murmurs, “Are you okay?”

Jungkook turns to Jimin, who brushes at the bottom of Jungkook’s eyes with his thumb.

“You’re crying,” Jimin says softly, small smile on his face.

Shit, he is. He scrubs his eyes with his arm, but the tears just won’t stop. Jimin presses close to him and rubs a hand up and down his back.

“Holy crap,” Taehyung says, “You two are sobbing like someone just died.”

Yoongi smacks him. “Forgive me for caring about you guys, okay?”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, looking close to tears himself. “The three of you may be coming back but we’ll be gone for good. I’d say some crying is perfectly natural.”

Namjoon puts a comforting hand on Yoongi’s shoulder. “Come visit all of us, alright?” he says to the youngest three. There’s no sign of tears but his voice is slightly shaky. “Keep us up to speed on everything.”

Jungkook has been thinking of this day for months, but now that it’s here it feels different than he imagined. He’s upset, yes, but more than that he is happy that he’s even had the chance to be such close friends with all of them, that he’s managed to be a part of their lives, that this last year was the most rewarding, astonishing, exciting year he’s had yet.

He wants to put it all into words, but where does he even start?

Jungkook lets his hand be taken by Jimin, who traces the creases of Jungkook’s palm under the table.

“We’ll miss you,” Jimin says, and Jungkook thinks these few words are enough.

Apparently everyone else thinks so too, because Hoseok bursts into tears and hugs Jimin around the shoulders. Even Taehyung’s eyes become glassy.

Jungkook looks at the side of Jimin’s face. After all that’s happened, Jungkook still has the small fear of Jimin receiving another letter about his case reopening or the investigation falling through. Jimin seems to sense Jungkook’s gaze, because he turns to him. Then he smiles that familiar smile, where elation seems to emanate from him and his eyes curve into crescents, and Jungkook knows they’ve got all the time in the world.