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when will you realize, vienna waits for you

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Taehyung drops a handful of crushed dandelion roots into his cauldron, stirs three times counterclockwise and promptly holds his breath as he peers over the edge. He thinks he sees the liquid inside changing colors as it bubbles merrily, and bites back a whoop of glee as it begins turning into a delicate shade of lilac—this would make the first time in weeks he’s gotten a potion right on the first try—and mid-celebratory dance fails to notice the abrupt turn of events in front of him. The liquid in the pot is no longer a pretty purple, and instead has transformed into a violent shade of red that’s frothing over the lip of the cauldron like a soup left on the stove for too long.

Taehyung yelps as his creation begins to spill out onto the benches, gurgling maddeningly and coughing up chunks of the horned slugs that Taehyung swears he had diced into smithereens. He scrambles to slam a lid over the cauldron, then hurriedly extinguishes the fire.

In the aftermath of it all, he’s bent over the table, breathing to calm his racing heart. He cranes his neck to see if anyone’s noticed his miniature disaster, but the professor is preoccupied by a Slytherin student at the opposite end of the room and only Jimin is doubled over with laughter, his entire body shaking with silent giggles. Taehyung gives him a pointed glare.

Jiminie,” he hisses, leaning over to check his partner’s cauldron, which is a disappointingly beautiful lilac. “Lend me some of yours.”

Jimin stops laughing long enough to shoot back, “No way, you dummy. I wanna see the look on the professor’s face when you turn that in, seriously.”

Taehyung elects to ignore the little snake and focuses on cleaning up the mess in front of him, wiping down the benches and the side of his cauldron with an old t-shirt he found in his satchel. He scans his notes and his textbook, running a finger down the list of ingredients.

“What did I do wrong? I put everything in, in order,” he mutters under his breath as he sops up the leftover potion. Abruptly, he spies something lying on the ground. He reaches over and picks it up, and realizes it’s the Very Crucial eagle owl feather that had somehow fluttered out the cauldron, effectively ruining his entire operation. This only serves to make Jimin double over again into another fit of laughter.

Taehyung chucks the t-shirt at his head.
                                           

-v-

 

Taehyung stomps out of the Potions classroom with Jimin trailing after him.

“C’mon, Taehyung-ah, it wasn’t that bad. You’ll get partial credit for it, and it went better than the last one—”

“Be quiet,” Taehyung growls, pulling his hood over his head. He doesn’t want to talk to Jimin, who had been all toothy grin as the professor praised his Dogbreath potion and showed it off to the rest of the class as an example. They elbow their way through the crowd of students pouring out of the Potions wing and head towards the Great Hall, where Jimin spots a familiar head bobbing behind a loud group of third years.

“Jungkoooookie! OVER HERE,” Jimin makes large waving motions over his head, and Jungkook ducks his head, pretending not to see them, and edges quickly towards the doorway. Well, well, if that’s how he’s going to play it—Taehyung bounces over and strong-arms the kid into a headlock, causing the scrolls in Jungkook’s arms to spill onto the floor.

“Merlin, hyung, let go of me! I spent literally all last night on that essay!" Jungkook protests, struggling in his arms to rescue his precious parchment before they got stampeded on by the passing first-year Gryffindors laughing raucously. Taehyung gives his head a hard noogie before shoving him playfully away.

The three of them find a spot at the end of a Hufflepuff table, where Jungkook’s blues and Jimin’s greens stand out against the sea of yellow scarves, but no one pays them any mind. Taehyung absently picks at a roll while Jimin and Jungkook start a round of arm-wrestling to see who gets the last grapefruit tart.

He watches as Jungkook wins, repeatedly, and vividly remembers when they’d first met him: a skinny eleven-year-old getting cornered by several older Ravenclaws. Taehyung recalls how Jungkook had seemed to shrink in on himself, but lifted his chin defiantly. Everything had happened very suddenly: the ringleader reaching out to shove Jungkook in the shoulder, and the sudden flash of a wand and Jungkook’s cry of “Stupefy!” and Taehyung and Jimin looking at each other like they couldn’t believe a tiny first-year had just pulled that off. They had both launched into the scene, Jimin grabbing Jungkook by the hand and Taehyung dropping a slipping charm on the floor before making a mad dash out of the scene because there was a prefect who’d spotted them and had started to shout “Hey, what are you brats doing?!”

They’d all gotten twenty points docked from their respective houses that day, but Hoseok, the prefect who’d caught them, had taken pity and elected not to give them all detention once they told him the full story, and he had only stopped laughing to tell Jungkook, “Yah, you can’t just go around stunning people, okay? Maybe try punching them in the face or something.”

It seems Jungkook has taken that advice to heart, because his biceps bulge as he slams Jimin’s hand down on the table for the fifth time. Taehyung sighs as Jimin rounds on him, crying, “Since when did Jungkookie become such a muscle pig?”

“That’s why you join the Quidditch team, kids,” Hoseok supplies as he slides onto the bench next to them, slinging one arm around Taehyung’s shoulders. Taehyung glances at the bruising along Hoseok’s arm, and the ever-present dried mud caked on his shoes, and snorts.

“Yeah, sure,” he mutters, dusting some crumbs off his robes. Hoseok raises his eyebrows at Jimin questioningly.

“What’s got Tae’s wand in a twist?” he inquires, stealing a bite of Jungkook’s hard-earned grapefruit tart.

“Potions,” Jimin answers, and Jungkook and Hoseok both nod sympathetically in Taehyung’s direction, which only irritates him more.

“You’ve got O.W.L.s coming up this year, huh,” Hoseok says, and Taehyung nods miserably. It wouldn’t matter so much if it weren’t for the fact that Potions was a requirement for the N.E.W.T.s to become a healer. Taehyung’s got Charms and Transfiguration in the bag, and he’s decent at Herbology and Defense Against the Dark Arts. He really doesn’t get how a class that amounts to tossing things in a pot can be so difficult.

Taehyung doesn’t stress easily—examinations and three-foot essays roll off him like water off a duck’s back. But he’s never had as much trouble doing, well, anything, as he’s had with Potions. He’s at a loss.

Hoseok has his trademarked concentrated face on now, and he taps his chin thoughtfully. Suddenly, he brightens, and snaps his fingers in rapid succession.

“I know! Hey, I’ve got a great idea!” he says excitedly.

“For what?” Taehyung asks suspiciously, because Hoseok’s ideas more often than not mean suffering public embarrassment.

“Will you just trust your hyung, Tae Tae? I know how to help you with your Potions problem,” Hoseok grins. Taehyung maintains a skeptical silence, because he knows for a fact that Hoseok barely scraped by Potions with an Acceptable on his O.W.L.s. Hoseok notices his expression and plows on.

“Yeah, I can wrangle you a tutor,” he says smugly. “The best one there is. Free of charge. Probably.” Taehyung stares with wide eyes. He doesn’t get much of an allowance, and the best tutors in Hogwarts have all been snagged by some of the more ambitious Slytherin and Ravenclaw students in their year.

“You know Kim Seokjin?” Hoseok asks, and Taehyung feels the need to clean his ears because who hasn’t heard of Kim Seokjin.

“The Head Boy? Gryffindor? Really tall, broad, handsome? That Kim Seokjin?” Jimin interrupts, attention suddenly snapping to their conversation and away from smearing jam on Jungkook’s cheeks. They’re all staring at Hoseok like he’s a madman.

“Hyung, how are you going to get Kim Seokjin to tutor me?” Taehyung cries, bewildered. Last year, he remembers distinctly, Seokjin charmed his hair blond and made the front page of the school newspaper when someone got a shot of him on his broom, hair windswept as he slammed a Bludger across the field. There were also three separate instances of girls trying to spike his pumpkin juice before breakfast on Valentine’s with Amortentia. He’s also rumored to have brewed a batch Felix Felicis successfully during his sixth year, instantly becoming the golden child of the Potions department. The odds were not good.

Hoseok grins, tapping his nose. “Remember when I got my nose broken by that stray Bludger last match? Turns out Seokjin-hyung was the one who hit it. He came to apologize the other day and said if I needed a favor, I should feel free to ask. Maybe it’s time to call it in.”

Anything else he has to say is engulfed by Taehyung as he launches himself at Hoseok, giving him the biggest bear hug he can manage.

“You’re the best, hyungnim! I love you!”

 

-v-

 

Hoseok keeps his promise. On Saturday, he hauls Taehyung from his bed at the break of day, and whisper-shouts in his ear, “Taehyung-ah, time to meet your new teacher! Get dressed, hurry up, MOVE IT.”

Taehyung blearily stumbles up, blindly reaches into his pile of laundry and pulls out the first sweater he finds. It has a strawberry stain on the sleeve but he pulls it over his head anyway. He can’t, for the life of him, figure out why he has to be getting up at this ungodly hour of the morning to meet his tutor. Is Kim Seokjin even human? Jury's out.

Everything becomes clear as Hoseok drags him practically by the ear to the muddy Quidditch pitch, damp and chilly with morning dew and the smell of rain. The Gryffindor team is warming up by the benches, and Hoseok waves and begins hollering in a too-loud voice.

“Namjoon-ah! Jin-hyung! Over here!” Two tall Korean students turn towards the sound, and Taehyung sees Kim Seokjin wave back. As they approach, the Gryffindor team gets up and surrounds Hoseok, pounding him on the back and laughing. Taehyung doesn’t find it surprising that Hoseok, Hufflepuff’s star Chaser, has somehow befriended an entire rival team.

Namjoon and Seokjin approach Taehyung instead. They’re both tall and lanky, and sweating lightly from their stretches. Namjoon looks sort of intimidating to Taehyung up until the moment he trips on a stray Quaffle, nearly face-planting in the field. Taehyung stifles a laugh as he watches Seokjin sigh and hoist Namjoon up off the ground to continue their trajectory.

Namjoon seems to have recovered as he sticks a hand out for Taehyung to shake.

“So you’re Jin-hyung’s new pupil? Trust me, this guy’s not nearly as good as he thinks he is,” Namjoon snarks, earning a smack on the back of the head from Seokjin.

“Yah, the disrespect. I’m not letting you into the Common Room the next time you forget the password,” Seokjin says, but he’s smiling. Taehyung is momentarily struck by the way the morning light glints off the soft brown of his hair, and the drop of his sweat running down his throat, and doesn’t realize he’s been staring too long until Seokjin clears his throat quietly and waves a hand in front of Taehyung’s face.

“Anybody home?” he prods gently, sticking out his hand. Taehyung coughs, ears warming, and takes his hand. It’s soft, but calloused, and warm against Taehyung’s palm. He hopes desperately it isn’t sweaty.

Up close, Kim Seokjin is, improbably, even better-looking than in the picture. He’s got large, doe eyes and plump lips and the broadest shoulders Taehyung’s ever seen. He’s long ditched the blond hair, but his brown hair softens his features and makes him look gentle rather than sharp. Even in the dead of early morning, he looks fresh-faced and far too awake than any human being has a right to at this hour. Taehyung kind of wants to stare forever.

“Um, yes, Kim Taehyung, fifth year,” he says as brightly as possible, hoping against hope Seokjin hasn’t noticed him melting slightly of embarrassment. He straightens his posture and suddenly wishes he hadn’t plucked his outfit out randomly from a pile of laundry whose state of washed is sketchy at best.

“Kim Seokjin. But you probably already know that,” Seokjin smiles at him, and Taehyung feels momentarily mortified by the implications of that statement until Seokjin continues, “Hoseok-ah wouldn’t let me hear the end of it, how dare I damage his perfect, beautiful, straight nose, and how it took two doses of Skele-Gro to get it back to normal. I bet he complained nonstop,” he says in a tone that suggests exasperation and amusement all at once.

Taehyung grins, because that’s exactly what Hoseok had done when he and Jimin visited him in the hospital wing, and they’d felt bad enough that they bought him extra boxes of chocolate frogs.

“To Hoseok-hyung’s credit, he does have a nice nose,” Taehyung says, feeling obligated to defend his hyung who has used up his one favor from Seokjin. If it were him, he would’ve saved it for himself. Definitely.

“Yes, but not better than mine,” Seokjin laughs. Namjoon rolls his eyes and scoffs, shaking his head.

“Ignore him, when it comes to his face he has a huge ego. I’m leaving before I have to hear any more of this nonsense. Taehyung, nice to meet you, best of luck, and stick around to watch our practice if you want. We’re going to demolish Hufflepuff in the next match, so Hoseok better watch his nose.” With that, Namjoon runs to rejoin his team.

Seokjin watches Namjoon’s retreating back, and leans in close so Taehyung can smell the fresh grass and soap from his neck, and whispers, “Between you and me, Hoseok’s injury was nothing to sniff at.”

A second ticks by, and Taehyung stares at Seokjin, who grins broadly at him before dissolving into squeaky laughs complete with thigh-slapping. The atmosphere relaxes. It’s utterly contagious, this laugh, and soon enough, Taehyung finds himself gasping for breath as he tries to recover from his laughter.

 

-v-

 

Seokjin is good at Quidditch. Taehyung hasn’t wanted to touch a broom since the ill-fated first-year mandated flying lessons, but something about the way Seokjin dips and glides on his broom, powerful yet graceful, kind of makes Taehyung wish he could be up there, too. He’s also hilariously noisy, cracking lame puns as he chucks Bludgers at his teammates and yelling indignantly when they miss a goal or bump into each other in the air. Taehyung’s never really paid much attention to Quidditch outside of supporting Hoseok and the rest of the Hufflepuff team from the sidelines, jeering at Jimin’s green flags and waving his signs that have “J-HOPE!!” written on them on game days, but as he watches Seokjin dismount, laughing and wiping sweat off his face, he thinks he might start attending games more regularly.

 

-v-

 

Seokjin is really, really good at potions. He somehow makes slicing rat’s tails and leeches look like an art. He fluidly dices up bat wings and beetle eyes, and measures out exact vials of Bulbadox juice without breaking a sweat. Even with his hands covered in pig’s blood, Seokjin looks kind of like a prince. He brews three batches of Dogbreath in a row, to Taehyung’s amazement, all of them a clear shade of lilac, and writes in neat print a sheet of notes for Taehyung to follow. He’s patient, but strict, and allots Taehyung a maximum of two mistakes per brew.

Within two weeks, Taehyung learns to eyeball the difference between fly wings and firefly wings, and now can identify several potions by smell alone. They’ve even come up with a celebratory dance for when he gets a brew right. He’s ecstatic.

Seokjin, despite being all that he is, doesn’t take himself too seriously. He laughs until he can’t breathe, sometimes at his own jokes, and makes cracks about how good-looking he is far too often, but Taehyung finds it kind of adorable.

It’s not hard to talk to Seokjin, either. Despite being a seventh year, with Quidditch and preparing for N.E.W.T.s and Head Boy duties on his shoulders, Seokjin listens to Taehyung complain about how History of Magic makes him fall asleep and Divination is a total waste of time because he’s pretty sure the professor is a phony seer, pulling prophecies out of her ass. Taehyung talks about his Muggle parents, and how they’re worried about his job prospects as a professional wizard, and Seokjin laughs at his stories of his younger siblings who beg him to do some magic whenever he visits and the tricks he has to improvise to not bring the Ministry of Magic down on him.

They’re currently running a batch of Shrinking Solution, and they’re working side by side, peeling Shrivelfigs and mincing daisy roots. Their shoulders bump occasionally, and there’s a comfortable silence as they prepare ingredients. Seokjin’s fingers make quick work, and they’re done in no time.

Seokjin is rummaging through the ingredients to find caterpillars and wormwood, and Taehyung is looking for a flask. Taehyung digs through his bag and comes up empty.

“Wait, hyung, I’ve run out of flasks to hold this stuff,” he calls out, and Seokjin walks over with a fistful of bugs.

“Check through those back cabinets over there, I’m sure there’s some old stuff people left behind,” Seokjin answers, counting out caterpillars. Taehyung obeys, and begins swinging open doors. The shelves are mostly crammed full of dusty jars and leftover ingredients, and Taehyung’s about to lose hope when in the third cabinet, Taehyung spots something in the corner. Bingo. He grabs it and heads over to Seokjin, plopping it down next to him expectantly. It takes a moment for Seokjin to notice, but when he does, Taehyung waits a beat.

Seokjin bursts into laughter, bending over and slapping the table with his free hand, howling so hard tears are forming in the corners of his eyes. Taehyung’s managed to grab a bowl that would look like a normal mortar if it weren’t for a squirrel sitting on the middle of it.

“It’s classy, like you, hyung,” Taehyung grins widely, pleased that he’s made Seokjin laugh again. He finds himself doing that more and more these days; he wants to make Seokjin laugh, wants to see smiles split across his face as he gets something right. It makes him feel warm inside, like he’s just tossed down a mug of butterbeer. And if he fumbles with some things just to have Seokjin guide his fingers gently, well.

They finish the potion, and pour it gently into the squirrel bowl, and Taehyung has somehow produced a glass casing.

“Squirrel locked in a garden,” he announces, pushing his creation forward. Seokjin starts laughing again.

 

-v-

 

Soon enough, Taehyung finds himself seeking out Seokjin outside of Potions tutoring. He introduces Seokjin to Jimin and Jungkook, who both take to the elder like ducks imprinting, and sometimes Taehyung has to physically pry them off Seokjin.

“I’m pretty sure I only passed History of Magic because the professor thought I was handsome,” Seokjin admits to him one day, when Taehyung begs him to proofread his analysis on the Giant Wars, and Taehyung nearly chokes on his strawberry milk snorting in disbelief.

“Wasn’t that class taught by a ghost a few years ago? This world is so unfair,” Taehyung says, exasperated.

“I miss instant ramen,” Taehyung whines the next week. “And the Internet.”

“Is that a Muggle thing?” Seokjin asks, pureblood wizard that he is.

“You’ve never had instant ramen!? Hyung!” Taehyung exclaims, resolving to fix this immediately, and writes several letters marked urgent to his parents to owl extra packages of Shin Ramen.

“Ever listen to Chet Baker?” Taehyung asks as he unpacks his saxophone.

“Is that another Muggle thing?”

“I’m about to teach you something, hyung!”

“I think Jungkook and Jimin are having a fight,” Taehyung announces on another day, ignoring the stares from several seventh-year Gryffindor girls as he boldly wraps an arm around Seokjin, who is digging into a plate of steak.

“Jiminie and Jungkookie? Why?”

“Dunno, Jungkook got really upset when Jiminie wouldn’t stop bragging about this love letter he got yesterday morning.”

Seokjin nods sagely, “Young love,” and Taehyung nearly spits out a mouthful of pumpkin juice because really, it was so obvious, why didn’t he realize earlier—

 

-v-

 

Even under Seokjin’s steady tutelage, Taehyung doesn’t miraculously become good at potions. He’s improving, slowly but surely, but not fast enough. A month and a half into his tutoring, he still finds his potions bursting into flames or turning eight different shades, all of them but the correct one. Today has been a particularly bad day, with Jimin rubbing his back soothingly as he takes a zero for his Essence of Dittany. He’s also spent so much time working on Potions that he’s begun to lag in Defense and Transfiguration, which has never happened before. His saxophone is out of order and he’s accidentally Transfigured his favorite scarf into a bath slipper and he doesn’t know how to change it back. Not to mention, Seokjin’s only agreed to eight weeks of tutoring, because of course he’s busy and Hoseok’s broken nose isn’t worth more time. He doesn’t want to think about the impending time when he doesn’t get to meet Seokjin on a regular basis.

Taehyung is exhausted. It’s Friday nearing midnight, and he’s been running on one and a half meals a day to keep up with his workload. He feels a swell of bitter disappointment in his gut as he stares at the muddy brown vial in his bag (despite Seokjin’s repeated assurances that it was okay, it was a hard potion, he knows it’s not), and refuses to open the less-than-satisfactory marks he got on his latest Transfiguration essay. He needs a picker-upper. He needs something that’s guaranteed to make him feel better, if only temporarily.

He thinks for a moment, then trudges towards the kitchens. When he arrives at the door, he finds the painting of a bowl of fruit, tickling at the green pear until it turns into a doorknob, and he makes his way in. He’s greeted by the happy cries of a dozen house elves, and he presses a finger to his lips to indicate for them to keep it quiet.

“Master Kim! Sir! What brings you here at this hour? Shall we prepare a meal?”

Taehyung’s come down often enough to have befriended the elves, but he doesn’t like asking too much of them. He sits on the stool an elf had carried to him, and smiles at them all.

“No, no, can you please just make the usual, please,” he says tiredly.

This is how Taehyung winds up with a cup of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows and a plate of ginger-snaps and pepper-up cookies on his lap, sitting by the fire and trying to wash his bad day away with sips of chocolate. He hasn’t come down here in a long time, with his days filled with schoolwork and potions tutoring and saxophone practice, so it’s a welcome change of pace just to be staring at the flickering flames of the fireplace and drowning his sorrows.

He’s broken out of his reverie by the house elves, who have crowded around again clamoring “Master Kim! Master Kim!” He turns around, confused, and this is how he finds Kim Seokjin standing at the doorway of the kitchens dressed in pajamas, looking a bit sheepish.

“Jin-hyung? What are you doing here?” he asks, trying to school his expression.

“Ah, Taehyung-ah! I didn’t expect to see you here. Is this a one-man only space?” Seokjin asks, walking over to the fireplace he’s sitting in front of.

“No, no, feel free,” Taehyung scoots his chair over and Seokjin drags a stool over, stealing cookies from his plate.

“Do you come here often?” Seokjin asks around a mouthful of ginger-snap.

Taehyung shrugs. “Used to, but then I got busy. I miss it. What about you, hyung? I never saw you.”

Seokjin rubs at his neck, which has turned slightly pink.

“I also used to, but then I got busy. I was a pretty hungry kid. Still am, but now I just deal with my stomach rumbling loud enough to get kicked out of the library,” he admits. Taehyung laughs, because he knows it’s true—he’s seen Seokjin scarf down more helpings of pasta in one sitting than Jimin can eat in two days. He stops laughing abruptly when he notices Seokjin fixing him with an intense look. He feels his cheeks burn, and it has nothing to do with the heat of the fire in front of him.

“Taehyung-ah,” Seokjin says softly, so tender that Taehyung’s heart twinges, “Is something wrong? You didn’t look too good when I saw you today.” Taehyung wants to kick himself. Not only could he not get his own shit together, he’s making Seokjin worry about him when he’s had enough trouble carrying Taehyung’s incompetent ass through Potions. But the way Seokjin’s looking at him, earnest concern written all over his face, he can’t lie to him.

“Not really,” he mumbles into his mug, “I’m a one-man pity party.”

“Wanna talk about it?” Seokjin says this in an inviting tone, warm but with no expectations.

It’s amazing, the effect Seokjin has. The floodgates open, and Taehyung finds himself spilling about his crappy Transfiguration score, which somehow segues into how he’s not sure he’s going to get the Outstanding he needs on his O.W.L.s, and how he feels like he’s somehow failing his parents and Seokjin by not being good enough at Potions and thus not being good enough to be a healer. This somehow transitions to the stupid bursts of jealousy he gets when he watches Jimin gets everything right in Potions and Jungkook learning more advanced spells than him despite being two years younger. Seokjin nods along, letting him talk without interruption, and he keeps going for an embarrassingly long time.

He snaps his mouth closed.

“Sorry,” he says, ducking his head.

“Don’t be sorry, that’s what I’m here for,” Seokjin laughs. “And hey, stop talking nonsense. You aren’t disappointing me, and from what I’ve heard about your parents, they’re very proud of you.”

“You’ve been putting in so much time helping me, but do you see me getting an O on my Potions O.W.L.? Do you? How am I going to get to N.E.W.T.s if I can’t even do that?”

Seokjin looks at him thoughtfully and asks instead, “Why do you want to be a healer?”

“Well,” Taehyung pauses a moment, “I’m from a family of farmers, and they always wanted one of us to be a doctor, so I thought being a healer would be the next best thing. But then I see how Hogwarts would kind of fall apart without the hospital wing. They’re like, the silent backbone of this school.”

“You want to be quietly dependable,” Seokjin says, and Taehyung nods.

“I just, I’m not sure I’m good enough. Not like you, not like Jiminie, and Jungkookie’s probably not even a normal wizard. He’s, like, the Chosen One.”

“You know, I was like that too,” Seokjin admits after a small silence.

Taehyung shakes his head in disbelief, “No way. You’re the Head Boy and the best potions-maker I’ve ever seen.”

“No, no, it’s true. Did you know when I was a kid my family thought I was a Squib? Most wizards show signs of magic really early. I got nothing. This was unacceptable for a pureblood family, so I was set to become the family’s embarrassing secret.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. I have an older brother, he graduated a few years ago. He did it all, you know. Prefect, Captain of the Quidditch Team, best marks in his year. He’s training to be an Auror, now,” Seokjin says all this with just a hint of wistfulness.

“So? You’re just as good,” Taehyung says defensively.

“That wasn’t how first-year me felt, when all my professors saw my name and they asked if I was really related to my brother,” Seokjin smiles, but it’s strained. Tucked in the golden firelight, Seokjin looks younger somehow, and vulnerable. He’s never really talked much about his feelings, Taehyung realizes, despite being generous about everything else. He tries to picture it: a tiny Seokjin, standing in a shadow so large that he wasn't sure he'd ever see the sun. 

Taehyung wants to wrap his arms around Seokjin’s neck, kiss the crown of his head, and cuddle him until they’re both giggly and sated. As these thoughts flood him, Taehyung realizes he’s in way, way too deep.

Well, he knows he’s always been a little enamored with him even when they first met, but he didn’t really know Seokjin. Seokjin, who laughs the loudest of anyone when he gets knocked off his broom. Seokjin, who tries to stop Jungkook and Jimin from bickering but ends up bickering with them too. Seokjin, who knows Hogwarts better than the back of his hand but doesn’t know what YouTube is.

Seokjin, who also feels like he’s not good enough sometimes.

Taehyung really, really likes everything about him. He hasn’t wanted to think about when their obligatory tutoring ends, they’ll both get busier, and maybe only see each other passing through hallways or in the Great Hall. The thought of that physically pains him.

“Hyung,” he says before he can stop himself. Seokjin looks up at him curiously, and he barrels onwards because he’s Kim Taehyung, king of impulsive moves: “Do you want to go out with me next week?”

Seokjin furrows a brow, “Like, to hang out?”

“Hogsmeade, just the two of us. It’ll be fun,” he grins his most charming, boxy smile.

“Sure,” Seokjin agrees easily, and Taehyung can’t help but let out a loud “YES!” and a fist pump. Seokjin doesn’t know it’s a date, but Taehyung is going to change that. He’s going to enlist Jimin and Hoseok to make plans tomorrow, it’s going to be stellar, and Taehyung’s a genius, why didn’t he think of this before. He opens up his arms for a hug, and Seokjin obliges, wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s waist and they hold each other for a fraction longer than necessary.

Later that night, Taehyung lies on his back and stares at the ceiling, vibrating with excitement. He can’t sleep, and he keeps replaying Seokjin’s confused but happy smile as Taehyung cheered up considerably, bouncing out of the kitchens, and the way Seokjin didn’t pull away when he linked their arms.

But there’s just one problem. Taehyung sits up on his bed.

“I don’t have any money,” he whispers, horrified.