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The smoke still swirling in the car is the only remnant of the cigarette butt that Yoongi had Vanished just moments ago. He wouldn’t say he’s a huge fan of Muggle things, but if he had to make a list, cigarettes and fruit soju are definitely going to be at the top of it—there’re just some things you can’t find a substitute for.

There’s also definitely got to be a better way of staking out criminals than sitting in a nondescript car in a dark, deserted side alley. It’s his own car, but still, it isn’t the most efficient. After all, he can wield a power most people can’t. It’s just that times haven’t actually changed much. Sure, time has passed, but magic—and using magic—is still pretty much taboo amongst the non-magical people. Muggles continue to fear what they don’t understand.

Yoongi prefers to face his fears head-on. It’s probably why he ended up being an Auror. His friends had been shocked by his decision, for Yoongi had always been one to sit out of anything that needed too much energy, so it was just natural to assume that Yoongi was bad at anything athletic. Of course, Yoongi aced Auror Training. A true Slytherin never shows their real skills until absolutely required.

Being one of the best has its disadvantages—this is just one of them. Yoongi and his team had been assigned to this case a couple of weeks ago, and while they’ve already pieced together most of the clues, there’s still one step left: apprehending the suspect before the next person gets killed. The suspect isn’t Muggle and they’ve been using dark magic to torture their victims before taking their lives, which is the reason they’re on the case. But the next person on their hit list, however, is.

There’s a slightest bit of movement across the street—nothing audible, just a fleeting shadow. Yoongi disappears under a Disillusionment charm as he steps outside the car. He knows his team members are nearby even if he can’t see them, and he has absolute trust in every one of them, so Yoongi moves forward. A cat yowls in the distance, and it makes Yoongi smile. Actually, it makes him smile every time. That’s Kihyun’s signal for Yoongi sometimes, because he says Yoongi is an angry kitty.

They stalk the suspicious shadow to an apartment on the fifth floor of a lone building sitting at the end of the street. And then nothing. The night dies quietly, and Yoongi’s team disappear as quietly once it’s dawn.

 

“Are we missing something?” Yoongi says, always in his casual attire of ripped jeans and a basic black t-shirt even as he paces in his office. He’s probably the last person you would consider a Pureblood, considering most of them are too proud of their wizardry heritage to do such a thing. But Yoongi does whatever Yoongi wants. At least he does now.

Kihyun shakes his head. “If there was anything, we would have already figured it out.”

Raphael purrs in agreement.

Kihyun smiles smugly. “He agrees.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes but strokes the cat between his ears as he climbs onto Yoongi’s table to take up his position as the severe-looking guardian of the office or something. It’s a thing Yoongi never understood, but ever since he had gotten his own office, Raphael has been doing that. Kihyun just finds it amusing, because there’re only three people Raphael wouldn’t hiss at when he’s doing the whole guardian thing—one being Yoongi himself, obviously, the second being Kihyun, and the last being Namjoon, one of Yoongi’s friends from school.

“Are you heading home?”

“Yup! Look at these dark eye circles!”

Yoongi just stares at Kihyun dryly in response. “Tell the rest to go home too. I’ll get them to keep Surveillance assigned for now,” he rubs at his temples for a moment, “He’s definitely onto us.”

Kihyun nods. “I think he’s taking extra precautions now.”

There’s a knock on the door just as Yoongi opens his mouth to speak, so he doesn’t, and just waves the door open.

Instead of a person, a neatly rolled parchment flies in and lands on Yoongi’s table, unravelling itself for him.

Kihyun takes it as his cue to leave, and he does, after secretly slipping some kitty snacks to Raphael. He knows it wouldn’t go unnoticed by Yoongi, but he likes annoying him anyway, and this makes Raphael more fond of him, so there’s really no loss there.

The case may seem a little more time-consuming than usual, but well, Yoongi’s still pretty confident they’re going to get it done by the deadline he gave himself. He rarely fails at that, and everyone knows that. Yoongi’s never known as one who stops. If he’s set his mind on something, there’s pretty much nothing that will get him to stop for a rest. After all, there’s no rest for the wicked either.

But Yoongi doesn’t say no to drinks at his favourite Muggle pub. So that’s where he heads to.

There’re many ways of leaving the Ministry, and even more ways of leaving the magical world to return to the non-magical one. Yoongi decides to take a walk through the streets of magical Gangnam since it’s still early. He’ll just exit from here later. It’s still a while till his meeting time, and honestly, there’s really no need to be in any kind of rush—Apparation is most definitely a lot faster than your usual Uber.

Friday evenings are filled with witches and wizards eager to get home to their families. Most of them live in the non-magical dimension now, choosing to blend in and be part of the society. Yoongi’s just glad he lives in magical Apgujeong. It’s a lot more fun than non-magical Apgujeong, and that says a lot. Besides, he can’t live without magic.

A little puppy starts yapping at his ankles and Yoongi jumps because what in Salazar’s name? He double-checks his surroundings to make sure that he is indeed still in the magical dimension. Well, it’s not completely unbelievable that there’s a puppy here, it’s just that it doesn’t occur very often, especially in this obviously upscale area. Puppies are Muggle things—Yoongi would deny that he thinks they’re adorable, even if denial is often futile—and they definitely are very out of place here.

Yoongi looks at the puppy for a moment before looking up, and that’s when a tall guy runs right into him.

“I’m so sorry!”

That voice sounds just a bit too familiar for comfort, and it takes a moment for both of them to regain their bearings before Yoongi sees that guy’s face.

“What the fuck,” Yoongi says.

The guy stares at Yoongi for all of five seconds, his large, expressive eyes widened almost exaggeratedly. Yoongi won’t say he missed looking into them. He does, he just won’t ever admit it to himself. Yoongi wasn’t the one who chose to leave, anyway.

The puppy successfully manages to get its leash wrapped around Yoongi’s leg, and now Yoongi’s more exasperated than surprised—or shocked, possibly. He can’t decide if it’s pleasant enough to be a surprise, as much as they did not part on bad terms. Or so they say.

“I’m sorry,” the guy says again, then casts a spell to get the leash unwound from Yoongi’s leg before picking up the small white dog.

Yoongi’s ready to walk away once his leg was free, but he can’t. “It’s fine, Tae…hyung.” It’s weird calling him by his whole name, but just “Tae” would have been awkward too. They are very obviously not half as close as they had been in the past. And close wouldn’t even cover it if Yoongi wanted to describe their relationship.

“Um,” Taehyung keeps his eyes on Yoongi, “How are you, hyung?”

“Great, you?”

Taehyung nods. “Great too. Heard you’re one of the top Aurors now.”

Yoongi shrugs. “I guess.”

“I, uh, I’ll get going now. It was nice seeing you again, Yoongi hyung.”

“Likewise,” Yoongi mutters before Taehyung disappears with a crack.

If Yoongi really needed a drink before this, now he desperately needed one. He vanishes with a crack too.

Leaving the magical dimension always feels strange—not because the air is any different, but because everything remains the same, yet at the same time, everything isn’t. His parents would be disappointed if they knew Yoongi sometimes enjoyed Muggle places, but then again, Yoongi doesn’t care anymore. He wishes he still did, because then it might have made more sense for some of his choices in the past.

Yoongi doesn’t get drunk easily, so he’s on his third bottle of soju when Namjoon arrives, but he’s nowhere near tipsy and he’s getting pissed off that he isn’t pissed.

“Wow, and I thought I needed a drink,” Namjoon says as he slides into the seat opposite Yoongi.

Yoongi pushes a fresh bottle to him. “I’m sure you still do.”

Namjoon nods.

“Still on that case?”

Yoongi gestures vaguely at the empty bottles. “I am, but these are not about that.”

Namjoon raises his brows.

“Guess who I ran into just now?”

“Your ex?”

“More specifically, which one?”

“Jeongguk?”

Yoongi shakes his head. “It’s Taehyung.”

Namjoon freezes up for a moment before nodding. “I guess more drinks are in order, huh?”

“Yup.” Yoongi pops the p in it, then sighs loudly and leans back into his seat. The thing about Taehyung, is that he isn’t just any ex-boyfriend. Yoongi had been in a relationship with him for six years, but when they came out about it, that was how it ended.

Yoongi is Pureblood—Taehyung is Muggle-born. As much as Yoongi hopes the distinction didn’t cause extreme discrimination anymore, it isn’t that easy. His parents had started introducing him Pureblood wizards in the hope of tearing him away from Taehyung. It all seemed like a kind of joke, to be honest. Yoongi expected to be disowned for being gay first. But instead, his parents accepted that in the hopes that he would eventually change his mind about Taehyung. The culture is screwed up that way.

Taehyung made the decision to leave Yoongi.

Yoongi hated both himself and Taehyung for it.

When they had gone their separate ways, Taehyung promised they’d always be friends, but the last Yoongi heard from him was four years ago. Yoongi never made the effort to contact him. He didn’t want to. Taehyung had been the best decision he made, then Taehyung wasn’t in his life anymore. There wasn’t really a point after that.

It was Namjoon who had asked Yoongi out for drinks, but it was Yoongi who drank himself into a stupor. He can’t remember how much he had drunk, and he can’t remember how he got home either, but when he woke up, he was in his bed and in the comfort of his cosy duvet. It can only be Namjoon who had done this, because well, Namjoon would be the only one who could get through his elaborate wards.

Raphael jumps onto the bed and lands lightly, padding around the covers in an attempt to get Yoongi to notice him. He’s definitely a sight—with his smooth, jet black coat that gleams in the natural sunlight filtering through the blinds, and green eyes that shine like emeralds. Yoongi just doesn’t have the energy to care, which annoys the cat enough to sit on Yoongi’s face.

Yoongi yells and shoves the cat away, and the two engage in a glaring match for a while before Yoongi gives up. “What do you want, Cinders?”

Raphael hisses and stalks away, hating whenever Yoongi calls him by other nicknames that he refuses to acknowledge.

Yoongi’s about to go right back to sleep after having summoned himself a vial of hangover potion, but his wards crackle and he doesn’t have time to enjoy the soothing effect of the potion gradually spreading through him. Yoongi’s up and at his door in less than a second, even though he still looks like he just had a long night.

“Yoongi?”

“Oh, Salazar, Joon, you could’ve told me you’re coming,” he mutters as he waves his hand to let Namjoon through his wards.

The door swings open and Namjoon looks a little sheepish. “Didn’t know if you were already awake.”

“How did you even get through my wards last night?”

Namjoon shrugs, grinning as he steps into Yoongi’s apartment. “I have my ways.”

Yoongi squints, eyeing him suspiciously. “Anyway, give me a moment,” he says, walking to the bathroom to freshen up so he doesn’t look like a mess.

Namjoon has managed to make himself comfortable in Yoongi’s couch in the meantime and Raphael curls up on his lap.

“So, what’s up?” Yoongi says while two mugs of streaming hot coffee emerge from the kitchen and make their way through the air to the coffee table.

Namjoon pulls his out of its course and takes a quick sip—regretting it immediately because it burns—then sets it down on the table. “Uh, just wanted to make sure you’re still alive.”

“A fireplace call would’ve sufficed, Joon.”

“Maybe,” Namjoon shrugs.

“I’m not going to talk about last night or anyone.”

“Good, I wasn’t intending to talk about those either.”

“Okay, so what is the Assistant Head of Department of International Magic Cooperation doing in my apartment?” Yoongi squints.

“Saying hi.”

Honestly, Yoongi has some of the weirdest friends. Too bad he loves them.

 

The only thing weirder than Yoongi’s friends, is probably fate. Or destiny, whatever one might want to call it. It’s been years that Yoongi has been going on with his life, moving on from the loss of Taehyung from it, and it has been working out so well for so long. Until now.

Yoongi doesn’t let any hint of his emotions show on his face, but he isn’t sure how successful he is at doing it right now. It comes to him naturally when he’s on the job, he can’t say the same about now.

“Hyung,” Taehyung nods a little.

“Taehyung,” Yoongi acknowledges. He doesn’t like the way Taehyung’s name rolls off his tongue, but maybe he’s just not used to it. Of course—how could he be used to it anymore?

“I’m sorry, I think she likes you,” the sheepish tone in Taehyung’s voice makes him sound so adorable, and Yoongi can’t help remembering everything.

“You finally got a puppy, huh?”

Taehyung shakes his head with a small smile. “I’m just taking care of her for a friend.”

Yoongi reminds himself that whatever is going on in Taehyung’s life isn’t his problem anymore, and whomever he has in his life now is also not for him to be concerned about. It’s really just easier said than done, because now that Taehyung is standing in front of him—so, so real—Yoongi wishes he doesn’t have to lose him all over again.

“Um, do you want to walk with us if you don’t have anything on?”

Yes. “No.”

Taehyung just nods because Yoongi’s answer is expected. Besides, he knows Taehyung only asked out of politeness.

“Hey, Tae?”

Taehyung raises his brows.

Shit. “Did you move here?”

“Apgujeong?” Taehyung says incredulously, then laughs. “No, my friend’s apartment is here.”

“Oh,” Yoongi mutters, for the lack of a better response.

Taehyung gives him a small nod before walking away, pulling the reluctant puppy with him.

Yoongi doesn’t know why but he waves at the puppy. She seems pleased with his reaction, and stops straining on her leash to walk alongside Taehyung with a little bounce.

If there is just one word to describe Yoongi at that moment, it would be: screwed. He is utterly screwed, for Kim Taehyung has returned to his life like a tsunami crashing down on the beach and consuming everything within its reach. Yoongi is drowning.

 

“Wow!” Kihyun exclaims almost dramatically the moment he enters the meeting room on Monday.

Yoongi glowers at him, while Raphael slowly sinks out of sight. That cat is smart, alright.

Kihyun knows better than to say a word after that, even though Yoongi can see that he’s itching to. A real brat.

Yoongi looks like an absolute mess, yes. He’s been up all night because of well, because of one Kim Taehyung, and he really just doesn’t understand why he is this affected. Breaking up with Jeongguk wasn’t even half as bad, and he did love the boy so much that their friends thought they were going to be the definition of forever. Unfortunately, two years is far from forever.

Anyway, since Yoongi had been up, he had been analysing the case all over again, trying to look for missing pieces of the puzzle. After all, they should already have the suspect behind bars because they’re the most elite team there is—and if they’ve already figured out everything, there is just no reason the case isn’t closed yet. He spent half the night on the rooftop staring at the stars twinkling in the pitch black sky, until thoughts of Taehyung overtook him and he ended up dozing for an hour or so.

Dawn broke before he could even get sufficient rest and Yoongi had awakened to the first few rays of sunlight peeking from the clouds, and a warm mass on his chest. Raphael had remained asleep as Yoongi Apparated both of them back into his apartment.

One good thing came out from all of that, at least—Yoongi had discovered another angle to the case, so they go over it in his office once the rest of the team—Jooheon and Zhou Mi—arrives. It turns out to be a day of heavy discussions, but they eventually agree on a plan, and Yoongi doesn’t have time to think about Taehyung until night falls. Their new plan will be put into action the next day, after a whole weekend of nothing happening. Yoongi had expected to be called back on short notice but none came. If there had been any, maybe Yoongi wouldn’t have run into Taehyung yet again.

They’ve still got Surveillance on duty through the night just in case things don’t exactly go according to plan—which, honestly isn’t that often, for years of experience and study of past cases have prepared them for a lot, even though occasionally there’s the one crazy person who does completely unpredictable things. Hopefully this one isn’t as crazy. Yoongi can handle moderately crazy, but not batshit crazy.

It’s sitting in his car again that Yoongi doesn’t want to handle, except that’s where he ends up again. Cars are good. Great, even, but at the end of the day, they just aren’t meant for this. They’re just for transport in the Muggle realm. Kihyun is in his Animagus form—yes, it’s part of their new plan, but at least he’s an easily camouflaged and unassuming squirrel that no one would be shocked at. Yoongi’s sure glad Kihyun didn’t exactly turn into a hamster like he had wished when he finally took his potion.

The suspect’s target is the last in a group of friends, of which the first two have already been murdered. Everything they had uncovered previously pointed to only this conclusion, and there was nothing to prove that it would be otherwise. The killer is seeking revenge, and if he had been quicker, all three of them would have already been dead. He didn’t, so now it’s up to Yoongi’s team to save the last guy.

There are few people in the streets after eleven at night and the sky is as dark as the jet black of Raphael’s fur. But, tonight, none of them are in the same positions they had taken up before. Yoongi leaves his car as soon as Kihyun is in place, and the rest of the team get into standby mode. The success of their operation depends almost entirely on Kihyun, but the three of them have complete faith in him.

A scratching sound that is amplified in Yoongi’s head almost makes him curse out loud. He doesn’t, but he’s going to have to remind Kihyun that he needs to do it less exaggeratedly because it’s just really annoying. Yoongi’s just about to Apparate once he counts down ten seconds, but a familiar shrill yipping catches his attention.

It’s probably a sick joke. Or Yoongi’s just dreaming everything up in his head.

But the hooded guy walking the shrill yipping creature looks up, and Yoongi almost bolts. He stands frozen for a few moments, then leaves his Patronus in his place while he Disapparates. Yoongi has no time for this right now. Actually, he doesn’t have time for this at all. The case may be pressing, but all Yoongi wants is to go on with his life which, in all honesty, has been rather smooth-sailing the past few years. His past shouldn’t be coming back to haunt him.

Yoongi still manages to reach Kihyun before it’s too late, but Kihyun already has the suspect apprehended, and behind him, Jooheon and Zhou Mi are holding up the distraught victim and consoling him. They’ll all need to be taken to the Ministry. Kihyun raises a brow when Yoongi appears, and Yoongi avoids his gaze like he’s also guilty of something. It may escape the rest but it’s too obvious to Kihyun. And Yoongi knows that look in his eyes isn’t blame—reaching ten seconds later than expected isn’t that big an issue here because everyone’s safe—but it’s knowing.

Kihyun wouldn’t press now, but Yoongi doesn’t think he’ll ever be ready for any kind of pressing.

 

Taehyung appears outside the Ministry the next day, right next to Yoongi’s most-frequented exit. Someone has to have told him, but Yoongi can’t tell whom it could have been. Kihyun isn’t friends with Taehyung, so nope. Probably Namjoon. Or that devil of a cat, Raphael. He’s nosy like that and he always had a soft spot for Taehyung.

“Your Patronus is a JRT puppy,” Taehyung states, literally, in the most matter-of-fact tone Yoongi has ever heard coming from him.

“Why were you there?” Yoongi says, barely stopping a sigh from punctuating his question.

“It’s public property.” Taehyung shrugs.

That brat has learned well from him. Yoongi waves his hand in a vague gesture and starts to walk away. He’s been at the Ministry since the night before, clearing up all the loose ends and finishing his report, so his mind isn’t all that sharp to be dealing with an ex right now.

“Tae,” Yoongi says, “…hyung,” he adds as an afterthought, “If you want to talk, could we at least do it another day?”

“Promise?” The younger man’s eyes light up at Yoongi’s words, and Yoongi tries not to think about what that means.

“Yes, yes.”

Taehyung doesn’t seem convinced.

“Send me an owl or something.”

“I will.”

 

He shouldn’t have sent his Patronus that day. Yoongi had panicked, and in that split second, it was the easiest choice. He couldn’t just Disapparate, because Taehyung had already seen him, and while he wouldn’t have owed him any explanation—he was, after all, on a case, for Merlin’s sakes—Yoongi just didn’t want to come across as being afraid and running away. Not even for one moment. And he couldn’t just stay there to speak, so leaving a message behind seemed most appropriate.

It shouldn’t have backfired on himself. Now Yoongi supposes he could have just made his life easier if he just disappeared without a word that night.

See, Taehyung is tall, much taller than Yoongi, but Yoongi’s always said he’s like an overactive Jack Russell terrier. And because the Patronus charm isn’t a requirement for both school and the Auror programme, none of them had known what their Patronus would be. Yoongi had picked it up the year after Taehyung left—and before he got into a relationship with Jeongguk—mostly for the case he was working on, and to his absolute horror, it is a perfect reminder of the boy he loved so dear.

It’s annoying, and Yoongi used to have mixed feelings about it. He is Min Yoongi, for the love of Salazar’s pants, but there he was, with an adorable, harmless puppy as his Patronus. It isn’t that it’s embarrassing—he isn’t the one with a trout for a Patronus—but it doesn’t seem to fit him. He had expected a cat, like Raphael, since Kihyun isn’t the only one who thinks he resembles a cat, but perhaps Taehyung made too much of an impact in his life.

Yoongi’s fireplace crackles, and he hears Namjoon’s voice coming from it. He Apparates onto his couch from where he was lounging on his bed because, well, that’s what magic is for. Waving a hand to reveal Namjoon’s face, Yoongi nods curtly to him.

“What’s up?”

“Congrats, I heard you guys finally closed the case.”

“Thanks, Joon,” Yoongi drawls.

“What’s with the sourpuss face?”

Yoongi narrows his eyes. “Bye, Joon.”

“Okay, okay, not sourpuss face. I’m heading to the States next week with my boss for a conference and it’s going to be for around ten days so—”

“Let’s go.”

“Well, not now—”

“Obviously—”

Namjoon laughs almost sheepishly, and Yoongi grins.

“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow or something.”

Namjoon nods and his face slowly fades away into a regular pile of smouldering cinders.

Yoongi’s ready to slip right back into lazy mode when there’s a knock on the window. He looks up to see an owl—mail. The window opens with a swirl of magic, and the handsome horned owl flies in to perch on the wooden stand next to Yoongi’s couch.

The parchment is dyed a telltale lavender, and Yoongi almost smiles at the thought while untying it from the owl’s leg. After so long, Taehyung still insists on purple paper—for the ones he cares about. Yoongi didn’t think—yes he did—that he would be in that category even now, but he supposes it’s true, then. Taehyung left him without any hard feelings, but Yoongi was the one having the hard feelings about Taehyung leaving him, even if it wasn’t the fault of either of them.

Maybe his parents were to blame, maybe it was just society. Or both. They no longer mattered.

The parchment unrolls to read:

Dear Yoongi hyung,
Let’s catch up over dinner this Friday?
Sincerely,
Tae

Yoongi glances at the owl, which is engaged in a staring battle with Raphael while waiting, then summons a quill and piece of parchment from his study, and scribbles a quick reply to Taehyung.

Taehyung,
Friday’s fine. Pick a place. I’ll see you.

He gently ties his rolled-up parchment to the owl’s leg again, and tells it to return to Taehyung. The owl immediately does as it is told, spreading its beautiful wings to take off out Yoongi’s window and into the dark.

 

Kihyun has been pacing around in Yoongi’s office for at least ten minutes now, pretending to be reading some documents in a folder. In the beginning, Yoongi couldn’t care less, because Yoongi’s office is one of the few places that can offer complete silence and solitude for someone who needs it to focus. But, the pacing is starting to grow annoying, so Yoongi puts his quill down calmly and straightens up in his chair, then fixes his gaze on Kihyun before clearing his throat loudly.

Kihyun ignores him.

“Yah, Yoo Kihyun.”

“Shh!”

“You’re the one making a lot of noise shuffling back and forth!”

Kihyun closes the folder and walks to Yoongi’s desk with a purposeful expression before sitting in the chair across him.

“Yes?”

“We don’t have a pressing case now, so that’s not why you’re troubled,” Kihyun says, “Who did you meet that night?”

“What?”

“Is it the guy you were talking to outside the Ministry?”

“Who?”

“It’s Taehyung, isn’t it? I haven’t seen him that much before but he’s tall, has a face sculpted by the gods, and voice deep enough to—”

“Do you really want me to throw you out of here?”

Kihyun grins smugly. “So, it is him, then.”

“So what if it is?”

Kihyun just looks at Yoongi with a knowing smile.

“You’re just really getting on my nerves now,” Yoongi deadpans, while Raphael jumps onto the table and fixes his eyes on Kihyun too.

“I’ve known you for around six years now, Yoongi, and I remember when you broke up with him.”

“He left me.”

“Did he want to?”

“He chose to.”

“Are you even hearing yourself right now?”

Yoongi purses his lips and says nothing. Everything is always just an excuse for everything else. Taehyung had left him for his sake.

“Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, the perfect opportunity might just present itself to you twice. You’ve let Jeongguk go—it’s a mutual decision and for him, I know—and you’ve lost Taehyung once, so try being a little less stubborn for once.”

 

Yoongi’s honestly not that stubborn. At least, not as much as his friends like to say he is. He just doesn’t think it is worth pursuing something that has already been left in the past. That’s why he’s resisting—that’s what he’s telling himself anyway. He has already moved on, otherwise he wouldn’t have had such a serious relationship after that, yet somehow seeing Taehyung again just brings all those feelings back from where they’ve been buried, deep inside his heart.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, Slytherins have hearts too. Just because they seem to be particularly ambitious and perhaps even cunning doesn’t mean they’re incapable of having emotions and having heart. Yoongi may, on the surface, look like the most Slytherin type of Slytherin you can come across—if you’re into stereotypes and stuff—complete with silver hair and the most steely expression ever, but the ones closest to him see past that exterior easily.

Namjoon and Taehyung didn’t even spend much time breaking down his walls when they had met in school. And once they had, they earned a spot in his little heart, and perhaps Taehyung’s special spot will always be kept for him regardless of what happens in the future.

“You told him, didn’t you?”

“Told who what?” Namjoon says, sounding all innocent.

Yoongi points at him with a skewer.

Namjoon doesn’t even flinch. In fact, he completely ignores the presence of Yoongi’s skewer so close to his face, and continues eating his odeng.

Yoongi glowers and decides to glare at Namjoon until he eventually gives up on the fishcake and puts down his skewer calmly.

“Look, it was the least I can do as a friend.”

“I didn’t know you were still so close with him.”

“Well, sort of, on and off, ish.”

Yoongi narrows his eyes.

“I keep in touch with him, okay! Stop looking at me like that!”

“I never knew you did.”

“Did you expect me to update you about him every day when you were trying that hard to move on?”

Yoongi keeps his gaze fixed on Namjoon for a while more, then relaxes his stance and slouches back. “Point.”

“Have you thought about trying again with him? Your parents are kind of out of the picture now anyway.”

Yoongi shakes his head, shrugging at the same time. His parents may have moved far, far away from him. While being proud of him for accomplishing so much in his career, they’ve given up on trying to dictate his life, because the more they tried, the further Yoongi escaped. So, since they’ve more than enough to fund a comfortable retirement, they’ve moved to New Zealand for the fresh air and greenery. It’s not that they can’t find that in the countryside, but none of them would have been happy to be so close to each other, anyway. Yoongi both hates and loves it.

On one hand, he wishes things could have been different. Some of the Pureblood families have already overcome their prejudice, and there have been increasing numbers of marriages between Pureblood wizards and witches with half-blood or Muggle-born ones. It is unfortunate that Yoongi’s family isn’t one of those. He does hope they’ll change their mind some time, whenever that might be.

“It’s your happiness, not theirs.”

“I’m their only son.”

“You’re not the only Min heir left in this world,” Namjoon says, “Besides, didn’t they want to introduce you to Pureblood wizards that one time? That means they don’t even mind if their blood line ends with you.”

“Pretty sure they still expect me to have a child somehow—they just did it to get me away from Tae.”

Namjoon sighs and calls for another two bottles of soju. “You know, they still succeeded.”

 

Yoongi very seriously ruminates on Namjoon’s words, and also Kihyun’s. It’s not that he specifically wants to, it’s just that sometimes when you’re left alone with your mind at night, these are the kinds of thoughts that flood it. Yoongi thinks work is the only thing that can keep them away, but it doesn’t help either because Kihyun keeps giving him these subtle looks. Eventually Yoongi just escapes from his office to sit somewhere else where Kihyun can’t find him as easily.

Friday can’t come soon enough, and when it finally does, Yoongi’s anxiety shows on his face all day. He still gets his work done because it’s always easier when there’re just reports, and nothing that requires him to be out running after criminals. Kihyun doesn’t even bother him except to discuss about work-related matters. Yoongi is just so thankful.

He is so ready to leave on time today, but when the clock actually strikes six, Yoongi starts stalling. He stalls to an extent that a mail flies into his office half past six.

“Get your ass out of the office and go meet him you idiot” is all the letter says.

Yoongi grimaces and scrunches it into a ball before tossing it away. Trust Namjoon to understand him way too well. He picks up a scrap piece of parchment and scribbles a reply back to Namjoon and sends it on its way, wishing him safe travels despite everything and hoping his work trip goes well. That’s really the summary of their relationship—even though Namjoon was keeping a vital secret from him, Yoongi knows that at the end of the day, Namjoon’s still one of the few people who’ll love him no matter what.

Anyway, Yoongi gets his ass out of his office, and makes his way to the closest exit.

Taehyung wanted to meet in a Muggle place and Yoongi is, of course, perfectly fine with that. It’s easier to just blend in too.

Yoongi finds Taehyung standing outside the nondescript doors of a small restaurant that he said had amazing Japanese food and a cosy interior perfect for catching up. The latter isn’t really what Yoongi is looking forward to, because he’s afraid that it’s going to get too awkward. But really, there probably isn’t any way things can get even more awkward than they already are.

Taehyung waves to Yoongi and he nods politely. To anyone else, it would probably look like they’re strangers, or at most, acquaintances, possibly even two shy people on their first date. The truth is so far from that. They get a little booth in the back corner of the place because Taehyung made a reservation, Yoongi desperately hopes things won’t get too uncomfortable once the whole world is shut out and there’s only them left in this little bubble.

“It’s weird, isn’t it?” Taehyung smiles.

Yoongi raises a brow.

“Seems like we just keep running into each other no matter where we are these days.”

That. “Yeah, it’s been four or five years, hasn’t it?”

Taehyung nods.

“I heard you’ve been in contact with Namjoon.”

Taehyung doesn’t even skip a beat before nodding again. “That’s also weird, isn’t it?”

“Kind of,” Yoongi shrugs. “It’s got to be as weird for him to be stuck between the two of us.”

“Maybe,” Taehyung says vaguely, leaning back into his seat as their ramen is served, then tells Yoongi to dig in as he does too.

“Well, so what have you been up to besides taking care of your friend’s dog?”

“Same old, same old,” Taehyung grins.

Yoongi stares a little too obviously. He really just can’t help it when Taehyung’s smile is so striking, so blinding, and completely captivates him. It used to be the one view he could never get enough of, and even now, Yoongi thinks he still can’t.

Taehyung clears his throat.

Yoongi blinks, muttering something that’s almost inaudible. He really shouldn’t have agreed to dinner with Taehyung, and there really wasn’t a need to pretend he wasn’t just staring because it had been far too obvious. Having Taehyung right in front of him is clouding his judgment and Yoongi’s genuinely beginning to regret his choice. How did he ever let Namjoon and Kihyun’s words get to him?

But it’s just dinner, isn’t it?

They try to keep up with a casual conversation, but as always, it just comes more easily to Taehyung than it does to Yoongi. Taehyung has always been the one who makes friends so effortlessly, and it’s just so comfortable to chat with him because Taehyung’s sweet, kind, and has a natural charm that draws people in like bees to honey. It isn’t the reason Yoongi was drawn to him.

It is Taehyung’s smarts and sharp wits that caught Yoongi’s attention in the first place. Namjoon had told Yoongi about this younger boy who constantly challenged fixed ideals that are clearly outdated and shouldn’t hold a place in today’s society, a boy who always seemed like he was up to something but his grades always placed him in the top ranks of his level, a boy who was lanky and tall and whose face at fifteen years of age was a sight to behold, despite the slightly chubby cheeks.

Yoongi had been in the library, doing his homework alone in a quiet corner. Taehyung sat next to him at his table. Yoongi was so ready to snap because there were other seats at the table so Taehyung could have sat anywhere else, but when he glanced at Taehyung, the words just died on the tip of his tongue. Then Taehyung looked at him, and the rest was history once Taehyung struck up a conversation on the topic Yoongi was writing for Muggle Studies.

Suddenly, Yoongi feels like they’ve gone back in time.

“It’s like we’re back in school again,” Yoongi says once they’ve left the restaurant. But being back out in the open doesn’t seem to change the air between them, because Yoongi still feels like he’s suffocating. At least it’s easier to put a little distance between them, even if neither of them particularly seem to be doing so. This actually scares Yoongi a little.

“Except I can’t conjure sparkles around you right now.”

“Oh, don’t you dare, Kim Taehyung,” Yoongi says, with a hint of a smile creeping onto his face. It was a thing Taehyung liked to do when they were still in school and had just started dating. Yoongi didn’t even know where Taehyung learned it from, but he made it sparkle the first time they kissed, and he just kept doing it after that. When Yoongi was eating, when he was studying, when he was taking a walk in the grounds, even when he was brushing his teeth—Taehyung was a brat. A brat he loved—loves—very much.

“I don’t want to have to Obliviate everyone around us and then be called into the Ministry for questioning, so, I don’t dare, hyung,” Taehyung laughs, “Unless you want to do the questioning yourself.”

“Well, I would if I had to.”

“Auror Min, please don’t be too hard on me.”

Yoongi snorts. “Keep those puppy eyes away, they won’t work on me when I’m in Auror mode.”

“But since you’re in regular guy Min Yoongi mode right now, will they?”

Yoongi glances at Taehyung, who has fixed his huge eyes on him, and they’re actually gleaming in the light from the street lamps. He tears his gaze away as quickly as he can.

“They do, then.” Taehyung declares smugly.

Yoongi pushes at his arm.

Taehyung laughs.

 

On a scale of one to ten on how screwed is Min Yoongi, a rough gauge would put him at around two thousand on that scale. He just can’t stop thinking about Taehyung. He can’t stop thinking about how things could be so, so different from before if they just got together again. But he also can’t stop thinking about how Taehyung had left him once.

If Namjoon were there, he’d probably shake his head and remind him about how Taehyung’s choice isn’t a valid point. Yoongi knows that.

Which is exactly why Yoongi says yes when Taehyung asks if he’d like to meet again. He’s going to drop by Gangnam to pick up his friend’s puppy, then they’re heading to one of the Hangang Parks for a walk. Sundays are meant to be lazy days like this, anyway, so Yoongi agrees. He doesn’t have a puppy to walk, but he supposes there’s no harm in well, just walking, even though his top choice on any given day would be to just lay in bed and never move.

But since Taehyung used to be his top choice in the past, Yoongi ignores the stubborn voice in his mind telling him he’s not in the past anymore.

An owl lands on his windowsill right as Yoongi’s about to leave, so he hastily takes the parchment from it. It’s a message from Kihyun, and Yoongi doesn’t know if he wants to laugh or cry at it. Most likely neither, though. Yoongi just sends the owl back to him without any response, because he really doesn’t have any for “I wanna hear good news on Monday!”

Taehyung’s sitting on a bench when Yoongi gets there.

The little white puppy, wearing a sky blue sweater today, barks at Yoongi in its shrill voice again, and Yoongi finds it amusing.

“I don’t think I’ve introduced you guys yet; this is Clouds.”

Yoongi pats the puppy’s head. “Hello.”

The puppy wags its tail enthusiastically and tries to get closer to Yoongi. Taehyung smiles. “She really likes you.”

“She’s cute,” Yoongi shrugs.

Taehyung places her on the ground and gets up from the bench. “Let’s walk, hyung.”

“Why does it sound like I’m the dog now?”

Taehyung laughs. “Come on, good boy!”

“Yah, yah.”

Yoongi’s grumbling only amuses Taehyung even more.

It’s deep into November now, and the temperature is constantly dropping. It’s the time of the year that both of them love—and also the time of the year when they first fell in love all those years back.

Yoongi remembers the exact moment. They had been dating for a while by then, and Yoongi really liked Taehyung. Quite frankly, he couldn’t picture his life without a Kim Taehyung in it to brighten things up. He’s a source of light and he’s literal sunshine with the widest smile Yoongi had ever seen. They were sitting outside the owlery on the rooftop after having escaped from their dormitories after curfew, and the moonlight casted a soft glow on them.

Yoongi remembers staring at Taehyung when the first snowflake landed on his nose, then they both looked up into the sky for a brief moment to see a light snow beginning to fall. He glanced at Taehyung again, and he looked stunningly beautiful in the moonlight, framed by the small snowflakes, as if he was an angel who had just come down to earth along with that snow.

It was a sudden realisation. Yoongi was in love with the boy—the beautiful boy whom Yoongi had never expected to be in his life, the boy who had crashed into Yoongi’s life and added a whole palette of colours and positive emotions to it.

“You’re making me nervous with the staring, hyung.”

Yoongi opens his mouth to respond, but something cold falls onto his nose. He blinks, and Taehyung already has his palm held out.

“First snow of winter and I’m seeing it with you,” Taehyung grins, glancing at Yoongi.

“Feels like I’m falling in love with you all over again.”

“I never stopped.”

Yoongi stops in his tracks, then reaches out to grab Taehyung’s hand.

Taehyung looks back at him with a soft smile.

Yoongi smiles back. Maybe it’s okay, maybe they can do this all over again.

 

It’s weird how destiny works. Yoongi supposes this is in some prophecy somewhere, but he isn’t sure if he wants to know his future. He and Taehyung have really started to get to know each other again, and Yoongi learns that Taehyung is part of a social rights activist group fighting for equality for all Muggle-born. It is poignant, in a way.

Much to Namjoon and Kihyun’s disappointment, they are still not dating again, but Yoongi thinks it’s already a big step that they’re actively communicating with each other. Whatever their future holds for them is for fate to decide. Yoongi isn’t that strong a believer of fate, honestly, although sometimes he can’t help but wonder if it really exists, if only for the second chances.

Yoongi hurries to an urgent meeting Hoseok calls. Hurrying is, however, relative, because everyone else is already in the room when he gets there.

“About time, Yoongi.” Hoseok deadpans.

A document appears in front of everyone next, and Yoongi snatches his out of the air. “What’s this?”

“Your Christmas present.”

Yoongi doesn’t scowl at Hoseok. He just looks at him with a blank expression.

Hoseok smiles winningly.

Two deaths in the last twenty-four hours—both wizards are Muggle-born but are well-respected people in the society, with one of them being a known Chemist, and the other a professor of Muggle Studies.

Christmas isn’t until next week, but Yoongi does have a date with Taehyung, so yes, he does intend to solve this as soon as possible so his festive season doesn’t get ruined. Yoongi isn’t the type who loves celebrating Christmas or the New Year, but there is something different when he gets to celebrate it with someone special, and that’s perhaps the best part of any season.

Hoseok leaves Yoongi’s team to ruminate on the case after briefing them, and pats Yoongi’s shoulder on the way out. “Good luck, hyung, the Ministry’s keeping a strict watch on this so don’t let it have a chance to blow up.”

“We’ve got this,” Yoongi nods.

Blood status has always been an issue in the wizarding community, and any threats to the existing peace—Yoongi would snort at that, but even he can’t deny that it is considerably peaceful right now—would place not just the governing parties in danger, but also lives. Dark wizards have existed in different times and places, and wizarding Seoul is no stranger to that as well.

Years ago, they were hit by one of the greatest wars in history, which had begun when the Pureblood government had a series of scandals, and the opposition, comprised of mostly half-bloods and Muggle-borns, took them down. It had been a victory, but the Pureblood Elitists group launched attacks, striking fear all over with their dark magic.

While they were eventually curbed by the best Aurors history has ever seen, it is a part of history that still evokes fear and is not often spoke about, except in school. The Ministry never wants a repeat of it. Neither does anyone else.

So if someone—or a some group—is targeting Muggle-borns again, well, they have got to act fast.

 

The thing is, it wasn’t that hard to figure out who exactly is behind the attacks. They have always known then the Pureblood Elitists group survived in some form, even if so many of its members had been captured and placed in the strongest prison in this side of the world, tucked away in the horizon on the Pacific Ocean, and guarded by an elite team of Aurors.

The problem is, they have no idea what is going to happen next. The first two deaths seemed to be a warning of some kind, but both victims were completely unrelated, and there wasn’t even any evidence to show that they know each other or that they’re part of any kind of organisation together.

Yoongi asks Taehyung if he knows them, but even Taehyung doesn’t know them personally besides having heard of them since they’re both rather famous for their achievements, when usually Muggle-borns aren’t given as much recognition. So Yoongi tells Taehyung to be extra careful, and Taehyung just laughs and reminds him he got the best marks for Defense Against the Dark Arts amongst the students from his year.

“You know theory doesn’t translate into practical.”

“No, but I also do have powerful friends, like you and Joon hyung,” Taehyung smiles.

“We aren’t around you 24/7,” Yoongi narrows his eyes. “Just, stay safe.”

Taehyung hugs a very stiff Yoongi and pats his back after. “I promise, hyung.”

It’s not Yoongi to have his worries written all over his face, but even so, he’s sure Taehyung can tell. It may have been a long time since they were this familiar with each other, yet they still remember every little thing about each other. Every nuance of theirs that would have gone unspotted by anyone else can still be easily noticed by each other. Yoongi assumes it’s only natural to be like this, for two people who were so, so close before.

Taehyung’s hand lingers on Yoongi’s back longer than necessary, but when he eventually moves it away, Yoongi squeezes it before stepping into Taehyung’s Floo and disappearing with a crackle amidst bright green flames.

 

Yoongi jumps awake to a shrill ringing in his ears—it’s his alert system.

A roll of parchment comes through his fireplace via Floo the next moment, and he spares no time casting protective charms around him—standard security procedures when they’re not in the Ministry or his very secure office—before the parchment unrolls itself and Hoseok’s voice can be heard from it.

“There’s been another Muggle-born death reported, I need all of you to come in immediately.”

And when Yoongi arrives.

Hoseok looks very, very stern. “Please solve this in 48 hours.”

The room remains silent.

“We have no time to lose, the Minister will be after our asses if we don’t get this done,” Hoseok says. “Yoongi, take all of the people you need, we’ll reassign them for you because this is our top priority now.”

“Get me Jeongguk and his team.”

Hoseok nods.

Yoongi turns to Kihyun. Jooheon and Zhou Mi exchange looks at each other.

Jeongguk leads one of the younger teams, and they can rival Yoongi’s teammates any time. In fact, they’re the most promising newcomers, always ready to give Yoongi’s team of aces a run for their money. But they’ve also been posted out of Seoul for intensive training a while back, so it has been some time since Yoongi had last seen Jeongguk.

Kihyun is definitely pleased to have Jeongguk back, they were after all, part of the same team last time for a very brief period, and they worked really well together for that time. But Yoongi can see from his face that Kihyun is skeptical about his decision.

“It’s going to be fine,” Yoongi mutters.

“You say that about everything.”

“But everything is usually fine, isn’t it?”

“You know he has a point,” Zhou Mi says, grinning.

“Thanks, hyung, I knew I could count on you.”

Kihyun merely shrugs.

By the time Jeongguk and his team get back, Yoongi and the rest are already deep into discussion.

“Hey hyung.”

The four of them look up simultaneously, and Yoongi smiles back at Jeongguk.

“It’s good to have you back,” Yoongi says.

“It’s good to be back,” Jeongguk agrees, and nods politely to Yoongi’s teammates, “Kihyun hyung, Mi hyung, Jooheon hyung. And these are Mingyu, Yugyeom, and Eunwoo. It’s an honour for us to work with you guys on this.”

“The honour is ours,” Kihyun says and hooks his arm around Jeongguk’s shoulders, dragging him closer to the meeting table. He doesn’t shove Jeongguk next to Yoongi like he used to, but stands between them instead.

Jeongguk moves a grinning Kihyun away to stand next to Yoongi. “We already got the briefing from Hoseok hyung, what do you guys have so far?”

Yoongi conjures up a complex concept map, and it slowly forms with overlapping arrows and scribbles from illuminated strands that resemble webs streaming out from the tip of his wand. The map is convoluted, to say the least, so Yoongi goes through their current deductions with everyone present, hoping that something new might occur to him or his team, or that Jeongguk’s team can offer some fresh insights.

They spend the rest of the night in the office, gathered around the table, and barely have a break as they work on it.

By the time they figure everything out and come up with an actual plan, it’s already a day later, and all they’ve been surviving on is the bare minimal amount of sleep, although food is, at least, consumed in abundance because Hoseok has been supplying them with anything they want. And since Hoseok had given them 48 hours, they have about 24 hours left to put the plan in action and close the case before the next victim is taken.

The third victim had been a well-known politician, one of the few Muggle-borns in that circle, which was what made everything suddenly become that more pressing.

Based on the evidence collected, the next target is the lead singer of a wizard rock band. Traces of dark magic were found in the vicinity where the man lives, and the same types had been detected around the locations where the previous two were killed. The thing is, they have also discovered very minimal traces of different types of dark magic scattered around other areas. While they aren’t that strong, the whole team is also taking precautions to cover all possibilities—which includes multiple attacks at the same time, if the target’s location turns out to be just a trap.

Jeongguk’s team is assigned to the potential target because if most of the dark magic is concentrated there, they would need the strength of the whole team for combat, and Yoongi’s team is dispersed to the rest of the areas, along with back-up Hoseok assigned, to maximise the teams’ advantages and lack of time.

Yoongi’s been sitting in his car—again—because he’s the only Auror to have one, and it’s really a convenient tool in times like this. Just a little bit of Transfiguration on the exterior and it’s already a perfect disguise. Most wizards can’t tell similar cars apart, and Muggles don’t know enough to figure that they are different. But, only the exterior changes.

The interior of Yoongi’s car has pretty much stayed the same for the past five years. It’s been with him through secret dates with Taehyung, and then more secret dates with Jeongguk. It’s not that hard to separate them, because both of them hold different memories and both of them are special to him in their own way.

In fact, Yoongi surprised himself when seeing Jeongguk did nothing to his heart besides igniting a warm glow in it. He’s happy to see Jeongguk happy, and that’s really all that matters. Besides, he does get to see Jeongguk occasionally, like now, and in all honesty, it isn’t too bad. There’s none of that awkwardness between them that everyone expected—even himself—so everything’s good. Perhaps the time Jeongguk spent away posted overseas also helped.

Smoke is beginning the fill the car so Yoongi quickly wicks it away with a flick of his finger. It’s common knowledge amongst the people around him that Yoongi has extraordinarily strong magic, but Yoongi himself doesn’t really see the difference most of the time, besides the fact that he can do a lot of wandless magic. This is also the third stick Yoongi has Vanished while waiting, but he isn’t complaining. He doesn’t smoke that much in the wizarding realm because it isn’t really approved of back there—not that Yoongi cares about rules, though. He just prefers avoiding conflict.

Of course, he runs straight into conflict when he’s in Auror mode. Pretty much like, right now.

Kihyun and his partner have reported nothing out of the ordinary at their location, and so have Zhou Mi and Jooheon. It’s starting to get a little strange, and Yoongi straightens his seat, leaning forward to scan his surroundings. He casts a quick Detection Charm for anything out of the ordinary, anything that could be linked to the traces of dark magic previously found here, but there is nothing.

Jeongguk sends a message telling Yoongi that they managed to subdue just one wizard who had appeared and tried to fight Mingyu unprovoked. He was just keeping watch from the end of the street when he was suddenly attacked. It was thankfully easy for him to get the situation back into his control.

It gets stranger now, because Yoongi can’t fathom why anyone would be careless enough to give themselves away, when taking the enemy with an element of surprise is always more of an advantage. There’s something really weird about it but Yoongi just can’t seem to put a finger on it.

The snow globe that sits in the corner of his dashboard suddenly begins to glow, and Yoongi does a double-take. It hasn’t glowed in years— Yoongi had Charmed it to glow whenever Taehyung was near, because the boy had said he loved watching the fake snow and glitter swirling in the globe. Yoongi looks up, and there he is: Kim Taehyung looking absolutely delicious in a long Muggle overcoat and boots.

Yoongi doesn’t know why it hasn’t occurred to him before to ask where Taehyung’s current Muggle home is—especially because he knows Taehyung has more than one apartment. It couldn’t be a coincidence Yoongi has seen him twice on his stake-outs, and the alley he is parked in right now is just a few streets from the one he was at during the previous case. He sends a message back to the headquarters at the Ministry and receives an almost immediate response.

Of course, Taehyung’s parents live in their apartment in Muggle Hapjeong. Taehyung has his own apartment in Magical Hapjeong. There wouldn’t be any other reason he is here, but—

A green flash suddenly appears in the corner of his vision.

Yoongi moves immediately, Disapparating out of his car to block the next curse from the assailant before it can hit its victim—Taehyung.

“Tae, run!” Yoongi manages to say while the hooded attacker runs towards him, aiming curse after curse at Yoongi to try and get him out of the way. Yoongi isn’t going to relent. Besides, it isn’t his job to.

But Taehyung isn’t running. He isn’t even moving. He’s just clutching his suitcase and looking shocked in his adorable glasses.

Yoongi really doesn’t have time for that. He waves his free hand and a burst of magic swoops towards Taehyung, shoving him out of sight behind a tall hedge. Yoongi really hopes Taehyung comes to his senses and runs. So much for acing Defense Against the Dark Arts. As Yoongi had said, practical is completely different from theory.

And Yoongi really ought to have seen this coming. Taehyung leads a social rights activists group for the fair treatment of Muggle-borns, and he’s not such an unknown either, for he runs the best Magical Creatures shop in wizarding Seoul and almost everyone goes there for magical pets and help in caring for their creatures—that’s the same old Taehyung had spoken about, except his business has multiplied in the recent years. He’s really a perfect candidate for the Elitists.

There is a Muggle-born professor who lives in the neighbouring street in Hapjeong, and the traces of dark magic had been found near his apartment block, so that was whom they had assumed might be a potential but less likely target. There aren’t that many famous Muggle-borns, so their deductions had placed them where they were. Yoongi didn’t think they ever screwed up like this before. Yoongi doesn’t think he ever screwed up like this before.

Yoongi can tell the dark wizard means business with his powerful curses, but three more have arrived behind him. He’s too busy fending off the curses to stop for even just a moment to get back-up. Green and red flashes swerve away into nothingness as Yoongi keeps all four dark wizards at bay. He isn’t sure how long more he can hold up because they aren’t your run-of-the-mill criminals. Obviously an Elitist group like theirs would have had training in the dark arts.

He’s almost backed into one of those tall hedges on the perimeter of Taehyung’s parents’ apartment block, which is too damn near, so Yoongi unleashes an energy burst from the palm of his free hand, and all four assailants fly backwards as if they were hit by a car. However, they’ll be up in no time, so Yoongi can’t even spare a moment to think of a better plan. He manages to get a Shield Charm up and the barrier slowly spreads around the building—this will buy him some time.

But Yoongi doesn’t notice that Taehyung slipped past the barrier before it reaches where he is.

The curses start flying to and fro again, and that’s when Yoongi realises Taehyung’s just next to him.

“The fuck, Tae?”

“It’ll be easier with two of us, trust me!”

Yoongi trusts him wholeheartedly, so he grits his teeth and fights on. There’s no time to argue with Taehyung now. Besides, arguing with Taehyung means holding his hand because that’s what they do every time they disagree, and somehow it always helps calm them down, but Yoongi can’t just suddenly hold his hand now. He’s pretty sure both of them need both their hands free in close combat.

The four dark wizards are closing on them, and Yoongi’s back is pressed against Taehyung’s as they fight. Taehyung’s definitely putting his top marks to use, from the looks of it. Yoongi is impressed. For someone who hasn’t gone through vigorous Auror training, Taehyung is holding up his own really well. Yoongi’s still the one blocking most of the attacks, of course.

“Hyung?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

“What?”

“Just in case I don’t make it.”

“Stop talking, Tae.”

It’s scary, because Yoongi doesn’t really fear death that much himself. He does, in a way, because it’s also part of what keeps them all alive. As an Auror, it’s also a thing he has to face all the time. But Yoongi fears losing the ones that matter to him. Taehyung’s one of those. He’s probably the one who matters most, regardless of whether Yoongi accepts the fact or not.

Yoongi keeps his mind focused, but it’s hard when the person next to him is the very person he wants to protect. He tries to keep Taehyung behind him, but the man is too headstrong for that. As it happens, Taehyung’s wand connects with one of the Elitists’, and that is when Yoongi truly begins to fear. Whenever two curses or spells connect, they can’t be deflected as easily, and the strongest always wins in duels like this.

Cursing out loud—not the magical kind of curse—Yoongi’s determination helps him to stun the other three, thank Salazar. Then he turns to Taehyung and a surge of magic from the tip of his wand connects it to the stream of magic pulsing between Taehyung and whom seems to be the strongest of the four, also the first one who had attacked. Yoongi physically shoves Taehyung out of the way, breaking his connection.

It’s only Yoongi and this last wizard now, at least.

Then two shapes materialise on either side of him, and Yoongi has never been happier to see Kihyun and Jeongguk.

 

No time is wasted to get everyone safely back in the Ministry, with the dark wizards in the secure facilities deep underground while awaiting trial, and both Auror teams in the same meeting room as before for the debrief session. Taehyung is probably also being debriefed at the same time in another room. Yoongi hopes they assigned someone nice to do it.

Hoseok appears in their meeting room after a while. Nobody misses the huge smile on his face.

“Good job, guys. We have a team assigned for interrogation now, so hopefully we can find out the rest of their plans and nix them—and their headquarters.” As an afterthought, Hoseok adds, “If they eventually talk. Anyway, go get some rest now, you all deserved it.”

Yoongi raises a brow at Hoseok.

“Thank you for your hard work, teams,” Hoseok says.

Yoongi steps out of the room after him when he leaves. “Where did they bring Taehyung?”

“I think he’s already done with his debriefing. They should have brought him to the Main Lobby.”

“Thanks, Hoseok.”

Hoseok places a hand on Yoongi’s shoulder and squeezes it. “Thanks, hyung.”

Yoongi makes his way to the Main Lobby, but there’s a lot of people around and Yoongi doesn’t even know if Taehyung is still there or has gone home. His gut feeling tells him Taehyung won’t just leave without a word, so Yoongi looks around him, trying to spot a glimpse of the fetching tall man. It takes a while, but Yoongi finally sees him by the enchanted windows.

Taehyung’s hair is a little messy from the fight, but his clothes look immaculate. The thought of it makes Yoongi grin, because Taehyung must have forgotten to fix his hair when he was using magic to revert his outfit to its original look.

Yoongi takes long strides towards Taehyung, with purpose in each step. Taehyung doesn’t see him until he’s there.

“Hey, hyung.”

Yoongi doesn’t say anything in response. He cups Taehyung’s cheeks and draws him into an almost bruising kiss. Taehyung is a little surprised initially, but he reciprocates, leaning down slightly towards Yoongi and holding his waist. Yoongi presses up. If the people around them are looking, then well, they can kiss his ass. Yoongi doesn’t care. The only thing he cares about is right in front of him and nothing else matters. And Yoongi is drowning, drowning in everything Kim Taehyung has to offer.

When they finally break apart, Taehyung is chuckling softly.

If Yoongi doesn’t know better, he would have thought Taehyung looks shy. He grins.

“I uh,” Taehyung stutters a little. “I guess I live.”

“Thank Merlin because I don’t know what I’d do if you don’t.” Yoongi strokes Taehyung’s cheeks with his thumbs, then lets his hands rest on the top of Taehyung’s wide shoulders. “I love you too, Tae, and I’m never going to let anything come between us again and I’ll never let you go again.”

“You’re a sap now,” Taehyung smiles, tapping Yoongi’s nose lightly.

Yoongi grimaces and leans away from him.

“Still the Yoongi hyung I know and love,” Taehyung continues, then throws his arms around Yoongi and embraces him tightly.

 

“You know, I still can’t get over the lame name of your shop.”

“Kim’s Zoo of Magic does not welcome rude customers, sir.”

“Well, thank Salazar I’m the shop owner’s boyfriend.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes. Yoongi laughs. That is definitely a very Yoongi trait.

“It’s cute, though.”

“That’s better.”

Yoongi presses closer to Taehyung and kisses his cheek while spelling the blinds close because sunlight is beginning to stream in. It may be bright outside but it’s still too early to be out of bed when it’s winter. His enchanted ceiling still has stars twinkling in the night anyway.

Taehyung cards his fingers through Yoongi’s soft, blond hair, then traces the edges of his ears, and his jaw. The gesture somehow makes Yoongi the slightest bit nervous, despite everything. Then Taehyung kisses his forehead gently. Sparkles explode all around them.

Yoongi laughs as his heart swells. It’s in these arms that he always belongs, and this time, he will fight for his love.