Jeongguk realizes, somewhat belatedly, that in his heroic quest to get over the butterflies that swarmed in his tummy every time he looked at Yoongi, he’d forgotten to give the older boy his Christmas gift.
Considering the amount of time and effort he’d put into thinking of the gift, making it himself, and then wrapping it perfectly with parchment and a curly-ended ribbon that his mother would be proud of, not giving the gift to Yoongi is simply unacceptable. Normally, Jeongguk needs a solid ten minute long pep talk (usually given by his best friend, one Kim Taehyung, whose pep talks are questionable at best) before he can so much as even think about looking at the older boy, but there are approximately six minutes and thirteen seconds before the carriages leave to take the students to the Hogwarts Express, which will return to London and take Yoongi with it, so Jeongguk doesn’t have time for a pep talk. The fear of having to keep the gift with him as a reminder of his utter failure for the rest of the holidays is enough to spur him to action.
If only Jeongguk was heading for the train, too, if only he was heading back to London, too. If only. But. There’s something about the warmth of the Hogwarts castle with his best friend over the holidays, something about Christmas dinner without the constant conversation concerning blood status; his parents mean well, he thinks, but it never comes out the right way. They tell him to be proud of being pureblooded, but all he knows is that they would hate Yoongi. Muggleborn. And a Hufflepuff to boot.
(Besides, his parents aren’t even home this year; he’d only skimmed the letter that had told him they would be staying in the Maldives for Christmas, that he was welcome to join them if he wished—he didn’t, so.)
The point is that, if Jeongguk was going home, he’d have a whole eight extra hours to antagonize over how to give Yoongi his gift, what to say, how to look. It’s probably for the best that he’s rushed so that he can’t chicken out, can’t spend the whole time trying to perfect the way he would lean against the compartment door as he holds out the gift for Yoongi to take. Casual, of course, because even if Yoongi probably only knows him as a nameless younger Slytherin, there’s still some fleeting hope for the future, when Jeongguk isn’t a third year and Yoongi isn’t about to graduate. It’s a cruel twist of fate that they have to have a four year age gap, which means he’ll have to spend the next four years sending letters and working up the courage to ask Yoongi to meet him in Hogsmeade for a butterbeer while the older wizard makes new friends and new memories and…
He can’t think about it. He has a crush on a seventh year, and he can’t think about it.
Instead, Jeongguk grabs the perfectly wrapped gift from where he’d shoved it under his bed (he doesn’t need the teasing from his dormmates, who have heard him wail one too many times about how devastatingly beautiful Yoongi looks in his school robes, which, as everyone knows, are potentially the ugliest pieces of fabric ever woven together unless seventh year Min Yoongi wears them) and heads for the stairs.
He’s busy calculating where Yoongi might be now—the Entrance Hall, saying goodbye to friends he’s leaving behind? Already out on the grounds, daydreaming about mince pies and Yorkshire pudding? Still in his dorm, hastily shoving the last of his belongings into his trunk and wondering where his favourite scarf had wandered off to? (Jeongguk knows, for a matter of fact, that Hoseok stole it, but he can’t admit it because that means admitting he’s been watching Yoongi for the better part of the past three years, which also means watching Hoseok, his best friend, and he would know Yoongi’s favourite scarf anywhere.) (It has little snitches on them and his grandmother hand-knitted it for him when he’d made it onto the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, so proud even though she surely doesn’t actually understand the sport or magic at all.) (Jeongguk hadn’t even been in Hogwarts when that happened, but he knows all about it because he knows everything about Yoongi.)
He’s busy calculating where Yoongi might be now—probably the Entrance Hall, he decides—when he collides with another student in the dungeons. Despite being a third year with two and a half years of living in the dungeons under his belt, he hasn’t quite gotten used to the darkness.
Jeongguk yelps as his shoulder collides with something solid, and he takes a tumble with the force of it. Thankfully, he remembers the gift in his hands and turns so that he lands on his shoulder and back rather than his front, the gift snuggled safely in his arms.
“Oh, shit!” he hears shouted above him, groaning in pain before he blinks up at the wide-eyed boy staring back at him. “Are you okay?” And—Jeongguk’s own eyes widen. The boy staring back at him is none other than Jung Hoseok, Yoongi’s best friend and notorious consumer of all things Honeyduke’s. He holds the record for the most blood lollies consumed in one day, which is unimportant but terribly impressive.
“Yeah,” says Jeongguk, already rolling slightly so that he can pick himself up. He’d nearly forgotten about his mission and now there’s—he doesn’t have a watch, dammit, but less than six minutes and thirteen seconds before Yoongi leaves, certainly. He takes Hoseok’s hand and gets to his feet, making sure he hasn’t crushed the gift (only a little smushed in one corner, which is acceptable). “I’m sorry, I really have to—”
“Hey, aren’t you that kid who follows Yoongi-hyung around everywhere?” asks Hoseok, and Jeongguk… well. He’s not sure he’s ever felt so embarrassed in his life, and that includes the time he’d accidentally called one of the professors mum in the middle of an exam.
Jeongguk is trying to decide how best to answer that question when he sees Hoseok notice the package in his arms. “Is that for him?” asks the older wizard, and his smile is blinding.
The thing is, if Jeongguk says no, Hoseok will probably leave him alone and he can get back to delivering the gift. If Jeongguk says yes, Hoseok could either stand there and tease him until it’s too late, or… Or.
Jeongguk takes his chances.
“Yes,” he admits sheepishly, ducking his head in an attempt to hide the redness of his cheeks, his ears. He knows his entire neck turns red when he’s embarrassed, and he must look the part of a proper Christmas ornament right now between his skin and his robes.
His gamble pays off, because he immediately hears Hoseok coo about how cute it is—something about not-so-secret admirers and embarrassing Yoongi in front of the entire seventh year class one last time before Christmas—and then Hoseok is saying, “I’ll take you to him! We’re about to leave for the station and I was going to grab something but I don’t really need it, and Yoongi-hyung needs this gift. C’mon, Jeongukkie.”
Jeongguk flushes even redder at the nickname, not wanting to ask how Hoseok even knows his name or why he seems hellbent on embarrassing both he and Yoongi at a time like this—he chooses, instead, to be happy about the hand that latches onto his wrist and pulls him hurriedly through the dungeons and up the stairs. He chooses, too, to keep his head low when Hoseok continually and loudly announces that the students gathering in the Entrance Hall need to move out of the way because third year Slytherin Jeon Jeongguk has a very important delivery for one seventh year Hufflepuff Min Yoongi and the poor boy may die of shame and disappointment if he doesn’t get to the older wizard before he leaves the castle for Christmas.
Jeongguk begins to think it might have been better for him to have those eight hours on the train to psych himself out of doing this.
But then it’s too late, because Hoseok is coming to a stop near the wide doors that lead to the grounds, and even though Jeongguk’s eyes are firmly trained on the ground, he knows. He knows his crush, Hufflepuff’s one and only seeker and player with the most fouls in a single game, the ethereal and soft and all together terrifying Min Yoongi is right there. In front of him. Probably with a look of pure annoyance on his face for having been interrupted by a tiny third year, some kid he doesn’t even know—
“That’s for me?”
Apparently having missed the part where Hoseok kindly explained the situation (no doubt with as much cooing as he had done down in the dungeons), Jeongguk’s head now snaps up to see Yoongi looking down at him with… not annoyance. Surprise? Fondness?
Jeongguk suddenly wishes he’d put on more deodorant that morning.
“Um,” he begins unintelligently, but he’s never been able to keep his wits about him with Yoongi in his presence, even though this is really the first time he’s had a proper conversation with Yoongi and now he’s starting off with something as stupid as um. In lieu of words, he holds out the slightly crushed gift, practically shoving it into Yoongi’s stomach as he averts his eyes, and when had he gotten so close?
Yoongi, bless him, just grins down at the gift and takes it from Jeongguk’s (trembling) hands. “Should I open it now or am I supposed to wait until Christmas?”
He sticks his hands in his pockets, trying to remember what he told himself about looking casual. Now he thinks he probably just looks silly, standing there in the Entrance Hall with his hair a bit of a mess and his robes a definite mess. Where’s a weird Kim Taehyung pep talk when he needs one?
“You—you can open it whenever,” he says, not wanting to seem weird for forcing a gift upon someone who doesn’t even know him. “Or you don’t have to open it up at all, really, if you don’t want to. I know it’s kind of weird that I’m giving you a gift because you don’t know me or anything and we’ve never actually spoken before, unless you count the time you said good morning to me in the Great Hall like last year, but that was just because I said it first, I think—”
He’s rambling. It’s embarrassing. Jeongguk has completely forgotten how to function like a normal human being, and hasn’t the six minutes and thirteen seconds already passed?
When he hears a soft chuckle, Jeongguk dares to lift his head enough to see Yoongi. He’s not laughing maliciously with his friends—in fact, his friends aren’t even listening, although he’d hazard a guess that Hoseok is doing a brilliant job at multitasking while he speaks to a Ravenclaw girl three feet away. Yoongi is just… giggling. At Jeongguk.
“You’re cute,” says Yoongi, and he reaches out to ruffle Jeongguk’s hair affectionately. “This is really sweet of you. Jeongguk, right?” Jeongguk nods his head a beat too late, too caught up on the way Yoongi says his name. It’s really no different from how anyone else says it, but… it’s Yoongi. Yoongi, who he has had a crush on for two and a half years. Yoongi, who will be graduating at the end of the year and leaving him behind. Yoongi, who is suddenly being tugged at as students begin to filter out onto the grounds, heading for the carriages and the station and the train.
Yoongi nods to Hoseok, some unspoken thing as the other boy grins at the two of them and heads for the door, too. Jeongguk’s heart is racing and he isn’t sure why.
“Thank you for the gift, Jeongguk-ah,” says Yoongi, turning back to the younger boy with a smile that is fond, fond, fond. “I’ll put it under my tree and I’ll open it first thing on Christmas morning. Would it be alright if I wrote you a letter about it?”
Ah, that’s why. Yoongi’s always had a way of making those butterflies in his tummy wake, and Jeongguk can hardly believe his ears, but he’s nodding again, quickly this time. “Of course,” he says. “I’ll just—be here, you know. Right here.” He might never move from this spot, where Min Yoongi accepted his gift and ruffled his hair and called him cute.
Yoongi’s grinning again. Jeongguk kind of wants to hug him, but he’s good at not over-stepping his boundaries.
“Good,” says Yoongi, tucking the gift under his arm now as he glances toward the door. The last few students are heading out, and as much as Jeongguk wants to keep him here now that they’re finally talking, he knows he can’t. “You’ll be here when I get back to school too, right?” Jeongguk nods again. “I’ll see you when I get back, then. And maybe you can start saying good morning to me every morning, yeah?”
Jeongguk doesn’t have time to comprehend the meaning of those words or even respond properly before Yoongi is grabbing his trunk with his free hand and heading for the door. He feels a bit like he’s floating, or like this is a Christmas miracle.
At the last second, he calls out, “Happy Christmas, um—”
“Hyung,” Yoongi finishes for him, pausing to look over his shoulder. “You can call me hyung. And Happy Christmas to you, too, Jeongguk-ah.”
Jeongguk’s ears turn pink again, for reasons unbeknownst to him. He’s warm, not just from the embarrassment of the conversation, but from the knowledge that Yoongi knows his name, accepted his gift, is planning on writing him and talking to him once school starts again. From the idea that they could be friends before the school year is over, and maybe they’ll meet in Hogsmeade all the time once Yoongi has graduated, and Yoongi will ask about his studies and he’ll tell Jeongguk about all of the cool things he’s doing at his job, and they’ll exchange gifts every Christmas like this, with parchment and ribbons and hopefully less pink ears. More affectionate hair-ruffling.
He knows he’s getting ahead of himself, but for once, he really doesn’t mind as he watches Yoongi leave the castle. It feels like he’s been hit with a Cheering Charm or maybe someone snuck some Felix Felicis in his pumpkin juice that morning.
Whatever it is, Jeongguk has never been happier.
It’s only once he gets back to his dorm that he realizes he’d grabbed the wrong gift in his haste to catch Yoongi. He catches sight of the real gift half-pulled out from under his bed (with a yellow ribbon, of course, because Yoongi’s a Hufflepuff—not red, for Taehyung the Gryffindor) and feels his entire stomach plummet.
On Christmas morning, Min Yoongi is excitedly going to open the gift he’d gotten from his admirer, third year Jeon Jeongguk, and instead of seeing the mittens with snitches on them that Jeongguk had knit himself to match that snitch scarf, he’ll see… an entire scrapbook of the worst photos ever taken of Jeongguk, complete with embarrassing commentary from the boy himself.
(Taehyung cries from laughing so hard when Jeongguk finds him five minutes later, in a state of panic and disarray.
“Maybe he’ll think it’s endearing.”
“Hyung! I put the triple-chinned selfies in there!”
“Ah, never mind, then. You’re fucked, Jeon Jeonggukkie.”)