[What do you mean, “a choice”?]
“The hat [...] asked me would I like to be in Slytherin. And I [...] to be put in Gryffindor, and so I was.”
[The hat listened to you?]
“Why shouldn’t it?”
[Could other people do that?]
“I… don’t see why not.”
[Would you recommend this?]
[At this point, he rubs the back of his neck. He smiles sheepishly.] “I guess I’d recommend choosing your own destiny. Can you imagine what you’d choose to get placed in Slytherin?”
- excerpt from the newsfilm “A Conversation With The Boy Who Lived”. Some parts have been blurred with overuse.
Three years ago:
There are four tables, although he can’t see them now the brim of the hat has been dropped over his eyes. Three of the tables are crammed full, elbows and knees and hair and hats, and the fourth is small, a group clumped in the middle, forlorn. Off to the left. They haven’t had any chance to clap tonight, and already they’re well into the second half of the alphabet.
Yoongi opens his eyes, but he still sees brown leather. The hat smells of old things and libraries, and it sounds like a creaky door, and it surrounds him so completely that the Great Hall seems like a dreamland away. Hello, he thinks, pleasantly surprised at how his own voice echoes through the hat.
Yoongi Min, yes?
Yeah. Hey. They say you put people in the houses they wanna be in, right? Yoongi fights for the words to transmit without any extra meaning escaping his brain, and he’s pretty sure he does an okay job.
I do. The hat sounds resigned. Maybe it knows what’s coming. Something that’s been requested all-too frequently, the past decade.
Not Slytherin, the hat says dryly. But in Slytherin, you would reach a potential you aren’t yet aware of. In Slytherin, you would change your life. In Slytherin, Yoongi Min would become great. Do you trust my judgement more than you trust the rumors?
Yoongi bites his lip so hard he’s sure he tastes blood. I…
And yet you believe the rumors they say about Slytherin.
Yoongi loses his grip on his inner monologue, and a flood of memories spill into the hat, which hums and chuckles - ominously, to Yoongi’s mind.
Yoongi, doing his school project on the most obscure woodland bug he could think of, just to be obstinate. Yoongi, reading a book far too advanced for his age, pretending to know what the longer words meant. Yoongi, three and silent on his feet, listening at the door as his parents worry about whether his cousin will get bullied much for being sorted into Slytherin.
C’mon, he says to the hat, grabbing his mind back again. Don’t - I can’t be in Slytherin.
On the contrary, I believe you would be a gift to the house, and that it would be a gift to you.
No, wait -
But he hears it, through the dull blockade of the hat. He hears “Slytherin!” As loud as a funeral bell, and when Professor Longbottom whips the hat off his head, he sees the hall staring at him. He wonders what they’re seeing. He wonders what the hat was thinking.
The table to the far left breaks out in applause, but it’s muted over the rushing roar of absolute terror in his ears as he stumbles off the stool and towards them, tripping over his robes. The teacher’s table claps politely too, and the other three tables just - they just stare.
There are over a hundred applicants for Hogwarts in his year, and three of them - including him - are in Slytherin. He claps for the other two, similarly-shellshocked Damien Roadfell and Samantha Woods, who sit either side of him and stare at their knees and don’t say anything - and his palms sting from the clapping, as if the noise the small table makes will in any way make up for the feeling of dread flooding through all three of them.
The food is good, though.
part one: third year (first year)
Seokjin does his best, but he’s still in Gryffindor, and Seokjin can’t be around all the time - Gryffindor is about as far away from Slytherin as you could get, and Seokjin’s been made a junior prefect this year, which means even less time to save Yoongi’s ass.
Not that Yoongi’s ass needs saved. Or any of the rest of him. The tentative friendships extended to both Seokjin and Namjoon have Gryffindor more or less covered, apart from the rowdier crowd that knock people about regardless of house colour, and last year Hoseok Jung managed to both befriend Yoongi and keep control of his year in Hufflepuff.
Coming back to Hogwarts is catharsis, of a kind. Over the summer Yoongi goes back to his Muggle friends, his pre-Hogwarts bunch, and it’s scabby knees and going with a fistful of fifty pence pieces to the sweet shop to get a pound of gummy cola bottles and humbugs, and riding in James’ Dad’s car without anybody knowing, and skateboarding in the nature reserve and getting chased by swans and smoking around the back of Tescos. They all think Yoongi got a scholarship to some posh school in Scotland, and he’s not about to tell them otherwise.
Back home, he’s Yoongi just like he’s always been, but at Hogwarts he doesn’t have to constantly itch with the effort of keeping his magic under wraps. Here he might get a few sideways looks, a few odd bruises and bumps, a few pencils chucked at the back of his head, but here he can be magic.
“Saw Chester in the Great Hall,” says Jimin Park - second year, now, a year younger than Yoongi. He’s tossing a ball in the air and catching it, his whole body flung against one of the sofas in the Slytherin Common Room.
“Chester who? Chester the place? Chester the big friendly dog?”
Jimin tosses the ball at Yoongi, who only just ducks it. “Don’t be a fucker. Chester Whitehall. Y’know what he said?”
“‘Hi, my name’s Chester Whitehall, I suck cock?’” Yoongi puts on his best Yorkshire accent, but he’s pretty sure he mangles it. “Jimin, don’t fuck about, I gotta go to the library.”
“He said he was gonna get you,” Jimin says. “Throw me that ball back.”
“I’m keeping it for self-defence.”
“Like fuck. Gimme.”
“Give him the fucking ball,” Samantha Woods says, sitting cross-legged by the fireplace, her eyes half closed, her head resting against the marble detailing, soot on her cheeks - she’s tall, and broad, with sandy blonde hair plaited scraggly down her back. “It’s the first bloody week and I’ve had it up to here with you already, Park.”
“I’m a goddamn delight.”
“Yeah, a real pride to the Slytherin name,” Yoongi says dryly, but he tosses the ball back to Jimin. “I’m gonna go to the library anyway. Chester can’t kill me but I’m pretty sure Longbottom would try if I don’t do his fuckin’ essay on Bowtruckles.”
“Bowtruckles,” Gerry Thompson says dreamily, face down in a Charms textbook; he’s one of four Slytherin seventh-years, one of the biggest years in the house. He’s built like a snappy birch tree, as though he could break in the wind, all floppy hands and baggy eyes. “God, I miss Bowtruckles. Yoongi, you wanna do my theoretical Charms, I’ll do your Bowtruckles?”
Yoongi lets himself out of the Common Room to the sound of Jimin laughing and Gerry slowly expiring into his homework.
Hogwarts isn’t bad.
Sure, there’s people like Chester Whitehall and Minjae Yoon and Sadie MacDermot, and others like them, and they kind of make it a bit difficult on the day-to-day side of things, but there’s magic. And books. And Jimin pissing everyone off and Gerry complaining about his schoolwork and the owls and Quidditch - god, Quidditch, the desire drives him round the bend - and the trips to Hogsmeade, and the (less frequent) trips outside the grounds to apparate to the nearest town to buy packs of smokes and Muggle newspapers.
(Yoongi hitches a lift as a side-along with some of the seniors. He hasn’t got his licence yet.)
But generally -
He sees the foot seconds before he trips on it, and manages to duck out of the way. “Heya, Chester. Nice summer?”
Chester Whitehall is two years older than Yoongi, and a Gryffindor. He’s from Yorkshire, and he plays on the junior Quidditch team and his local rugby league.
“Fuckin’ fantastic, actually,” Chester says, falling into step with Yoongi as he takes the first staircase he sees that’s going up. “Y’know what I did?”
“Your balls dropped?”
Chester nudges him with his hip, and Yoongi’s side hits the stone banister with a lot more force than he wants, this early in the term. “Yeah, fuck you. Like you even have any. Know what I did?”
“Your mum,” Yoongi says, and sprints for the library, ignoring Chester roaring behind him; his Herbology notes clutched in his hands, he hardly notices the Ravenclaw boy sitting in the nook of the wall, eyes wide over an upside-down copy of Hogwarts: A History as he watches Yoongi flip the bird and vanish into the library.
“Have either of you met Chester Whitehall?”
This said by Jimin, lounging on the hearth, holding a comic up to his eyes - directed at Isobel Way and Alwyn Brydon, the two new Slytherins, sorted just last week. They’re both big-eyed and skinny, and seem to tuck themselves into corners of the Common Room away from everyone else - not that Yoongi can blame them, when Gerry is their responsible adult, and Jimin and Damien are constantly running around the House yelling about the most inappropriate shit they can, like it’s some sort of game to freak the kids out.
Isobel Way (an old family, from down the south of Ireland) shrugs her skinny little shoulders. Her cloak is far too big for her, and a thick silver pin shines at her shoulder. “Which one’s he?”
“Big, built like a brick shithouse, total arsehole, once broke Yoongi’s wrist-”
“No he didn’t-”
“And Yoongi denies it because he has this whole fragile masculinity thing going on-”
“No I don’t-”
“Shut up,” Samantha says, slapping Jimin on the shoulder. “Quit fuckin’ scaring them.”
“We’re not scared,” Alwyn says defensively. He’s from Wales, with the thickest accent Yoongi’s ever heard, and whenever he knocks into something or forgets his mind, he curses in Welsh and it’s the funniest thing ever, seeing this bug-eyed little first year yelling in a language that’s basically lyrical spitting.
“You sound scared,” Jimin says.
“Jimin, shut up.”
“Jimin, shut up,” Jimin mocks, turning the page. “The kids need to learn who to run away from.”
“Everyone,” Alwyn says. “Gerry already told us. You gotta run away from everyone.”
“I mean, Professor Malfoy is pretty okay,” Jimin says thoughtfully. He sets his comic down, and Yoongi swipes it under the couch before anyone else can see the contents (Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, in a slightly more 18+ situation than you’d usually find in a Batman comic.) “You probably don’t have to run away from him. Also Longbottom. And Dickens, obviously, but he’s head of house.”
“Don’t run away from anyone,” Damien says, walking in and ruffling Alwyn’s hair. “Punch them in the fucking face.”
“I can’t do that. I’d break my hand,” Isobel says with a straight face.
Damien cackles. “I like this one,” he says. “I’m keeping her.”
Which naturally leads Damien, Yoongi, Jimin, and Samantha to crack out a pack of cards produced from one of Damien’s pockets, and to play a rough game of poker with the two first years as stakes, while Alwyn and Isobel look over their shoulders and help everyone to cheat indiscriminately.
(Damien wins Alwyn, Yoongi wins Isobel.)
(Isobel ruins the effect by asking Gerry to adopt her instead.)
“Bowtruckles,” Yoongi announces with grandeur, “Can suck my dick.”
The Hufflepuff table is next to the Slytherins; Hoseok looks over and winks, along with Jimin’s second-year friend (Taesung? Taehyung?) but a group of girls giggle, and one of the Hufflepuff prefects rolls his eyes, piecrust stuck to his chin.
“Just because the bowtruckles can suck your dick doesn’t mean they will,” says Gerry.
“Bowtruckles have caused me so much emotional damage in the last hour that they should suck my dick just to make up for it.”
“Apology blowjob,” Jimin says. “I like it.”
Alwyn tries to hide his grin into his dinner, and only partially succeeds.
From the Gryffindor table, a tiny owl flutters up and deposits a note in front of Yoongi - it’s Friedrich, Namjoon’s scruffy hoot owl, who pecks Yoongi once on the wrist and then flutters back to sit on Namjoon’s shoulder. Stop talking about interspecies fellatio ur scaring firsties says a note in Namjoon’s chickenscratch handwriting.
In response, Yoongi waits until he’s caught Namjoon’s eye, and shoves his tongue into his cheek with a grin.
Lunch on a Saturday is always insane, especially the first Saturday back after the opening week of term. The first years - including Alwyn and Isobel, probably even more than most - from every house look exhausted, traumatised, or insane, depending on their approach to the situation, and anyone from fourth year up looks close to death already - Gerry’s brought his theoretical Charms to the table, which explains why half of his dinner is on his face, not in his mouth.
Friedrich delivers a second note. It lands in Yoongi’s vegetable soup.
Meet @ lake??? jin also and hobi :) squad banter lad times lol
Yoongi shoves his thumbs up, and when he sees Chester catch his eye he turns it into the two-fingered salute.
“So abrasive,” Damien Roadfell says slyly, filling in the crossword in the Prophet. “Honestly, Yoongi. Hey, Edie-Maude, what’s an eight-letter word… old newspapers, frequently dated?”
“Chester’s a dick,” Yoongi says.
“That’s not the answer,” Damien taps his pen against his lip, and Isobel snorts.
“Of course Chester’s a dick, and the sky is blue,” Samantha says.
“The sun is yellow.”
“Gryffindors are shit.”
“Jimin’s mum is- oi-”
“Jesus Christ, you bunch of savages,” Damien murmurs, as Samantha and Jimin poke at each other with their butter knives. He tosses the crossword down by his elbow, giving up on anyone helping him with the clue; “Yoongi - hey, did you actually do the Bowtruckle essay, or did you just bitch about it?”
“I did it. You want it?”
“I owe you one.”
Damien grins as the essay produces itself from inside Yoongi’s robes, and tucks it carefully into the pages of his newspaper. “Thanks, Yoongi. You’re a gem.”
There’s a kid staring at the deal from the Ravenclaw table, but Yoongi doesn’t notice it.
And after lunch, he meets Seokjin, Namjoon, and Hoseok, and they walk down to the lake together.
Seokjin was in second year when Yoongi was in first, and he was introduced to Yoongi by punching Chester Whitehall very hard in the nose and then escorting Yoongi down to the hospital wing to get him fixed for a sprained wrist (freak accident, pushed against a knobbly gargoyle, you know how these things go.) (Not a broken arm, no matter how much Damien tries to tell the firsties it is.”
Namjoon, Hoseok, and Yoongi are all in their third year now. Yoongi met Namjoon during first-year potions shared with the Gryffindors; he met Hoseok during second-year hazing by Minjae Yoon, who had jinxed Yoongi and Damien together and then pushed them down the stairs.
(Nothing broken, except some pride.)
“Friedrich has a sore wing,” Namjoon says, the owl in question fluttering off his shoulder to go bombs-away on Sadie MacDermot before he comes back to nest in Namjoon’s hair.
Hoseok wrinkles his nose. “Sadie’s gonna kill us, y’know.”
“She didn’t see who it was,” Namjoon says, although he quickens his step - the four of them do. Sadie is tall and thin and she plays Quidditch for Ravenclaw in term time, and goes back to play semi-professional girls’ hockey in Scotland. Sadie is scary.
When they’re all slumped on the grass, t-shirts sticky, shoes kicked off - and it’s a Saturday, no uniform today - Seokjin groans. “You sprogs don’t know what’s coming to you. OWLs. Jesus.”
“It’s not your OWL year yet,” Hoseok says.
Yoongi sighs moodily, flicking the head of a daisy with his thumb. “I’ll be lucky to survive to then. Two this year. Fuck, Chester’s gonna kill them. Squash ‘em like a bug. They’re little babies, y’know? This one girl, this Isobel, I think she worships the ground Damien walks on. They’re gonna leave here in a hearse, I’m telling you.”
“Fuckin’ Harry Potter,” Namjoon says with feeling.
“Fuckin’ Harry Potter.”
Neither Hoseok nor Seokjin say anything, but Seokjin huffs a laugh. Yoongi doesn’t like Harry Potter out of an instinctive hatred of things that don’t like him, and he’s pretty sure that not-Slytherin newsfilm will never leave his head, especially when he looks around the Slytherin dorms, at how big they are, at how many of them there used to be. Namjoon doesn’t like Harry Potter because -
“Fuck the system,” Namjoon says dramatically, and slumps nose-down in the grass. “Fuck it,” he says, more muffled, and then screams.
“An ant just crawled into his mouth,” Seokjin observes.
Hoseok has a box of chocolate; the normal kind, Roses, although there’s less toffees and more of the green ones with the nuts in caramel, and the blue taffy ones that nobody likes. Yoongi takes a few minutes unwrapping them all and tossing them in the lake for the squid, who hoots mournfully when he realises Yoongi’s got no more left.
“Taehyung made a new friend,” Hoseok says, lying on his belly, watching Namjoon wipe his tongue with his hoodie sleeve.
“Jimin will be sad.”
“Jimin made a new friend, too.”
Hoseok shrugs. “Li’l speccy Ravenclaw kid. Ears out to here and a big nose. Almost shit himself when I said hi.”
“Firsties do that anyway,” Namjoon says. The ant is crawling unsteadily around his knuckles. “Hey, look, animal conservation.”
“Ring the bloody RSPCA, fuck me,” Yoongi holds his finger out for the ant, grinning when Namjoon whips it away. “It ain’t half as big as Hoseok’s speccy Ravenclaw.”
“He’s not mine,” Hoseok says. “Jesus. He’s like, called John or something. But he’s Korean.”
“If he’s a ‘Claw, Sadie will snap him up,” Yoongi says gloomily.
They fall into a lull, then, watching the squid in the lake, and the trees in the Forbidden Forest shake with something weird and mysterious. Seokjin’s eyes are half-lidded, his hands behind his head, his t-shirt riding high on his hips; Namjoon’s cheeks are red any time his eyes dance anywhere near Seokjin, so he’s playing with his ant instead, getting it to climb up his fingertips. Hoseok is holding a blade of grass between his two thumbs and trying, unsuccessfully, to make a whistling sound with them.
(It isn’t working.)
Yoongi leans against the incline of the hill, and pillows his jumper against his head, and goes peacefully to sleep.
Samantha Woods, for all that she pretends to hate the very ground Damien and Yoongi walk on, is pretty solid considering the shit she’s had to put up with since they were sorted.
“You need to just fucking run away from him,” she says, peeling the back off a sticking plaster and dropping the two sides into the fire.
Yoongi huffs and shrugs, just edging his face to the side so she can stick the plaster on his cheek. “He was talking shit about Isobel ‘n Alwyn.”
“Yeah, but he wasn’t beating them up.”
Yoongi winces when her thumb presses hard against the cut. “Okay, point one, he didn’t beat me up, he just punched me in the face and I kicked him in the balls so technically I beat him up, and point two, I’m fuckin’ used to it and the kids aren’t. Alwyn looks like he’d dissolve if you looked at him funny.”
Samantha groans and slaps him on the shoulder. “You stubborn fucking bastard.”
“I learned from the best,” he grins at her, and he’s rewarded with a laugh and an offer to play cards, instead of going back out to see Chester lord it over him. Yeah, Samantha’s pretty solid. All okay.
The problem was caused, of course, by centuries of faction divide, and by Voldemort. The problem was brought to the boil by Harry Potter, though, and so Yoongi chooses to pin most of his annoyance there - when Jimin comes back into the Common Room with his bag torn and his face covered in ink, and when Gerry asks the firsties if anyone’s been bothering them and they grin all dry and say who hasn’t, and when Yoongi ends up shoved into walls and portraits, finding himself five minutes early for every class so he can avoid the crowd in the corridors.
The problem is perpetrated by neglect. But it’s still a fucking problem, no matter what caused it.
“Fuck off, Chester.”
The problem is this: Yoongi’s bag is floating twenty feet in the air, and Yoongi is red with humiliation, and Chester Whitehall and Peter Jenkins are sitting on the staircase, taking it in turns to pull pages out of Yoongi’s bag and transfigure them into feathers, twigs, and pencils (that’s the Bowtruckle essay. Thank fuck for Damien Roadfell, taking the original.)
“Whatcha gonna do?”
“Tell you to fuck off,” Yoongi says. His wand is in his bag. His wand is in his bag because he always got told that story about the Auror that blew his left buttock off when he shoved his wand in his pocket, so his wand is in his bag.
Chester pulls a few battered Frog cards out of the bag and they hover before he summons them. “These rare?”
Hermione Granger and Aleister Crowley. “No,” Yoongi says through gritted teeth.
With a lazy incendio, Chester sizzles them to a crisp. “I sure do hope not,” he says, schoolboyish, sincere. “I think Crowley was a special edition, but I could be mistaken, ‘cos only fuckin’ creeps collect Frog cards. Creeps and kids.”
“Fuck off,” Yoongi says. Wandless magic. He can do wandless magic. Accio bag. Accio bag. Fucking-accio-bag-you-fucking-cunt-accio-bag.
“He’s gonna cry,” says Peter Jenkins. Also in Gryffindor, also a fifth-year. “He’s a baby.”
“Give me my stuff,” Yoongi says.
“Say you’re a baby and we will.”
“‘S what babies say,” Chester says. “Go on, Yoongi, you know you want your stuff. Class in five.”
“Accio,” a tiny voice comes quiet from the side stairwell, and all Yoongi’s stuff flies into the shadows.
He doesn’t have to run long, much as he thought he would - his bag, and all his stuff, is sitting in the lap of Hoseok’s speccy Ravenclaw kid, the one with the big eyes and the ears like soup plates. He’s crouched in the shadow of the stairwell, hunched over the bag, casting a diligent little reparo over the strap, and the broken clasp.
“Hey,” Yoongi says. Maybe a bit louder than he means to. “That’s my stuff.”
The Ravenclaw kid looks up, sees who it is, and turns bright pink.
“‘S cool you got it off Chester, though. Thanks.” Firsties shit themselves no matter what you do, he thinks of Namjoon saying. “Uh. Don’t? Be scared?”
“I’m not scared,” the kid says.
“You totally are.”
“Not of - you, I’m scared of the other one.”
Yoongi sits on the steps, letting the light shine back over his shoulder. “Chester? You’re scared of him?”
The kid shrugs, tapping his wand against the clasp of Yoongi’s bag - the burnished bronze starts to shine again, years of abuse scrubbed away as though polished. “Isn’t everyone scared of him? Even my prefect is scared of him.”
The kid nods.
(In first year, Sadie had pointed at Yoongi and screeched “that little creep felt my tits!” and Yoongi had the bruise of a Sadie-shaped handprint on his cheek all the way through October.)
(He hadn’t. He’d been across the hall from her, but he was a Slytherin, so nobody was gonna question Sadie “My Granda Fucked A Veela” MacDermot.)
“Sadie isn’t scared of Chester,” Yoongi says. “Thanks, anyway. Chester’s - a creep. I’m Yoongi.” He offers his hand; after a long few seconds, the kid shakes it.
“I’m Jeongguk Jeon,” he says, his ears going all pink. “Um. Um?”
When Yoongi arrives to Charms - ten minutes late, red with embarrassment - he roots around in his bag for an ink bottle, and comes out with a Frog card. Aleister Crowley, and Crowley himself on it, and a little pink sticky note: collection of jeon :).
“Where were you,” Namjoon hisses at him.
Yoongi screws his face into the universally recognised Chester-glare, and tucks the Frog card into his cloak, feeling all sorts of weird. When Jimin says he’s made a Ravenclaw friend, and that nobody is to make fun of the boy with the massive ears and the twitchy nose, Yoongi shrugs and agrees and puts the Frog card on his bedside locker, a reminder to give it back to the kid if he possibly can.
“You should join the team.”
“I’m not joining the team.”
Gerry kicks Yoongi’s knee. “If you joined the team we could win the House Cup.”
“If I joined the team you’d have enough members to enter for the House Cup,” Yoongi corrects, turning the leaves of his Herbology book. “Fuck off, Ger, I said I wasn’t gonna do it.”
“Join the team.”
“Join the team.”
“Gerry, I swear to fuck-”
Gerry sighs mournfully. “I’m going to leave Hogwarts never having participated in the House Cup. I can’t believe I’m doing this. My Da would be ashamed if he could see me now. He’d be rolling in his grave.”
“Your Da isn’t dead,” Yoongi says. “Fuck off.”
“I’ll kill my Da if you don’t join the team.”
The Slytherin Common Room has a fire lit in the place, burning yesterday's newspaper and a bundle of merry sticks. It casts odd shadows onto the unused walls, the door to the sixth-year girls dorms (no sixth-year girls, just two twins, Derek and Simon Molesley) and the window, pressed against the lake where the squid curls to see what the deal is.
“If you don’t join the fucking Quidditch team, I’ll kill you, and then my Da,” Gerry says cheerfully. “Go on. It’ll be a bit of craic.”
“It fucking won’t. I can’t fly a broom, Gerry.”
“Ain’t a problem. I’ll teach you.”
“Your friends can fly,” says Edie-Maude Black, looking up from Pride and Prejudice with a cheerful, innocent look dimpling her cheeks. (Second year. Jimin’s year. Five Slytherins in that year; a good crop.) “And so can we. Join the team before Gerry dies of early-onset heart failure.”
“If Gerry dies, it’s his own fault.”
Jimin throws the bouncy rubber ball at his head. “Join him, god. If you join, I will. Taehyung’s trying out for the Puffs this year, anyway.”
“Is he? Hoseok will-”
“Join Slytherin,” Gerry says maniacally.
“Join Slytherin,” repeats Jimin, his eyes glimmering mischievously. “Oh, go on, you know you want to.”
“I already joined Slytherin. Ain’t no going back now.”
“Join the bloody Quidditch team.”
“When pigs fly, Ger.”
Yoongi wakes up at three in the morning to see a pink plastic pig floating around and around his dorm room; Damien shouts fuck you, Gerry through the walls and Yoongi just buries his head under his pillow, trying to hide the sounds of a happy plastic pig oinking over the four-poster bed.
Hoseok is the lead Chaser for the Hufflepuffs, even though he’s only in third year. Their Seeker is a slim Chinese-American girl, Melody Cheung, on transfer from Ilvermony for two years; she blushes prettily when the audience catcall, and then she throws a bludger at them, and everyone stops. (Chester Whitehall starts screaming fucking marry me and barely ducks the Jelly-Legs Jinx Hoseok flings his way.)
“You could join the team,” Seokjin says thoughtfully. He and Yoongi are sitting sharing a bag of butter toffees, watching Hoseok corral all the little baby Chasers into a neat line. “Then you could enter the cup, right? They’d take a late submission.”
“Chester wouldn’t let me live it down,” Yoongi mumbles. His teeth feel gummed together with toffee.
“What, you’re scared of Chester?”
Yoongi raises his eyebrow until Seokjin drops his gaze. “He’d fuckin’ kill me. Imagine. Jesus.”
“‘S not like you’d be…” Seokjin’s jaw drops and a toffee falls to the grass. “Slytherin’s Seeker? Oh my god. Oh my god. Gerry is insane.”
“That’s why I’m not doing it,” Yoongi says confidently. “Gimme a toffee. And close your mouth, you heathen.”
“Shut it and laugh at the firsties like everyone else, Kim.”
When Yoongi was seven, he wanted to be Viktor Krum. Mind you, that means nothing; every seven year old wanted to be Viktor Krum when they were seven, but Yoongi really did. Really. He had Krum’s poster on his door, and every week his Dad would go to Diagon Alley and he’d bring Yoongi back the Weekly Broomstick and Yoongi would cut the little collectible stickers out of the back page, and when he had ten he’d send away for the Krum Kollectible Miniature Firebolt - as long as his index finger, and it would fly in circles around his wrist, wherever he wanted it to go.
His Mum taught him to fly, the rudimentaries of it. When he was three, on a Cleansweep Seven as old as the hills, Yoongi balancing on the front.
“I was in Ravenclaw,” she’d tell him, and pat his shoulder proudly. “Chaser. Won the House Cup twice in a row!”
(His dad was a Hufflepuff. They’d both been… lukewarm on his house, but how was he meant to hide it? They’re not too bad anymore, although he makes sure never to tell them about Chester Whitehall and the others of his ilk.)
“You could join the team,” Seokjin says.
“We wouldn’t win the Cup.”
“‘S not about winning.”
“You can say that only cos you fuckers win the Cup most years.”
Seokjin just holds out the bag of toffees.
And that’s the problem. When Yoongi was in first year, Slytherin hadn’t had enough Quidditch players to make the team; Gerry had been a fifth year with three bedraggled little Chasers and a Beater, desperately trying to drum up support in the house. But there’s barely twenty-five in Slytherin house altogether, against the two or three hundred in every other, and on the years Gerry did have enough to make a team they just got laughed out of the place. Last year it was Gerry and Edie-Maude, the only two that showed up.
Yoongi likes Hogwarts well enough, but he’s not such a glutton for punishment that he’ll go asking for things Chester and Sadie and Minjae and the like can use against him. He’s not dumb.
(He’s cunning, apparently. According to that bastard hat.)
“Come flying with us on Sunday morning,” Seokjin offers, interrupting Yoongi’s silent sulk. “And then we can play chess or some shit.”
“Yeah,” Yoongi says. Scuffs his foot on the ground. “Yeah, sure.”
In the air, the Hufflepuff team have finished their warm-ups; Taehyung, Jimin’s newest friend, flying over the stands and grinning. Waving at a little dot of blue and bronze.
With a start, Yoongi realises who it is.
“You know him?” Seokjin follows his gaze, the butter toffees all gone.
“That’s… Jeongguk,” Yoongi says. “I owe him a Frog card.”
“That’s Taehyung’s friend.”
“He can be two things at once.”
Hoseok flies off the pitch red-nosed and pink-cheeked, grinning from ear to ear, his scarf so long it hits the ground several seconds before he does. There are introductions of a sort, Yoongi-this-is-Taehyung-Taehyung-this-is-Yoongi, and promises to hang out in the library, and other things of the sort. Yoongi finds himself agreeing to a game of chess with Taehyung, and to a jaunt to Hogsmeade with Hoseok, and it’s all very nice.
The little Ravenclaw burrowed in his scarf is gone, when Yoongi next looks up at the stands.
“It’s the system,” says Namjoon again. He burps. “It’s the system. The - thingummy.”
On the floor is an empty bottle of firewhiskey. In Namjoon’s hand is a bottle of cheap Irish whisky, which is quickly following the example of it’s magical cousin, vanishing into the teacups Yoongi has long since pilfered from the Slytherin Common Room.
“The system,” Yoongi suggests.
“Fuck it, right?”
“Yeah. Fuck it.”
“Sodomise that fucking system,” Seokjin murmurs. “Stick your dick in it.”
Hoseok has fallen asleep, hugging his hat, his mouth open, drool crusting on his chin.
“Nononono, the system. ‘S an abstract concept. Y’can’t fuck an abstract concept.”
“You,” Seokjin points accusingly, “Jus’ haven’t tried hard enough. You can fuck everything.”
“The Whomping Willow,” Yoongi offers, and the three of them fall into horrified silence for a moment, until Namjoon tips his head back to slug a mouthful of whisky right from the bottle. (Say what you like about Hogwarts - at fourteen, if you aren’t an experienced drinker yet, you’re probably doing it wrong. Hogwarts might be magic, but it’s still British.)
The firewhisky was a gift from Seokjin’s aunt in France, and the Irish stuff was something Yoongi swiped from underneath Gerry’s bed when he fell asleep. They’ve taken it up to the top of the Astronomy Tower, where nobody really goes on a Saturday night, and they’d meant to get a little tipsy - that was before Hoseok finished the firewhisky and started trying to stargaze his future while hopelessly, ridiculously, burningly drunk.
(“I can’t remember if I’m a virgo or not,” he’d said, seconds before he fell asleep. “If I am, I gotta… avoid salads. Or solids. Or something.”)
“The system,” says Namjoon insistently.
“We’re gonna fuck it.”
“You told me to fuck it.”
“I meant that, like, conceptually.”
Yoongi blinks. “Nope,” he announces, and snatches the whisky to take his own from the neck of the bottle; it burns his throat, and there are tears springing in his eyes when he passes it to Seokjin. “Too big a word. Fuck the system, you said, so I’m gonna fuck it.”
“I meant. I meant. I meant.”
Seokjin sighs. “God, I hate whisky.”
Namjoon grunts his agreement. “Exactly.”
Drink makes Yoongi sad, and he doesn’t know why. Quidditch, that’s a big part of it, and the empty Common Room, and Chester Whitehall, and a Frog card sitting on his bedside locker.
“I’m going to bed,” he says.
Seokjin and Namjoon raise drunken hands in goodbye; Hoseok snores.
Yoongi finds himself in a carriage on his own, going home for Christmas on the Express. Seokjin is getting the Knight Bus tomorrow, and Namjoon’s staying in the castle over the holidays; his parents have gone to visit family back in Korea, but he’s pretty content to stay and hang out with Hoseok, who hardly ever bothers to make the trip to Ireland, where his family stay.
Damien is staying too, and he’d asked Yoongi if he wanted to - lounging up on their dorm room floor, his hands and wrists all tucked under his head. But Yoongi misses his mum, much as he doesn’t want to admit it, and so - train. Carriage. On his own.
“Um. Is anyone else in here?”
Speccy Ravenclaw kid. Jeongguk. “No,” Yoongi says, taking his feet down from the seat; the kid’s already dressed in his civvies, jeans, trainers, a scruffy Sex Pistols hoodie that doesn’t look like it belongs to him. “Hey, Jeongguk, right?”
Jeongguk nods, sitting where Yoongi had been, perched on the seat like some kind of owl, his chin resting on his knees. “And Yoongi?”
“Yeah - listen, I owe you something.”
Jeongguk cocks his head to the side. Jesus. He looks like a puppy. “Do you? We only talked once, though?”
“Yeah, it’s from then,” Yoongi refuses to be embarrassed. Chester Whitehall is a wanker, and Yoongi is just an easy target, nothing more. “Here.”
It’s the Crowley card. Special edition: you had to save up for it in Cultists Collect, ten stamps on parchment to be sent by owl to Flourish & Blotts. Only five hundred of them were ever made.
“This isn’t mine,” Jeongguk says - he’s a surprisingly smooth liar.
Yoongi grins. “You label all your Frog cards, you know that? Pink note on the back. Nice hand, though.”
Jeongguk turns as pink as the sticky note on the Crowley card. “I-”
“It was a nice thing, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t wanna steal your Frog cards, ‘specially that one. Chester’s a dick, y’know?”
“Yeah,” Jeongguk says softly, putting the Frog card in his pocket. “I just - he’s mean, but you’re not. So I wanted to do something nice?”
“You got my bag back. That was pretty nice.”
Yoongi observes him, then. Longish hair, bags under his eyes, but already his face is getting a little more the right size for his nose, the right size for his ears. The hoodie is far too big for him, and covered in holes - an older brother, perhaps, or a dad. A comfort hoodie.
(When Yoongi went to Hogwarts, the Slytherin prefect in seventh year - a girl called Bethany Hood - gave him his first green and silver scarf. “Be proud of it, okay?” She’d told him, the day Chester broke his wrist, and Yoongi wore the scarf every day from September of first year to June, and when he opened his wardrobe to find the moths had eaten through it, he cried far longer than he really wants to admit.)
“You’re friends with Taehyung? The Puff?”
“Yeah,” Jeongguk says. If he’s thrown by the new conversation, he doesn’t show it; he’s fiddling with the Frog card in his pocket, running his thumbs along the edges. “Yeah, he - he’s tutoring me in Transfiguration and stuff. Sometimes Hobi helps. ‘N Jimin.”
“Jimin. He mentioned you.”
“He’s nice,” Jeongguk mumbles into his collar. “He said… you were gonna try out for Quidditch?”
Yoongi keeps smiling. “Did he? The little shit.”
“Oh.” Jeongguk fumbles with the Crowley card, and it falls to the floor. “He… kinda seemed like he wanted you to? A lot?”
Yoongi shrugs, looking out the window, the Scottish countryside plastered in damp rain this close to Christmas Day; he bends to pick up the Frog card, smoothing out the pink sticky note on the back. “Maybe, I guess.”
Jeongguk bites his lip. “I think it’d be. Pretty cool? If you. If you did.”
u wrote me saying u would go so i wrote to professor dickens and he says we’re in for the house cup theres no fuckin backing out now u dickhead if you do ill curse your fucking socks and have house elves drown you in moaning myrtles wee
gerry thompson, Slytherin Quidditch Team Captain
Hello, You Massive Cuntwaffle,
Pleased to hear you pulled your head out of your ass. Slytherin Seeker is a go. If Chester Whitehall says anything, I’ll rip his balls off and feed them to Sadie MacDermot.
The Most Beautiful Slytherin In The Whole House (Park)
Yoongi never finds out what Namjoon wants to say; he gets a letter by Floo saying that Friedrich collapsed on the way from Hogwarts to Yoongi’s house in Devon, and that the poor fucker had to be resuscitated by professional owlers, and it cost Namjoon his weight in galleons.
Yoongi sends back a Floo message: a lol and a plate of owl treats, because Friedrich doesn’t deserve the owner he has.
Seokjin just sends him a Patronus that says dickwank dickwank dickwank over and over, so Yoongi takes that as a positive sign and videos it for posterity, and for possible showing at any future weddings and/or respectable social gatherings he can embarrass his friends at.
And for Christmas, his Mum gives him her Cleansweep, and a kiss on the cheek.
(His Dad gives him a bottle of malt whisky and tells him not to tell his Mum.)
Term comes back on a Friday, so classes are that lazy sort where none of the teachers have anything planned. Yoongi and Namjoon spend all of Charms trying to discreetly turn Minjae Yoon’s hair hot pink, but Minjae catches them, and flings a pencil sharpener at them. Potions is similarly productive, with Professor Malfoy just giving up altogether and showing them how to brew a proper cauldron full of hot cocoa; Yoongi bottles his portion up in a thermos, and dumps his holiday homework on the desk before he’s free to go fuck around beside the lake.
Seokjin, Hoseok, and Namjoon are already there.
Along with Jimin, Taehyung, and Jeongguk.
“Where the fuck were you?” Seokjin asks. “Have a nice Christmas? Get anything good?”
“Heya,” Yoongi says to Jeongguk, ignoring the others for the moment. “You want cocoa? I got cocoa.”
Jeongguk’s ears turn bright red. “Do - me?”
“Malfoy let us make it,” Yoongi waves his thermos in the air, swatting Namjoon’s grasping hand away. “Fuck off, I wanna be nice to the new kid.”
“I’m not new,” Jeongguk says, but he takes the thermos lid and holds it out for Yoongi to pour the cocoa in. “I’m here a whole term.”
“Two years,” Jimin says smugly.
“Three,” says Hoseok.”
Seokjin raises a hand. “Four, so shut up, and Yoongi, what did you get?”
“Good shit from Dad, a Cleansweep from Mum,” Yoongi says. Jeongguk, three sips into the cocoa, does a cartoonish spit-take, and starts choking; Taehyung cheerfully begins to thud his back, making sympathetic clucking noises.
Hoseok is doing the Bowtruckle essay Yoongi was set at the beginning of term, and after various promises to go flying and to copy homework and to drink and to play chess, they settle down as a seven instead of a four. It’s weirdly easy.
First year seems a long, long way away from this.
Jeongguk pours himself another cup of cocoa, but nobody really talks; Hoseok and Jimin are both doing homework, Taehyung is knotting grass together, Seokjin is lying back with his eyes closed, and Namjoon is reading a history textbook.
Yoongi stares out on the lake, all squid-curling tentacles and the ripple of cold January water.
Is it the Quidditch?
That, too, and other things.
He grew up in the wizarding world. The first book he ever read, his chubby finger stuttering over the pages, was The Little Owl.
The little owl said “I don’t want to go to bed!” And the little owl’s little mum said “if you don’t go to bed, a snake will slither-in!”
“Slytherin!” Yoongi had cheered, and tapped the book. He’d thought it was the cleverest thing in the world. Slytherins were the bad guys, especially after the Second War, after the rise in all those YA fiction novels in Flourish & Blotts where the plucky young Hufflepuff, or the brave young Gryffindor, would defeat the odds and their Slytherin bully to win the House Cup.
Maybe that’s why Chester does what he does. And Sadie, and the rest of them. Pre-emptive, so that when Yoongi inevitably turns, he’s already scared of them, and their work’s been done.
He’s fucked up, maybe.
And the smell of cocoa drifting across the lake, and the giant squid curling tentacles hypnotically, and the sound of Hoseok’s quill scratching against coarse parchment. Maybe he isn’t fucked up. Maybe it’s the January weather, or the sleep he’s lost on the train up, or the way the little owl didn’t want a snake to slither in and scare him.
Jeongguk touches his shoulder gently, and hands him the cup of cocoa. “You can finish it,” he says quietly. “It’s really good.”
Yoongi does, and it is.
(And he’s so warm that the inside of him doesn’t really get cold, not even when Sadie MacDermot and a gaggle of Ravenclaw girls dunk a bucket of cold water over him and Jimin when they’re heading back to the Common Room.)
(And he’s so warm that he forgets to pretend to be mad when Gerry starts talking about Quidditch tactics at one in the morning.)
“One advantage of being in this House is that we get a fuckin’ Firebolt Six like it’s nothing,” Edie-Maude Black says, clutching her slender Nimbus 5k in the palm of her glove. There’s seven of them, gathered around the Quidditch pitch at six in the morning on a cold January morning, early enough that Professor Dickens hadn’t run into any bother when he booked it for them.
Jimin sits side-saddle on the Firebolt Six, his toes trailing the grass, his smile as smug as the cat with the cream. “She’s a nice one, isn’t she?”
Gerry Thompson has been voted their captain, just ‘cos he ranks first in age and enthusiasm. And he’s a Chaser, a good one - apparently he plays for the Armagh Lions during summer, and they’ve won the all-Irelands twice in the last five years. Derek Molesley, one of the sixth-year twins, and Edie-Maude, a freckled, spectacled second year, are the other two Chasers; Derek is clutching the Quaffle close to his chest, trying to hide a yawn in his knuckles.
“She’s fucking beautiful,” says Damien, a heavy Keeper helmet unbuckled on his head.
Samantha taps him on the back of the head with a cricket bat they’ve temporarily repurposed so she can be a Beater. “Sound less like you want to fuck the broomstick.”
“I don’t wanna fuck the broomstick.”
“I wanna make sweet sweet love to the broomstick.”
“Creepy,” Edie-Maude says mildly.
Jimin flies a little higher on his Six, preening, his own cricket bat hanging loose and languid from his hands. “Sorry, Roadfell. She’s mine. We’re exclusive.”
“Swap you a Nimbus.”
Yoongi can see his breath on the air when he huffs out, curling silvery into the air; dragon’s breath. His toes have gone as numb as his fingertips and his nose, and it’s six in the morning and that’s all he can feel - that and the Cleansweep in his hand, and the blush of familiarity that comes of telling dumb jokes and stamping feet.
“Dickens says we got slated for a match against the Puffs in February,” Gerry says, tapping Jimin’s boot. “Oi, c’mon down. Puffs. Puffs.”
“Puffs,” Jimin starts to chant, wriggling his foot out of Gerry’s grip, flying higher into the air. “Puffs! Puffs! Puffs! Puffs!”
Which leads to them half an hour later, the sun breaking over the horizon, throwing the Quaffle to each other to the rhythmic thud of Gerry yelling Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck and Jimin merrily singing a drinking song every time the ball leaves his possession. It’s cold and Edie-Maude is swearing and Gerry looks like all his Christmases have come at once, and really this Quidditch thing isn’t so bad; fun, even, when it’s just them all larking around.
As the sun tips closer to seven in the morning, they split in two. Not enough of them for a real practice match; they have Keeper and Seeker, Damien and Yoongi, and with them is Edie-Maude, their side’s Chaser. Gerry, Derek, Jimin, and Samantha run at Damien and Edie-Maude, and Gerry releases the Snitch.
“Practice ends when you catch him,” he says, a low Irish burr, and the little golden thing is off.
And Yoongi grins and high-fives Jimin and leans low over the handle of his broom and
“A little bird tells me you joined the Slytherin Quidditch team,” Taehyung says, sitting at their table during breakfast without a care in the world, his Hufflepuff tie glaring yellow amongst the forlorn cluster of greens.
Jimin tosses his arm over Taehyung’s shoulders and smiles. “Y’mean, the fucker joined just so a team could exist.”
“My hand was forced,” says Yoongi, through a mouthful of soggy egg.
Over with the Ravenclaws, sitting near Sadie MacDermot, he sees Jeongguk giving him a timid little smile, and he waves.
finds out only during that first match, Slytherin against Hufflepuff. It’s March now and the snow and the cold have melted into something approaching summertime; Seokjin’s been making sheep noises and trying to recite Wordsworth’s daffodil poetry, but only Namjoon indulges him, and it’s almost nice enough to go back to sit by the lake, if it wasn’t for the bloody damp.
For weeks now, Yoongi’s been listening to Gerry, Damien, and Edie-Maude making league table calculations - if we win Hufflepuff we’ll be against Ravenclaw, and depending on whether it’s Snitch-win or Chase win... Gryffindor for the finals, with a Seeker like Whitehall… - and listening to Hoseok and Namjoon discussing Quidditch over their homework, and Jeongguk quietly swapping him Frog cards and handing Yoongi all the famous Seekers without ever really explaining himself.
“I liked him,” Jeongguk says, the day before the Hufflepuff match, handing Yoongi a card - Ai Fengmian, the Chinese Seeker from 2003.
“You grew up Muggle, though,” Yoongi takes the card anyway and hands Jeongguk a Botticelli, the artist cheekily winking behind a moving nude sculpture with a tastefully placed bunch of grapes.
“Yeah…” Jeongguk grins. “I watched loads of past World Cups over Christmas, though. Tae send them to me. A present.”
This is three hours before the match, the seven of them sitting in the Charms classroom (plus change, the Slytherin team) - Yoongi hadn’t wanted to risk meeting Chester and having that confrontation. Not before they beat Hufflepuff.
(Cos they will.)
“Don’t be nervous,” Seokjin says. He’s knitting. Not - like, actually knitting, he’s just holding his wand in the air and watching a pair of disembodied needles work through the rows.
“I’m not nervous.”
Jeongguk taps his foot. “We’ll cheer for you guys.”
Which is awesome right up until the five seconds before they walk onto the pitch, and Yoongi hears Chester yelling from the Gryffindor stands. Gerry looks uncomfortable in the Slytherin robes; hell, they all do, since the robes were pulled out of Professor Malfoy’s cupboard in the Potions room and the moths were chased out and they don’t fit and they smell of old wardrobes and bad cologne.
“I think I’m gonna cry,” Jimin whispers in his ear.
“I’m gonna drop the bat.”
(Since their first practice, they’ve got their hand on proper Beater bats, nicked off the Hufflepuff spares courtesy of Hoseok, who’d ruffled Yoongi’s hair and said he was proud. Yoongi had flipped him the bird, but he’d also taken the bats.)
“Okay,” Gerry says. “Pep talk time.”
Which would be more effective if he himself wasn’t a pale shade of green, and visibly sweating.
“We’ll be grand,” says Yoongi, wiping his damp palm on his knee; the pale cream riding trousers are light, at least, with padding all up the inner thighs that makes it kind of difficult to walk. “We’ll be a hundred percent. Even if we fuck up, what’ll happen?”
“Chester’ll beat us up,” Jimin says.
“Now that’s just defeatist.”
“He broke your nose last year,” says Damien, licking his upper lip anxiously. “I still have the blood on my tie.”
“Stop fucking talking about Chester,” Samantha snaps. “Let’s just play some bloody Quidditch and be done with it, okay?”
Gerry holds his broom in the air. “What she said!”
The seven of them cheer raggedly, and then walk on out onto the pitch opposite the Hufflepuffs; Hoseok and Taehyung wave, Hoseok a sleek Chaser, Taehyung marching behind him, in the Seeker spot right behind the Captain. The stands are awash with gold and black, and badger banners - go hufflepuff go - and even Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, non-participants, are cheering for the Puff side.
The Slytherin stand is glowing green and silver, and the remainder of the house, the ones not on the pitch, are cheering as loud as they can - but twenty voices against eight hundred? That’s nothing. Isobel and Alwyn are at the front of the stands, waving battered little flags around they must have handmade without the rest of them seeing.
“Go Slytherin!” Professor Dickens screeches, shooting silver sparks from the teachers stand.
“I’m going to throw up,” says Yoongi. He very carefully isn’t looking up at where Chester is. “I’m actually going to be sick. Oh my god. What if we win? They’ll kill us. We’ll die. Concrete feet and chucked in the lake, we’ll be a horror story to tell the kids-”
“Shut the fuck up,” Jimin says through gritted teeth.
Gerry and Hoseok meet mid-field and shake hands. “If it was anyone else, I’d be rooting for you,” Hoseok says.
“Good luck, right?”
Gerry shrugs. “We’ll do our best, you do yours.”
Taehyung looks at Yoongi and smiles. “Good luck,” he mouths, and then reaches out, fist closing over an imaginary Snitch. “I’ll win.”
Yoongi flips him off as discreetly as possible.
“Holy God, kids, it’s gonna be a historical day!”
“Fuck-off-you said I could introduce us-”
“Yeah well I lied-”
Yoongi squints up at the commentary booth, where Namjoon and Seokjin can be seen faintly, tussling over the megaphone while Professor Malfoy sits beside them, serene, as though nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
“A historic match!” Seokjin yells, all the BBC announcer as he holds the megaphone out of Namjoon’s reach. “Slytherin House have entered the Cup for the first time in just under a decade, and what a line up we have here! Damien Roadfell, Keeper! Samantha Woods and Jimin Park, Beaters! Yoongi Min, Seeker! Derek Molesley and Edie-Maude Black, Chasers! And Gerry Thompson, Chaser and Captain!”
Muffled cheers, and boos from a knot of Ravenclaws, and the entirety of Gryffindor. Yoongi hunches up behind Gerry, feeling way too exposed.
“And Hufflepuff’s line-up…”
“Just get the Snitch as fast as you can,” Gerry says in an undertone. “Hoseok runs a tight fuckin’ ship, and lets face it, we got nothing on them. You got a whole fuckton over on Kim, though. He’s new, right?”
“New to flying, anyway,” Yoongi murmurs back. “Second-year. Jimin’s friend.”
Gerry looks like he’s going to say something else, but then Professor Longbottom lets the Snitch go, and the Quaffle is tossed in the air, and -
Quickly, the players split. The six Chasers are a knot across the pitch, fighting for control of the Quaffle; at the Hufflepuff end, their sixth-year Keeper is flying lazy loops around the rings, and on their side, Damien is buzzing anxiously. The action is pushing towards them; Yoongi flies high above the arena, a bird’s-eye view of the proceedings, watching Gerry and Hoseok toss and duck and pass.
“And they’re off! And it’s Hufflepuff in possession, Jung with the ball, holy fuck look at him go-”
“No swearing,” comes Malfoy’s voice, low through the megaphone.
“The Seekers have vanished, it’s Kim and Min - second-year Taehyung Kim is a new hire to the Hufflepuff side, and Yoongi Min is the last founding member of the renewed Slytherin team. Who will win?”
Yoongi casts his gaze away from the Quaffle. There’s the sound of a ball hitting metal, and then Damien screeching a cheer -
and the whole arena booing, sighing. “Slytherin Keeper Roadfell successfully blocks the first aimed point! And it’s Thompson, Thompson passing to Black, Black passing to - oh, no, Hufflepuff in possession-”
“No bias, Kim.”
Yoongi keeps thinking he sees the Snitch, but it’s just a bunch of guys in the Gryffindor stands, mirrors or something else; they’re bouncing the sun off the reflective surface, and Yoongi would bet good money that’s Chester’s idea. Trying to make him look like a fool.
Yeah, well, lucky for Chester, Yoongi’s a dumbass all on his own.
He can see Taehyung, too, who’s taken to circling the outskirts of the arena just below the stands, leaning low over the arch of his broom, a blur of yellow and black.
Snitch. Find the Snitch quick, and before Damien has a chance to tire. Hoseok runs a far better team than the haphazard lot Gerry’s cobbled together, even if Jimin and Samantha have a lot of pent-up rage to use striking Bludgers into clumps of players, even if Damien can field ninety-nine percent of the balls thrown his way.
“Oh my god, Jung with the Quaffle again, but holy shit, there’s Woods and she looks pissed-”
“Namjoon Kim, if you don’t control yourself-”
Yoongi circles lazily, ignoring the flashes from Chester and his lot. The sheer disapproval radiating from the stands is crushing them, it has to be - their house has been drowned out completely under the rhythmic chanting puffs puffs puffs and any time Gerry, Edie-Maude, or Derek grab the Quaffle, they’re sunk under a tsunami of jeering.
Yoongi sinks lower.
“No sight of the fucking Snitch, though-”
A brief argument over the megaphone, which Malfoy seems to lose, as Namjoon and Seokjin start yelling into it at the same time, a mixture of swears, the names of the players, and incomprehensible screams.
“And there’s Min, the Seeker for Slytherin, and one sexy motherf-”
Yoongi flies down until Seokjin can see his two-fingered salute. “Fuck you,” he says cheerfully, and then salutes the browbeaten Potions master. “Sorry about the kids, sir.”
“Play the game,” Malfoy sighs, rubbing his temples.
“And it’s another attempted goal and it’s - oh, shit, it went through! Roadfell dived for it, missed it by the skin of his teeth! First point of the match goes to the Puffs!”
Cheers so loud Yoongi can’t hear himself think, and he sees Damien slipping half-off the broom; he must have ducked for the ball to the very edge of the stick.
“You’re shit, Slytherin,” comes a magically-amplified voice from the Gryffindors. “Yo, Min, you gonna do something? Can you fly at all?”
“Fuck you, Chester - sir, c’mon, he’s being a twat-”
“Seokjin Kim, you are this close to a detention-”
“Sir, the match!”
Yoongi grits his teeth. Gerry, fair play to the poor bastard, just keeps flinging the Quaffle to Edie-Maude and Derek, flying gooseflank towards the Puff hoops as though they have any real chance of scoring. Hoseok’s the only Chaser that goes to meet them, as the other two Puffs hang near Damien, waiting for the inevitable Quaffle toss towards them.
“Another point for the Puffs!”
“Fuck,” Yoongi almost bites through his tongue; he can see Taehyung on the other side of the pitch, scanning the skies, flinging him sympathetic glances as the entire student body seems to bray for their blood.
There’s a lull, as the Quaffle gets flung aimless around the centre of the pitch - ten minutes where Seokjin and Namjoon fall into an entertaining banter to distract from the standstill the play has become.
And then Yoongi hears it.
A little reedy voice from the centre of the Ravenclaw stands, and a huge burst of green and silver sparks. “Go on, Yoongi! Go on!”
Jeongguk, bless his soul, red in the face, his fist in the air, his cheeks all beaming bright.
Yoongi looks at him - really looks at him, big ears, pink cheeks - and sticks a resolute thumb up.
“Seeker Kim has seen the Snitch!”
It must be fucking fate.
Taehyung has gone shooting up into the sky and Yoongi wrenches himself up as hard as he can, going horizontal to vertical, wishing he’d gone with the goggles now even if they do make him look like a prat. He can see it now too, the little golden thing, buzzing from left to right with frenetic energy, as though looking for something it’s lost.
Jeongguk thinks he can win.
The Snitch falls down, abruptly, and Yoongi follows it before Taehyung, flying faster than he thought his shitty Cleansweep was capable of going, catching up to it, getting so damn close -
“Holy fucking Satan on a bread roll, Yoongi-”
He reaches out his hand -
“Go! Yoongi you can do it-!”
The party in the Slytherin Common Room gets very very out of control, very very quick.
The first to crash were Seokjin and Namjoon, still windbitten from the commentary stand, still clutching their megaphone between them. They’d dumped a six-pack of Muggle beers on the coffee table, and Gerry hugged them hard enough that Yoongi would swear he heard bones crack.
Next up, Hoseok and Taehyung had wandered in, around half an hour ago, carrying with them an entire crate of now-useless Hufflepuff celebratory butterbeer. Everyone drank. Everyone’s drinking. Damien, cheering, tries to down a bottle in one go and ends up coughing while Edie-Maude pats him on the back.
Gerry vanishes into his room, and comes out slurring a little more, with a heavier accent and three bottles of Irish whisky.
Everyone cheers. Even Hoseok, who should by all rights be comforting his team -
“Where you going?” Damien calls, and Yoongi freezes with one hand on the door of the Common Room.
“Someone isn’t here yet,” he says, a little defensively. “I’m gonna go get them.”
“And then back for drinks,” Edie-Maude waves a can of Stella at him.
Yoongi flings her a lazy salute and slips out the door; he can already hear Jimin starting to tell Taehyung how great the Hufflepuff team was, how much of a fluke the Slytherin victory must have been.
The portraits that line the corridor seem happy, at any rate; most of the melodramatic Romantic works are down here, old Potions masters and Slytherin masters flitting from art style to art style, Caravaggio to Courbet as they follow him.
“You should be celebrating with your house,” says one of the newer-looking paintings, a rather austere work done with heavy impasto around the edges, and dark shadows, chiaroscuro making his nose seem even more hooklike, his long hair even darker.
Yoongi shrugs - the painting follows him as he leaves the dungeons, as he starts climbing towards Ravenclaw, sticking to back corridors to try and avoid being seen by anyone. “I wanna get Jeongguk. He should be celebrating too.”
The hook-nosed man hums. Tucked into the background of a facsimile of Caravaggio’s Narcissus, he looks more ghoul than human. “A kindness. But surely you don’t want to go up there. Not with that… MacDermot girl, the Veela.”
The painted man slides into the frame beside him; Boy With Fruit. Whoever decorated this corridor must have had a real thing for homoerotic Italians.
“I can fetch him,” says the guy - he must be an old Master or something, with those robes, that imperial voice. “Wait here.”
There’s the comedown, after the match - sure, they won, but Chester isn’t gonna be happy, and he can’t imagine this will change the House standings that much. It feels perilously like drawing unneeded attention their way, especially on the first-years (Isobel Way and Alwyn Brydon) who are already having a rough time of it.
Doesn’t mean they won’t enter again. The way the cards are played, their next match will be against Gryffindor in May; if they win that they go on to the final in June, but Yoongi highly doubts it.
(Chester is the Gryffindor Seeker.)
The painting-master slips back into the row of Caravaggios, looking a little smug. Jeongguk is in his own clothes, now it’s after-hours; the huge hoodie, a green beanie crammed over his hair, looking a little sleepy. “Did you want me?”
“Want to come to the party?” Yoongi shoves his hands into the pockets of his robes, wishing he’d changed out of the Seeker kit. “Uh. Like, Tae and Jimin are there, too. And me.”
“Oh,” says Jeongguk. “Um… yeah!”
When they get back, Gerry and Namjoon are sitting next to the fire, an empty bottle of whisky between them as Gerry coaches him through the words of Irish rebel songs in a surprisingly tuneful baritone.
“Oro se do bheatha bhaile.”
“Oh ho se do bleata wally.”
“No, no… fuckin’... spit in the back of your throat…”
“Have a butterbeer,” Yoongi says firmly, steering Jeongguk away from the alcoholic stuff. “And… ignore Gerry.”
Jeongguk settles down onto the sofa, and pats the leather beside him, and he and Yoongi end up talking Quidditch and Charms and Muggle summer holidays until three in the morning, when Gerry throws up and starts to cry.
Yoongi ends up staying at the castle over Easter, purely so he can cram for the end-of-years. He wants to apply for Ancient Runes OWL, and Arithmancy if he possibly can, but they’re hopelessly oversubscribed, which means he actually has to score well if he wants to be allowed back into the classes.
“So,” Seokjin says - he and Namjoon have stayed, but Hoseok’s elected to study at home - “So, this kid. This Jeongguk.”
“I don’t really know him,” Yoongi shrugs. In the humidity of mid-April, the walk to Hogsmeade is more of a torture than anything else; too cold to go bare arms, too hot to wear a jumper. He ends up draping his cloak around his shoulders, and wiping the sweat off his face with the hems.
“Tae says you’re always talking to him.”
“Tae is a filthy rotten liar.”
Namjoon grins, chewing on the edge of a gummy snake from the sweetshop, the paper bag crinkling in his hand. “You li-ike him.”
“Gross. He’s, like, seven.”
“Your mum is seven.”
A brief pause while they scuffle in the dirt, and Yoongi gets dandelion blown in his face by interested observer Seokjin.
“He’s nice,” Namjoon offers, after the fight is over (Yoongi won. Namjoon has mud on his cheeks.) “His ears are kinda big, but he’s nice, ‘n he thinks Sadie’s full of shit.”
“He’s a baby. He’s my friend.” Yoongi takes one of the gummy snakes. “Why do you fuckers care?”
“Because, my dear Casanova, word is getting around that you’re frigid as hell, and if Chester gets ahold of that…” Seokjin mimes his hand falling, and exploding on impact with the ground. “Boosh. Reputation gone.”
“Who the fuck’s saying that?”
“Sadie,” Namjoon says.
“Sadie says everyone’s frigid.”
“Yeah, but you’re not everyone.”
Yoongi scoffs. “You calling me an easy target?”
Seokjin swings a friendly arm around his shoulders. “I mean this in the nicest way possible…”
“You are the easiest target in this whole fucking school.”
Yoongi throws a gummy snake at him, and laughs when it wriggles down Seokjin’s shirt and refuses to move.
A week before the match with Gryffindor, Chester does get ahold of the rumor, and for a few days Yoongi can’t go into the Great Hall without half of the Gryffindor table screeching at him. His neck burns red with humiliation pretty much constantly, and Jimin stops nagging him so much, and Gerry offers him an invisible charm he got from the Weasley place, and Jeongguk starts sending him little letters in the evening, stuff like sadie says she’s gonna find you after herbology so maybe give that one a miss! and good luck yoongi they’re just dickheads, which is encouraging, and pretty useful.
Still, it’s all a bed of roses until he goes to the bathroom in the middle of Transfiguration.
(Which sounds - weird. It totally isn’t.)
Except for the bit where Chester and Minjae Yoon are waiting there, when he turns around; and there aren’t any paintings for Yoongi to fall on the mercy of, and they’re blocking the door.
“Fuck you,” says Yoongi preemptively. “Move it, I’ll be late to class.”
“We’re gonna play you on Saturday,” says Chester.
“I’m fuckin’ aware, dumbass. I actually looked at the rota sheet ahead of time.” Yoongi tries shouldering past them, but they play Muggle rugby, and they’re two years and a few feet ahead of him; Chester just shoves him back. “I said let me out-”
“You’re a fucking creep, Min,” says Minjae.
Chester takes a deliberate step forward, tramping on the trailing hem of Yoongi’s robes until the neck of them is biting into his throat. “I just wanna discuss Seeker tactics. Exclusive-like. You Slytherin bastards can’t beat us, y’know that?”
“I dunno,” Yoongi counters, and he knows he shouldn’t, he knows he should run, but he’s angry and he’s gonna miss class, “I dunno, man, Gerry’s a pretty decent captain-”
Chester’s fist hits his shoulder. Mock-punch. Mock-mock-punch. “Interrupting is rude.”
“Yeah, like anyone ever taught you table manners in the barn you were brought up in-”
This time, Yoongi has the foresight to duck, until Chester wraps his fist in the front of his robes and slams him against the stone gargoyle next to the drinking fountain; its pointed snout digs painfully into Yoongi’s back. “You fuckers have no chance,” Chester says.
“Sure we don’t.”
Minjae leans against the door, twirling his wand in between his fingers.
“If you fucking win, you’re dead.”
“Pretty sure that’s illegal ‘round here,” says Yoongi. His hand twitches into his pocket, curls around his wand-
Minjae casts expelliarmus without so much as a blink, and grins happily when he catches it. “You gotta short fuckin’ wand. Short fuckin’ dick-”
“That’s gay, Minjae,” Yoongi says.
Chester stomps hard on his foot. “Fucking look at me, you prick. If you catch that goddamn Snitch, I’ll-”
“What, break my nose?”
So Chester does.
Yoongi ends up sitting in an alcove somewhere on the seventh floor, holding his nose and trying not to cry every time he feels the bones shifting inside it. He’d go to the Hospital Wing, but the Healer there - a skeletal guy called O’Shannon - doesn’t believe anyone’s injury is as serious as they say. Last year, when Gerry broke his leg, O’Shannon made him walk up and down the hall three times before he finally healed it.
It’s all unfair, and Yoongi doesn’t care how childish he sounds when he says that. Over Easter, with nobody but his friends in the castle, it was easy to enjoy himself - and after the Hufflepuff match, it was easy to think they could win something. But there’s still gonna be fuckheads like Chester about, and people writing articles for the Prophet about how Harry Potter likes to wipe his ass, and nothing is ever, ever gonna change.
And he’s got blood on his new shirt. Not like he can afford another one, and not like he’s ever been any good at laundry spells.
The fucking problem is that everyone thinks Slytherin is evil, and so everyone thinks they’re cracking down on the bullies before they even get a chance to get started. And the fucking problem is -
“Myb bose hurbs,” Yoongi tries to say, and slumps over his knees, his head tipped back. “This fubbing thucks.”
Aw, fuck. Yoongi looks across the hall, and sees that caped painting guy sitting in the foreground of a dappled Renoir, still as batlike as ever. With the hand not pinching his nose, he raises his two fingers, not gratified by the painting’s innocent shrug.
“There you - fuck!”
Yoongi narrows his eyes at Jeongguk, whose eyes have widened bigger than soup plates. “Go back bo class,” he manages.
“What the hell did you do?” Jeongguk drops his satchel off his shoulder and shakes his wand out of his sleeve, tapping it nervously against his palm. “Are you okay? Is it your nose? Did something explode?”
Yoongi shoves his thumb in the air twice, and then down once.
“Shit, I - do you want me to heal it?”
“Oh, god.” Jeongguk looks faintly nauseous. “Uh. Episkey? You know that?”
“Cast ib,” Yoongi says. “Pleab.”
Jeongguk squeezes his eyes shut, and points his wand in Yoongi’s face; his hand is shaking. “Episkey-”
“Oh, thank fuck,” Yoongi says, as something complicated happens on his face, and his nose crunches back into the place it’s meant to be. He’s still covered in blood and snot, now starting to crust on his cheeks, but at least now all his body parts are functioning like they’re meant to be. “Jesus, Gukkie, you’re a lifesaver.”
“The hell happened?” Jeongguk sits in the alcove next to him without asking; wordlessly, Yoongi shuffles up to accommodate.
“Chester Whitehall and Minjae Yoon. Minjae nicked my fuckin’ wand and Chester broke my nose,” Yoongi wrinkles his face up at the thought, “It’s ‘cos of the match Saturday. They think we could actually beat them.”
“Guk…” Yoongi sighs, leaning back against the stone wall. “Even if we beat the Puffs, that’s only because nobody expected us to be any good, so we had this whole element of surprise thing going on for us. Chester will kill me. Jimin and Samantha can’t Beat half as well as those kids, and even if we won, we’d probably be killed on the way back to the Common Room.”
“That’s not fair.”
Jeongguk sighs. “I… guess. But. But I’m still annoyed.”
“Do me a favour and don’t get involved, right?”
Jeongguk shrugs, his hands knotting together. “I can get your wand back.”
Minjae Yoon is in Ravenclaw, of course. “If you think you can get it without him seeing you, then go ahead,” Yoongi says, ignoring the eyebrow-raising going on in the painting opposite him. “Just… watch your back. And don’t get involved. This is a Slytherin thing, ‘n you’re like… you’re an innocent bystander.”
They sit for a long while, and Yoongi looks at the wall opposite him, underneath another painting of Barnabas the Barmy teaching some trolls to do ballet, and wonders if there’s anywhere in this damn castle he can catch a break.
Jimin and Samantha are all for going to give Chester a shiner to match Yoongi’s face, but as Yoongi scrubs the crusted blood and snot and tears off his cheeks he tells them not to do a fucking thing. That’s the irony, here - if anyone counters back, they’ll be seen as the instigators.
(There are still horror stories circulated around the Slytherin dorms about the time Harry Potter made Professor Malfoy bleed in a bathroom, and he was able to excuse it away - mostly - because he’d been provoked.)
At least he gets his wand back. Jeongguk sends a little note via Friedrich, meet me in the dungeons in 5mins, and hands it to him all polished and stuff, as though brand-new out of the box.
Yoongi hugs him. It’s weird, and then Jeongguk hugs him back, and says I think Minjae’s a dick in this fierce little voice that makes Yoongi really upset for reasons he can’t quite pin down.
“We’re going to lose Saturday,” Damien says.
Gerry grunts, and buries his head in his NEWT-level Charms.
On Monday, Jimin gets a pitcher of water leviosa-d over his head, and when it falls it soaks both him and Taehyung walking beside him.
On Tuesday, Damien gets trousered by a gang of fifth-year Ravenclaws.
On Wednesday, Samantha’s bag gets stolen, and Yoongi spends five hours trying to summon all her revision notes back from awkward places in the castle.
On Thursday, some enterprising person hits Yoongi with a Fair-Weather Jinx, and he gets heat stroke and has to go to Seokjin and Namjoon for the counter-curse, and then has to go to the dorms and lie down with a cool cloth over his forehead.
On Friday, someone tries to set fire to Gerry’s Charms, and he punches them in the cheek.
On Saturday, Gerry gets detention for the rest of the year for assaulting another student.
On Saturday, they put on the green robes like they’re dressing for a funeral.
“If we win this, I’ll become Minister of Magic out of sheer joy,” Gerry says, standing in the shade of the changing room, buttoning the wrist cuffs of his leather gloves. “Just… do your best, okay?”
Yoongi walks out onto the pitch as though underwater, the shout of the rest of the school body nothing more than the sound of ripples against his ears. He can hear Seokjin and Namjoon fiercely yelling support, and Professor Malfoy not even trying to stop them; he can see the huge sparkling fireworks flinging from the Ravenclaw box courtesy of Jeongguk; he can see the remainder of Slytherin house, chanting and cheering, a huge paper-mache snake propped up on the end of sweeping-brush handles, being waved industriously in the air by the two firsties. Isobel and Alwyn, bless their hearts.
Gerry shakes hands with Chester, and the two teams fan out behind their captains. If Yoongi squints up at the Hufflepuffs, he would see Hoseok and Taehyung leading most of the rest of their team in a chant for the Slytherins, but he doesn’t look. He looks at the grass. Fuck.
And they try their best. For what it’s worth, they really, really do.
(Not to prove a point - but because Gerry, for all his ridiculous carrying-on, really cares about this. Win it for him. Try to.)
They try, anyway.
Damien falls off his broom when he knocks the Quaffle away from centre hoop, and Jimin swoops down to catch him before he hits the sand - Samantha keeps striking at the knot of Gryffindor Chasers, a supremely irritating Beater, and Gerry and Edie-Maude burn the sky green with their drop-pass, but it’s not like it’s any use.
Yoongi sees the Snitch before Chester does - years before Chester does.
It feels like he’s moving through treacle.
“Holy fuck, Min has sighted the Snitch! The score is fifty-ten to Gryffindor, the bastards, and Min has seen the Snitch!”
Yoongi tears upwards, the wind whipping wet from his eyes as he stretches out for it and if only they could win -
High above the pitch, high enough that nobody will be able to see what happens, he feels Chester slam his shoulder into Yoongi’s side, knocking him off course to such an extent that the snatch for the Snitch is lazy and triumphant before it’s even in Chester’s hand.
“You tried your best, I guess,” Chester says, looking down at Yoongi, the little Snitch wings stroking the air. “As though you’d ever fuckin’ win.”
Yoongi tosses him the bird, and feels sore and cold and empty that night in the Common Room, as everyone pretends Gerry isn’t sniffing into his NEWT revision notes.
“You’ll stay on the team next year,” Jimin says. He’s lying on Damien’s bed in the third-year boys’ dorms, watching Yoongi and Damien tossing clothes into their trunks. “Both of you will, right? We just need another Chaser to replace Gerry, and Derek already promised he would. You will stay. You gotta. Right?”
“I guess so,” Yoongi says, tucking his box of Frog cards into his trunk and kicking it shut. He’s wearing a hoodie he nicked off Jeongguk, the big Sex Pistols one, and even on him it’s too large, almost to his knees. Jeongguk had left it in the Common Room the night of the party, and Yoongi never got around to returning it - he’ll have to do that soon, even if it is warm and comfortable and safe.
“We’ll show them next year,” Jimin says.
Damien locks his trunk. “We’ll send the trophy to Gerry.”
It’s a slow and sombre procession of Slytherin House out to the train on the last day, as Gerry hugs them all and promises, voice thick in his throat, to write to them all and to invite them to his Quidditch games for the Lions.
It’s weird. Of course, Bethany had given Yoongi his scarf, and she’d been important to him, but Gerry had been the odd Prefect that adopted them all and taught them how to drink without vomiting at the end of the night, and how to play proper sportsman Quidditch, and how to cheat on your homework without any of the teachers noticing.
“We’ll write,” says Yoongi eventually, and all twenty-four remaining Slytherins nod.
(“Too good for the rest of us?” Chester yells, and gets ignored.)
Yoongi finds a carriage empty. Seokjin’s parents always lift him from school, and Namjoon takes the Knight Bus, and Hoseok’s gone home a week early - his nan took sick, or something. Yoongi feels like taking sick.
“Uh… seat free?”
And Jeongguk scuttles in, and he doesn’t say anything about the match Yoongi lost, or the hoodie Yoongi’s wearing. And when Yoongi falls asleep on the kid’s shoulder, halfway between Scotland and London, Jeongguk doesn’t wake him up to complain - he just buys him a pasty from the trolley lady, and waits for him to wake up before he offers it to him.
“Thanks,” Yoongi mumbles.
There’s a problem, and it’s Harry Potter’s fault, but not everyone buys into it.
“No bother,” Jeongguk says happily. He pulls out a deck of cards. “Wanna play snap?”