The corridor was long and packed with students and the castle was filled with the sound of chatter and booming laughter. It was all a blur of black robes and colourful ties.
It had only been a few days since the new year started. That meant he had a lot of work to do. Especially as first years kept running around in a frenzy in the search of their classrooms. It had only been a couple days, but he had already had to deal with at least seven eleven-year olds who had managed to get lost in the castle. He had to lecture them about the stairs yet again, had to explain that they had to be quick. The stairs move, he said to them as calmly as he could, the words already engraved in his mind from all the repeating, you have to hurry unless you want to end up somewhere else.
Another problem were all the fifth years. Only a few days in the school year, but most of them already looked perpetually stressed as classes started and the information for their upcoming O.W.L.s just started piling up. They were walking around with their books, reading in the hallways and bumping into other students, quietly chanting spells under their breaths. Just yesterday a Hufflepuff boy had accidentally set Mrs. Norris on fire. He doubted anyone minded that, the animal was as vicious as its owner. But he almost felt sorry for the students. He knew just how dreadful last year had been as he had been preparing and studying for his exams. It was a rather stressful experience.
Kyungsoo looked down at the mess in the corridor in front of himself and he couldn’t help but let out a quiet sigh.
That blur of black robes and colourful ties, the crowd of students – it parted. The moment he took his first step forward, they started moving to the sides of the hallway, making space for him to walk.
Some were ignoring him as he walked past them. Most of the younger students would throw curious glances at him before hurrying away.
Kyungsoo’s eyes glided over the crowd, making sure everything was safe and in order, despite the chaos in the hallway. He saw a young child just ahead of him, a deep crease between his eyebrows as he looked from one side of the corridor to the other. He was holding several books in his hands, a wand clumsily hanging from the side of his hand.
His tie was the colour of deep emerald, with thin silver stripes. Kyungsoo supressed the sigh and smiled instead.
“You seem to be lost.”
It wasn’t really a question. It was a fact, he could see it in the eyes of that little boy, as he startled and looked up to him.
“I have Charms next,” the kid said in a tiny voice. “But I can’t find the classroom.”
Kyungsoo leaned down then, putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder as he pointed the further side of the hallway.
“You have to go forward until you reach the stairways. You just need to go to the third floor and you’ll see the Charms corridor. The passage leads to the classroom.” He explained patiently. For good measure, he added, “Just be quick on the stairs, unless you want to end up somewhere else.”
The little kid beamed at him.
Kyungsoo watched as the kid dashed away in the pointed direction, robe flying behind him. Okay, good.
He waited until the first year from his house was out of his sight, before finally straightening up.
He had his own classes to attend, he had his own studying to do, his own friends to pay attention to. He hoped that after this first week things would settle down a bit, that the new kids would get used to the castle, that not many students would cause trouble.
Contrary to his wishes, the momentary silence that had been started by his appearance in the hallway was broken.
Suddenly, there were not so hushed whispers all around him, excited glances and necks craning to have a better view. Even the fifth years had abandoned their books in favour of staring.
Kyungsoo closed his eyes for a brief moment, as he sighed out.
There was only one thing that could cause such a reaction from the fellow students, only one person.
Kyungsoo raised his head and directed his eyes towards the commotion.
As expected, it was him.
Kim Jongin had just walked into the hallway and the mass of people was parting to let him pass through, very much like it had for him – for completely different reasons though.
While they feared and respected Kyungsoo because he was a prefect, they were looking up at Jongin with a different kind of admiration.
Kim Jongin, being half a veela, was possibly the most gorgeous human being Kyungsoo had ever seen in his life. With an air of grace that made him seem like he was gliding instead of walking, he was elegant. His skin was glowing (sometimes almost literally), golden and soft, and his face was just perfect – sharp jaw, straight nose, beautiful almond eyes and plump lips. His hair was something between white and silver. Kyungsoo couldn’t quite tell, it always looked different. But whatever it was, it looked damn good, casually tousled – or perpetually messy because of the wind blowing in his face at practice – and perfect. Just like everything else about Kim Jongin.
And that was the reason the students were parting just like the Red Sea. Kim Jongin was perfect. He was untouchable. And they let him move forward, nobody touching him, everybody hoping to be noticed. They all stared dreamily at him.
Except Kyungsoo, who noticed the way the students were starting to swarm together after Kim Jongin passed by them, gushing and staring.
Kyungsoo, who remained in his spot, even as Kim Jongin approached him. He didn’t budge from his place as the other sixth year reached him, a distracted look in his eyes and an absentminded smile pulling his lips.
“Hello, Do,” the veela said, his voice just as soft and warm as it had been at the end of last year. Perfect, just like everything else about him. “How was summer?”
“It was decent.” Kyungsoo answered blankly. He didn’t bother asking the other boy about his summer. He didn’t really care.
There was something else, though, that caught his attention.
A little copper pin on the front of the other student’s robe, a large, blue ‘C’ on top of it, partially hidden by the undone blue and bronze tie of Ravenclaw house. Kyungsoo almost frowned disapprovingly at the unproper uniform but looked up to the man’s face instead.
The Ravenclaw looked down to his robes, following Kyungsoo’s gaze. Then he looked up, smiling smugly.
“I know. Got it with my letters this summer.”
Cool, Kyungsoo supposed, eyes tracing the Quidditch Captain badge of Ravenclaw house for a mere moment. He wasn’t only a half-veela, the school’s best Chaser, everybody’s distraction, but also Quidditch Captain now? Kyungsoo couldn’t catch a break, could he?
“Congratulations,” he said dryly.
“Thanks.” Jongin said, a kind of oblivious to his disinterest smile, before raising an elegant hand to run his long fingers through that silver hair. “Well, gotta run. I’ll see you in Defence Against the Dark Arts.”
Kyungsoo just stared at him as he also walked away, all heads turning after him.
Kim Jongin truly was the most perfect being he had ever met and it would be a lie if he said he wasn’t affected in the slightest by him. No, he was. He was just as affected as everybody else.
However, unlike the others, he was not obnoxiously annoying about it.
He didn’t mean to glare, he really didn’t, as he turned around to stare at the students whose excited whispers had only gotten louder.
“Don’t you all have classes to go to?” he asked, raising his voice.
His strict voice seemed to have broken the spell cast by the half-veela, because everybody suddenly seemed to remember where they were and what they were supposed to be doing. And it was not gushing over their classmate. Definitely not.
Or maybe they were just afraid Kyungsoo would deduct points from their houses if they didn’t scatter.
Whatever the case, Kyungsoo finally breathed out in relief, as everybody started moving again, the hallway slowly clearing.
“You should come to the try outs tomorrow,” Sehun’s voice reached him before Sehun himself. The other Slytherin plopped himself down on the couch in the common room next to him with a very prominent frown.
“Who, me?” Kyungsoo raised his eyebrows.
“Yeah, you,” Sehun just looked at him blankly. “Kibum and Taeyeon graduated. We need to fill the Chaser positions. This is a nightmare.”
“I can’t be on the Quidditch team on top of everything else I’m doing,” Kyungsoo looked away from the Slytherin Quidditch Captain and back to his scroll with the essay on conjuring spells. He was falling behind on his homework and it was already stressing him out.
“And what is it exactly that you’re doing?”
Kyungsoo only spared a quick glance to the newcomer – a shorter boy with messy robes, as if deliberately messed up just to piss Kyungsoo off, and now red hair. Baekhyun was grinning down at him.
“Homework, is it?”
“Get a life, will you?”
Kyungsoo supposed he could see a lost cause when he looked at his barely started essay. Especially when Baekhyun sat down on the couch on his other side and threw an arm over his shoulders. Kyungsoo had to suppress the urge to reach out and fix that green and silver tie.
“Anyways, I hope someone decent shows up tomorrow,” Sehun sighed out eventually. “Baekhyun, you need to also come.”
“So you do value my opinion, don’t you?” Baekhyun coo-ed and Sehun just slapped his arm away. Inches away from Kyungsoo’s nose. “I knew you were a softie.”
“No,” Sehun straightened up. “But you have to also have an input. It’s your ass that the Beater will be defending out on the field.”
“My ass doesn’t need anything to defend it.”
“Tell that to the Bludgers.”
Kyungsoo rolled his eyes and shoved the Captain and the Seeker in the same time to get them to shut up.
“Don’t you all have something better to do than bother me with Quidditch?”
“No. Not really.”
“You’ll never pass your NEWTs like this,” Kyungsoo clicked his tongue in the same time Baekhyun groaned and Sehun rolled his eyes.
“Soo, the NEWTs are in another year and a half.”
“Exactly, and you can’t cram a year and a half worth of studying in two weeks before the exams. It’s just not gonna work.” Kyungsoo rolled his scroll and secured the cap on his ink. “You are gonna have to eventually hit the books or I will give you detention.”
“Power has changed you,” the Seeker grinned. “Besides, I’m pretty sure you can’t give me detention for not studying.”
“Cut the crap, Soo,” Sehun scoffed. “You can go give detention to others.”
Kyungsoo had to suppress the urge to blow them the raspberry. That wouldn’t be very prefect-like. But his two best friends of many years knew him by heart already, so they must have read the intent on his expression. They ended up stifling their chuckles behind him.
“Speaking of which, shouldn’t you actually be giving detention to others right now?” Baekhyun asked eventually. Kyungsoo blinked at him. “Your night rounds?”
Kyungsoo’s head snapped in the direction of the clock. 10:08.
“Shit,” he scrambled his papers and grabbed his wand from the table. He was late. “Gotta go!”
He was pretty sure Baekhyun was snickering behind him again, undoubtedly at the frantic look on his face. Sehun was smirking.
“Give ‘em hell.”
The castle was always quiet at this time. The hallways were empty of students. No chatter or laughter was resounding around him.
If anything, the flickering flames of the candles along the hallways were throwing dancing shadows on the walls, making the atmosphere seem somewhat dreary.
He passed by the Gryffindor prefect, Park Chanyeol, on the third floor and they acknowledged each other with a nod. Chanyeol was kind of dragging his feet and he wasn’t smiling his usually blinding smile, so Kyungsoo assumed he was tired. He wouldn’t be surprised, most of them were tired these days. Sixth year was not kind to them. All subjects were suddenly harder, all spells suddenly seemed impossible to do. So when Chanyeol didn’t really say anything and just smiled vaguely at him before dragging himself away, Kyungsoo completely understood.
He kept walking around by himself quietly, quite aimlessly. He was pretty sure he could hear distant singing. Peeves, most probably. No one else would dare be as loud at this hour, not when the professors and the prefects were on patrol at the hallways to make sure no students were breaking the curfew.
Kyungsoo had always thought that the night rounds were a ridiculous waste of time last year, all they had managed to succeed in was reduce his time for preparing for the OWLs.
Now, however, despite all the things he still had to catch up on, he didn’t feel like that anymore. The night rounds were the only time of the day he could actually walk around in silence alone with his thoughts, without getting interrupted by confused first years or some of his obnoxious housemates.
He had been wandering around for a while now, not really paying attention to the direction he was heading – it was easy to get lost in the castle, but Kyungsoo had been here for six years now. He wasn’t afraid he’d get lost.
He was surprised, though, when he looked around and realized he was in a part of the castle that he didn’t really frequent a lot. The fifth floor, walking up a spiral staircase. A tower.
The Ravenclaw tower.
Kyungsoo sighed out. He had wandered way too far away from Slytherin’s common room.
He was about to turn on his heel and return to the basement, to his common room, and maybe try to catch some sleep, but he saw something moving in the darkness.
He squinted lightly towards the end of the staircase, fingers pulling on his wand. He was either imagining things or there was something moving in front of him.
Maybe a ghost. Maybe Ravenclaw’s house ghost. The Grey Lady.
He moved up the spiral staircase. He really hoped it was the Grey Lady. He really didn’t want to deal with students out of bed now.
The flickering flames of the candles seemed too distant now, not really letting him see everything on the floor properly. He raised his wand.
“Lumos,” he said quietly. The spell illuminated the tip of his wand, and he had to squint his eyes when the sudden bright light filled the corridor.
“What the hell are you doing?”
Kyungsoo almost fell down the stairs at the surprised voice. He had to blink a few times to adjust to the light, before he made out the figure in front of himself. Closer than he had thought earlier.
He didn’t even need to look to recognize that voice, though – that sweet, alluring voice, despite the irritation lacing it.
Kyungsoo straightened up, lowering his wand from Jongin’s face.
That gave the Ravenclaw student time to adjust to the sudden light as well. He raised slender fingers up to rub on his eyes.
Kyungsoo took those few seconds to look at him – his silver hair was sticking out in all directions, more so than usual. He wasn’t wearing his school robes, he was wearing his blue and bronze Quidditch uniform, the number 88 printed in bronze letters on his blue jersey. He was wearing protective pads on his elbows and he seemed dirty. As in, specks of mud on his face and clothes dirty. Kyungsoo tried not to wrinkle his nose.
“Sorry about that,” he apologized curtly, lowering the wand even more. “What are you doing out here?”
Jongin finally looked at him realization spreading on his features. His eyebrows twitched in confusion.
“Me? What are you doing out here?”
“This is Ravenclaw Tower.”
“And I am a prefect.” Kyungsoo just raised his eyebrows. The veela gave him a look but then nodded reluctantly after his eyes lingered on the prefect badge on Kyungsoo’s chest. “So, will you give me a proper reason you’re out after curfew or should I deduct points from you?’
“Don’t do that,” Jongin said quickly. As an afterthought, he added. “Please.”
Kyungsoo just raised his eyebrows, yet again, and moved his wand impatiently, the light flickering around them. The veela just sighed out, his shoulders slumping down in defeat.
“I had Quidditch practice.”
“I can see that,” Kyungsoo’s eyes shot down towards the jersey. “But Quidditch practice doesn’t end at 10 pm.”
“I had to rush to detention after that.” Jongin frowned and Kyungsoo tried to ignore the fact that the veela looked completely breath-taking even when frustrated. He also tried to ignore the fact that he had gotten himself in detention so early on in the year. It was none of his business. “That’s why I’m asking you to not take anymore points from Ravenclaw. I’m just…late, that’s all.”
Kyungsoo heaved out a sigh. He really didn’t want to be the bitchy prefect who always caused trouble for his fellow students. However, it was ten pm, Jongin had broken curfew by a lot. Even with detention. It made no sense.
“Fine,” Kyungsoo breathed out, closing his eyes for a moment. “But you go in right now. If I catch you outside again, I will give you detention.”
“Thank you!” Jongin smiled down at him and Kyungsoo almost fell down the stairs for a completely different reason this time around – his legs felt weak at that beautiful smile that lit up the veela’s face. “Thank you, really. I appreciate that.”
Kyungsoo nodded absentmindedly, stepping down the staircase. He was about to turn his back to the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain, but when he noticed that he wasn’t even turning towards the Ravenclaw common room, he stopped again.
“Go in,” Kyungsoo said, sharper than before. He narrowed his eyes when Kim Jongin just let out a breath and looked away from him.
“About that,” he was avoiding his gaze, and he looked more than just frustrated. “I can’t.”
“I can’t enter.” Jongin said, quietly, and Kyungsoo’s eyebrows furrowed.
“Because-…” Jongin seemed angry with himself when he looked away again, arms fidgeting by his sides. “Because I can’t answer the riddle.”
He said that so quietly that Kyungsoo almost imagined he didn’t hear correct. He couldn’t answer the riddle?! Kim Jongin?!
Kyungsoo’s eyes flicked towards the large door with the enchanted lock, the door to the Ravenclaw common room. He’d never really been in there, and he had never tried answering the riddle, but he did know that it was not like the entrance to the other houses and their common rooms. To enter the Ravenclaw common room, its students had to answer riddles. They had to be quick witted and creative with their answers, they had to be intelligent and thoughtful.
And Kim Jongin, if the last five years at Hogwarts had been any sort of indicator, was definitely all that – he was the smartest Ravenclaw in their year. Hell, he was one of the smartest students in their year. Maybe the smartest one. He was one of Kyungsoo’s biggest rivals when it came to academic success. Rumours said that Jongin passed his OWLs with perfect scores. He wouldn’t doubt that.
So to think that he was sitting out here all alone, in an empty hallway in the middle of the night, because he couldn’t answer a riddle – now that seemed somewhat unreal. Kyungsoo almost let out a laugh, but judging by the half-veela’s expression, he was actually upset and frustrated with himself. Maybe he wasn’t joking.
“Oh, um-…” Kyungsoo’s eyes flashed towards the closed door again, then back to Jongin. The captain was pouting.
“I am tired,” he said without looking at Kyungsoo. Still. “I had practice, then detention, and all that school work. I am just tired and those damn riddles-…I don’t know.”
“I understand,” Kyungsoo mumbled quietly, walking up those two steps again, raising his wand towards the door. The eagle knocker seemed to be mocking him when he walked closer.
He flashed a look towards Jongin for a curt second, before a voice resounded around them.
“What is always in front of you, but you never see it?”
Kyungsoo blinked. It was the damn knocker, talking to him. Asking him for the answer. Giving him the riddle.
Kyungsoo opened his mouth, no sound coming out.
He heard a sigh next to himself and looked vaguely at the half veela. Jongin was frowning at the door, as if he held a personal vendetta against it.
“Air?” Kyungsoo asked him, but Jongin shook his head.
“Tried that. Not it,” the captain sighed. “I tried everything. I tried nothing, I tried glasses, lenses, different spells, double mirrors. Nothing worked.”
Kyungsoo pursed his lips, looking down at the enchanted lock. This was hell. He couldn’t believe Ravenclaw students had to go through this every day. He had enough trouble forgetting the password changed for Gryffindor tower every few months, let alone a riddle every time he wanted to go to bed. Ridiculous.
In front of you, but you never see it. He frowned. In front of you, but you never see it…
“The future?” Kyungsoo said unsure, intimidated by a stupid door.
He didn’t expect to hear two things – a lock clicking and a half veela beside him letting out a sharp breath.
“Of course,” Jongin said, a hand flying up to smack himself on the forehead. “How didn’t I think of that?!”
Kyungsoo was just as surprised that he actually guessed the answer to the riddle. He gave the now slightly open door a nasty look. This was tricky. This was very inconvenient and tricky.
“That’s certainly…a temperamental door.”
“You have no idea.” Jongin scoffed, looking down at him. “I-…uh…thank you.”
Kyungsoo nodded absentmindedly, trying not to mind the fact that Jongin, despite everything, still looked dejected and frustrated. Maybe he couldn’t bear that someone else had managed to open the door he had been struggling with for an hour. Especially someone who was not a Ravenclaw.
“Don’t mention it,” Kyungsoo said, straightening and walking away. Before he started descending down the stairs, he turned to stare at the quidditch captain and threaten him that he’d take points from him if he didn’t go in immediately, but Jongin just raised his muddy hand up in a quick wave with a small smile, before pushing the door to Ravenclaw’s common room open and disappearing from his sight.
Kyungsoo just shook his head and let out a breath, starting to walk down the stairs and back to Slytherin’s common room.
He tried not to let the little victorious smirk take over his face, but he failed.
One would have thought that after having lived for sixteen years now, he would have gotten used to the stares. Alas, it was still burdensome and straight-up creepy when people just looked at him with slack jaws and unmoving eyes. Flattering, of course, but really exhausting. It was hard having people stare at you all the time.
The younger students were always the worst. Especially first years who were seeing him for the first time. They’d slow down their pace down the hallway and look at him with open mouths and wide eyes. The other day some kid bumped into another one that had been practicing spells. It had resulted with the hospital wing and Madam Pomfrey giving Jongin, of all people, an earful. As if it was his fault that he was who he was.
His mom was a veela, long locks of flowing, silky silver hair that he had inherited from her, and such soft and delicate features that even at her age she looked like a painting. Jongin, having her genes, was bound to look the way he did. He knew he was handsome. He knew he was beautiful and attractive.
And to be fair, for a student his age, it was easy to let it get to his head. In his previous years at Hogwarts, he had enjoyed all the attention. He liked being liked, he liked having admirers.
However, last year, while preparing for his OWLs, he had realized that his beauty was not only a blessing – it was also a nightmare. Every time he wanted to focus on his schoolwork, he couldn’t - there were people around him, whispering, staring at him, talking to him. He had had to resort to hiding in his dorm room with books from the library. He had completely mastered the Muffliato charm – just so he could have some peace and quiet and pay attention to his studies.
And this year was no different – it hadn’t started long ago but the NEWT level classes were so much harder than before and every free second Jongin had, every moment he wasn’t in classes or at the Quidditch field, he tried to spend studying. At this point, he’d get irritated when people interrupted him then. When they stared and looked and talked. And gods knew how scary a veela could get when irritates and angry. Even if it was just half a veela.
“Do you know the answer to this one?” Yixing pushed the book towards him in the quiet library. Jongin flashed the question a look. It was about the characteristics of inferi. Foul creations. Jongin wrinkled his nose, before nodding.
“They’re corpses, dead bodies controlled by a dark wizard’s magic.”
Yixing frowned at the book, a deep crease between his eyebrows.
“Then how are they any different from Dementors?”
Jongin pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Well, for starters – dementors aren’t corpses. They’re creatures.”
“They are?” Yixing seemed beyond stressed when he looked down at his scroll in absolute horror.
“Yep. They’re not dead. They’re just nasty,” Jongin shrugged. “And nobody controls them. They have their own will.”
“Merlin,” Yixing groaned, pulling out his wand and directing it towards the scroll. “This is all wrong then. I have to start all over again.”
Jongin pursed his lips in compassion, before returning his attention to the Herbology book. He still had no idea how to fight a Venomous Tentacula, and he supposed there were other ways than stunning the stupid plant with a spell. He was sure there’d be something in the book, so he started reading again.
It was always nice to study with Yixing. The Hufflepuff was mostly quiet and mostly very confused all the time, and he didn’t seem to care about the fact that Jongin was dragging them to the most hidden corners in the library just to avoid curious eyes. He didn’t mind helping him either – Yixing was the single kindest person he had met in Hogwarts.
So when Yixing sighed out, dejected, once his scroll was empty of any scribbles, Jongin gave him another little smile – as encouraging and uplifting as he could. He watched the Hufflepuff leaning down with his feather to start his essay again. Jongin returned his eyes on the book. He still had about an hour before Quidditch practice and he planned on using it all to catch up.
Jongin wasn’t in the best mood when he woke up that morning. Memories of last night’s try outs for the Quidditch team bothered him. Some first years were showing up, just so they could stare at him, even when they all knew first years weren’t allowed on the team. The bleachers were full and people were calling out his name from the stands, distracting him while he was trying to observe the new players. Minseok, the team’s Keeper, got hit in the head with a bat when one of the guys trying out for a Beater raised it to wave at Jongin when he caught him looking in his direction. He had had to step in to stop Minseok from jinxing the kid.
So to say he wasn’t thrilled would be an understatement. Especially when the chatter in Ravenclaw’s airy common room died out when he descended down the stairs from the dorms with his bag thrown over his shoulders and a frown etched on his lips. All eyes were on him, stupid dazed smiles were dancing on people’s faces – they all were oblivious to the fact that he was actually upset.
He stormed out of the door and headed down to the basement and the largest dungeon where he’d have his first class for the day. Potions. As if the day wasn’t bad enough already, he had Potions to deal with now. It was possibly his least favourite subject.
Hells, if he could skip it, he would. But he wanted to become a Healer someday, and he couldn’t do that without getting an Outstanding at his NEWTs. And in case that didn’t work out, well…he supposed he could always get a job as the conductor of the Knight Bus or a dishwasher in the Leaky Cauldron. He was screwed.
He was busy drowning in self-pity and self-hatred, already imagining how he was the dumbest Ravenclaw to ever live, that he just barged inside the classroom and sat down at the furthest corner of the table, ignoring his fellow sixth year advanced Potions students coming in.
His mind was scattered when the class started, the atmosphere gloomy because of those creepy jars all over the walls with floating animals and plants inside them. It made him feel even more down than he already did.
They were working on Polyjuice Potion this term. Allegedly, one of the hardest potions to prepare. The instructions on the blackboard that the Professor had scribbled down earlier were already confusing enough and they hadn’t even started yet.
Jongin let go of his wand with a sigh and picked up the measuring set instead.
It was a tedious task – measuring everything to absolute perfection and then stirring the exact number of times unless he wanted to set himself on fire – or worse, someone else. His frown was deepening the more he progressed.
The potion was supposed to be a light liquid after the end of the previous step, green in colour because of the knotgrass, but his was brown and thick and the steam coming out from it had an unpleasant smell.
He was pretty sure all instructions had been followed properly, so he gave up with a sigh and decided to continue anyways. He picked the leeches one by one, putting them inside the cauldron and watching the colour of his potion changing – a disaster. He was pretty sure the potion wasn’t supposed to be becoming black.
This day really sucked.
And it sucked even more when someone poked him at the shoulder.
Jongin’s entire self-control crumbled at that.
“What now?” he almost bared his teeth in annoyance. “I’m handsome? I’m pretty? I know that, I don’t need you to tell me. I fucking know.”
The boy in front of him looked at him with surprise in his eyes for barely a few seconds, before his lips pulled back and he scoffed. Was it disdain that filled his eyes? He seemed dumbfounded.
Which was a first, because Jongin had never seen Slytherin’s prefect looking dumbfounded. Not Do Kyungsoo.
Shit, Jongin frowned even more when he realized that it was DO freaking KYUNGSOO that he had snapped at. The damn prefect. There went his Thursday nights, he was definitely getting detention for this.
“I just wanted to tell you you’re about to mess up your potion,” Do Kyungsoo said, voice calm and collected despite what Jongin had said, chin jerking towards Jongin’s cauldron. “You added 5 leeches. You’re only supposed to add 4.”
Jongin’s eyebrows shot up as he looked at his cauldron in horror.
“You can still take one out, I guess.” Do Kyungsoo shrugged absentmindedly, looking away from his cauldron and looking back at his own potion.
Jongin reached down in his cauldron, trying to move the damn leech with the measuring spoon. Somehow, he managed to pull it out without creating an even bigger mess. He did earn himself a disapproving glance from the Professor but that was about it.
He let out a tired sigh. His head hurt from everything, he was just so stressed.
His eyes shot towards Do Kyungsoo and how he was calmly stirring his potion while adding crushed lacewing flies in his cauldron. Now, his potion looked good – a flowing liquid, brown in colour, bubbling happily above the flames.
And Jongin felt his frown taking over his face again.
He was the Ravenclaw. He was supposed to be the smart one. He was supposed to help others.
Not the other way around.
He shouldn’t have been lectured by a Slytherin. He most certainly shouldn’t have let a Slytherin open the Ravenclaw tower for him.
It was unfair, yes, but instead of being grateful he felt frustrated with Do Kyungsoo. Frustrated and mostly confused, because why the hell did the prefect not like him like everybody else did? It was obvious in the way he acted that Jongin wasn’t his favourite classmate.
And to someone like Jongin, who was used to being liked even if he didn’t always appreciate it, it was odd that there was someone who didn’t like him. Someone who looked at him with that displeased look in his eyes.
Someone like Do Kyungsoo.
Jongin let out a sharp breath, looking away from the Slytherin.
He did not have time for this. He had a potion to deal with.
It was the third week of November and sitting in the high spectator towers of the Quidditch field was not the most pleasant of all experiences when the wind was sharply blowing in his face and making his cheeks feel numb. Kyungsoo pulled the emerald and silver striped scarf up to cover his nose as he focused on the brooms zooming across the field.
He wouldn’t have done this to himself if it wasn’t the first match of the season for Slytherin. It was the first game they were playing this year, against Ravenclaw, and Kyungsoo had come not only to support his house, but also his friends.
He needed the binoculars to keep a closer look at the players – Sehun seemed to be holding the Quaffle tightly almost every time he looked at him, and he seemed to be scoring most out of all Chasers on the field.
Baekhyun was hovering above everybody else, eyes as sharp as an eagle, as he looked all around the field, trying to spot the little, golden Snitch.
Kyungsoo cheered with the crowd every time Slytherin scored. He refrained himself from booing when Ravenclaw did. He was, after all, a prefect.
Quidditch was fun to watch. Kyungsoo himself wasn’t that confident on a broom – he preferred solid ground underneath his feet. He did, however, play around with Sehun and Baekhyun sometimes. They said he was good. He didn’t really believe them. He did, however, appreciate the sport. It was fun to watch the balls flying across the field, the players flying in formations, the Beaters sending the temperamental Bludgers as far away as possible from their team mates. It was certainly fun to watch the Seekers suddenly grip the handles of their brooms and dive after something that no spectator could see – the golden Snitch that would end the game.
Baekhyun, however, was still slowly hovering above the other players on his broom, eyes still as sharp as ever, as he kept looking around. The Ravenclaw Seeker was also carefully observing the field.
Kyungsoo cheered when Slytherin scored another ten points, Sehun successfully twisting around on his broom to avoid Ravenclaw’s Chasers before luring their Keeper to the left post and then throwing the Quaffle through the middle hoop instead. The Slytherin tower cheered loudly. Kyungsoo smiled at his friend.
He picked up his binoculars when he saw the Ravenclaw Chasers and Beaters gathering together. He narrowed his eyes as he focused on Ravenclaw’s Captain – a certain silver haired beauty with a concentrated look in his eyes as he said something to his team, motioning around the field.
Kyungsoo watched as the Quaffle was thrown back in the game and the match continued. He watched at Ravenclaw’s Beaters swinging their bats and directing the Bludgers towards Sehun and Joy. Joy managed to duck just before the Bludger hit her. Sehun wasn’t as lucky.
Kyungsoo winced when the Bludger hit his friend in the arm and judging by the sudden arch of Sehun’s usually stoic eyebrows and the sharp movement of his lips, he was sure the other was cursing. He didn’t fall from his broom or anything. He just winced in pain and turned to scream something at Slytherin’s Beaters.
Kyungsoo bit on his lower lip when he returned his attention to the Quaffle. It was now in Jongin’s slender fingers, tucked securely between his body and elbow as he made his way through the field, the wind blowing in his face as he increased the speed of his broom, trying to avoid all players with green capes.
He was smiling – the dazed smile of a person caught up in what they were doing and Kyungsoo saw Slytherin’s Beater lowering his bat at the sight of Jongin zooming past him.
Kyungsoo lowered his binoculars and shook his head when Jongin scored ten points for Ravenclaw, the opposite side of the field erupting in victorious cheers.
He was pretty convinced they’d put Jongin on the team because all the other players would get distracted when he flied by them.
That, and he was a damn good player. Kyungsoo had to reluctantly admit that. Probably the best Chaser from the current teams in the school.
He was quick and smart, an awfully big advantage in Quidditch – he knew how to predict the situations, he knew how to move forward gracefully at full speed. He was elegant and stable on his broom, escaping the grasp of his opponents with a single twist and the slightest change in direction. It was no wonder he was so great at it.
The game was fair. When the Seekers dove in after the Snitch, everybody in the stands collectively held their breath. Ravenclaw’s seeker was a tiny girl, a fifth ear with her pitch-black hair pulled up in a ponytail and an innocent and beautiful face – Irene, was it? She was, however, nothing like her face as she shoved Baekhyun out of her way.
The game ended with Jongin scoring yet another goal for Ravenclaw and her stretching her arm out with the golden snitch shining between her fingers.
Kyungsoo wasn’t mad. Quidditch was just a game. Sure, that gave Ravenclaw advantage with the points for the House cup and the Quidditch cup, but there were plenty of other games coming up. Slytherin could make up for this one loss.
He definitely wasn’t mad when his binoculars caught Jongin’s wide smile – his skin was glowing more than usual, emanating a faint light – he was literally goddamn beaming. He was so beautiful when he was smiling brightly like this, so beautiful when he was happy.
Kyungsoo almost forgot he was in another house and almost rooted for Ravenclaw. That would have definitely earned him several funny looks.
He pulled the binoculars away, a lopsided smile stretching his lips when he looked towards Slytherin’s players. Sure, they were dejected, and sure he’d have to listen to Sehun and Baekhyun ranting about this for weeks, but it was alright.
It was all good.
Kyungsoo had been stuck in the library for over two hours now, trying to understand just how the human transfiguration spells were supposed to work, but his brain was getting exhausted from reading and not understanding a single word. He was getting tired.
He looked up at the sudden whispers. Whispers always meant one thing.
He was right. Kim Jongin.
He watched the Ravenclaw entering the library, three books in his hands and a kind, dazed smile on his lips. Kyungsoo almost cursed at the sight of it, memories of that Potions class coming back to him.
He remembered the frown on Kim Jongin’s face, the obvious fury in his eyes when he had snapped at him. He obviously knew how good he looked. And he was obviously tired of people only talking about it.
Kyungsoo supposed he kind of understood. It probably sucked to always have people hit on you all the time. He couldn’t really relate, but he could imagine.
But it wasn’t a scowl on his face anymore, it was a kind smile on his lips as he returned the books to the librarian and she flicker her wand and they floated back to their respective aisles. A kind smile that accentuated the beauty of his face even further. Kyungsoo supposed life was just unfair – some people had it good. Their biggest problem was having too many admirers. Tragic.
He tried not to startle when Kim Jongin’s bright eyes turned and stared right at him, piercing through his soul. He felt shivers running up his spine when the veela smiled a little bit more – he’d been caught.
He felt even more unsettled when the Ravenclaw didn’t look away from him but instead stepped in his direction once. Twice. Then more and more until he was standing in front of him by the table and looking at him with those breathtakingly beautiful eyes.
“Hey, Do,” he greeted with his beautiful, honey-like voice.
“Kim.” Kyungsoo nodded curtly, the silence (sans those annoying whispers from the neighbouring tables) deafening. He cleared his throat and looked away, not able to withstand Jongin’s gaze anymore. “Uh…congratulations. For the game.”
“Thank you,” the Ravenclaw beamed briefly, before his smile disappeared and his slender fingers danced on the chair in front of Kyungsoo. “May I?”
Kyungsoo tried not to show his surprise as he wove his hand towards the chair absentmindedly and Jongin pulled it back to sit down in front of him. His lips weren’t pulled in a smile anymore and surprisingly, he wasn’t looking at him either. If anything, he seemed nervous.
“I wanted to apologize for before.” The half-veela said quietly, eyes shooting towards him. “It was very rude of me to snap at you like that for no reason. The more I think about it, the more embarrassed I am for lashing out like this.”
Kyungsoo blinked. He hadn’t been expecting that, but it was a nice thing to do. To apologize for acting like an asshole before. Damn Kim Jongin and everything about him – from his perfect face to his perfect personality. Kyungsoo wanted to find one shitty thing about him, one human thing about him that would make him feel better. Alas.
“I was just really tired that day, and I was really behind on all my schoolwork, nothing seemed to work out and on top of that, people had been following me around since the try outs the day before and just-…I don’t know. I’m sorry. Really.”
“No, it’s-…uh, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it,” Kyungsoo said, absentmindedly closing his books. Why was he closing his books? He still needed them. Jongin’s reassured smile was distracting, before the half veela looked down at his own fingers again, fidgeting in his seat.
“I actually wanted to ask you one more thing.”
Kyungsoo almost sighed out. What now? Why was Kim Jongin talking to him now? They’d barely talked over a total of fifteen minutes in the last five years so why was he talking to him so much now? It was stressing him out.
“Potions.” Jongin said finally, a defeated sigh following the one word spoken with disdain.
“Potions?” Kyungsoo repeated, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “What about Potions?”
“You seem to be good at Potions,” Jongin said, voice lower than before and eyes shooting in all directions but Kyungsoo’s face. It was obvious how reluctant he was to speak about this. “And I’m just…. not that great. I was wondering if you could possibly…help me?”
Not that great? Kyungsoo almost laughed out loud. Kim Jongin had been the only student beside him who had actually managed to brew the Draught of the Living Death in the beginning of the term and that was admirable. Sure, it was obvious it wasn’t his favourite subject, and sure it was obvious that he was maybe struggling with it, but not that great? That was a reach.
He seemed to sense Kyungsoo’s bewilderment from the stretched-out moment of silence, because he looked up, an almost pleading look in his gorgeous eyes. Kyungsoo had to bite the inside of his cheek.
“I want to be a Healer someday,” the half-veela said, sounding solemn. “But I need high scores on my NEWTs in order to do that.”
A Healer? Kyungsoo sighed. Of course Jongin wanted to become a Healer. He could already imagine how great he would be at it. Damn Ravenclaws and their need to always prove themselves.
“The NEWTs aren’t for another year,” he decided to repeat Baekhyun’s words from before, despite him disputing them himself.
He also saw the dejection fall on Jongin’s face at the sound of that. His face lost its kind glow and the look in his eyes shifted from hopeful to disappointed to almost cold. Wow.
“So you’re not going to help me?” he asked, and Kyungsoo blinked at the sudden change.
He didn’t reply straight away. Instead, his eyes shifted down to the books in his hands.
“Did I say that?” Kyungsoo muttered, noting the immediate glint of hope shining in Jongin’s eyes again. “I’m going to help you, but-…I don’t really think I can do much.”
“I got an Exceeding Expectations at the OWLs,” Jongin scoffed cynically, as if that was the biggest disappointment and failure in his life. “I suck at Potions, alright?”
If that was the case, then Kyungsoo sucked at Transfiguration and Divination. In his defence, though, Divination had been a waste of time. Not Potions, though. He got an Outstanding at the Potions exam. He didn’t voice his thoughts out loud, but instead tapped his book.
“Fine then,” Kyungsoo said, pushing the book towards Jongin across the table. “But you’ll help me with this in return.”
Jongin pulled the book, taking less than two seconds to scan the cover and nod confidently.
“Transfiguration?” he looked up and when Kyungsoo nodded, the veela smiled, a glow appearing on his golden skin. “Deal.”
Kyungsoo felt some relief filling his chest. Maybe he wouldn’t completely fail in life if the only student in their year who was on par with him helped him with his spells. Maybe that was a clean-cut deal.
“Great,” Kyungsoo gathered his books and stood up from the table. “We’ll talk about when we can meet to study later. I have to go now. Prefect stuff.”
“Yeah, me too. Captain stuff,” Jongin stood up from the table, a playful smile on his lips when he shrugged. “Duty calls.”
Kyungsoo tried not to glare at the students who were still whispering around them and now looking at him as well, not only Jongin. It made him feel uncomfortable, having everybody look at him. He clutched his books.
“I’ll see you later, then.”
“Yeah,” the half-veela agreed. “See you later.”