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House of Cards 3 - A BTS x Hogwarts AU

Chapter Text

 

 The Bird Fights Its Way Out of the Egg
The Egg is the World...

Who'll be Born Must First Destroy a World...

The Bird Flies to God
That God's name is... Abraxas

 

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Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Alexandre Desplat - Snape’s Demise

 

Taehyung sat shell shocked, blue eyes wide. How was this possible?

He gulped nervously, lips quivering.

‘Abraxas?’ He called in a soft voice.

‘Yes Taehyung?’ The silvery voice spoke again.

Was this real? Was it really Abraxas?

‘How… how are you speaking to me?’

‘Because I'm just a fleeting soul. I can converse to people through their minds. The mind is attached to your soul after all,’

‘I don't get it. You are a soul? Are you dead?’

‘No… I never died. Because my soul never left the realm of the living,’

Taehyung’s eyebrows knitted. What did that mean? ‘All this is very confusing. I don't understand anything,’ Tae whispered.

‘It's alright, this isn’t something one can grasp easily, it will take time to understand. But slowly, with careful thought, you will be able to,’

‘Can you talk with anyone in their mind?’

‘Not just anyone… I need that person to pull me towards them. And I need the support of a few alchemic spells. Only then am I able to communicate,’

‘What alchemic spells?’

‘Your father, he’s helping me reach you. Your blood flows through him after all. And since your mind is searching for me as well, I could finally form a strong connection and speak to you,’

Taehyung gulped, wondering, if Abraxas was in his mind, was he able to know his thoughts? After all, he knew Taehyung was thinking about him…

‘What’s wrong Taehyung?’

‘I… I don’t know if I can trust you,’

‘Have I given you any reason to distrust me?’

‘I can’t see you. How do I even know this is real… or you are who you say you are,’

‘I’m in no hurry Taehyung. You can ask me whatever you want, and I will answer you,’

‘My father, what’s he doing with you? I didn’t know he had joined the guild,’

‘He’s seen us for who we are. He and his close friends, people he trusts, we are all part of the guild now. He misses you, your father,’

Taehyung didn’t answer to that.

‘You must forgive him Taehyung. He loves you as a father does. He was just...misguided,’

‘I don’t believe that,’ Taehyung replied.

‘I hope one day you do. He misses you dearly. But, I think our time is over for today, I will leave you now. You need time to think on your own,’

There was a long moment of silence before Taehyung called for him again, ‘Abraxas?’

There was no answer. He didn’t know what to do. His heartbeat thudded fast inside him. Had he really spoken to someone who was 800 years old? He wanted to talk to him more, even if he was nervous. Taehyung did not know if he should tell anyone about this. The thought of telling others made him feel claustrophobic, of how everyone will make a mountain out of this situation and probably even involve Dumbledore and his mother. He finally decided not to tell anyone, at least till he learns more. He was going to be careful.

He went down to the clubroom where Jimin was on the sofa. The boy was removing his small earrings and putting them in a box.

‘What’s up?’ Taehyung sat next to him and looked into the box where Jimin’s beloved rings were. ‘Why are you removing your favourite accessories?’

‘They’re silver,’ Jimin said in a heavy voice.

‘So?’

Jimin stretched his fingers out and Taehyung saw how his skin looked red and slightly blistered where his rings had been. He slowly brushed Jimin’s dark hair away from his ears and saw the same redness there.

‘Silver is deadly to werewolves,’ Jimin said in that same grave tone. ‘The full moon is approaching again,’

Taehyung took his hand, slightly running his fingers over the marks and Jimin smiled.

‘The cold feels nice against the itch,’ the older said.

‘I can do this all day if you need, whatever it takes to make you feel better,’

‘I can’t believe it’s actually happening. There’s no cure… As more months pass, I will eventually transform into a full werewolf. It could even happen his month,’

Taehyung sat back on the sofa. They needed a miracle, because Jimin did not deserve any of this. And Taehyung was ready to search the ends of the earth for that miracle. In all the magical spells and potions in the world, there could definitely be something that cures everything. Heck they even had something that made people immortal-

‘Wait,’ Taehyung sat up and Jimin looked at him. ‘The Philosopher’s Stone,’

A stillness settled between them, like a confirmation that their thoughts match. Their eyes showed that one sliver of hope. Jimin couldn’t believe Taehyung thought of the same as him, but still, he shook his head, knowing that Taehyung would have to be involved in it’s creation.

‘It’s far fetched.’ Jimin said. ‘We don’t know if it cures Lycanthropy,’

‘The Philosopher’s Stone brought dead people back to life in the Red War. I think it can cure a venom running through someone’s veins,’

‘And how are we going to find it? We don’t even know if the Philosopher’s Stone can be created,’

‘I think it can be,’ Taehyung was smiling now. He could help Jimin. He could finally help his friends instead of putting them in trouble. That night Jimin was attacked because the Death Eaters came for Taehyung… and how he finally had the power to reverse all the damage.

‘But what’s the cost of creating it?’ Jimin asked him gravely. For whatever hope and relief Jimin had felt at the possibility of a cure, he was not about to let Taehyung fall into the hands of evil magicians for his sake.

*

At the abandoned yellow city on the shores of Southern Europe

‘Thank you Martaeus, that will be all,’ Abraxas’ thin voice echoed in the ancient circular chamber of limestone. The beautiful arches had golden writings of a forgotten language marking the rims of it. Martaeus stood up from his kneeling position on the floor, holding his bleeding hand where a gash ran across his left palm. He looked slightly exhausted, lines under his eyes, a growing grey stubble, a tired posture. The blood from his hand was used to mark a symbol around the black raven, perched in the middle of the room. This very symbol is what connected Abraxas’ mind to Taehyung, with the help of his father’s blood. The raven blinked it’s red eyes, cocking it’s head from one side to the other, watching Martaeus expression. The man’s blue eyes seemed turbulent.

‘You’ve joined us but you don’t seem convinced,’ Abraxas spoke.

‘I want to see my son again,’ Martaeus spoke to the bird.

‘You will, I promise you. Have patience Martaeus,’ the bird’s beak didn’t move but the voice was certainly originating from it. ‘I know he will join us. We must work together, this vessel will not last much longer,’

‘And once you have your own body, we can go our own ways?’ Martaeus asked.

‘I haven’t kept you a prisoner here Martaeus,’ Abraxas said. ‘You’re here because you need me and I need you. I’m not your enemy,’

‘He’s right Martaeus,’ Serafin spoke from the side, her orange eyes earnestly looking at her old friend. ‘Be with us, you’ll not regret it,’

*

The next day, Taehyung went back to the window of the Astronomy tower, eager to speak to Abraxas again. He sat the same way he had and closed his eyes, calling out to him in his mind. It felt slightly stupid but this was all he could do.

Hello again, Taehyung.

Taehyung opened his eyes for a moment, feeling exhilarated. He smiled slightly and shut his eyes again.

‘You knew I’d call again?’

I was hoping so. What can I do for you today?

‘Where are you? What have you been doing for the past 800 years?’

Trying to survive… The Red War took a toll on me Taehyung. Your ancestor, along with his allies, they destroyed my body. They thought they killed me but my soul remained alive, thanks to the Philosopher’s Stone.

‘So it’s real!? The stone is real, it’s possible to make it?’

It is real. And I’m the only person alive who knows how to make it.

‘Can it… can it really do anything? It’s known as the elixir of life, can it make you immortal? Can it heal any disease?’

It can. When they came for me at the end of the war, I had almost depleted the powers of the stone in trying to save myself and keep my army going. With whatever was left of it, I saved my soul so that I could live on and one day get my old body back. The truth is Taehyung, I’m not going to survive much longer. With each passing year, I consume more of the stone’s powers in me. I’m down to the last drop. That’s why I want to create the stone again, so that I can have my human body back, so that alchemists can practice their skills freely and help people. Do you know how useful alchemy is to sure diseases?

‘I hardly know anything about alchemy…’

This wizarding world is governed by the wrong hands… by wizards who are scared of anything unknown. They are cowards, hiding in ignorance. It makes me feel sorry for the people under them. When my body was living, it was different. There was freedom.

‘And you believe you can change the world if you have the stone?’

I’ve seen this world try to rebuild itself over and over again with every dynasty that rose and fell. I’ve seen the impact of Grindelwald. I’ve seen this country try and recover from Voldemort’s terror and even after 9 years of his absence, I feel they still live in fear. I’ve seen more than any other living being. I’ve learned from my mistakes and the mistakes of many others.

Abraxas saw the incapability of the Ministry, the ‘seat of power’ for the entire wizarding world. Every ministry in the world failed to put an end to Voldemort. That’s when Abraxas decided, it was time to overpower the Ministry.

He told him more about the guild, their functions and purpose. He told that all the designs for the philosopher’s stone were in his’ mind. He does not trust anyone to whom he could reveal that knowledge. Fear of what happened last time was still in him. He wanted to create this stone earlier, but the moment never came that 4 Elkyres were alive together. The world saw wars, bloodshed and Abraxas felt a disturbance within him that he could’ve put at end to it all if he still had the stone.

Taehyung couldn’t help but feel himself slightly agree with him. Abraxas wanted a better world. And Abraxas was offering him a place along with the others who would mould this new world with freedom being their essence.

It was so overwhelming, sometimes he wondered what was Abraxas even talking about… how was a boy supposed to help in shaping a new world? Taehyung barely even knew half of the spells in his current portion.

You’re quiet Taehyung. Is something the matter?

‘I don’t think I’m as powerful as you say I am Abraxas. I’m just a student-

Yet you can duel Dumbledore if you wish to, and it would probably be an even match. That’s your true potential, like your ancestor who controlled 3 elements.

Taehyung looked at his hands, lines of silver swirled on his fingertips. To match a wizard like Dumbledore? That’s impossible…

‘Tae?’ He heard Jimin call for him and turned back. The dark haired boy came in, bearing what looked like the Daily Prophet in hand.

‘Tae, you won’t believe what they’ve printed,’ He pushed the paper into Taehyung’s hands.

*

‘Elkyres?!’ Hoseok said out loud, making his father look up from sipping his morning tea. Hoseok was holding the Daily Prophet, eyes reading the article in bewilderment.

What the fuck...

The article accompanied a picture of a beautiful woman, in red hair and cinnamon skin who seemed to be the main subject of the interview - WHO ARE ELKYRES AND WHY IS THE MINISTRY OPPRESSING THEM?

‘What is it Hoseok?’ His father asked. ‘Why do you look so shocked?’

‘Nothing dad,’ Hoseok pretended.

‘Doesn’t seem like nothing,’

Hoseok gave in and sat across his father on the dining table in their cozy and quaint kitchen in warm hues of yellows against wood. His father had bewitched some of the equipments to work on it’s own and currently the kettle was near to a whistle with their morning tea.

‘Dad,’ He asked, looking at his father, who’s face structure Hoseok had inherited. ‘Can you tell me anything about Elkyres?’

‘Why the sudden interest?’

‘I read about them in my Alchemy class,’

‘Did you?’

‘Is there a reason I shouldn't?’

‘Elkyres come under an advanced branch of Alchemy. They don’t teach you alchemy beyond the primary level,’

‘And you would know that because you work in the Department of Mysteries. Why is Alchemy such a mystery? Is it really true that the Ministry is scared of this branch of magic?’ Hoseok showed the paper to his father.

‘Alchemy is a complex magic,’ his father started to say, ‘Some of its methods are ethically questionable so its practice is watched over,’

‘And elkyres were prosecuted?’

‘That was nearly 2 centuries ago,’

‘Well, there hasn’t been another elkyre since 200 years,’

‘You seem to know a lot about this,’ his father regarded him with suspicion. Hoseok dropped his gaze, pretending to read something else in the paper.

‘Who told you all this? About the Elkyres?’

‘Emina and Namjoon read a lot,’ Hoseok said.

His father didn’t reply to that. But continued looking at him curiously. So Hoseok decided to ask the questions now.

‘So, do you know her? This woman?’ He shows him the paper. His father looked at the picture through his square spectacles while his mind worked on how much he should tell his son.

‘Yes,’ he finally said. ‘I know of her. The article lists her as Serafin. Her real name is Saira. And she was born in 1912 in Egypt. She was involved in some serious arsonist acts and she had been fleeing from one country to another,’

‘1912???’ Hoseok was shocked. ‘She’s nearly old as Dumbledore! She doesn’t look it at all!’

‘Her elkyric blood keeps her young. If you see her, you’ll know that Elkyres over time develop a different… look. Their features reflect their element like her flaming red hair and red eyes. I’ve heard her hair moves like tongues of flame in real life… and if you touch her, you’ll burn. But I think that’s all fable,’

‘Do you have records about all Elkyres in the ministry?’

‘Yes,’

‘Is she the last one?’

‘No.There was one recorded after her. An Amazonian man, probably younger than her. We never found him to have an actual interrogation but plenty of people have reported him. And…’

‘And?’

‘We were told to open another file… the investigation is still going on for it so we don’t have much to fill in. But they said it’s for… an ice Elkyre,’

Hoseok’s eyes widened just a bit. He couldn’t show the instant fear he felt, not yet.

‘An ice Elkyre? When… when did the investigation start?’

‘Somewhere in October… ah yes it was around that time of that case… the Min-Dracwyns against Osburne? The one you had given testimony for,’

‘Oh… is that so,’ Hoseok nodded. ‘But how has the investigation not progressed?’

‘Well, no one is coming with any solid proof. I mean, elements can be created with magic too. It requires strong magic, but it’s not impossible,’

‘Who do they suspect?’

‘Now you’re asking too many questions,’

‘Dad, if you trust me as your son, and someone who cares for his friends and will do the right thing… the right thing. Please tell me,’

His father studied him carefully and sighed, ‘they have their suspicions on two people… and I hear both are your friends,’

‘Who?’

‘Min Yoongi and Kim Taehyung,’ his father said, sending a cold chill over Hoseok’s chest. ‘Min Yoongi claims to have frozen that entire section of your castle. It seems quite a feat for a 17 year old who has a record for playing with small fires. They told me to look into the Aquirys lineage and the Mins never branch into the Aquirys, as far as official records go,’

‘And what about Taehyung?’

‘I have no idea why he’s a suspect. It was probably Gwen Osborne’s strong claims which she still hasn’t let go off. And the Head of Magical Law Enforcement got an anonymous tip about this but I feel this is all being done to distract us from the truth. There’s no way Taehyung might be an Elkyre. I’ve seen that boy so many times. He doesn’t have magic ancestors. And from my studies, I expected an ice Elkyre… to not look so earthy, if I am to relate Serafin and the Earth Elkyre to their appearances. They really do match what their powers are,’

‘I’m home!’ they heard an excited women’s voice and Hoseok’s sister came into the kitchen. ‘Oh thank heavens I’m home before the snow storm,’ she put her pretty yellow hand bag on the sofa and removed her scarf. ‘When was the last time we had such a terrible winter?’

‘I think… it was about 14 years ago,’ Mr. Jung said and Hoseok’s mind made the relation quick enough. The winter 14 years ago was the winter when Taehyung was born.

Another older woman walked into the kitchen, looking spaced out. Her hair was tied loosely behind her neck, her eyes had slight bags under them. She gasped, looking at Hoseok’s older sister.

‘Mum,’ his sister smiled a little cautiously. ‘Mum its me, Jiwoo,’

‘Honey, you remember our daughter,’ Mr. Jung walked to the wall of framed photos. ‘There she is look,’ he pointed to a photo of them both. ‘See, you both were having such a good time,’

‘Oh yes,’ Mrs. Jung said in a small voice. She walked up to the photoframe and looked at it a while. ‘Yes… that is me… and you,’

Hoseok glanced at Jiwoo nervously. It was hard doing this every holiday. If you weren’t around for a few days, their mother forgot about your existence. Their father had filled the entire house with photos so it would keep reminding Mrs. Jung who her family was.

‘What should we make for Christmas this year mum?’ Jiwoo went to her and put her arm through hers.

‘We… we went to the carnival here didn’t we?’ the mother pointed at one picture were Jiwoo was eating cotton candy. ‘It was summer right?’

‘You’re right, it was summer,’

‘How… how many years has it been?’

‘It was this summer,’ Jiwoo said. ‘Come, let’s see what to make for dinner,’

They all masked the struggle of having a mother who didn’t always remember them. But they knew she loved them. Because when she did remember, she made sure to show it to the fullest. She would cook all the things they liked, she would tuck them to bed even now, when her kids were all grown up. But the next morning, it would again take a while for Mr. Jung to remind her that they had two children who were home for the holidays. They knew she loved them, or she wouldn’t be in this state right now. She was braver than anyone Hoseok knew. Some acts of love did not die, even if the reality looked different.

*

‘What hogwash is the Daily Prophet printing nowadays?’ Kim Hyunseok dropped the paper on the table while the three were having breakfast. Their grand dining room had a long table of white marble. Their mansion was in hues of creams with high domed roofs and carved pillars and arches in gold.

‘This is why I tell you not to read the paper when eating,’ Mrs. Kim said and glanced at their house elf to take the paper from the table.

‘Well, if it’s Rita Skeeter who’s writing articles,’ Jin shook his head while cutting his omelette with a fork.

‘Its not Skeeter,’ his father said, making Jin actually take interest and glance at the paper. What he saw made him choke on the bite he was about to swallow.

‘Elkyres,’ Hyunseok looked at the ceiling disbelievingly. ‘They don’t exist anymore. What is this woman claiming to be, this is what people do to mislead the crowd for a minute of fame,’

‘Elkyres are a real thing,’ Jin said carefully.

‘They were. The last one died during the Red War. Unless you have some new found insight on the matter,’ his father said.

‘Well,’ Jin put the napkin on the table, signalling he was done eating. ‘Alchemy is shrouded in secrets and rumours. I don’t know what’s true or false,’ he stood up and left.

‘Jin! You’ve hardly eaten!’ his mother called behind him.

‘I’ll eat later if I’m hungry,’ and Jin went to his room.

He immediately grabbed some parchment and quill. Should he write to Taehyung? It was risky. After this news, Jin had a strong feeling that The Ministry would be keeping a close eye on Taehyung and any communication towards him. He needed to see… but shutting his eyes tight wasn’t really working.

Suddenly he missed Namjoon. He missed him so very much, his comforting presence, his encouraging words. Jin’s mind was messing up like it used to in times of crisis and Namjoon wasn’t here to calm him down. He realised how dependent he had become of the other’s constant presence.

There were sharp knocks on the door, ‘Jin? Could you open up please,’

Jin sighed at his father’s voice and waved his wand for the door to open.

‘Yes father,’

‘As always,’ his father took some steps into the room. ‘We are having a christmas ball. I’ve invited some of my acquaintances from overseas this time. So we have that to look forward to,’

‘I thought we were having a family christmas this time,’ Jin said. ‘Don’t you think people are bored of our Christmas balls?’

‘Nonsense,’ Hyunseok chuckled. ‘They all look forward to our parties, to lift them from their boring lives,’

‘When you invite someone, they will not say no out of respect and formality,’ Jin said. ‘Have you thought maybe sometimes they want to spend Christmas with their families?’

‘You’re just trying too hard to make me cancel it,’ Hyunseok shook his head. ‘I can’t cancel the ball, the invites have already gone out. Hope you carefully pick your outfit that day, it’s important,’

‘Why is it that important?’ Jin eyed him suspiciously.

‘Because you’ll be meeting new people. Hopefully you’ll make more friends, someone closer to our social circle unlike the ones from your school. School’s going to be over in a few months Jin. Those friendships are not going to follow through to your adult life. It’s best you start behaving like an adult as well now that you’re of age. You need people who are like you as your friends,’

Each word from his father was filling Jin with rage and disgust. ‘Just leave father,’ Jin sighed.

Hyunseok eyed his son but chose not to push this towards an argument, ‘I’m not talking rubbish Jin. Anyway, prepare for the ball tomorrow,’

*

She revealed herself? Taehyung asked Abraxas. Why would she do that? Did you tell her to?

‘No,’ Abraxas replied. ‘It was her idea to do this. She said we shouldn’t live in shadows. Imagine Taehyung, a time where we don’t have to hide. The reason you are holed up in this school all alone, away from your family is because you have to hide. Your mother wants you to hide.

‘Tae?’ Jimin shook him. ‘What are you thinking about?’

‘Huh,’ Taehyung looked at him. ‘Nothing…’

‘This is the woman right? The one you met?’ Jimin asked.

Taehyung nodded.

‘Oh my god,’ Jimin shook his head. ‘What will the Ministry do now? I’m sure they won’t like this… I hope this doesn’t drive them to take some extreme measures,’

‘You have to be careful now,’ Taehyung said to Abraxas. ‘They will come after her with more force,’

There was no reply.

‘Abraxas? Where did you go? Abraxas? Are you there? Can you hear me?

But Abraxas’ presence was gone.

‘Taehyung?’ a familiar voice made Taehyung turn towards the door. His mother and step father stood there, wearing the biggest smiles, probably oblivious to what news today’s paper carried. It looked like his father had brought him a present, wrapped in red christmas wrapping sheets. The man opened his arms and Taehyung smiled wide, going in for a hug. Between all this turmoil, somehow his muggle father, who felt more real to him than his biological one, was the only source of unbridled happiness for him.

‘Oh my, you’ve grown so much,’ his father patted the back of his head, just a few inches below his own. ‘Jiyeon wasn’t exaggerating about your height. And I have to say,’ his father smiled, eyes crinkling. ‘Never in my dreams could I imagine your school to be this fantastic,’

‘Can I show you around the castle?’ Taehyung asked with sparkling eyes. He looked at his mother, ‘Can I? Will Dumbledore allow that?’

‘Ask him,’ Jiyeon smiled. ‘He’s waiting for us at the Great Hall for lunch. C’mon Jimin,’ she beckoned Jimin as well.

*

Namjoon’s mother took out the turkey from the oven. It was Christmas Eve and currently it was snowing outside, turning their lawns white. Smell of cinnamon wafted around his white walled kitchen from the eggnog his mother had just prepared. Golden string lights hung in every house in the neighbourhood. Namjoon’s Christmas tree was lit in multicoloured lights, courtesy of his parents. They were all wearing their holiday sweaters. Holly streamers hung all around the living room. His father was setting the cutlery while his sister sat on the sofa with her legs up on the arm rest and headphones in her ear. Namjoon came and tugged on her ponytail. She turned to look at him with a frown, her brown eyes showing annoyance.

‘Come help out would you,’ he raised his eyebrows. ‘What have you been listening to anyways? It’s like you aren’t present here,’

‘Real music,’ she set the Walkman on the coffee table. ‘Unlike your rappers who just rant fast,’

‘Hey, there’s more to rap than that,’ Namjoon said and she simply rolled her eyes.

‘Stop it you two, I’ve heard enough of you two fighting over this,’ his mom said, ‘Eunjun your brother comes home only for a few days in a year so stop acting like a brat and spend some time with him,’

‘I’m not acting like a brat!’ Eunjun’s big eyes looked at their mother in shock.

‘She has your temper,’ the father whispered to the mother who chuckled.

‘Anyway, I won’t be home for dinner tomorrow,’ Eunjun said. ‘I’m… going to have dinner with Robert,’

‘Robert?’ Namjoon looked at her in shock. ‘Who’s Robert??’ He demanded.

‘Please stop with your poking questions, you’re not gonna get anything out of me,’ his sister held her palm up.

Namjoon now turned to his parents, ‘Mom who’s Robert?’

‘Well her boyfriend of course,’ the mother said.

‘A boy- a boyfriend!’ Namjoon exclaimed. ‘You’re 14!!’

‘Don’t get salty just coz you don’t have one,’ his sister mumbled but he heard it. He was in a mind to tell her she’s wrong. Namjoon had a boyfriend, the best one in the world, but there were more pressing matters right now than giving it to his cheeky sister.

‘Mum she’s too young to be dating!’ Namjoon said. ‘Dad are you in agreement with this?’

‘I’ve been overruled,’ the father said.

‘Don’t be like that,’ Eunjun said to her father. ‘You like Robert a lot,’

‘You know you can call someone over for Christmas too if you wish Namjoon,’ the mother said.

‘Huh? Who?’ Namjoon looked at her curiously.

‘I don’t know,’ the mother shrugged. ‘A close friend, or a girlfriend,’

‘Or a boyfriend,’ his sister said.

‘A boyfriend?’ Their mother looked at both of them.

‘C’mon mom, I’ve been telling this to you for a while,’ Eunjun said. ‘Whenever you talk about Namjoon bringing a girlfriend. Don’t I tell you he might bring a boyfriend instead?’

‘Is this true?’ The mother looked at Namjoon, so did the father.

‘Well,’ Namjoon felt nervous. He clasped his hands together on the kitchen counter.

‘Is that a problem?’ Eunjun asked them. ‘It shouldn’t be a problem you know,’

‘No no,’ the mother said. ‘I mean, I’m just a little… surprised? Only because this is the first time we’re talking about it seriously. Eunjun has been saying a few things here and there but it’s difficult to know when she’s serious,’

Eunjun frowned at her mother.

‘We don’t have any problems Joonie,’ his father added, ignoring Eunjun, ‘We want you to be with whoever makes you happy and brings the best in you,’

‘If you say so,’ Namjoon said.

Knock knock knock!

The 3 sharp knocks on their main door made them all turn their heads to the sound.

‘Who could it be at this time?’ The father got up from the table. The knocking didn’t stop.

‘Namjoon? Are you there? Kim Namjoon?’ They heard a male voice from the other side and Namjoon’s heart skipped a beat. What is he doing here right now? He mentally facepalmed himself.

‘Is this Kim Namjoon’s house?’

‘Namjoon someone’s calling for you,’ the mother pointed to the door and Namjoon went to open it with a shaking head. As soon as the door swung open, Jin stood there in a heavy black coat and the blue scarf Joon had gifted him. Namjoon could see snow dusted over his shoulders. Jin’s hand was still raised to knock again. His unsure face lit up in a big warm smile as soon as he saw Namjoon. ‘There you are!’

‘Jinnie!’ Namjoon had a surprised smile. ‘How come- come in come in, I think you woke up half the neighbourhood,’

‘Oh did I?’ Jin stepped into his house and the 3 members of Namjoon’s family were looking at him curiously.

‘Oh is that Jin?’ The mother stepped forward to see him. ‘Oh yes it is! How are you dear!’ She hugged the boy.

‘I’m well, how are you all,’ Jin hugged her and then shook Namjoon’s father’s hand. ‘Good to see you again sir, merry Christmas,’

‘Merry Christmas! What a surprise!’ The father shook his hand firmly. ‘How come you’re here?’

‘I just…’ Jin looked around. ‘Well, I was travelling. And I was passing by this area when I remembered that Namjoon lives here. So I thought to drop by,’

‘Oh I’m glad you’re here, come on in, have dinner with us,’

‘Oh let me help you prepare it!’ Jin and Namjoon’s mother went into the kitchen.

‘What did I tell you,’ Eunjun said in a singsong voice to her father. The father looked at Namjoon and then towards the kitchen where Jin was already at work with his mom and then back and Namjoon who gave a smile.

Ok so this is my son’s boyfriend? His father blinked, trying to not act awkwardly. Mr. Kim was not the best at socialising or speaking his emotions. He had felt this way when Eunjun told them about Robert too. So maybe… they were slipping into normalcy? The father feeling awkward around his 2 children’s boyfriends?

Jin was helping his mother dress the salad. He waved his wand and all the ingredients jumped into the air and back into the bowl.

‘Oh wow, Namjoon why don’t you help me in the kitchen with magic like this!’ Mrs. Kim said. ‘I have a wizard son, I should be on the sofa resting while you bewitch the kitchen to run by itself!’

‘Kitchen tricks aren’t really his thing,’ Jin gave Namjoon a teasing smile.

‘Oh remember the time you tried to cut an onion?’ Eunjun teased Namjoon further. Jin threw his head back laughing and high-fived her.

‘Yeah yeah, team up against me, the two of you,’ Namjoon shook his head. ‘I swear I’m always surrounded by children,’ he mumbled under his breath.

‘What was that?!’ Jin asked him while his mother took the turkey to the table.

‘You think we are children? Mr. IQ 148 who doesn’t know the right side of a knife,’ his sister said.

‘That’s it, your birthday gift is cancelled,’ Namjoon said to her.

‘Hey! I saved you trouble you know!’ Eunjun crossed her arms.

‘What trouble?’

‘I told mom and dad about your boyfriend so that you could escape a sit-down awkward talk. And I don’t even know when you were gonna do that. You’re 18 for god’s sake! Are parents gonna find out when you send them a wedding card of you and Jin?’

Namjoon looked at Jin guiltily who raised his eyebrows. He was on Eunjun’s side.

‘Ok I’m sorry, thank you,’ Namjoon said, playing the end of the kitchen’s hand towel.

They all sat for dinner. Jin was being his charismatic self, charming everyone’s socks off and they all seemed to find his jokes hilarious (all except Eunjun who just chuckled and shook her head) Jin would occasionally place his hand on Namjoon’s shoulder or his arms, making Namjoon yearn for a proper touch, a hug, a kiss. Will he be able to get that before Jin left? He had missed him so very much, even if it had been just 4 days.

‘Thank you for dropping by Jin, it’s really been a fun night,’ Mrs. Kim said. ‘But how will you go back so late in the night? Where is your house exactly?’

‘It’s quite far actually,’ Jin said.

‘Oh! And how do you travel? On a broomstick?’ Mr. Kim asked.

‘Can’t fly in this cold weather and the distance isn’t short enough for a broomstick. I will have to wait for the knight bus to arrive,’

Namjoon looked at him questioningly. When did royalty start using the most economic and uncomfortable mode of travel? And surely Jin could apparate home? That’s how he got here didn’t he? Seeing that he isn’t mentioning that he’s moving around town in a car.

‘Oh! Will that take long?’ Mrs. Kim asked.

‘Can’t say, sometimes it arrives early and sometimes takes a few hours, but don’t worry Mrs. Kim, I don’t mind waiting for it at the stop,’

‘Oh no no, why don’t you stay the night? It’s already past 11 PM!’ She said. ‘It’s so cold out there! I can’t let you stay out!’

‘That’s kind of you Mrs. Kim but I don’t want to bother you all, I came unannounced as is, on Christmas eve of all days, and you all were so kind to invite me to your table,’

‘Nonsense, it’s no bother at all! You are Namjoon’s best friend and you are like a part of the family,’

Eunjun cleared her throat a little too loudly and everyone’s attention turned to her.

‘Mom, seriously? After the entire talk we had just before Jin arrived? Jin is not Namjoon’s best friend, he’s Namjoon’s boyfriend!’

‘Oh,’ Mrs. Kim blinked. ‘Oh! Oh then you definitely cannot leave, I have the right to keep you here and feed you for as long as I want!’

‘But-‘

‘It’s decided,’ Mrs. Kim said. ‘Have a good night’s sleep, have a good breakfast and then if you wish, you can leave tomorrow,’

‘Thank you so much Mrs. Kim,’ Jin said. Namjoon noticed that something was different in his expression. He seemed extremely grateful, extremely relieved, to a point that Namjoon thought he saw Jin’s eyes glisten with a tear.

They all winded up and Jin did everyone’s dishes (he was a pro at the washing spell) and they all were playing a round of cards with wine and brandy in their hands. Namjoon was feeling so grateful that his parents were getting along perfectly with Jin.

‘Electric fire?’ Jin said, watching Eunjun turn on the fireplace. ‘What? That’s like magic!’

‘It’s our magic,’ Eunjun said.

‘And what’s that cold box in the kitchen?’

‘You mean the fridge? It keeps food fresh with the cold temperature,’

‘Wow you have an entire box to do that?’ Jin’s eyes were wide in wonder.

‘Yeah, what do you do to store food?’ She asked.

‘We usually don’t. And if we really have to, we put it under a charm. Hey that box, the TV box! Isn’t that what Jungkook used to play games?’

‘Yes it is,’ Namjoon said. ‘Except on this one you can watch the cable,’

‘What’s a kayble?’

Namjoon took the remote and turned the tv on. Jin was exclaiming one word after the other, seeing the channels change.

‘Why don’t we have this in our houses!’ Jin said. ‘All we have is the radio! And projector films. This is so cool! All you need is this!’ He pointed at the remote. ‘Namjoon invent one!’

Namjoon chuckled, ‘How could I-‘

‘Well you are the smartest student in Hogwarts and she just said you have IQ,’ he pointed to Eunjun. ‘I’m guessing that has something to do with your brain,’

Mrs. Kim yawned and shook an already asleep Mr. Kim from his arm chair and told him to head to the bedroom to sleep.

‘Ok kids, I and dad are heading to bed. Jin sweetie will you be ok sleeping in Namjoon’s room? He has a double bed,’

Eunjun almost choked on her water hearing that. An oblivious Mrs. Kim kissed them all goodnight and left.

‘What was that?’ Namjoon eyed his sister.

‘Well, I’m glad I have these huge headphones,’ she lifted it up in her hands, ‘but I hope you don’t wake mom and dad up,’

‘Why would we wake them up? We’ll be asleep,’

Eunjun laughed, ‘Yeah right,’ and walked up the stairs into her room.

‘Your sister is witty,’ Jin said as both slowly headed up too. His hand came to rest on Namjoon’s waist while they walked up. Namjoon leaned into the touch.

‘She’s too smart,’ Namjoon said. ‘Always ahead of everyone else,’

‘What were you guys talking about before I arrived?’

‘We were talking that my parents should be prepared I may bring a boy home,’

Jin laughed, ‘Wow my timing was impeccable,’

‘You always know how to make an entrance,’ Namjoon chuckled looking at Jin and leaned in, placing a quick kiss on Jin’s lips before he opened the door to his room.

They entered Namjoon’s bedroom and Jin was more than curious, like a little excited child, to see what his Namjoon’s room looked like. Namjoon had the solar planet charted on the roof. There were tons of books (big heavy ones) along with storybooks in the bookshelf. There were posters of some men in attires that Jin had never seen before - ripped off jeans, baggy pants, hair in dreads, beanies.

‘Who are they?’ Jin asked him.

‘They’re American musicians,’

‘Public Enemy,’ Jin read the writing on the poster and looked at Namjoon curiously.

‘They’re rappers,’

‘Wrappers? Whats a wrap? They wrap things?’

Namjoon’s eyebrows knitted in confusion, ‘I had told you about this in the fourth year. Wait I’ll make you listen to their music,’

Namjoon brought in his CD player and Jin got excited again, seeing the buttons and headphones. They listened to some of the tracks and Jin just looked at him with an adorable downturned smile.

‘Its ok, you don’t have to like everything that I like,’ Namjoon said, awkwardly taking the CD player back. ‘I know your taste in music is very different than mine,’ Namjoon waved his hand.

‘Aww,’ Jin smiled, throwing himself over Namjoon and the younger fell back on the bed with the weight. Jin peppered his entire face with light kisses before closing on his lips and now he was kissing him like he didn’t want to lose even one moment and both were a tangle of limbs, trying to find a comfortable spot.

‘So,’ Namjoon spoke once there was some air between them. ‘How come you decided to see me?’

Jin peeled himself off him and sat over his hips, straddling him. Namjoon ran his hands up and down the other’s thighs. ‘Well,’ he pouted, ‘Home was getting really annoying. Some stupid ball is going on. I needed some space. So I told my father that I’m going over to Hoseok’s house. And before he could raise suspicion, I left,’ Jin snuggled closer.

Namjoon smiled. ‘I’m super happy you showed up. Super is an understatement. I literally couldn’t be happier,’

‘I wondered if your parents would find it bothering that I showed up at dinner time unannounced. But I just had to come before I lost my mind. I was missing you to death, and father was just driving me completely insane,’

‘My parents have loved you since we became friends 7 years ago,’ Namjoon said. ‘They were so grateful to you for guiding me through a new world when I was just 11,’

‘They are very nice, your parents,’ Jin said, smiling down at him and then bent lower to kiss him again. This time the kiss didn’t break, instead, travelled downwards, hands pushing Namjoon’s shirt up and taking it off him.

‘Ah…’ Namjoon gave a slight moan when Jin’s tongue licked over his nipple and Jin quickly covered the younger’s mouth with his palm.

‘Sssh, this was exactly what Eunjun was afraid of,’ Jin giggled, lips near Joon’s ears.

‘Well then we’re in for a struggle,’ Namjoon said. ‘How do I keep quiet? I can’t keep my hands off you,’

‘We could… caste the Muffliato charm and the Confundus charm,’ Jin suggested but Namjoon was silent.

‘What’s wrong?’ Jin pulled away a little.

‘I…’ Namjoon propped himself on his elbows. ‘I hope I say this right,’ he took a moment before continuing. ‘I don’t like using magic in the house, or on… muggles in general,’

Jin’s eyebrows knitted, ‘What do you mean?’

‘I use magic to help out my parents sometimes… but never to have the upper hand over them. It somehow doesn’t feel right,’

Jin laid on his side, looking at Namjoon intently.

‘They’re muggle,’ Namjoon continued. ‘I don’t want to use something on them that they don’t know about. Seems unfair doesn’t it? This is my personal opinion, I don’t expect anyone to understand or agree with me,’

Jin smiled, fingers caressing the side of Namjoon’s face. ‘You’re right. It is a little unfair. I understand where you’re coming from. Often… magic folk don’t realise the real implications of their magic. That’s why I think it’s so important to have muggle borns and half bloods. You all have your head straight, unlike us lunatic pure bloods,’

‘You’re far from lunatic,’ Namjoon wrapped his arm around Jin’s waist.

‘I’m glad we are roommates,’ Jin said. ‘At least that worked out perfectly,’

‘We’re roommates for another 3 months Jin,’ Namjoon said. ‘What do you plan to do after that?’

Jin sighed, his face falling, ‘I don’t know… I don’t want to stay home. But I am to head the family after my father,’

‘You’ll have to make a decision. There’s no wrong one,’

‘There is a wrong, the one which won’t allow me to be with you,’ Jin said.

‘But Jin… think this through. Like, really think this through. I know you said I’m your family but your real family has depended on you since you were born to carry their legacy forward. It’s an important thing. Your forefathers have worked hard for it, everything that has been made is for you and your chil-‘

Namjoon paused.

‘And my children?’ Jin finished it for him. ‘Children with whom? Some aristocratic witch I’ll marry because my parents tell me to? Is that what you want?’

‘Never,’ Joon’s arm’s around him tightened. ‘I mean… not unless you want that,’

Jin sighed, ‘Namjoon if it wasn’t clear already, the only person I have ever loved or will love, is you. How do I know that? How am I so sure? Maybe because I can see. Remember what I told you? I’d trade the world for you, including whatever expectations my family is forcing on me. I’m my own person, not a human body that was fed and clothed for the purpose of something else,’

Jin put his head down on Namjoon’s shoulder, ‘Lets… let’s live together once we get a job. I’m going to refuse father’s plans of me working in the Ministry. I want to be as far away from that hell of an office as possible. I’ll find another job, any other job. I’ll start a small business, I know I can do it,’

‘You can baby, I know you have potential,’ Namjoon stroked his head. ‘You are amazing with people. You know how to make them smile. We could go to Godric’s Hollow, I’ve heard it’s a nice village to stay in,’

Jin looked up at Namjoon’s face, ‘Thanks Joonie,’

Namjoon heard the clock tower in his locality chime. He held Jin’s chin, ‘Merry Christmas Jinnie,’

‘Merry Christmas,’ the older smiled and kissed him lovingly. The kiss grew heated, tongues pushing in, laving one over the other.

The moonlight drain in from the window behind the bed. Namjoon rolled over Jin, watching his face glow in the white light. He traced the back of his fingers along Jin’s cheek, drinking in his features. His thumb rubbed over the other’s plump and bitten bottom lip.

‘I hope you don’t mind, that I want to gaze at you from time to time… you’re just so… beautiful,’ Namjoon’s eyes were ravishing him.

‘Gaze for as long as you want, it’ll only turn me on more,’ Jin returned his heated gaze, one hand grabbing Namjoon’s hair from the back. Namjoon bit his lips when Jin tugged at it hard. Jin pulled on his own shirt, taking it off, letting Namjoon look at those beautiful collar bones that the younger loved so much.

Jin pulled Namjoon lower towards him and stuck his tongue out, taking it from Namjoon’s Adam Apple, to his jawline and ending it with a bite on his earlobe. He sucked on the skin below it, uncaring if it left a mark tomorrow. Namjoon was his, and his alone.

Namjoon was breathing hard, afraid to make too much of a noise but Jin’s tongue was threatening to make him whimper. They rolled to the side and Namjoon pulled one of Jin’s leg draping it over his own thigh. Both were locked now, arms and legs around each other.

They spent the night in each other’s embrace, lighting slow burning touches to every part of each other’s. Namjoon slept curled onto Jin’s broad shoulders, enveloped inside his arms with Jin’s lips resting on the top of Namjoon’s head. The snow turned the entire suburb white and cold, but they felt as warm as the summer sun with each other.

*

Yoongi was bouncing on the balls of his feet, standing by the window of his mansion, looking at the snow capped estate since an hour. The frozen lake looked perfect for ice skating and Yoongi wondered if Hoseok knew how to. He would be an incredible figure skater with that flexible body of his.

‘Yoon are you ready to leave?’ His mother called. ‘What have you been waiting for so eagerly?’

‘Just… expecting a package,’

‘We have to leave now,’ his mother took his little brother’s hand.

‘Can we please wait a little longer? I don’t want to miss this,’

‘Fine,’ his mother gave in, setting her bag on the coffee table. Yoongi saw an owl flying in from the distant afternoon sky. He opened the window, the cold air made him scrunch his nose and the owl flew in, dropping the package on the table and then flying out.

Yoongi ran for it, looking at the recipient and sender. It was for him, from Hoseok and his gummy smile lighted his face. He carefully opened the package to find a letter from Hoseok, along with a photo album. Going through the letter he realised the album was a gift from Jin, which the Gryffindor thought would be better if Hoseok sent. He didn’t know if a Kim’s gift would be accepted at the Min’s.

‘What is that?’ Yoongi’s mother peered in from the side, looking at all the photographs her son was gazing at happily. There were various snaps, mostly candid, of them in the clubroom, after quidditch matches, Hogsmeade trips, them lazing below the Aspen tree, the Yule Ball. There were group photos, some trio and couple shots, some solo. Yoongi was smiling wider than he realised, all the memories making him warm and fuzzy.

‘Isn’t that the boy who testified in the case?’ Averil pointed to a photo from the Yule Ball where Hoseok and Yoongi stood with their arms around each other’s back.

‘He is,’ Yoongi nodded, finger resting on Hoseok.

‘You two are close? I presumed so after seeing your interaction with him in court,’

‘We are,’ Yoongi nodded.

‘What’s his name again?’

‘Jung... Hoseok,’

‘Jung?’ Averil blinked. ‘Is he… is he in any way related to Jung Yoonho?’

‘That’s his father,’ Yoongi said.

‘That means…’

‘That means aunt Amelia was involved in his mother’s abduction and all that followed,’

‘I’m surprised you two are close despite that,’ his mother said.

‘We’ve learned to see past it,’ Yoongi said. ‘He’s important to me,’

‘I could see that,’ his mother smiled.

‘Yoongi looked up with pink cheeks, ‘What do you mean?’

‘He hugged you in the courtroom didn’t he? I could tell from that moment, you two are important to each other,’

‘Oh,’ Yoongi blushed, rubbing the back of his head with his palm.

‘I’ll be honest, when you and Van broke up, it broke my heart a little. She’s wonderful, she’s like family to us. But, I’m glad you found this boy. I can see that impartial kindness in him…’

‘He is… kind,’ Yoongi muttered and his mother chuckled.

‘C’mon now. We’re getting late for your Grandpa’s place,’

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Rupert Gregson Williams - Christmas Message

‘And this is the Great Hall,’ Laura said, bringing Ash and her family to huge room and proudly beaming. The entire mansion was cool grey stone and marble with silver gildings, dragonhead carvings and purple curtains. Ancient paintings and artefacts hung on the walls, some bought from famous painters over the centuries, some depicting the victories of the Dracwyn lineage when they ruled mid-Europe. The Vorhart family was clearly in awe.

The Vorharts and Mins had come to the Dracwyns to spend Christmas. The mansion was beautifully decorated with tinsel, floating candles and a big christmas tree. Charles had brought gifts for all the guests that rested below the tree.

Next Laura took the guests to the meeting chamber, a room used specifically by the head of the family to conduct important discussions and carry out formal decisions. It was smaller than the hall, with a long table and a high chair at one end of it, looking like a modern throne. She had always seen her grandfather seated there, and one day, she would sit there too, carrying out decisions with freedom of her own. The walls were lined with portraits of the Dracwyn family members. The one right behind the high chair was of Crina the first queen, who changed the right of succession, making the oldest child heir, irrespective of gender. This portrait was painted nearly 700 years ago. They didn’t know how accurate it was, but they had no way of finding out. Crina sat on the throne with her 4 year old son in her lap, who would be the next king. The Dracwyn crown, a silver band with shards of amethysts fused into it rested on her dark hair. The crown was probably lost now, stolen, melted for the gemstones or lying somewhere hidden in the rubble of the Dracwyn castle.

On either side were other heads of the family. One had been made of her grandfather as well, but he refused to put it up, stating it wasn’t time yet. Laura brought Ash to the portrait of her mother, painted with her posing behind the high chair, a hand rested on the frame of the back of the chair and Laura’s father standing next to her.

Whenever Laura entered this room and looked at this specific painting, it filled her with sadness, determination and a bit of anger. Her mother was meant to sit as the head of the family. If she had, maybe things would’ve been different for Laura. But now it was all passed down to her, and she would never want to let her mother down.

‘So this is the room,’ William Vorhart said, looking around. ‘I never thought I would be here. Only the top partners of the Dracwyn business empire have come here,’

‘But trust me, the conversations aren’t all that exciting,’ Min Youngjae whispered to the man and both laughed.

The Christmas dinner followed, everyone was in cordial christmas spirits. Charles Dracwyn was the impeccable formal host, meanwhile the Vorhart and Min parents seemed to be getting along well. After dinner, the Mins and Vorhart’s left, while Ash stayed, planning to leave only after New Years.

The New Years was at the usual Annual gala, where most of the pure blood families would gather to celebrate. This was the once in a year event where Kim Hyunseok and Charles Dracwyn would bear each other’s presence in the same room. The two girls, along with Yoongi saw Jin among the crowd, socialising like a charming prince. Their interaction was formal, with only Ash staying behind to talk more while the sharp gazes of Charles and Hyunseok followed their children.

Finally the day came for Ash to leave. Laura was trying to prolong her stay but she knew Ash’s family would be missing her too. They lay on Laura’s fluffy bed, with Ash’s belongings half packed across the room.

‘I’m glad you spent Christmas here,’ Laura said, twirling the four petalled locket in her hand. ‘Holidays get a bit lonely,’

‘I can come over for a few days in the summer too,’ Ash said. ‘Or you could come over,’

‘That would be nice, if I can stay at your place,’

Ash looked out of the window, the sun was setting and it was time for the moon to rise.

‘It’s a full moon tonight,’ she said. ‘I wonder… I wonder how Jimin is doing,’

‘Did you write to him?’

‘Yeah, we wrote back and forth until yesterday. He as usual tells me not to worry. Did you speak to anyone?’

‘No…’ Laura slightly shook her head. ‘I couldn’t. The maximum I can do is hold this locket and let Taehyung know I miss them all,’

Ash propped herself on her elbow, ‘How does that work?’

‘Well… I don’t exactly know what kind of magic is in the twin lockets. But whenever Taehyung has been in trouble, my locket alerts me, it burns hot. And there have been times when it feels like a pulse beating inside it, as if the other holder of the pair is sending a message,’

‘So it’s always connected to the wearer,’ Ash said and Laura nodded. ‘It was Taehyung’s mother who gave this to your mother isn’t it? Maybe she knows what all it can do,’

‘I’m glad my mother gave this to me,’ Laura said. ‘I still remember her letter,’

Ash lay back on the bed, ‘What did it say?’

‘She knew her life was in danger always… she knew she had to leave a few last words for me, just in case. After their funeral, I was given a box, that was marked for me. Inside were a few of her belongings that she wanted me to have, including the Dracwyn ring,’ Laura held her hand up to show her the dragon ring wound around her middle finger. ‘And a letter, with this locket. She wrote that… that she was sorry she had to go away. She wrote she will think of me everyday and that she hopes one day I’ll understand why she did the things she had to,’

‘She would be happy to know that you do understand,’ Ash said.

‘I do, but it’s never easy to fully accept it… I lost a lot, for keeping the Dark Lord away from more power, to keep Taehyung safe,’

‘I know she’ll be proud to see you’ve fought hard to continue her efforts,’ Ash squeezed her hand. The house elf came in at that time, knocking on the door.

‘Miss Laura, the floo network is ready for your friend,’

‘Oh yes, I should finish packing,’ Ash got up from the bed. Laura helped her pack and they descended to the main hall.

‘Oh! Almost forgot to give you this!’ Ash halted at the fireplace and pulled her bag from her shoulder. Unzipping it, she put her hand in and retrieved a square album.

‘What’s this?’ Laura asked her as Ash handed it over to her.

‘Jin’s christmas present,’ Ash whispered. ‘He’s made one for each one of us but wasn’t sure about mailing to your house coz… you know,’

Laura nodded, understanding what Ash meant. She waved her goodbye and watched her disappear into the green flames.

Laura smiled, holding the album to her chest. She turned back and ran up to her room, excited to see the photographs.

She shut her door softly and flopped on the bed, opening the album. They were all random snaps, clicked candidly. She chuckled at a photograph where Hoseok smashed a cupcake on Yoongi’s mouth but her brother just pouted and licked it off. There was another of her sitting with Emina and Ash, all their 3 heads buried in a muggle magazine that Emina had brought. At that moment she heard her door creak open slightly. She looked back to find her grandfather at the doorway.

Shutting the album hurriedly and lightly pushing it below her blanket, she went to the door.

‘Yes grandfather?’ she asked him, hoping he didn’t see the album.

‘Your friend has left?’ he asked, stepping into the room.

‘Yes, she just left,’ she replied, giving him way, trying to maneuver him away from the bed. Nevertheless, his eyes fell on it, making Laura’s breath stop but Charles didn’t seem to think much of it and nonchalantly looked back at Laura. A wave of relief washed over her.

‘You were right, I quite like Vorhart. Their family will be a good addition to the inner circle,’

‘Yes that’s true,’ Laura nodded.

‘What’s the matter?’ Charles asked her. ‘You seem… restless,’

‘No…’ Laura tried to look unbothered. ‘Maybe I’m just sleepy. Didn’t sleep much since Ash was here,’

‘Oh,’ Charles said. ‘I thought... you were fretting about the missing photograph,’

Laura looked at him with dread and confusion, ‘What missing photograph…’

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Ramin Djawadi - No One Walks Away From Me

Her heart fell out of her chest as Charles pulled out a photograph from his cloak. It was of all of them, sitting in a line, arms over each other’s shoulder. She felt every inch of her body turn cold like she had been dipped in ice, mouth going dry and teeth clenching hard.

‘Must’ve fallen out of this album she gave you…’ Charles continued, flicking the photograph in his hand. ‘You’ve made many new friends this year haven’t you?’ he turned the photograph towards himself. ‘I don’t recognise most of them. Except of course… Kim Hyunseok’s son is there… and Kim Jiyeon’s as well. I specifically told you not be friends with them anymore,’

‘They are just in the photograph. They aren’t really my friends,’

‘I see,’ Charles said, still appearing blase. ‘And the rest of them? They aren’t your friends as well?’

‘We just… we spend time together because we all are on the student council. Prefects, Quidditch Captains,’

‘So they are from other houses… what are their names?’

Laura could feel his hard eyes pricking her, could feel his cold anger surfacing. ‘You wouldn’t… know them,’ her eyes were darting from one corner of the floor to the other.

‘I wouldn’t know them… because they are muggle born,’

Laura did not answer.

‘You used to be with people of our kind and stature before. What’s happened this year?’

‘I told you they are not really my friends-’

‘Even him?’ Charles turned the photograph towards her. His finger rested on Jungkook, who had his arm around Laura’s neck and was pulling her closer. Something changed in Laura as she saw the way Jungkook looked at her in the photograph. He looked at her with pure adoration. Jungkook’s eyes and smile said it all.

‘If you are telling me he is not really your friend, then you are lying. Which means you’ve been lying all along to me,’

‘You’re right,’ Laura said, her eyes still on Jungkook, both in the photograph and out of it. ‘I lied,’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I lied to you. They are my friends. All of them,’

‘Laura this is not a joking matter-’

‘And I am not joking,’

‘You are telling me you have been spending all your time with these... Do you know how this is going to look in the future? Our worth is not the same as these… these half bloods and muggles,’ Charles was now breathing heavy in anger.

‘And what is our worth? We are not better than anyone Grandfather,’

Her grandfather crushed the photograph within his palm in his fury. Laura looked at his fist and was filled with rage herself.

‘Do not crush it. It belongs to me,’ She stretched out her hand and opened her palm for him to hand it over. Instead her grandfather pushed her hand away.

‘I knew it… I knew that Hyunseok’s son would do this to you. He’s turned you away from your family, from what’s important,’

‘Seokjin did nothing. Stop blaming him,’

‘Then who is it? These mud blooded friends of yours? They’ve blinded you. You think you you know everything now. They’ve made you think you are doing the right thing by defying your family,’

‘Defying my family? What is so wrong with me making friends with them?’

‘You are a Dracwyn! Not common sheep! You have the Dragon’s legacy to carry on your shoulders, I forbid you to see them ever again,’

‘What?!’ Laura sighed exasperatedly.

‘You are never to talk to them, or even look at them. Especially this Hyunseok’s son, that auror’s son and that… that boy. Laura know your place. You will not be with that boy,’

Laura looked away, crossing her arms and Charles knew she was defying him.

‘If you don’t listen to me, you will not attend Hogwarts anymore. I will transfer you to another school,’

‘In my sixth year? Sure,’

‘You will listen to me,’

‘I will not,’

‘If you cannot, then you are not fit to carry on the Dracwyn legacy,’

His words make Laura glance at him and Charles caught on that. ‘Yes, I mean what I’m saying. If you don’t set your priorities straight… then I cannot trust you with my inheritance. You will bring shame to this ancient family by mingling it with mudblooded-’

‘They are not mudbloods!’ Laura yelled at her Grandfather and he looked at her with burning eyes.

‘Know,’ Charles said, his voice dropping dangerously low. ‘Know that I mean it. You are not fit to be called a Dracwyn if you don’t behave like one,’

He threw the crumpled photograph on the floor and walked out of the room.

That night Laura slept without dinner, not because Charles forbade it (he would think that punishment is not severe enough) but because Laura waited to see if her Grandfather cared enough to call her. But he didn't. And that was the real punishment he gave her. He acted like he did not care for her stubborn tantrums. Laura was too stubborn, just like him, to go and reconcile and after midnight her house elf brought her some food, sneaking it away from Charles' gaze. Laura still refused to eat it but the elf pleaded with her so much that she had a slice of bread and cheese.

After that incident Laura avoided her Grandfather, only replied if he asked her a question, turning her grandfather’s anger to a kind of remorse. Remorse not because of how he treated her, but because he felt he failed in bringing her up the right way.

*

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Ramin Djawadi - Be With Me

‘You’re good?’ Taehyung asked, hands resting on the chains cuffed around Jimin’s wrists. The boy smiled, with whatever strength he could. He had requested this and Dumbledore and Snape didn’t seem to argue too much about it.

‘Go along now,’ Jimin said to Taehyung who looked like he would cry now. ‘You promised me you won’t stay in this chamber,’

Taehyung looked at Jimin, sitting on the stone floor of the underground chamber, chains at his ankles, his wrists and his neck. He could move around, but he wouldn’t reach the door if he transformed and leapt. ‘I’m going to wait outside with Dumbledore and Snape,’

‘You can go get some sleep, I’m going to be fine,’

‘I won’t,’ Taehyung bit his lip. He put his palm on the floor and mist formed below it. When he lifted his hand, there was a small wolf made of ice. ‘I’ll wait for sunrise and come get you,’

Taehyung took his lit wand and walked out of the chamber, shutting the entrance. Jimin sat back against the wall, a glowing doe walked around the room to give him some light and to watch over him. Jimin smiled to himself, his scary potions Professor had a gentle doe for a patronus?

Maybe he would scream tonight, or a part of him will transform. But at least in chains he will not harm anyone like last time. He wouldn’t have it any other way. He looked at the wolf sculpture and smiled, taking it in his hands and closed his eyes to the pain surging through his body.

Chapter Text

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) James Newton Howard - Thestral Chase 

It was cold.

Seokjin opened his eyes, vision blurry in the dark surroundings. The lamps on the walls dimly lit the swaying room. Was this a ship? Jin looked to the front, towards the voices of two figures. He recognised them both, the dark haired woman hovering over the blonde girl. The sight was painfully familiar.

The walls of the brigs were damp and cold, offering no warmth to the shivering girl on the floor. Her faint whimpers echoed in the vast empty space.

'Madam Lestrange please,' Gwen bit out.

Bellatrix stroked her hair.

'You failed us didn’t you?' she asked in a soft tone. 'Not once, but twice. Do you wish to suffer more?'

Gwen violently shook her head.

'Do you realise why you needed to be punished?' Bellatrix asked in the same eerily soft tone.

'I only... wanted to...' Gwen wheezed, 'I... I’m sorry! I won’t let you down again! I’ll do whatever you ask of me!'

‘You don’t need to be afraid of me right now,’ Bellatrix said. She pulled the nearby upturned wooden crate on which rested a plate of food. She took the plate and sat on the box. ‘Are you hungry? Since when have you not eaten?’

‘I don’t remember,’

‘You got what you deserved, do you understand that?’

‘I do,’ Gwen nodded.

‘You let us down. You let the Dark Lord down. You made so many mistakes,’ Bellatrix said. ‘And mistakes will not go unpunished, do you understand that too?’

‘I do,’ Gwen answered again.

‘I’m ready to give you another chance Gwen. A chance to be of some help to me. Will you fail me again?’

Gwen looked up, a sort of relief in her eyes. They were not going to kill her, yet. If she proved herself useful, she would live.

‘I won’t fail you, I’ll do whatever you say,’

‘Good,’ Bellatrix smiled, teeth showing. ‘You’ll have to be patient, you’ll have to train carefully. Remember, greater the risk, greater the reward. Drink up now,’ she handed her the tray of food and the goblet.

‘Madam Lestrange,’ a man called her and Jin turned to look behind him. ‘We’re ready with the boat,’

Jin followed Bellatrix out of the brig and up on to the deck. A cold wind blew across the sea. Bellatrix got into the boat and Jin with her. They were brought down and rowed to the shore. Jin looked up at the open sky, the clouds drifting over the sun, a lone raven circling them. When he looked back to the nearing shore, his eyes widened. A horde of people stood there, all slightly unkempt with beards, torn clothes, beastly, scarred faces.

‘How many?’ Bellatrix asked the man with her.

‘At least a hundred, with 3 of Skoll’s sired ones including Dromon. One of them, the alpha, Roderic is eager to discuss the details of the deal with you,’

'Is it true what they say from Roderic?'

'His strength is unmatched, it's true. Be careful when you talk to him, he is... quite proud and aggressive,'

These were all werewolves. A fear crept into Jin. These were the ones that wanted Jimin… and there were so many of them...

The raven cawed above them and Jin looked up again, only to be blinded by the sun, feeling extremely dizzy and his eyes opened.

Jin sat up on the bed, lightheaded like he had literally been staring at the sun. He touched his eyes, pressing them in slightly to feel some relief when he felt something on one of his cheekbones, like a crack.

He hurriedly got up and rushed to his mirror, peering into his reflection, checking his face. There was a disappearing wound, like the nerves beneath his eyes had swollen and were slowly retracting back to it’s original state.

Jin rubbed his fingers over it, wondering what that was about.

‘Jin!’ He heard his mother walking towards the door. ‘Time for lunch!’ his mother entered, smiling warmly, a smile Jin had inherited. ‘You haven’t exactly been keeping up to your usual appetite. So I made you all your favourites,’

Jin smiled genuinely after a long time in his house, ‘Great! My hunger is back already!’

‘Don’t you have to pack as well? You leave tomorrow morning,’

‘I’ve already packed,’ Jin replied.

‘Oh…’ his mother’s face fell. ‘Eager to leave I see…’

‘No I… I just had time on my hands so…’

His mother looked at her folded hands. ‘Your father is being too… strongly motivated about his agendas and honestly this family doesn’t feel like a family sometimes. I’m sorry…’

‘You don’t have to be sorry for that. You didn’t do anything mom,’

‘But you do know your father loves you? I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it over these eighteen years. I’ve seen it in the moments you two fight. I am not saying he’s… that he’s perfect, but I know he loves his son,’

Jin silently nodded. ‘I’ll come down for lunch,’

‘Alright,’ his mother didn’t press further and left him.

Jin ran his hands over his face, getting off the bed to wash up and feel awake. His mother’s pleas of reconciliation aside, his vision was running over and over in his mind. He wanted to know more, stay there a bit longer so he figures out Bellatrix’s plans, see what they were up against.

Would they attack Hogwarts again? No, it’s implausible that Bellatrix would repeat the mistake a third time. There wasn’t much Jin or anyone could do now. If only they could go to the Aurors for help, get an actual manhunt for the Death Eaters, what were they supposed to do otherwise? They were students, hiding secrets from every authoritative figure they knew.

*

The white winter landscapes of London passed by them and now they were going deeper into the countryside on the Hogwarts Express. The closer the seven of them drew to Hogwarts, the happier they felt about seeing Jimin and Taehyung again. Laura took a seat next to the window, squeezed at the end, right next to Jungkook. The moment she had seen him when she entered the compartment, she hadn’t wanted to move away from him. The fight with her grandfather from 2 days ago was still fresh in her mind, making her chest go cold whenever she thought of it.

She watched her friends chat and laugh aloud. She was silent, smiling at them and occasionally looking out the window.

‘You’re quiet,’ Jungkook softly, so that only she could hear him . ‘Are you missing home?’

‘God no,’ Laura slightly rolled her eyes and chuckled.

‘Then what’s up?’

Laura shifted slightly, taking his hand in hers. She wanted to share everything with him, but she couldn’t find the right words at the moment.

Grandfather found out and got ballistic. He thinks I’m insulting my family. He thinks I’m not fit to be of noble blood.

She wanted to say that but couldn’t bring herself to. Her reasons were complicated, she didn’t understand them herself. She was angrier than she had ever been with her grandfather, but still, she couldn’t hate him. He had brought her up after all. She didn’t want Jungkook to hate him either.

‘I don’t want anything to take you away…’ she said quietly and closed her eyes. Jungkook didn’t press further, knowing from her words that she was troubled enough. He leaned down and gently kissed her before wrapping his arm around her and resting his cheek on top of her head and closing his eyes. They stayed the rest of the journey that way, safe behind the shields on their friends. This was the safest place for them.

*

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) John Williams - Reunion of Friends 

Ash Vorhart walked into her room with Laura, taking in the familiar scent of cedar and the lake nearby. Sixth year was coming to an end soon and 5 months back, Ash would’ve never expected her life to turn in so many ways.

‘Remember when you wanted to change rooms because I was your assigned roommate?’ she heard Laura and turned to find her smiling with her soft purple eyes.

Ash chuckled, remembering how she had never really liked Laura Dracwyn, but now they were the closest of friends, loyal to their last blood.

‘Snape threatened to put me in detention for a month when I told him I want to change rooms,’ Ash chuckled and went on to imitate their potions professor’s nasal tone, pulling her short hair to the sides of her face and turning her face gaunt. ‘You have come here to disturb me from my life changing class preparation so that you could exchange roommates? Preposterous! Out of my sight!’

The girls laughed heartily, a fuzzy warmth spreading in their chests.

‘Where is Jimin though? I thought he’ll be bouncing to greet us!’ Laura said, setting her bag down.

‘I’m wondering the same,’ Ash looked through the window beside her bed. The entire castle grounds, to Hogsmeade and beyond was capped in white snow. And Ash spotted the raven haired boy near the lake.

‘There he is!’ Ash smiled widely, watching the familiar grin that turned Jimin’s cheeks into soft marshmallows. He was greeting Jungkook, both enveloped in some sort of hug that seemed difficult to de-tangle from. Jimin spotted Ash at the window and waved at her excitedly. He ran towards the window, tugging Jungkook behind him and climbed in.

‘You’re here!’ Jimin almost bulldozed her but Ash balanced both of them. Jimin lifted her and twirled her around, both of their giggles filling the room. Jimin was glowing brightly, seeing all his friends again, his smile made his eyes nearly closed.

‘You look well,’ she said, giving him a kiss, not bothering about the public display of affection this one time.

‘I’m ok now. Turns out, the full moon is not as hard to bear without the… presence of other werewolves,’

Behind him, Jungkook seemed to be climbing in nervously.

‘Why do you look so scared?’ Jimin asked him, ‘C’mon in!’

‘I’ve never been into the Ravenclaw girl’s dorm and you’re asking why I’m scared crawling into the Slytherin girl’s dorm?’ Jungkook said to him.

Ash chuckled and pulled him in by the wrist. ‘Don’t worry, as long as it’s just our room, no one’s gonna catch you,’

Jungkook looked around at the green room. It was indeed very different from their airy Ravenclaw tower where the ceilings were high, with curtains swaying continuously, sun filtering in during sunset. One could see and hear eagles and ravens cawing in their blue tinted rooms but here, one could hear the lake’s waters gushing and the distant sirens calling underwater. Leaves and creepers framed the windowsill. Jungkook’s eyes fell on Laura’s side of the room. This was the first time he was in one of her personal spaces and of course he was quite intrigued. Ash and Jimin seemed to be conversing in their own world so Jungkook walked further into the room, watching Laura set up her table.

‘That’s your family?’ Jungkook asked, picking up a silver photo frame with two purple eyed women - one a blonde and the other dark haired.

‘That’s Yoongi’s mother, my aunt,’ Laura pointed to the blonde woman, ‘And that’s my mother,’

‘The three of you have the same eyes,’ Jungkook smiled.

‘Might be the dominant gene in Dracwyns,’

Jungkook’s eyes wandered over the other things on the table. Laura had a collection of silver accessories, two rows of various books and rare quills above the table and his eyes found a quaint little crystal bottle, a liquid tinted blue inside it. He picked it up, taking the cap off and smelling the nozzle. Lilies and Frankincense. He closed his eyes, a smile spreading on his lips. Countless memories came rushing back into his mind, stomach fluttering with the renewed excitement from a few months ago.

‘What?’ Laura chuckled at his expression.

‘Do you know how I realised I liked you?’ Jungkook opened his eyes and looked at her, just in time to see her cheeks turning pink.

‘H-how?’

‘The prefect’s bathroom, when I would go in for my late night shower, I would smell this wafting around on some nights. I didn’t know who’s it was… but I loved it so much…’

‘Oh… But how did you know it was me?’

‘Remember our detention?’ He leaned closer to her face. ‘For the first time we were spending time together, sitting close, and the scent hit me again, like a crazy wave,’ he grinned. ‘I should’ve accepted it then and there instead of fighting it for months,’ He kissed her neck, just below her ear and his nose nuzzled further in taking the beloved scent laced with her own, lips giving a few more kisses to her sensitive skin and she breathed in heavily. Even though the contact was brief, she could feel his soft lips leave a sultry burn behind. When he pulled back to look at her, he was grinning ear to ear at successfully flustering her and Laura looked away, trying and failing at hiding her shy smile.

‘Park Jimin!’ They heard Yoongi. ‘Park Jimin have you forgotten all about the roommate rules!’ he was stomping his feet as he walked in.

‘Calm down Yoongi!’ Jimin said. ‘Do you want to alert all the girls that we’re here?’

‘How messy have you left the room! Christmas does not mean tidying up goes on vacation too! Keep this up and I’m changing roommates,’

Jimin laughed confidently, ‘As if you’ll do that. We all know you absolutely love me Min Yoongi, stop trying to prove otherwise,’

‘This brat!’ Yoongi grabbed him by the waist and pulled him away from Ash. ‘Go clean up the room or I won’t let you spend any time with Ash! I told you at the very beginning, I have rules, and if you break those rules… And what did you say to me back then? ‘I’m organised’ you said,’ he imitated Jimin’s tone that he used when being a cute good boy.

After Yoongi was satisfied with Jimin’s tidying skills, all of them headed for dinner, their stomachs rumbling with hunger.

‘Jimin, where is Taehyung? I hoped to see him when we come in,’ Laura asked and they saw the Hufflepuff boy walk towards them, smiling widely.

‘There you are!’ Laura went to hug him and Yoongi beat her to it.

‘You’re hair is brown again?’ Jungkook patted his head. ‘We missed this color!’

‘Well,’ Taehyung shrugged, ‘Dumbledore made me change back. Silver attracts too much attention he said,’

‘How were the holidays?’

‘Quite interesting,’ Taehyung said with a smile that made everyone suspicious.

‘Interesting? How exactly?’

‘Kim Taehyung where have you been?’ Hoseok entered the corridor, hands on his waist and a pout on his lips. ‘I thought you would be in the dorms! I searched half the castle for you!’

‘I was at the great lake! Why were you looking for me though?’

‘Well,’ Hoseok looked taken aback, pout intensifying. ‘We all missed you that’s why! Looks like you didn’t miss us! Did you make new friends while we were gone!’

Taehyung laughed dryly. He couldn’t tell them anything about Abraxas yet, at least not today. ‘I’m here now! I just lost track of time and as soon as I saw students come in I rushed back! Let’s go eat, I’m starving!’

They all walked in pairs, prefects wearing their respective robes, sigils of the serpent, the eagle and the badger embroidered beautifully in each of them. They saw Charlie Weasley looking slightly nervous and jumpy and remembered the fifth and seventh years would be getting their OWLs and NEWTs schedule from McGonagall and Flitwick at the end of the comeback feast. Glad not to worry about either of those things this year, the seven walked into the Great Hall.

The four colours of the Houses filled the Great Hall beneath golden candles. It was already full of students laughing and chatting. The teachers were filing into their seats. Argus Filch, as usual stood at the main door, carrying his sneaky cat Mrs. Norris in his arms. His eyes observed the students with unnecessary suspicion. The roof of the Great Hall showed a snowing sky with a waxing gibbous moon. The group dispersed to their respective tables, Laura and Jungkook took their usual spot, where they would have their age old game of missing heated glances but this time Jungkook held her gaze, giving her a wink and Laura froze for a few moments before hiding her face on the table.

‘The castle’s atmosphere is so much better now,’ Vanessa said to all of them. ‘It was risky, the whole job of catching Jessica Simpson but it was totally worth it. All of us can walk and breathe without her minions scrunching their faces at us,’

‘By the way,’ they heard Charlie ask from the Gryffindor table in front of them. ‘Where are Namjoon and Jin? I thought Namjoon would be here when I get the OWLs schedule! I need him or I’m going to have a nervous breakdown!’

* * * *

‘Ah, good to be back,’ Jin stretched his arms out after placing his backpack down on the floor. The content, closed eye smile on his face made Namjoon smile as well.

‘I never thought Hogwarts would start feeling like home to this extent,’ Namjoon said, pecking Jin’s cheek and going into the room.

‘We have time before dinner don’t we?’ Jin asked, ‘I’m going in for a quick shower,’ he lit the fireplace with his wand and went to take a hot bath.

Namjoon got to unpacking, setting back the assignments he had completed during the vacation, checking his schedule for tomorrow and if he had any memos from McGonagall about the student council.

The room was getting warmer with the lit fireplace. He heard Jin come out of the bathroom.

‘Ready to go for dinner?’ Namjoon asked, keeping his arithmancy and potions textbooks on the bookshelf.

‘Depends. We could eat here you know?’ Jin said.

‘What do you mean?’ Namjoon’s eyebrows furrowed and he looked back in confusion only to be completely taken aback.

Jin was on the bed, naked by the looks of it, the white bed cover loosely and carelessly draped over him, covering what Jin didn’t want Namjoon to see just yet, the tease apparent in Jin’s smile and burning Namjoon’s insides. If there was anyone who could look so effortlessly sexy, just climbed into bed with some crushed fabric thrown over them, it was Jin.

‘I was thinking we could start where we left off at your house,’ Jin propped himself up on his elbow, the cloth sliding down to reveal his bare chest. The contrast of his dark nipples to his pale smooth skin was alluring beyond anything Namjoon had seen. ‘Do you remember what you said to me that night?’

Namjoon just stared at him awestruck. His throat was dry but his mouth was watering and his stomach tumbled at the sight of Jin, beautiful and bare, just for his eyes when the entire world sought for the prince’s attention. Jin could see Namjoon’s breaths were getting heavier, chest rising and falling and he chuckled.

‘Do you remember or not?’ he asked again.

‘I do,’ Namjoon nodded. Of course he remembered the words they whispered to each other on christmas night, their fantasies and desires that they won't be able to accomplish that night but promised that they would have it all somewhere in the future.

‘Then…’ Jin’s eyes turned sultry, going over Namjoon’s body and the next words came deep and commanding, ‘Take off your clothes,’

He made it clear that he wanted to see Namjoon strip.

Hooded eyes trailing over the taller’s broad, muscular body with each strip of skin being revealed one by one, Jin gulped, a hand running slowly over his own hardening length. He will never get over this, every time he saw Namjoon naked, it was like a new thrill. Those proportions were just godly- Long legs, muscular arms, those strong pecks. When Namjoon was just in his underwear, already hard from seeing Jin devour him with his gaze, Jin propped himself up on his knees, moving forward and beckoning Namjoon towards him.

Jin’s hands gripped the sides of Namjoon’s thighs, squeezing and his teeth grazed over the supple flesh. Tongue laving over it, he went from one side to another, hoping to leave a mark somewhere. This had to be Jin’s favourite feature on his boyfriend and he’d be more than satisfied to see some mark of his own on it. Namjoon watched all of it with heat building inside him, wanting to take control from Jin, to let him know with his own mouth how good the older made him feel.

His nose glided over Joon’s inner thigh, tongue leaving a wet strip till he came to the clothed bulge. His plump lips ghosted over the generous, thick length of Namjoon’s cock.

He pushed the underwear’s waistband down, biting the side of Namjoon’s hip, moving to the front with wet kisses, taking his length and sucking down on it in one go. Namjoon threw his head back, lips parted in a low moan. His own tongue licked his lips, not having anything of Jin’s to latch on to yet. He looked down, eyebrows constricted, rubbing his thumb over Jin’s cheekbones like he loved doing whenever Jin would suck on him.

‘You’re the prettiest when you’re like this,’ he said, watching hungrily how Jin’s plump lips wrapped tight around his cock, taking him in and out. Jin’s eyes were shut, beautiful lashes downturned.

‘Mmhmm,’ Jin’s acknowledgement was mingled with a moan. He sat up a little straighter, wrapped his hands around Namjoon’s waist, going deep, nose touching Namjoon’s base, cheeks hollowing and sucking. The string of curses in that moment from Namjoon’s mouth was probably the best thing Jin had heard, his fingers twisting in Jin’s hair, hips jerking further in.

Jin pulled away after a few seconds, letting out his breath, a string of saliva momentarily stretching between his mouth of the tip of Namjoon’s cock. Jin breathed out, face flushed and getting sweaty, eyes now turned up to the other. Namjoon pushed him down hurriedly on the bed, climbed over him and closed his mouth over Jin’s. The kiss was messy, earnest, tongues pushing in to feel as much of each other as possible.

‘I wanna hear again what you said to me that night,’ Jin said, voice raspy between the breaths and kisses.

Namjoon paused the kiss, pushing himself up on his elbows as he hovered over Jin.

Jin caught his jaw in his hands, thumb rubbing over Namjoon’s wet lips. ‘Say it,’

‘A-Are you sure? You wanna do it?’

‘That’s not what you said that night but yeah I wanna do it if you want it to. I came prepared you know,’

‘You did?’ Namjoon’s eyebrows arched in surprise. He was feeling a mixture of awe, shock and arousal and he ducked his head down in a moment of shyness.

‘I did,’ Jin looked at the other’s ducked down head and ran his fingers through those blonde locks reassuringly. ‘Are you nervous?’

‘Aren’t you?’ Namjoon looked up and Jin smiled to give him some relief.

‘I know you, I completely know you and I love you. I am a little nervous but not in a fearful way. I’m… excited,’

‘I mean,’ Namjoon sat on his heels over Jin’s thighs. ‘We both haven’t done this before. We know what to do in theory but-,’

‘That’s true, and it’s ok, we’ll learn,’ Jin cupped Namjoon’s face. ‘Let’s not expect too much from it. You know I’m only going to love you more no matter what. After all, practice makes perfect, doesn't it?’ Jin wiggled his eyebrows to make Namjoon laugh and it worked, dimples coming back on his cheeks.

Namjoon took Jin’s hand and kissed his palm. ‘Ok,’ he smiled. ‘We won’t keep high expectations,’

‘So,’ Jin leaned forward. ‘Say want you wanted that night. Let me hear it again,’

Namjoon bit his lip, the confidence and trust being reassured within him. His eyes looked into Jin’s before answering him, ‘I want to see you riding me,’

Jin smiled satisfactorily, ‘Good. I’ve been waiting to do that too,’ He pushed Namjoon down on the bed, hand taking a tube of lubricant from their side table.

‘Wait,’ Namjoon said. ‘I want to... help you with that,’

‘Okay,’ Jin chuckled. ‘And how-’

But Namjoon was quick, he pushed Jin down on the bed again, straddling him. His fingers stroked through Jin’s dark locks, pushing them over his head and he pecked Jin’s forehead. Namjoon’s hands slithered over Jin’s skin, from the side of his face, to his neck, to his chest, fingers brushing over his nipples. Down below, between their crotches, Namjoon felt him get restless at the touch of his fingers on his hardening buds. He slowly grinded down on him, a thumb circling one of his nipples and felt how hard Jin was.

‘Joon…’ he sighed with eyes closing. ‘I thought you were helping me,’

‘I am,’ he chuckled.

‘But you’re… messing me up,’

‘I like to see you messed up, your flushed neck…’ Namjoon licked a stripe from Jin’s collar bone to his chin, momentarily latching on to the curve of his neck, tongue laving until Jin writhed with heavier moans below him. ‘Your red ears,’ he licked the pinna of Jin’s ear, teeth nibbling on his earlobe. ‘Didn’t you say I could gaze at you for as long as I want?’

‘You jerk,’ Jin chuckled, a fist punching Namjoon’s chest playfully. Namjoon kissed his forehead again and sat up, knees moving backwards.

‘Turn around,’ Namjoon said, his voice deeper than usual. Jin complied, a rush of excitement coursing through his entire body, like a current lighting him up. Namjoon moved away lightly, coming on to Jin’s side. His hands caressed Jin’s back, over his shoulder blades, fingers tracing the dip in his spine. Namjoon took his time appreciating the beautiful curve of Jin’s lower back and the accent to his ass with both his hands and gentle kisses of his lips. He positioned himself back over Jin and pressed his lips to Jin’s spine, mouth opening and tongue swirling, marking a wet trail all the way down.

Slowly, coming further down, he gently pulled Jin’s waist up, getting him on his knees, while his face pressed on the pillow. Jin was oddly speechless, currently lost in the anticipation of what’s to come.

‘You ok baby?’ Namjoon asked, giving soft kisses to his butt cheeks.

‘Yes Joonie,’ Jin replied, with a hint of gratitude in his tone. Jin was overwhelmed by just how gentle and caring Namjoon was, and at the same time, this very quality of Namjoon made Jin want to lose all his senses and go rogue, made him want to jump over Namjoon and devour him just to let him know how intensely he felt right now, how much he appreciated his care.

Namjoon continued his trail of kisses, now gently spreading Jin’s ass cheeks, mouth moving between him, and Jin felt Namjoon’s tongue softly lick his entrance.

Jin shivered at first with a gasp, hands fisted on the bed covers. Namjoon slowly picked up the pace, wet mouth kissing the rim, tip of his tongue moving from his sensitive perineum to the hole, pushing in. Namjoon’s hot breath fanned over Jin’s soft, wet skin. Jin pushed his face to the side for some air.

‘Oh Joonie,’ he whined, body arching further, his hazy voice telling the other how far gone he was. Jin was spreading his knees further apart, pushing himself on Namjoon, eager for more and Namjoon opened his mouth wider, moving more hungrily, tongue pushing deeper, then mouth leaving a mark on the lower side of one of his cheeks. For a few moments there were only the noises of Jin’s heavy moans with the wet noises of Namjoon’s mouth.

‘You ready baby?’ Namjoon asked and Jin could hear him take the bottle of lube. Jin turned around. They locked their heated eyes, both were flushed, a slight layer of sweat sheening on their skin like tiny diamonds. Jin nodded, positioning his legs on either side of Namjoon. His arms rested lazily spread above this head. The taller spread the lubricant on his fingers, slowly and gently pushing one of them into Jin. Jin exhaled, trying to relax his body, feeling the sensation of Namjoon’s finger against his inner walls for the first time. He closed his eyes, as Namjoon slowly pumped in and out, and then adding another finger, stretching him further. Pleasure increased with each stroke inside Jin until he was again moaning every time Namjoon’s fingers slithered in against him. Namjoon’s own cock twitched imagining how it would feel when it would replace those fingers, the tip wet since a while now, desperately wanting Jin’s touch.

‘Joon…’ Jin called for him and Namjoon looked up, slowing his movements.

‘Yeah Jin?’ His free hand cupped Jin’s face.

‘Don’t make me come just yet,’ Jin smirked. ‘I want to feel you inside me first before I ride you… and then, you can make me come,’

Namjoon smiled, ducking his head shyly again. That move always made his dimples even more endearing.

‘You ready?’ Jin asked him this time. Namjoon nodded and Jin sat up and took the lube, coating Namjoon’s thick length, hazy eyes watching how Namjoon looked so consumed in Jin’s ministrations. Namjoon leaned in for a kiss but Jin kept pulling back just the slightest to tease him until the older was flat on his back again. He positioned Namjoon’s cock against his hole, urging him to push in.

Slowly Namjoon thrust forward, eyes on Jin, making sure he’s feeling alright but the older was lost in the sensations again, eyes closed, eyebrows furrowed and lips spilling out a long moan. He filled Jin up, his stroke going deep and pulled out till the tip, moving in again, picking up the pace like his fingers had a few moments ago.

‘You’re so good to me Joon… so-fucking-good,’ the words rolled out of Jin in his pleasurable bliss at each thrust.

Namjoon moaned in agreement to the last words, relating to how good Jin made him feel and his mouth latched on to that spot on his neck which always made Jin whimper even at the slightest touch. Jin felt so good around him, sheathing him tight at every inch of his cock, it was the kind of content pleasure that Namjoon knew he wouldn’t feel from anything else.

‘Wait, slow… slow down,’ Jin breathed and Namjoon opened his eyes in slight worry.

‘What happened baby? Are you okay? Did i-’

But Jin was smiling adoringly at Namjoon, ‘Shhh,’ he cooed. ‘You’re making me feel the best I’ve ever felt, relax baby,’ he pecked Namjoon’s lips. ‘You’re always taking care of me, putting me first, how did my stars align so fortunately with yours?’ He started pushing Namjoon, grabbing his arms so they could turn.

‘I just don’t want it to end before I can take care of you too,’ Jin said, straddling Namjoon. ‘After all,’ his voice lowered to a deep whisper. ‘You wanted to see me ride you,’

Namjoon should’ve known this fantasy of his would be the end of him. He had imagined this a hundred times but of course it could never do justice to Jin actually naked in front of him, messy hair, flushed skin, his broad shoulders tapering to that beautiful narrow waist. And the way Jin looked at Joon with pure lust, that couldn’t be justified with imagination.

Jin pumped Namjoon’s length a few times, and once Jin had found a position for himself, he lowered down on him, Namjoon groaned at the sight of his cock disappearing deep into the other, eyes closing when Jin’s body touched Namjoon’s base.

Jin leaned back on the balls of his palms, slowly getting into a rhythm. Namjoon held his waist, watching how he moved, Jin’s cock bobbing with the movement, how his hips gyrated, that circular motion driving Namjoon crazy.

Deep groans left Namjoon’s lips one after the other. His hands roamed over Jin’s body, caressing and gripping his thighs, feeling the muscles tighten each time Jin moved up and down. His own hips were starting to seek more now, pushing up into Jin.

‘Oh, Joon…’ Jin threw his head back, feeling Namjoon reach deep into him, hitting him where he wanted.

Namjoon paused for a moment and held him. He sat up so that their faces could be on level. His hands gripped the back of Jin’s head and they kissed, their hips slowly grinding together.

‘Come inside me,’ Jin whispered over his lips. ‘I want that, please,’

Heat built up at the pit of Namjoon’s stomach at the way Jin pleaded desperately. Namjoon shifted his weight on his hands planted on the bed behind him and started to thrust up. He let go, letting the feel of Jin completely take over all his senses, Jin’s touch, his lewd moans, his beautiful scent, and with the last few deep, fast thrusts, he was coming harder than ever, deep inside the man he loved, the orgasm spreading through his body, till the ends of his limbs, a degree of pleasure he hadn’t ever felt before. He leaned on the head rest of the bed, moaning loud while Jin rode him out. Jin’s hands were stroking himself, eyes on Namjoon’s contorted face and he came almost immediately, strips of white all over Namjoon’s chest. Both breathed out, Jin almost falling forward. Namjoon held him by the arms and slowly laid him down on himself. They could care less about the mess between them right now.

Slowly their breaths settled, senses of the world returning to them, the currents in their limbs getting replaced with a happy contentment.

‘Yeah I would definitely like to do this with you for the rest of my life,’ Jin grinned, face in the crook of Namjoon’s neck. He straightened out his legs, the ache in them kind of pleasant and laid on Namjoon’s side. ‘Do this everyday and I’m going to have stunning thighs isn’t that right?’

Namjoon smiled, dimples going deep and turned to kiss Jin. ‘I would definitely like to do this with you for the rest of my life too… and many other things,’

‘Many other things?’ Jin raised an eyebrow. ‘How much have you not told me Kim Namjoon?’

Namjoon chuckled, hugging him tight and closing his eyes, ‘I love you… so much,’

‘I love you so much too,’ Jin grinned against his shoulder, light headed with the moment’s happiness.

* * * *

Classes resumed at full force for all of them. There wasn’t much time left for the final exams, less than 3 months remained. Jin and Namjoon were too lost in their bliss to stress about NEWTs just yet but Emina Carter, the Head Girl was already losing her sleep, appetite and her gorgeous auburn hair over the stress. She was the personification of the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests.

‘You’re a genius, why are you stressing so much?’ Vanessa coaxed her, trying to stuff one of the leftover cookies from breakfast into her girlfriend’s mouth, but Emina’s face was buried in her potions textbook. They were all in the clubroom, doing their assignments and practice papers. ‘You are smart, you have a kind of memory that amazes me. If you overthink this, you’re going to ruin your health,’

‘I couldn’t finish my assignments, Snape is going to kill me…’ Emina chewed on her quill. ‘There are surprise tests coming up. McGonagall wants all of us to score at least E. I think I’m gonna collapse,’

‘Let me get you the invigorating potion,’ Vanessa stood up and a memo came flying towards her. Only Emina and McGonagall used this memo system.

‘Why is McGonagall telling us to come in?’ Vanessa looked at Emina and showed her the memo.

‘She is? Oh god did I screw up some assignment?’

‘I don’t think it’s that,’ Vanessa’s gut told her it was something worse. ‘C’mon, let’s go find out,’

‘These assignments are never ending,’ Ash yawned in the other corner of the room, putting her head on Jimin’s shoulder. ‘Are there no spells to make them finish on their own,’ her sleepy eyes were looking around the room casually when they settled on Jin and Namjoon sitting on the sofa at a distance. Ash sat up and turned to Jimin, ‘Don’t you think something’s changed between them?’

‘Hmmm?’ Jimin looked at her with big eyes and then looked to the front towards the couple, ‘Changed how?’

‘Something is different. They used to give off this awkwardly cute vibe. Now it’s all charged,’

‘Yeah I see that too,’ Jimin agreed, seeing how Namjoon’s one hand rested on Jin’s thigh and the other around his waist. And then when they looked at it each, the exchange of gazes and the slight smirks on their lips was making everything sultry. There was a kind of confidence radiating from them. ‘Are we falling behind?’ Jimin turned to Ash with a pout. ‘Are we not the sexy ones anymore?’

Ash laughed, ‘It’s not a competition Jiminnie,’

‘But I liked it when Kook said we look sexy together. I liked that we gave off that vibe. We used to make everyone else jealous,’

‘Don’t worry, we’re not that hard to defeat are we,’ Ash’s green eyes twinkled at him.

‘I guess we could be the cute ones for a bit,’ Jimin shrugged and Ash nodded agreeing when Laura and Jungkook entered. Jungkook was tugging on Laura’s green cloak, whining and pouting about wanting her to sit with him. When she still resisted he wound his hands around her from the back, picked her up and took her to the couch. Laura had a look of victory on her face, not visible to Jungkook. He sat her down and instead of opening his book, lay down on her lap and when she protested, he squeezed her face between his hands, making her lips pucker up like a fish.

Ash and Jimin looked at each other again, with a look of defeat. Ash sighed, tucking her hair behind her ears, ‘I guess that's gone too,’

‘Your ears are ticklish aren't they?’ Jimin asked her, watching her fingers trail down from her pinna.

‘Sensitive, yeah,’ Ash nodded. She felt his intense gaze on her from the corner of her eye and looked at him. ‘What?’

Jimin didn't answer, just continued to look at her in a way that melted her heart and heated up her insides at the same time.

‘Why are you looking at me like that?’

She felt his hand on her thigh… the grip was firm and he slowly slithered up as his lips came close to her ear.

‘I’d like to see how sensitive they are… and the rest of you too,’ the brush of his lips tickled her with goosebumps and she closed her eyes, feeling his hand now curving into her inner thigh, fingers digging into the underside. He softly kissed her pinna, the sound of it audible just to her and she couldn't help but moan ever so slightly. Quickly, she covered her mouth with her hand, not wanting to draw any attention towards them. Jimin pulled her hand away and pecked her lips, before settling back down with his notes. Ash looked at him, wondering if he's going to suggest that they run away for a bit, but he didn't. Instead he just had a smug smile on him.

‘Where is Taehyung by the way?’ Jungkook asked. ‘I just saw him briefly at dinner yesterday,’

‘Same,’ Ash said. ‘I haven’t really seen him around,’

All eyes turned to Jimin. Since the werewolf attack in the forbidden forest, Jimin and Taehyung had grown closer than before.

‘Is he ignoring us?’ Jin asked and Jimin seemed to hide a little behind Ash’s frame.

‘I don’t think ignoring is the right word… he’s just, on his own a lot,’

*

Taehyung put on his white sweater. He wasn't really cold, but Bogum gave him suspicious looks, himself being covered in 5 layers of wool. Taehyung rolled his eyes and put on a blue woollen beanie and a blue jacket. The cold made no difference to him, he was enjoying it. But he had to ‘fit in’.

He walked out of the castle, and headed to Hogsmeade before sunset came too close. Abraxas had told him there would be a visitor at the Hogsmeade station. He walked in the snow towards the train station, feet pushing into the fluffy white ground.

Northern Scotland was now perpetually covered in snow but today, the sun slightly peeked out for a while. He sat on a bench at the platform for a few minutes. The station master and a few workers passed by him, one of them giving him an acknowledging nod that he returned. Eventually Taehyung decided to take a stroll, he kicked the snow, walked on the rail while trying to balance himself.

Taehyung returned to the bench and closed his eyes, feeling disappointed. The sun was setting and he had to return now, without having met his visitor.

‘You’ve been waiting a while?’

Taehyung opened his eyes and looked to his side. Serafin sat in her black cloak, staring ahead, few locks of her red hair visible around the edge of the hood. She turned to him and smiled. ‘How are you Taehyung?’

 

Chapter Text

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Akira Senju - Homage to Alchemy

‘Thank you for coming,’ Taehyung said. ‘I thought you wouldn’t show up,’

‘Of course I would. Though I’m at risk from being spotted by Dumbledore,’ Serafin’s orange eyes briefly scanned the snowy landscape behind Taehyung, at the end of which the Hogwarts castle stood high on the upward slope. ‘But I think I can handle that old man,’ she chuckled. ‘So, you said you want to discuss something with me,’

‘Yes,’ Taehyung nodded. ‘I… want to know. Is it true that only Abraxas’ soul is alive? He doesn’t have his own body?’

‘It is,’ Serafin nodded. ‘He’s been jumping live bodies for 800 years. His soul is losing power, a part of him lessening every time he takes a new host,’

‘Who has he hosted into currently?’

‘A raven,’ Serafin said and Taehyung looked confused. ‘After the exhaustion of 800 years, his soul isn’t able to hold a human body for too long so it’s easier for him to merge into an animal for now. That’s why he wants the Philosopher’s Stone, to have his old body back,’

‘Abraxas killed thousands of people in the Red War with his previous stone. Why should I join his cult?’

‘Do you have any idea what the world was like back then? I hear the descendents of those clans who fought in the war still live,’

‘Yes they do,’

‘Do you know them?’

‘Yes,’ he nodded.

‘Well, what do you think of them?’

‘They are my friends,’ he said.

‘If this was the 13th century, they would be waging a war over each other for dominance. That is what the world was, powerful clans fighting to broaden their empire. The Dracwyns were barbaric. Their dragons burned cities and humans alive. The Kims defeated a hundred armies to become the biggest kingdom in the realm. Do you know how many slaves have died mining gold for them? Do you think there was no bloodshed there? The Kims had the largest amount of slaves,’

‘Their descendants would not shed innocent blood, or enslave anyone,’

‘You don’t know that. Because now, the world has changed. Now, war is crime. Earlier, war was the way of life,’

‘You want me to believe that the same man who murdered hundreds has had a change of heart?’

‘History likes to dramatize things,’ Serafin said. ‘It's true that our master made many mistakes. He did things he wished he hadn't. He carried out risky experiments not knowing if it will show an outcome. He was curious and dedicated his life to knowing more, understanding more. It took over him and he did things he regrets. The Ministry of Magic was created to bring in democracy, because of the of the cruel condition that the rival kingdoms had put Europe in the 16th century. Do you know who they were? The Dracwyns, The Kims, The Blacks, The Peverells. Each fighting to expand whatever was left of Europe. And the Russians tried to invade. So did the Turks and Persians. It was a sad state. Abraxas was no where in the scene at that time,’

‘But Abraxas is capable of doing bad things again because he's done it before,’ Taehyung said.

‘Everyone is capable of doing bad things. Me, you, Dumbledore,’ she raised her eyebrows at the last name. ‘The important thing here is, what do you want to do now. Do you want to live with us and learn more about yourself? Or hide here until one day your powers combust again and the Ministry arrests you and questions you about where the philosopher’s stone is,’

‘Are you really going to create it? The stone?’

‘We hope to,’

‘What if I don't want any part in it?’

‘We live by certain rules Taehyung. If there are no rules, there is chaos. And chaos leads nowhere. If you want to live with us, you have to contribute. In turn you will achieve so much power that you can't even imagine,’

‘You want to overthrow the ministry for the wrong they did to Elkyres and Alchemists?’

‘Yes. Nothing good has come out of the Ministry’s rule. First Grindelwald, then Voldemort, I don't know who else will rise next to selfishly exert their power. I never trusted the Ministry. The corruption is too far gone in their system,’

‘And the new system you establish will be good?’

Serafin’s eyes turned to him, the fire ablaze in them, ‘We will be there to oversee it for a hundred years Taehyung. Our rule will be eternal,’

Eternal… eternal power… Taehyung would be lying if he said the prospect she was showing him did not look utterly marvellous. How would it even feel to hold that much power in your hands? To be the one who made the rules, who controls what happens. To be the creator of a new world, working for causes he believed in. He could help Jimin, he could cure him and many others like him. He felt he had the potential to do good in this world. For a moment he didn’t feel like the average boy who couldn’t live up to his mother’s reputation and who got bullied for being too kind.

‘I hope you know, your father has joined us too,’

That broke Taehyung from his reverie.

‘I don't care what my father does,’ he said.

‘Taehyung, you and Martaeus may not have any relationship now but it doesn't have to remain that way. He's an Elkyre too. You inherited these powers from him. And if you join us, you’ll be working with him,’

‘We’ll see when it comes to that,’

‘I can understand that Martaeus can be hard at times. He's stubborn… and also a little delusional… because of his stubbornness,’

‘Has he… does he ask about me?’

‘He does. He wants to know you… but he knows you don't want to see him,’

Taehyung didn't answer and just sat with his hands folded over each other.

‘Abraxas sent something for you, a gift,’ Serafin said and then put her gloved hands into a pocket in her dark green robes. Taehyung looked towards her and she retrieved a white translucent stone, the size of a marble with red smoke swirling inside it. Taehyung felt something tingle all over his skin.

‘What is this?’ He asked in awe.

‘Something like a catalyst for your powers,’ Serafin held out her palm, the stone in the centre of it. ‘It’s one of a kind, among the rarest things on earth so take care of it,’

‘One of a kind…’ Taehyung took the stone in his hand and could instantly feel something shift inside him. He felt much more powerful, a kind of energy filling him up, in such quantity that he immediately wanted to get up and caste his powers to create something.

‘Consider this your 15th birthday gift. With this, you’ll be able to unleash your full potential. You know you are one of a kind too? If you control ice, it means your element is water.

‘You mean I can control both ice and water?’

‘You can,’ Serafin nodded. ‘Elkyres are never seen in consecutive generations but in your case, both you and your father inherited a form of water. Your ancestor The Great Aquirys could control all 3 forms - water, air, ice. With this stone, you can learn how to heighten your ice wielding powers and learn to control water… and then hopefully air too. I was always very envious of the water Elkyres. Unlike fire, they have so many forms. Even Earth gets to delve into magnetic elements and flora. Fire is just… purely fire,’

‘How do I use it?’ Taehyung asked, looking through the translucent stone between his thumb and forefinger.

‘Wear it. In a ring or around your neck,’

‘I think I'll wear it… like this,’ he said, taking the silver chain hanging around his neck. His fingertips created a holder from ice and Taehyung placed the stone in it. The locket rested next to the one he shared with Laura. ‘Thank you,’

‘I’ll convey your thanks to Abraxas. He will be very happy. But remember, keep this very carefully, don’t let it fall into someone else’s hands or they could misuse the power,’

‘I need some more time to decide what to do,’ Taehyung said while turning the locket this way and that, to catch the reflection of the sun in the stone.

‘I understand. Call on me again when you want to speak to me,’

‘You don't have any restrictions in seeing me anymore?’

‘Your father is on our side so his opposition is resolved. I'm only worried about Dumbledore. If he finds out you’ve been talking to me, he will not like it. Might even put you on lockdown,’

‘Dumbledore wouldn't do that,’

Serafin smiled. ‘I’ve known him longer than you have Taehyung,’ and then she stood up. ‘I’ll see you soon I hope,’ she lit a tiny green lantern that she was carrying. ‘Put this out once I’m gone,’

‘What?’ Taehyung asked but before he could get a response, Serafin turned to flames, startling Taehyung and merged into the fire in the lamp. Taehyung looked at the fire blaze and return to a small flame. He turned the knob, put the fire off and tucked the little lamp in his jacket pocket.

When he reached the castle grounds, there was some commotion going on. 4 Slytherins had gathered near the Whomping Willow, Alexander, Taehyung’s one time crush was at the front. The tree was swaying as if it was agitated with the noise the students were making.

‘Alex, you can't go nearer!’ The boy’s friend was pulling his hand back. ‘That tree can kill you!’

‘The Willow hasn't killed anyone yet,’ Alexander was trying to push his friend’s hand away. ‘Look at Jasper! He’s scared to death!’

Taehyung tried to locate Jasper- Alexander’s grey Somali cat among the moving branches and leaves of the tree, and finally caught sight of it and rushed to Alex’s side.

‘Don’t worry,’ Tae said to him. ‘I’ll bring him down,’

‘Are you out of your mind Kim!’ One of the Slytherins held his arm. ‘That tree will cut you up,’

‘Tae that's dangerous!’ Alexander’s green eyes were wide in fear.

‘Trust me,’ he said to him, taking the Slytherin boy’s hand off of his arm and walking forward. Gasps and noises of disbelief could be heard behind him. As soon as the Whomping Willow felt another being in its perimeter, it started whipping its branches violently and the students screamed in warning. A long branch came lashing towards Taehyung but the boy extended his hand, turning the branch to ice as soon as it made contact. Now the crowd gasped in shock. Another branch came at him and met with the same fate. He froze the two branches with the ground, making it impossible for the tree to move them, despite all the strength it used.

Taehyung felt so powerful, the stone hanging on his neck glowed slightly. He felt like he could freeze the entire tree and then shatter it to a million pieces. But that display of power was not for today.

‘How's he doing that?’ Alex’s friend asked him but he was in utter disbelief himself. They did not see Taehyung use a wand. How was an average 4th year student performing wandless magic? Magic strong enough to trap the furiously mighty Whomping Willow.

Taehyung walked closer to the tree and touched the trunk, ice spreading from his palm to freeze the entire structure. The tree stilled like a statue made of ice. Taehyung then caught on to one of the lower branches and climbed up, reaching the cat who stood scared, hackles raised and body squeezed close in the sudden cold.

‘C’mon Jasper,’ Taehyung tried to catch the cat. ‘Let’s take you to Alex,’

Once the cat was in his grasp, he brought him close and tucked him under his jacket so it would feel secure. And then jumped down on the ground. The students came running towards him, cheering loudly.

Alex took Jasper from him and hugged the cat in relief, rubbing its head to make him feel warm and safe. ‘Thank you! Thank you so much!’

‘Don't mention it,’ Taehyung gave his charming smile.

‘Hey Kim!’ A friend of his slapped his back in congratulations. ‘Where’d you learn that stuff? You can do wandless magic?’

A panic creeped up in Taehyung. He had bravely done the act, but was he brave enough to answer their questions? Should he lie? Or tell the truth? All the faces were looking at him expectantly.

‘It… it wasn't wandless. I had my wand tucked in my sleeve all the time,’ He retrieved his wand from where he would tuck it under the sleeve of his jumper.

‘We didn't see any wand.’

‘Did you really expect to catch every tiny detail when there was so much movement? What are you trying to say? That I’m suddenly Dumbledore?’ Taehyung chuckled, raising an eyebrow and slowly the Slytherins started to laugh as well, realising the absurdity of Kim Taehyung becoming a powerful wizard overnight. Hopefully this will not stay on their minds.

The crowd started to disperse, breaking into conversations in smaller groups.

‘Let's get you inside and give you something to eat.’ Alex said to his cat who still looked like it was in shock. ‘Thanks Taehyung,’ Alex whispered and quickly bent forward to peck Tae’s cheek. It was so brief that Taehyung didn't get to react and Alex was hopping away happily before he knew it.

Taehyung walked back into the castle with a big smile and a burning spot on the apple of his cheek. He decided to head to the clubroom where his friends usually were.

*

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Ramin Djawadi - We Are Not The Same

‘So your castle is in the middle of nowhere and there's no one living there,’ Hoseok entered loudly, hand holding Yoongi’s who followed him into the clubroom. Both occupied the couch left vacant by Emina and Vanessa.

‘There are people living there!’ Yoongi argued.

‘Your grand uncle, and one cook. In a castle where at least 50 people can live. Don’t they get a bit lonely?’

‘I don’t know. Maybe…’ Yoongi shrugged. ‘The entirety of the Min dynasty used to live there, now just my small family and a few cousins remain, who still carry the Min name.

‘Did your ancestors really draw healing powers from the moon creatures? The eastern water dragons?’ Hoseok asked. ‘They created the arrow of light that was used in the Red War? That dispells dark power?’

Yoongi nodded, ‘Yes there was a time when the Mins lived with the moon dragons. The arrow is made from the moon’s light and the bow is made from the dragon’s bone. It was made by healers so I don’t think it’s just a weapon... or it's a weapon of a different kind. Records say that arrow was stabbed into one of the Min king’s wounds caused by dark magic and the act actually saved his life! I wonder if I’ll ever see that weapon with my own eyes or if it’s really gone forever under the dark waters below the throne,’

‘Your castle sounds too intriguing. Your throne floats on water,’ Hoseok wore an expression of awe.

‘We can go there in the summer,’ Yoongi smiled. ‘I’ll show you around. Only a Min knows how to get there, there’s an underwater passage and stuff,’

‘Would you really take me?’ Hoseok's eyes grew wider. 'But you once told me that outsiders aren't allowed there,'

'True,' Yoongi nodded. 'But you aren't exactly an outsider now, are you? At least I say so,'

Hoseok grinned, his cheeks glowing. ‘But I should know more if I’m visiting such an ancient magical place. What are moon dragons? I’ve never heard of them,’ Hoseok said.

‘Dragons exist in all elements,’ Yoongi explained. ‘The fire dragons are mostly found in Europe. The earth and forest dragons are in the Mesoamerican regions and water dragons in the east, though varieties of all elements exist in small numbers everywhere,’

‘And you are from two dragon families!’ Hoseok said. ‘The fire and water dragons,’

Yoongi scratched the back of his head, ‘Yeah you could say that. That’s why my Grandfather gladly accepted when my dad proposed my mom. Because the Mins were a family the Dracwyns were acquainted with since centuries,’

‘That’s… something,’ Hoseok nodded, clearly impressed. ‘It’s so fascinating to hear about your ancient bloodlines. How was that school? Mahoutokoro… do you remember anything?’

‘I remember fragments… I was there only for 2 years. The students below the age of 11 travelled on giant storm petrels. I remember the palace mostly being made of a green jade stone. It was on a mountain so high that we all thought we’re floating on clouds,’

‘Wow… I hope I get to see it one day. Do they take in visitors?’

‘I have no idea,’ Yoongi shrugged again. ‘Maybe I could ask my father. He studied there,’

‘And isn’t your wand a cherry blossom wand? My dad told me those wands are rare even in the east,’

‘That’s what Ollivander said when I wanted to get a splinter on it fixed after falling off my broom, I thought he wouldn’t give it back to me,’ Yoongi laughed.

‘Do you… do you wish to go back there? Ever?’ Hoseok asked. He remembered very well what Jin had told him once, that Yoongi left the school after someone attempted to take his life by poisoning him.

‘Honestly, at first I missed it. The culture at Hogwarts is different from Mahatoukoro. The one thing in common was in both schools I was judged for having Dracwyn blood. I don’t want to go back there anymore, especially now that I have all of you,’

‘Yeah, now everyone knows you’re a softie,’ Hoseok sniggered and Yoongi kicked him lightly on the calf. The memo from McGonagall slid down the couch at the movement.

‘Em and Van were called in?’ Yoongi exclaimed, reading the memo and the other’s around him looked up.

‘What if…’ Jimin looked worried and guilty. ‘What if this is about the potion… that they made?’ he whispered.

And soon the two girls came in, looking annoyed and sullen. They quietly took their places on one of the armchairs.

‘Tell us what happened!’ Hoseok shook Emina by the arm.

‘Well… the stunt we pulled with… with the double Jimin,’ Emina said. ‘Why did we think Pomfrey won’t catch it. She knew you would be at the Shrieking Shack at that time,’ Emina looked at Jimin. ‘How could we be so stupid,’ she put her face in her hands.

‘We weren’t that stupid,’ Vanessa said. ‘We were only stupid to think the staff would let this go,’

‘But did you argue that you did this for Jimin’s own good?’ Hoseok asked.’ If this hadn’t been done, Jessica would’ve never been caught and Ash and Jimin would’ve faced their bullying again and again,’

‘You think we didn’t try,’ Emina said. ‘We did all we could. McGonagall and the others said we shouldn’t have taken the school’s law’s into our hands. Polyjuice Potion is among the top 5 banned potions in the school,’

‘She kept saying they can’t let such grave rule breaking go without any consequences. They said we should’ve approached them with our worries and they would’ve helped us,’ Vanessa said.

‘Helped us how?’ Ash looked annoyed now. ‘They asked for proof, what other way were we to get it?’

‘Apparently they think something like a Polyjuice potion was not necessary. And they couldn’t believe the head girl could break the rules so severely,’ Vanessa glanced at Emina who sat like she was in a kind of stupor. ‘They said this would be enough to make her give in her badge. If it was any other student they would’ve expelled them,’

‘Luckily they let me keep the badge and just took points from us. 100 points each. No detention,’ Emina said.

‘100 points each! This isn’t right,’ Yoongi stood up. 100 points was equivalent to nullifying 10 of the Slytherin chasers’ scored goals. ‘Either Dumbledore should stay here and solve our problems. Or he should let us do it ourselves. We can’t keep living in our troubles. Why is he going off to the Ministry every now and then. If he loves being there so much he should just become the Minister and stay there,’

‘I heard rumours than Fudge is really worried about the upcoming elections,’ Vanessa said. ‘And he keeps calling Dumbledore for meetings, trying to show the public that their preferred wizard is a close advisor of his. He’s pushed forward the trials of certain popular cases so that the public sees he’s doing some work and Dumbledore being Chief Warlock is often busy with it,’

‘Fudge is trying to run for a second term?’ Jimin asked.

‘Looks like it,’ Vanessa answered. ‘Fudge is too power hungry to let the Ministry go,’

‘I think we need a new minister,’ Jimin said. ‘Fudge is not ideal. He’s a coward most of the time. A big people pleaser,’

‘You think so?’ Hoseok asked. ‘I thought he did a lot for the families affected after the war,’

‘Yeah he did,’ Jimin said. ‘For the families that made him look good in front of the masses. Another term with him…,’ Jimin lowered his voice, ‘and with the ministry being a threat to Taehyung, not to mention the alchemists also getting active again… I don’t think Fudge will deal this situation fairly. And he for sure will not deal Taehyung’s situation fairly in case the worst happens,’

‘But who else can run for Minister?’ Laura asked. ‘I don’t know any other good candidate,’

‘Maybe one day Namjoon can,’ Jin beamed and all nodded and hummed in agreement.

‘Me? Minister?’ Namjoon waved his hand. ‘When there are so many other people from powerful families,’

‘You will be the fairest Minister Britain can ever have Namjoon,’ Jin said. ‘Who else do you want to see up there, my father?’ he chuckled. ‘You’re smart in every field of study, you’re compassionate. Maybe 15 years from now, you can become the youngest Minister,’

‘So can you,’ Namjoon whispered to Jin. ‘You check all the boxes,’

‘Except I don’t want to,’ Jin shook his head. ‘Where in the world is Taehyung though?’ Jin looked at his friends again. ‘The way he’s being distant is worrying me a little,’

‘My bet is he’s at the Great Lake again,’ Hoseok shook his head while laying back on the couch, his legs going up to rest in Yoongi’s lap. ‘I am 80% sure he’s build some kind of solitary tree house there and is turning into a hippie,’

‘I don’t know what a hippie is but I’m going to look for him,’ Jin said, standing up from his chair. ‘I think I need to sit down and talk to him, resolve any issues that may be there. Is that why he’s acting distant?’ He smoothed down his robes and headed out.

‘By the way, Jin was right Namjoon,’ Laura said. ‘You’ll make a good Minister,’

‘That’s a thing for the future. Let me clear my NEWTs first!’

‘I was thinking,’ Hoseok straightened up. ‘Let’s make a study group. If we all sit together and focus, maybe the process will be faster? We can quiz each other, solve any doubts,’

‘Yeah I’m not enrolling in that,’ Yoongi rubbed his eyes. ‘I need silence and zero distractions and you all can’t go a second without yelling something-’

‘Hey guys!’ Taehyung entered with a smile at Jimin, Jungkook and the rest who were busy talking amongst themselves. They all turned to him with a smile.

‘There you are! Jin went looking for you-’

Jin entered at that moment, his footsteps urgent and furious.

‘Kim Taehyung!’ He called out and the boy turned to the door.

‘What is it?’

‘What am I hearing?’ Jin demanded of him. ‘Why are the Slytherins calling you an ice prince?’

The room turned dead silent with all eyes on Taehyung who looked shocked at first but then guarded his face.

‘Because I froze the Whomping Willow,’

‘You what?!’ Jin inched nearer.

‘Alexander’s cat was stuck on it. The Willow could've killed the cat or injured the students trying to rescue it. I saved a lot of damage,’

Jin was breathing heavily, eyes livid at Taehyung but Taehyung remained resolute. Jin slowly took two steps back, trying really really hard to calm down.

‘You know what?’ Jin finally said. ‘Fine. It's fine. Do what you think is right. Just… don't get caught by the wrong people,’

‘Really hard for you to say that huh?’ Taehyung said.

Jin’s eyes shot back to the boy ‘Don't test my patience Taehyung!’ He yelled again and then instantly looked taken aback at himself. He remembered the same words being thrown at him time and again… by his father. Was he behaving with Taehyung the way his father behaved with him? Was he becoming the same monster to a child? No… he couldn't… Jin stepped away and walked out of the room.

‘I’ll talk to him,’ Namjoon said and went behind him. As soon as the two were out of earshot, the room buzzed with voices again.

‘Are you serious Tae!?’ Laura was livid too. ‘You used your powers in front of students?’

‘You told me I shouldn't have to hide myself,’ Tae argued.

‘Yeah but… I… I didn't realize how dangerous that would be!’ Laura said. ‘Did you not see that article by Serafin? She’s stirred things up again in the Ministry,’

‘They have eye is on you since the trial,’ Hoseok said. ‘My father confirmed it. You are a suspect in being the next Elkyre in their records. That is why it is dangerous. Don't you think you need to carefully plan how you choose to reveal who you are? At this point the Ministry will take you in if any of those students rat it out,’

Jungkook could see Taehyung go into his shell again, his eyes downcast and eyebrows furrowed, fingers pulling at the hem of his sleeves to cover his hands.

‘Enough,’ Jungkook’s voice rang over the other voices. ‘You all have said enough. Taehyung knows all of it,’

‘But-’ Yoongi started. Jungkook held up a precautionary hand. ‘I want to talk to him alone,’

The rest slowly left the room. Jungkook walked to Taehyung who faced away, eyes looking particularly at nothing outside the window in the room. His gaze was cold and angry.

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Ramin Djawadi - You Have A Choice

‘Tae?’

There was no response.

‘Taehyung,’ Jungkook kept a hand on his shoulder.

‘Do you feel the same as they do?’ Taehyung asked him. ‘I’m the one at fault?’

‘No one is at fault,’

‘A very diplomatic answer,’ Taehyung rolled his eyes.

‘I'm not being diplomatic. I'm being truthful. Can I ask one thing from you?’

Taehyung turned his head to the side towards Jungkook, ‘What is it?’

‘Be patient? Yes one day you will live freely as an Elkyre. But don't rush it and ruin it. We all want you to be happy. Be patient till we all figure out a way together,’

‘I told you I don't want you all involved,’

‘I'm sorry but you're asking too much of us,’ Jungkook chuckled. ‘Especially of me. You’re my best friend. How do I not involve myself in trying to make you happy and keep you safe?’

Taehyung finally smiled slightly at him and Jungkook put his arm around his shoulder. ‘Why are we all like this…’ Taehyung said to himself.

‘I’m glad we are. I’m glad I have people I can count on no matter. Who miss each other even if they're away for a while. Who else has such friends?’

Taehyung nodded and then told him about his meeting with Serafin. ‘I met the fire Elkyre just now. She told me my father has joined them too,’

‘Has he? What do you feel about that?’

Taehyung shrugged. ‘I mostly don't care,’

‘Isn't there a part of you that wants to know what your father is like?’

‘I kind of do… but my anger always takes over the moment I see him. And… one more thing,’

‘Hmmm?’

Taehyung took a deep breath, ‘Our suspicions were right about their leader still being alive. Abraxas spoke to me,’

Jungkook’s eyes widened in fear, ‘When? You met him?’

‘I didn’t meet him… he spoke to me, in my mind,’

‘Tae…’ this time even Jungkook was finding it difficult to not be skeptical.

‘I know it’s a bit creepy,’ Taehyung accepted. ‘But… what other way is there? Abraxas only answers when I call him, it’s not like mind reading, more like a mental conversation thrown in each other’s direction. If I don’t pull him, he can’t approach my mind,’

‘Taehyung… if it’s the same Abraxas from 800 years ago who is their leader, the guild isn't the place for you then. He’s a mass murderer, don’t forget the Red War,’

‘The guild is where others like me are. 3 other Elkyres are there. I want to know about them,’

Jungkook shook his head, utterly unconvinced and looked out of the window.

Taehyung continued his argument. ‘Serafin does not seem like a bad person. She's trying to mend the relationship between me and my father…’

‘You want to join them,’

‘I’m unable to decide,’ Taehyung said. ‘I know for a fact that Jin will never speak to me if I do join them,’

‘Of course he will speak to you,’

‘I’m not so sure of it. I'm not sure any of you will want to be my friend,’

‘You are wrong. I will never do that,’

There was silence between them for a while.

‘I know it's a dangerous path, if I choose to go to Abraxas,’ Tae said. ‘People will misunderstand me, think that I've joined the bad side. But you know I won’t support them if I know they’re bad. I have to know the truth about them,’

‘Whatever the situation right now, you should tell the others about Abraxas,’ Jungkook said.

‘I don’t want to,’ Taehyung crossed his arms. ‘Coz I don’t want to fight with them. Why don’t you tell them on my behalf? Please? They’ll listen to you with a calmer mind.’

*

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Hans Zimmer - Time

Jin was at the owlery, looking out of the hollow window. Tears stung his eyes and burned his cheek where the cold wind hit him. He felt Namjoon come behind him, one hand of his running soothing circles on Jin’s back and the other hand come to rest on Jin’s tightly clenched fists on the window sill.

‘Am I-’ Jin hiccuped between his sobs. ‘Am I becoming my father?’

Namjoon took a while to respond, because he never ever thought this would be going on in Jin’s mind. ‘No matter what you do, you’ll never become your father Jin,’

‘I am trying to control Taehyung aren't I. He will resent me so much… I don't know what to do! How else do I know he is safe for sure,’

‘We don't know,’ Namjoon said. ‘We will never know if any of us are ever truly safe. No matter how protected we are, what has to happen will happen. But please don't think you are becoming your father,’

‘But that's what happens isn't it? We end up becoming what we resent,’

‘No… you just feel like that. You are a wonderfully selfless person Jin,’ Namjoon gave a gentle peck to his head. ‘Never forget that,’

‘Jin?’ They heard Jungkook and turned to see him behind them. ‘I need to talk to you,’

All three of them gave each other curious looks and then Namjoon nodded and left them.

‘What happened? Why are you crying?’ Jungkook walked to stand by Jin.

‘It’s not one particular reason. Its many things,’ Jin said, wiping his cheeks with the back of his hand. He didn’t want to show Jungkook that he was troubled. He knew how sensitive Jungkook was towards his friends. If he saw Jin cry, he would cry too.

‘You can share your problems with us, always,’ Jungkook said, despite his heart filling up.

Jin shook his head, ‘You won’t know until you feel what I feel. I can feel the dread creeping from the future into my conscious. It’s like a haunting tune, constantly ringing in my head,’

‘You mean there’s trouble ahead?’

‘Yes,’

‘Maybe you are wrong, you said your visions don’t always come true’

‘This is why I don’t think it’s right to share this with you all. I don’t blame you for having your doubts. Your human nature wants to believe that everything will be alright. The alternative is unacceptable,’

‘Alright, I’m here with open ears. I will believe what you tell me,’

‘I’ve already told you all what I saw last week. I saw Gwen with Bellatrix, and a massive pack of werewolves. They are planning something huge. My powers are still not completely in my control. I try to see them again but the visions are all small and fleeting. And Taehyung’s behaviour is not helping me be at ease,’

‘Jin, Tae needs to know there are people he can trust… that even if he falls, we’ll be there for him. You know he needs it. He's not choosing the guild out of 20 options… it's all he has between the death eaters and the Ministry,’

‘I understand that,’

‘There’s something important you need to know,’ Jungkook spoke carefully, ‘And it’s not going to help you feel better,’

Jin looked at him with a composed face, ‘What is it? Tell me,’

‘Abraxas is alive. And he speaks to Taehyung in his mind,’

Jin stood so still that Jungkook wondered if he heard him at all until Jin spoke again. ‘How can he live for 800 years?’

‘His soul is alive. There might be ways of separating your soul from your body. Aren’t that what ghosts are… I think?’

‘Is he in Taehyung’s mind?’

‘Even I’m… not sure exactly what this is? Abraxas can talk to Taehyung if he opens some kind of mental door and pulls Abraxas into that space. Tae says Abraxas can’t read his mind but… who knows. I’ve never heard of such magic,’

‘It… it might be possible,’ Jin said. ‘I don’t understand the magic in me sometimes… how I was able to wake up from my comatose through a mirror, how can I see people’s past. Sometimes I can hear people projecting their thoughts on me, that’s how people think my instincts are strong, when in reality it’s like a voice in my head telling me the correct option to choose. Magic of the mind and unphysical is complex. Their rules aren’t clear to people yet,’

‘So you also think it’s really Abraxas?’

‘My gut tells me it is,’ Jin looked regretful.

‘Will you tell me if you have any more visions?’ Jungkook asked. ‘You can trust me, I won't tell the others if you don't want to worry them,’

Jin looked at him for a long time and then nodded. ‘I haven't even told Namjoon most of it. He worries too much and he’s already filled with so much responsibility towards you all, the school… his grades have been suffering a little and I cannot let anything else distract him,’

‘I’m telling you the same thing what I tell to Taehyung, you don't have to do this alone. You can share it with me,’

‘Thank you,’ Jin said and Jungkook dived in to hug him.

‘You’ve looked after us for 6 years,’ the younger said. ‘Hopefully I can help you this time,’

Jin couldn't express his gratitude in words at that moment and chose to just pat Jungkook’s head. He closed his eyes, leaning his weight on Jungkook for a while… it felt good, to have someone carry your heaviness, even if it was for just a few moments. There was darkness before him, until he saw something. Glimpses of a fire… a big, blazing fire and Jungkook in standing in front of it, looking at it with painful, teary eyes.

Jin pulled away, looking at Jungkook in concern, as if the fire had been real.

‘What’s the matter?’ Jungkook asked.

Jin gulped. He still found it difficult to make a person worry with a vision which might be symbolic… maybe the fire was a symbol for something else…

Jin closed his eyes, choosing to not answer Jungkook. The fire was still there and this time, it was Yoongi, standing in the middle of it, screaming his lungs out in anger and pain. Yoongi was angry at the fire, like he wanted to fight it.

‘We’re in trouble,’ Jin finally said, shivering slightly. ‘We’re… gonna face more danger,’

‘What kind of danger?’

‘Fire… I saw you and then Yoongi, fire all around you’ Jin opened his eyes. ‘Jungkook, you can’t tell anyone what I see, not unless I know what it’s about,’

‘I won’t,’ Jungkook promised. ‘But please tell me the entire truth so that I know what to look for with Taehyung,’

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Rupert Gregson Williams - Duck Shoot

They returned to the club room. The rest of the group was there, quietly doing their work, trying to pretend like that argument between Taehyung and Jin hadn't happened. Jin sat in one of the corner tables, avoiding Taehyung’s line of sight.

‘Our elders are at it again,’ Yoongi came in with the Daily Prophet and threw it below Laura’s nose before glancing at Jin.

‘Charles Dracwyn urges an Investigative probe into Kim Hyunseok’s Relations with the Wizengamot. Claims votes were bought prior to the election,’ Laura read in a dead beat voice and looked up at Yoongi. ‘He wants Kim out of the Wizengamot?’

‘Yeah, coz Kim and Fudge are running some kind of second clean up? They’ve put two of grandfather’s business executives in Azkaban,’

Jin stood up from his place and sat next to the Min-Dracwyns at the study table. ‘I hope the games they’re playing won’t affect our friendship,’

‘I hope it won’t,’ Laura said. ‘I hope this ends. I don’t want to see Grandfather’s business dragged through more mud,’

‘What if it was something illegal?’

‘Illegal?’ Laura held out the paper to Jin so the headline was visible. ‘Then maybe you’re father isn’t the correct person to bring him to justice. I won’t be surprised if this claim of buying votes turns out to be true,’

‘You’re already turning this into a fight between us. I have no part in this,’ Jin said.

‘And I know that. But you should know I will always support my family. If your father is against any Dracwyn, then he’s against me as well,’

Jin nodded silently, not choosing to speak further. He left the table, choosing to retreat to his room for the day. He couldn’t argue with one more friend today.

‘Don’t be so harsh on him,’ Jungkook said to Laura. ‘He’s… going through a lot,’

‘It wasn’t aimed at him, it was aimed at his father,’ Laura raised her eyebrows.

‘Well, maybe it pricks him too the way anything about your family pricks you. He didn’t want this issue affecting your friendship. But it already did. Why can’t you see that?’

Laura sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. ‘That day… in the train when you asked me what was wrong… I was upset because I and grandfather had a fight. He found out about you, about me being friends with Jin and Taehyung. I have never seen him angrier,’

‘What did he say?’

‘He first threatened to move me to another school. Of course that’s not practical in this year. Then he found something else, something more prickling that been moved to another school. He said… he said I’m not fit to be a Dracwyn. He threatened to take it all away from me…’

Jungkook shook his head, ‘He won’t do that! You’re his only heir!’

‘I don’t know what to believe. I’m not the only one with Dracwyn blood so technically I’m not his only option for an heir, isn’t it?’

Yoongi was watching it all from the side, not knowing if he should intervene. It was true, apart from Laura, three others shared Dracwyn blood, one of them being him. He knew Laura would never think of him as a rival, she was not like that. But their grandfather… he uses whatever means available to him to get his way.

‘You’re overthinking this,’ Jungkook extended his hand to place on Laura’s. ‘I know this is difficult for you. I sensed it on that day when we discussed about going public. If it’s any consolation, know that I will never ever ask you to choose. If I’m coming in the way-’

‘I shouldn’t have to choose. Call me power hungry or whatever you want. But I want both. I want what was promised to me since my birth, for what I’ve worked so hard to be worthy of all these years. What was rightfully supposed to be my mother’s should rightfully be mine, no matter what. It doesn’t make me less of a Dracwyn if I choose my friends. I will protect my family with the same fierceness as my Grandfather and any other Dracwyn before him. I don’t want to give up my happiness for it. I’m not going to compromise,’

‘You’re right,’ Yoongi agreed with her. ‘And I’m glad you’re determined about this. Unfortunately grandfather is as determined as you are,’

*

Taehyung stood at the edge of the great lake. He had walked into the Forbidden Forest to get to the bank that wasn’t visible to the castle. He stood just in his boxers, skin absolutely unbothered to the cold. He wanted to feel free, to be able to breathe without his lungs choking up from all the arguments with his friends.

His blue eyes stared hard at the still water and the locket hanging around his neck glowed again. If water was his element, he should be able to stay underwater right? He should he able to change his body to his element the way his father turned to wind and Serafin turned to fire. He should be able to transfigure his body to ice of any form. He could feel his heart thud fast in excitement. He took a deep breath, wiping the sweat of anticipation from his upper lip and jumped into the water.

 

Chapter Text

 

Martaeus walked out of the limestone palace with the black raven perched on his shoulder.

‘I’m thankful to Torrhen for so many things,’ Abraxas said. ‘One of them being the fact that he convinced you to join us,’

They walked a cobblestoned bridge from the palace towards the grounds that was used as a duelling and jousting pit in the olden days. It was on a high clearance on the tallest mountain on this island. Now it all lay in ruins, the stone seats and ladders crumbled down around the circular space, giving view to the blue sky and seas around. Martaeus’ silky dark brown hair swayed against his cheek and nape and his grey-blue eyes glittered under the clear sky. ‘And what are the other things you’re thankful to Torrhen for?’

‘I’m about to show you,’ Abraxas said. ‘I’ve never seen someone as skilled as him,’

They reached the ground and saw the earth Elkyre at work on creating a statue. Torrhen’s dark wavy hair hung open on his bare back, in shades of black and brown. His bronze skin looked like it was shining under the sun. Torrhen turned around from the statue he was making to see Martaeus and the raven approach and smiled.

‘How is it going Torrhen?’ Abraxas asked.

‘You tell me,’ Torrhen said and turned back to the 8 foot tall structure of clay. ‘Am I getting it right?’

‘You are,’ Abraxas voice spelled that he was in awe. ‘The vision I showed you, you’re hands have replicated that perfectly,’

Martaeus looked at the statue Abraxas was in awe of- A tall being, hauntingly beautiful. It was slender, but intimidating. It’s limbs looked strong and lean, face with sharp features and heavy lidded eyes. Wings extended at it’s back, long and sinister, reminding Martaeus of the raven’s wings.

‘Is that you?’ the wind elkyre asked, glancing from the statue to the bird on his shoulder.

‘It is… this is how my body was. This is how I looked,’

‘I’m glad you were easy on the eyes,’ Martaeus raised his eyebrows.

‘I was,’ Abraxas chuckled. ‘They revered me you know? Like a God. I was the God named Abraxas. At first that name was absurd to me but I fused myself with it until I couldn’t remember my old name. They made altars in my name, constructed statues to worship me, depending on me to heal them with the philosopher’s stone,’

‘And did you? Heal them?’ Martaeus asked.

‘I did all I could in my power until the Red War took over and I had to fight for my survival,’

‘How… how did you survive?’ Martaeus asked.

‘I knew my chances of survival were thinning… with the combined powers of the 4 great dynasties,’ Abraxas said. ‘So I separated my soul from my body, hosted in someone else and escaped in a fraction of a second. I was afraid… separation of the soul has never been done before… and it weakens you. But that was my only way to survive,’

‘I heard the Dark Lord did that too,’ Martaeus said. ‘It’s a rumour he split his soul, trying to stay immortal,’

Abraxas chuckled at that. ‘He’s the only one I’ve seen who’s so obsessed with being immortal. He came to me you know? Thinking I have the philosopher’s stone,’

Martaeus narrowed his eyebrows, ‘When? Did he know you were… you, that you were Abraxas?’

‘Not really. He met me when I was in the form of Nicholas Flamel. He threatened me alot so I showed him the fake red stone I had and I fled. I met a lot of people during that lifetime. I was hoping word would get to Elkyres and they would come to me too but I think I chose the wrong century to be famous,’

‘Even Dumbledore did not realise you’re hosting Flamel’s body?’ Martaeus asked.

‘You all speak so much about this Dumbledore,’ Torrhen said while his fingers perfected the clay feathers on the statue’s wings. ‘I hope I get to see this great wizard,’

‘Dumbledore was quite young when he met me. I don’t think his knowledge was deep enough to understand the magic of the soul. I might even say the 18 year old Tom Riddle was sharper than Dumbledore at that point. Riddle came to me, fresh out of school, to tell me he had successfully created a horcrux. He wanted to know if he could split his soul again, or if he should use the stone to remain immortal. He asked me how I created the stone, and I told him with the power of 4 opposing elements in nature, which was my new proposed theory for creating the stone. He must’ve been very angry when he realised the stone I gave him was fake,’

‘He created a horcrux? What is that?’ Torrhen asked.

‘It’s a vessel that stores a part of your soul,’

‘Are you a horcrux too then?’ Martaeus looked at the bird.

‘Unknowingly… maybe I am,’ Abraxas agreed. ‘That is why I want to get my body back. I cannot go on like this. And once the stone is complete, I hope it will be possible to fuse my soul with this statue and make it an actual living body,’

‘If you have a living body, you won’t be immortal anymore,’ Martaeus said. ‘Or have you… have you also split your soul like the Dark Lord to always be alive in a way?’

‘When Tom told me what he had done… I was thrilled and curious to alarming levels. Of course I had to try and see if it worked. But I should’ve known it would impact me harder than it impacted Tom. I heard Tom made more than one horcrux, I don’t know how his soul could handle being split so many times… it was dangerous for someone seeking immortality because the very act of splitting your soul was volatile. The capacity of a soul cannot be measured by any means. You don’t know if you’ve reached your limit and your soul could extinguish forever. I did not have the body my soul was born in to anchor myself… And after doing it once, I never attempted it again,’

‘You actually made a Horcrux then?’ Martaeus asked.

‘I did,’ Abraxas said. ‘Now, don’t ask me where it is. I’ve given it to someone for safe keeping, as a dear gift and I’m not going to tell anyone who it is,’ they heard him chuckle.

They all saw someone walking towards them from the castle and from a distance they could tell it was Serafin, her hair swaying bright red in the ocean breeze.

‘Ah, she’s back,’ Abraxas said. ‘She had gone to Hogwarts, to see your son,’

‘When will I see him?’ Martaeus asked grimly. ‘It’s been a while now Abraxas… I want to see my son,’

‘You’re always in such a rush Martaeus,’ Abraxas said. ‘Remember what it cost you last time. If you rush this a second time, you might lose your last chance of reconciliation,’

‘He speaks to you and Serafin. What does he say about me? Is he still angry?’

‘Both of you have a cold, longing temper, you know that?’ Abraxas said. ‘He is so much like you despite refusing to talk to you,’

‘You promised me you’ll make him see I don’t mean any harm to him,’

‘And I’ve kept my promise. So has Serafin. We constantly tell him you’re waiting for him. We tell him to come be with you,’

‘I don’t need him to be with me in the guild. I just need him to be my son,’

‘Maybe the guild is the way for you two to grow closer. What better opportunity?’

‘Master,’ Torrhen interrupted their conversation. ‘I’ve prepared the other ones too. Would you like to see?’

The three walked down towards the windy beach and Torrhen took them towards a cave. Martaeus wondered what others was Torrhen talking about.

‘The sand is quite loose here,’ Martaeus said, having trouble walking over the surface, his feet going in each time he took a step. He looked ahead and Torrhen was almost gliding one step to the other, his body turned to sand from below his knees. ‘Mind firming the ground a little oh earthly being?’

Torrhen chuckled, pulling his long hair out of his face as it whipped around in the wind. ‘Calm these winds before they knot up my hair then,’

Martaeus rolled his eyes and the winds ceased. As soon as that happened, he could feel the ground beneath him getting steady. They reached the black stone cave and stepped in. It was completely dark.

‘I often forget I still carry this,’ Martaeus took his wand out of the sleeve of his shirt. ‘Lumos,’

When he peered inside the cave, the light reflected off the heads of countless statues that looked like armoured soldiers made of clay. Martaeus eyes widened in horror. They looked too many to even get an estimate.

‘Your army is ready Master,’ Torrhen pointed with his hand towards the statues and looked at the raven. ‘If we make the stone, you can fuse them with life too and they will fight for you without any questions asked,’

*

Namjoon purposely waited by the courtyard archway, hoping to run into their friend who had been avoiding them since a while. He spotted the brown haired boy walking alone as he returned from his usual walk around the Great Lake.

‘Taehyung!’ Namjoon waved with a smile. Taehyung looked up and waved slightly as well, wondering if this was a planned meeting to ‘warn’ him about the dangers of the world again. But Namjoon was smiling warmly, dimples showing. He put an arm around the smaller boy and both walked together in the corridor.

‘How are you? How’s your conversations with Abraxas going on?’

‘You seem so cheery about it,’ Taehyung said. ‘I know you’re pretending,’

‘I’m sorry,’ Namjoon ducked his head. ‘But I mean it when I say I want to be a part of your journey. Want to be there for you. I’m trying to be supportive,’

‘Thanks,’ Taehyung nodded. ‘It’s going well. Abraxas seems to be a bit busy since a few days so I’m exploring my powers on my own,’

‘Oh! Have you learnt anything new?’

Taehyung held his hand out and slowly, the tips of his fingers started frosting and they turned to ice till his wrist.

‘I’m learning how to transfigure my body into my element,’ he said. ‘Ice comes naturally to me. I want to be able to turn to water too,’

‘Wow,’ Namjoon looks at his hand in awe but when a student enters the corridor, he quickly pulls Tae’s hand down by the sleeve. ‘I’m glad you’re able to make progress,’

‘Mmhmm,’ Taehyung watched his slightly paranoid face from the corner of his eye.

‘We were all planning to start a study group, why don’t you join us too?’

‘Sure, I’d like that. If Jin is not going to breathe down my nose,’

‘He won’t… he regrets fighting with you that day,’

‘Why don’t we start the duel training again?’ Taehyung asked. ‘We kind of left it mid way,’

‘You want to learn more?’ Namjoon was surprised. When they had started, Taehyung was not in favour of duelling at all.

‘Yeah, I feel more confident now. I think I’ll grasp the spells better,’ the boy smiled so naturally, Namjoon nodded.

‘Great, we’ll have duelling sessions between our study hours then. Should keep our brains active too,’

*

‘Ok class, I need you all to be in a group of four,’ Professor Sprout announced from the front of the greenhouse. ‘Take 6 samples of the Valerian and separate the potent sections for maceration. I will need you all to create 50ml tincture with 20% of the herb volume,’

Laura and Jungkook’s eyes instantly found each other. Both their tables were at the back of the class.

‘Hey,’ Jungkook said to his current partner Yugyeom, ‘Let’s pair up with Jimin on the next table,’

‘Sure,’ Yugyeom said, noticing Jimin’s partner Laura and smiled. ‘You would obviously want to pair up with Jimin,’

‘What do you mean??’ he was met with Jungkook’s shook face.

‘You love Jimin, that’s what I meant,’ Yugyeom said smugly and went to the Slytherins next to them. He took the seat next to Jimin so that Jungkook could sit next to Laura.

They worked without too much noise, apart from the occasional play-fights between Jimin and Jungkook. Jungkook would crack the lamest jokes and Laura would laugh, much to Yugyeom’s disbelief.

‘Here, I’ve extracted the Valerian,’ Jungkook passed the dish to Laura who was pressing the extracted herb for the juice.

‘Thanks. Hold on, there’s some weeds left in there,’ Laura held the dish at her eye level.

‘Where?’ Jungkook brought his face next to her, cheeks almost touching.

‘There can you see?’ Laura moved closer. ‘You can see it against the light,’

‘Hmmhmm,’ Jungkook held her hand and turned the dish and suddenly she felt him peck her cheeks for the briefest moment.

‘Yes I can see it. I’ll clear it out,’ he took the dish and got to work while Laura’s brain tried to remember how to move. With their loud and interdependent friends, it felt like an eternity since they spent any time alone and she was missing him more than she could imagine. So she moved closer.

‘Need help?’ her head touched his shoulder as she looked into his dish.

‘No, I think I’m done,’ Jungkook smiled, seeing her head crowd into his space.

‘Oh ok,’ she moved away, returning to her task. Jungkook glanced at her and then looked in the front to check what the other two were doing. They were busy, all their attention on their dishes, observing the Valerian through an eye lens and clearing out the weeds with a forcep.

‘Here,’ he took his cleared dish and went to her. ‘All clear now,’

‘Thanks,’ she took the dish and was about to start compressing it when she felt a hand delicately snake around her waist beneath her outer cloak. Her breaths stopped in her chest and heat rose from her core till her cheeks. She was trying to suppress her smile. ‘We are in class,’ she whispered.

‘When are we not?’ Jungkook whispered back, grip on the side of her hip tightening a little. His nose touched the top of her head, ‘You smell nice, I missed this,’

‘Ok done,’ Jimin announced and the two moved away before their friend lifted his eyes to the front.

‘I’m done too. I’ll get the alcohol solution,’ Yugyeom said and left. The three remaining students at the table worked silently for a while. Laura tore a piece of parchment and scribbled something on it, hoping Jimin wouldn’t notice (but he did). She quietly pushed the parchment to Jungkook who took it and opened it curiously.

What about a date-

‘What’s that?’ Yugyeom asked Jungkook, seeing him light up like a christmas tree with his eyes on Laura.

‘Nothing!’ Jungkook immediately crushed the paper in his fist, ears red in embarrassment.

‘Don’t lie to me! Tell me what is it!’ Yugyeom lunged forward to try and snatch it from his hand.

‘I told you it’s nothing!’

But Yugyeom was in a teasing mood and he was almost climbing over Jungkook to get the note. Jungkook, being the stronger one, pushed him off, but the embarrassed smile on his face was telling it all and now everyone around them was now yelling a ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’

Laura sighed and whacked both the Ravenclaws with the heavy herbology textbook. ‘Concentrate!’

Once the class was over and all of them had successfully submitted their Valerian tincture, the Slytherins had to depart to the dungeons for Potions and the Ravenclaws had Transfiguration.

‘Ok,’ Laura said to Jungkook, bouncing once on the balls of her feet. ‘See you later then. You have quidditch practice too don’t you?’

‘Hmm,’ Jungkook nodded, still lingering near her when his friends had gone ahead.

‘Go on, you’ll be late,’ Laura pushed him lightly by the elbow, but instead of sending him away, her hand held on to his arm.

‘Maybe you don’t want me to,’ Jungkook leaned in just slightly.

‘Jungkook!’ Yugyeom called him from the front. ‘Aren’t you coming? You’ll be late for class,’

‘Yeah, I’m coming,’ he said and started to move but Laura’s grip on him tightened. He looked back at her innocently confused. She wordlessly released him and waved him goodbye, turning to head the other way.

Jungkook was hardly able to concentrate in class. His thoughts were full of the brief moments with Laura. He had missed her so much over the holidays but the final leg of their academic year had hit them with such force that they were always buried in work. He majorly envied NamJin at the moment. Both were in the same house, in the same damn room. How Jungkook wished at the end of an exhausting day he could relax next to Laura too, without anyone else interfering.

*

Ash entered the common room from her dormitory, wondering what the noise was all about.

‘Quiet down you guys!’ she yelled over the ruckus. She saw her quidditch team still in their practice uniform, rolling and tackling on the carpet in front of the fireplace and laughing.

‘Practice was over two hours ago! Are you all still warmed up?’ she stood with her hands on her hips. ‘I’m trying to study, keep it down,’

‘Take a break captain!’ her seeker detangled himself from his teammates. ‘You look so serious!’

‘Well if you were in 6th year, you would be serious too!’

‘Jimin is taking it easy,’ the seeker said and Jimin stood up from the floor in a swift motion, clearing making Ash’s breath stop for a moment. His outer uniform was undone in whatever tackling game the boys were playing and he stood in his sleeveless green jersey. He ran his hand through his black hair, giving an exposing view of his muscular arms and side torso.

He bit his lower lip and grinned, eyes holding that same mischief she had seen a few days back in the clubroom, when he whispered some alluring things into her ear while his hands gripped her. It made her cheeks burn now just like before.

To say she had missed him during the christmas holidays was an understatement. This was new for her, to remember someone with almost every action of the day. She had gotten so used to Jimin’s presence without realising it, that in his absence, she would automatically wonder ‘Jimin should see this’ ‘What would Jimin comment to that?’ It really was a new feeling for her, a kind of vulnerability which she would’ve previously been apprehensive of, that she was now depending on someone to complete her day. But now, she liked this feeling, that there was someone in the world who could bring her so much joy. Her eyes were still on Jimin, watching his beautiful movements and how he laughed with his teammates. Her stomach tingled constantly as she watched him.

Jimin caught her eye again and started to walk towards her. He purposely lifted his shirt a little to wipe the sweat off his face and Ash shied away from spying on his beautifully built torso after a few moments.

‘Vorhart?’ the tease was apparent in his sweetly sultry voice. ‘Is that you getting shy?’

‘I’m just… Don’t strip in the common room!’ she mumbled. Jimin was right in front of her now, his light scent wafting towards her. He smelled like the winter flowers and pine trees.

He bent lower to whisper in her ear, ‘We’ve seen each other almost naked and you’re blushing seeing half my body? What will happen if I have nothing on?’

Ash felt steam rising off her heated skin at her his tantalizing words. She was breathing hard, not able to look him in the eye.

‘This is a common area you two!’ Laura interrupted from the side.

‘So?’ Jimin raised his eyebrows and squared up to Laura. ‘We weren’t even touching!’

‘It’s easier to watch you to kiss shyly than whatever seductive game you’re playing,’

‘You’re one to talk,’ Jimin looked at her up to down. ‘Who’s sweatshirt is that and where are you headed?’

Laura’s cheek dusted pink and she bit her inner cheek. She was wearing Jungkook’s blue Ravenclaw sweatshirt.

‘Anyway, I’m off. Need to shower,’ Jimin said. ‘Hope you and Jungkook haven’t chosen to occupy the prefect’s bathroom,’

‘Hey! Why do you have the password? You’re not a prefect or a captain!’

‘But my girlfriend is,’ he winked, hand grazing Ash’s lower back and walked off with a smirk. Ash watched him go with a daze until a hand waved in front of her face.

‘Huh, what is it?’

‘It’s been nearly 5 months you’re dating him. Why are you gazing at Jimin like he’s your new crush?’

Ash blushed deeper, tucking her hair behind her ear, ‘W-Was I? I don’t think-’

‘Please,’ Laura rolled her eyes. ‘Anyway, we’re requesting Namjoon to take some classes for us one hour a week. Do you have any subjects you need help with?’

‘No…’ Ash blinked, ‘No I don’t think so, I don’t know,’

Laura chuckled heartily, ‘Let me know when your senses are back to you,’

*

The Ravenclaw team was up in the air over the Quidditch field. Jungkook observed their passes, they split into teams and carried out some newer strategies since Yugyeom had very smartly revealed their coded gestures to the entire school.

‘But he’s not being careful enough!’ Yugyeom complained about their beater.

‘He’s joined the team this year, he’s new,’ Jungkook said. ‘Give him room to learn. Flores,’ he looked at the beater. ‘You have to practice on your own alright? Take Mello and have some rounds of beating the bludgers and aiming them on a target,’

‘Yes captain,’ Flores nodded.

Jungkook circled over the field, eyes looking around the castle grounds. He saw Taehyung near the lake again, just sitting alone and silent. Was he talking to Abraxas again? Taehyung looked up at the moment and waved at him with a smile which Jungkook returned, not wanting to make his friend upset again. He wondered if he could tell Taehyung to make the weather warmer on practice days.

After an hour of practice, he signalled all to return. Yugyeom breathed a sigh of relief, he was never a fan of the cold snowy weather.

‘Aren’t you coming?’ Yugyeom asked from the exit door of the gymnasium next to the changing rooms of the field when he saw Jungkook sitting on one of the wooden benches with the Quaffle in hand.

‘Go on,’ he said to Yugyeom. ‘I’m gonna go for a run and wait till Mellon and Flores are done with their practice too. Let me talk to Flores, I think the guy is nervous about playing after hitting Charlie accidentally,’

‘You always go the extra mile don’t you,’ Yugyeom said with an appreciative smile. ‘I’ll save you some dinner if you get late,’

‘You better!’ Jungkook said and the team left him.

He removed his quidditch robes, he honestly never understood why a game that required flying through the wind and wrestling on a stick while maintaining balance required such an elaborate uniform. He stretched his arms over his head, loosening his body for a run.

‘You’re still here?’ he heard Laura behind him and turned with a surprise. She stood leaning on the door frame, a tiny white stick in her mouth which she pulled out to show the small blue lollipop. What surprised Jungkook was the sweatshirt she was wearing- Blue with the Ravenclaw sigil, which he had left in the clubroom. His tongue pressed to his cheek

‘A captain has responsibilities,’ Jungkook cocked his head to the side and walked towards her. ‘But what’s the Slytherin prefect doing here? In my house clothes?’

He could never get enough of flustering so he inched closer, until she was caged between him and the wall, her face turned up to look at him.

‘That’s mean of you,’ Jungkook held her chin so she wouldn’t turn away, ‘You didn’t share my favourite flavour with me?’

‘Isn’t that what I’m doing right now,’ he heard her speak, voice lower than usual, a light rumble to it. Jungkook couldn’t resist dropping his eyes down to her moving lips, tinted slightly blue. They looked so inviting. Jungkook moved closer, rubbing his parted lips over hers, not kissing her just yet. He waited to see if she leans in and when she did, he closed his mouth on hers, their lips tugging between each other.

This was indeed his favourite flavour.

His tongue moved more fiercely now, coaxing her mouth open and Laura’s tongue pushed against his, teeth grazing his lips before tongue licking over it.

Laura moved her hands over his bare arms, gripping and caressing them. He was so beautifully made, his lithe muscles rippling under her palm. She pushed herself on the tip of her toes, body pressing hard on him and he lifted her up, breaking the kiss.

‘So you missed me too?’ He asked, no longer smiling adoringly but his eyes were hooded, breaths heavy.

‘Of course I did,’ her hands cradled his face. Jungkook carried her towards one of the benches in the middle of the room and sat down, legs on either side of the wooden plank with her straddling him.

‘Then we’ll be here for a while,’ He pushed her hair away from her neck, nose gliding along the column, immersing in his favourite scent and he started to kiss, open mouthed, tongue pressing and rubbing against her skin hungrily. Laura gasped, fingers digging into his arms at the exquisite feeling, something tingled in the pit of her stomach, all the way down between her legs.

He took his time, moving from one side to the other, going lower, nose nuzzling into the opening of the sweatshirt. After a few moments his movements changed softer, lips leaving soft pecks below her collarbone and he looked up, a soft smile on his swollen lips.

Laura looked down, slightly confused. ‘Why did you stop?’

‘I… just wanted to know if I can go on,’

Laura looked at him, his eyes which were devouring her just a few minutes ago where now looking at her in the most endearing way. She pushed his fluffy dark hair out of his forehead, tracing one finger over the bridge of his nose, over his lips, down his neck and she grabbed on to his jersey. She tugged on it and Jungkook was far from resisting. She pulled it off him, leaning back a moment to appreciate him.

‘Hmmm,’ She hummed, eyes and hands moving leisurely over his chest, the lines of muscles prominent in his lean figure. She bent down, mouth moving like Jungkook’s had, hands slithering behind to caress his back. She sucked on his neck, right below his ear. She knew he liked this spot the most and her exploring fingers rubbed over one of his nipples, and she heard him whimper.

‘You told me you’re sensitive there,’ her lips whispered into his ear. ‘Should I stay away?’

‘No,’ the answer was too quick, and too needy.

‘No?’ She smiled and sucked on his reddening ears.

‘I liked it… don’t stop,’

Laura moved to the center again, facing him. ‘I’ll be as gentle as you want,’ she kissed his lips before moving away to push him down flat on the bench. She climbed on top of him, sitting precisely where he wanted her to, the thin fabric of his sweatpants not really hiding much. The moment her lips touched one of his nipples, he shivered in pleasure, letting out a gasp. His legs moved, trying to take over but she clutched his jaw in her fingers, letting him know that he cannot.

‘Not yet… I haven’t even begun,’ she said, rubbing her thumb along his lower lip. He opened his mouth, letting the tip of his tongue lick her finger and she made him suck her two fingers while they watched each other.

Jungkook felt her tongue softly roll over his nub, but the sensation was nearly electrifying. Blood rushed to his hardening member down below and Jungkook felt he would go dizzy with pleasure. Head thrown back, gasps and whimpers escaping his parted lips, his hands reached out to feel her, running over back, moving under her grey skirt to caress the sides of her thighs.

He looked down and opened his eyes, wanting to save this memory in his mind forever but watching her mouth tug on him, seeing the tip of her wet tongue flick over him, it was multiplying all the sensations he felt. His cock throbbed in response and his fingers dug hard into her plump ass. Laura hummed at the slight sting on his fingers, grinding down on him. She never knew she would enjoy seeing her ‘once rival’ become such a whimpering mess from her actions. She loved every second of his needy moans, his contorted face, his seeking hands. They continued to leave kiss all over each other.

Jungkook’s hands now tugged on sweatshirt. The moment his hands slipped beneath it, he stopped the kiss, looking at her with wide wondrous eyes. He had expected to feel the familiar school shirt but instead his fingers were touching her bare stomach. He moved his hands further, feeling the curved shape of her waist until they met the accent of her naked breasts. He felt her heaving against his palms and paused his movements, unsure of what she wants. Her lips travelled to his ears and she whispered, ‘Dont stop.’

Jungkook let out his breath, his thumbs running over her. He could feel her nipples get harder with each brush of his finger and something delicious swirled inside him. She hoisted herself up and looked at him. There were pink marks on his jaw and his neck which grew darker as they went downwards towards his chest.

Laura smiled devilishly and pulled the sweatshirt over her head and Jungkook looked at her, eyes going down from her purple ones, to the curves of her breasts and then down her navel, lingering a moment at her navel. His body shivered when he brought his hands up to touch her, fingers delicately grazing the top of her breasts and stomach. She took that chance to roll her hips on him again, and had him cursing in ecstasy.

Jungkook caught her by the hips, hands gripping her strongly and sat up, almost knocking the breath out of her but he had precise control over both their movements. Laura heard a low rumble from him, his nose gliding on the edge of her chin and then he softly kissed her breasts, sucking her nipples one by one. His tongue lapped over them, making them pucker up. Her chest heaved at the seductive touches of his mouth and she leaned her back on his folded thighs, hitching up on her knees to let him go lower.

Jungkook inhaled her scent again, lips now on her midriff. He rubbed his face on her stomach, littering it with kisses too. For a few moments he just nuzzled into her and she ran her fingers through his dark hair. Coming back up, he noticed the faint web like scar next to her left breast. His fingers gently traced it, eyebrows contorted.

‘How did this happen?’

Laura let a breath out, settling back down on his lap, ‘It was Gwen. She hit me with a dark curse… at the end of last year when she attacked Taehyung,’

Jungkook looked sad and worried when he looked back at her, ‘A dark curse? Is it healing?’

‘She wasn’t skilled enough to inflict it properly on me. The curse rots you from the inside, turns every organ dead and finally your heart rots too, killing you from the inside. Snape helped me heal from it. This scar will hopefully go away too,’ she gave an unsure smile.

Jungkook took both her hands and kissed her knuckles when he remembered something. ‘When we duelled with each other during that first Duel Club meet… did my hex hit you here?’

He remembered that day clearly, both had riled each other up a lot. Jungkook had wanted to protect Taehyung, completely unaware of how much Laura had protected their younger friend too, even putting her life in danger. He looked at her earnestly for the answer and she sighed.

‘It did… that’s why I went batshit crazy as you said,’ she chuckled but Jungkook looked extremely remorseful.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he looked more in pain than she had been. ‘I caused you so much pain, how could I do that-’

‘You didn’t know,’ Laura held him by the chin and placed her thumb over his lips. ‘I won’t hear any apologies from you. You don’t need to, trust me. I don’t want to hear it,’ she pecked his lips.

‘You were… extraordinary that day, do you know that?’ Jungkook said.

‘Extraordinary? How so?’ Laura’s purple eyes were wide with curiosity.

‘Non-verbal attack hexes. I’ve never seen any student use that, without any flaws. I know I looked like I didn’t care about it,’ Jungkook gave his adorable cocky smile which made Laura giggle, ‘But I was in complete awe that day,’

Laura wrapped her hands around his neck with a big smile and kissed him. Jungkook held her close, hands not ready to stop exploring new territories. His fingers traced over her ribs, circled her navel, rubbed over her nipples. She pulled away after a while, ‘We might have to end this right here,’

‘What? Why!!?’ Jungkook looked like he was about to cry and Laura chuckled.

‘Your beaters are going to be here soon, aren’t they?’

‘Fuck,’ Jungkook shut his eyes. ‘Fuck I forgot about them’

His gaze went over her again and settled on her breasts. Laura knew where his eyes were so she purposely stretched her arms over her head, pretending to straighten her back, but she knew his breaths were hitching seeing her breasts rise up the slightest, ‘C’mon, we should get going before they catch us like this,’

Laura kissed him one last time, deep and intimate, then moved away from him, picking up her fallen sweatshirt. All Jungkook could do was stare at her, how beautiful she was to him. He finally stood up, wearing his jersey as he walked closer to her.

‘Your leaving me wanting, I will be getting back for this,’ he said to her, expression changed, eyes sultry and dangerous. He had backed Laura against the same wall. ‘Don’t forget,’

*

Hohen drew the chart on the chalkboard, creating a grid for the symbols and their corresponding elements.

‘Consider the horizontal line to be like a thermometer,’ the Alchemy professor said, running the chalk over the top line left to right. ‘The elements go from hot to cold. You will not find the elements on the left to exist in a solid state,’

Namjoon was writing it all down religiously.

‘Joon?’ His boyfriend nudged him from the side. Namjoon hummed while continuing to write.

‘Why don’t you ask Hohen about the Guild?’ Jin asked.

And that made Namjoon pause and look up at him. ‘Are you sure?’

‘He’s the only alchemist we know. Dumbledore will repeat to us what he’s told Tae, we aren’t getting any new information from him,’

‘Even if Hohen knows about the Guild, I’m sure he won’t help us. Isn’t the guild something of a forbidden secret?’

‘But you’re his favourite student,’ Jin raised his eyebrows appraisingly. ‘Besides, Hohen is not like an uptight professor. He’s more like a friend than a teacher at this point. He treats us like adults. We have to do what we can… for Tae’s safety. And I’ve been trying something,’

‘Trying what?’

‘To see, through someone’s memories. That’s how I initially found out about Taehyung’s powers. I can try that again to see what the guild actually is, if you relay Hohen’s side of the story to me. I don’t know if it will work, but it’s a thread I can grab on to,’

‘Alright,’ Namjoon nodded. ‘I’ll talk to him. I should probably get some books from the library, show him I’m into some research,’

After dinner, Namjoon collected some advanced alchemy books he had bought from Diagon Alley during christmas and headed to the ground floor where the Alchemy professor resided.

‘Professor?’ Namjoon knocked on Hohen’s chamber, adjacent to his teaching room. ‘Professor Hohen?’

He heard shuffling of feet and the door knob turned.

‘Namjoon,’ Hohen said, opening the door. His long golden hair was open, falling on his shoulders but he was still in his teaching clothes, a plain white buttoned shirt with black trousers. ‘C’min,’

Namjoon stepped into the familiar living room which was full of books, there were charts on the walls with formulas and transmutation circles. The alchemic periodic table and symbols had also taken up the remaining walls. The curtains were pulled open to let the moonlight drain in and Hohen had concentrated a beam through a lens on a standing blue liquid with a pearly white stone inside. There were some fumes coming from Hohen’s experiment lab on the other side of the chamber.

‘Moonstone,’ Hohen said, pointing at the stone soaking in the moonlight. ‘By request of Professor Trelawney. Helps her keep her mind balance she says. Come, sit down. I see you’ve been doing some heavy reading,’ he said looking at the books in Namjoon’s hands.

‘Yeah,’ Namjoon said. ‘The incident in the Forbidden Forest got me interested in a topic you once told me about,’

‘Which one?’

‘Elkyres,’

Hohen sighed, ‘I thought one of you would look into that even though I told you not to… but then it was your own friend who was being hunted. What do you need to talk about?’

‘Well… I found some material which mentions an Alchemist’s Guild, made of the strongest alchemists. Is that true? Does it really exist?’

Hohen sat in his armchair and joined his fingertips together, thinking deep before he answered, ‘Yes it exists,’

‘Oh!’ Namjoon’s eyes lighted up in triumph. ‘Then Elkyres must be a part of it? They are extremely powerful alchemists, controlling a whole element, isn’t it?’

‘All known Elkyres have been a part of the Guild till they die,’ Hohen said. ‘The guild gives them the promise of power, it’s not easy to resist. And when you are an Elkyre, the possibilities with your powers is endless. You see people supporting your powers and wanting them to grow more. Who will refuse that?’

‘But what is the function of the Guild? If they are so powerful, why are the so secretive about it?’

‘There hasn’t been more than one Elkyre alive at a given time. And Elkyres aren’t immortal. In the 16th century, the ministry kept oppressing the Guild. There were fights, false arrests, interrogations, even mysterious deaths of alchemists, until the Guild decided to go underground and has remained so since then, because the Ministry cannot bear another powerful body of wizards rising up with their own ideologies. Alchemy provided power and medicine, two very important things. Soon all alchemic procedures, teachings, equipment came under the law of the Ministry. Hogwarts is the only place one can learn alchemy, and even here I can teach extremely basic things, even though sometimes I teach more than I should. Do you know the Ministry has sent me 5 warnings in the last 7 years? That I should stick to the curriculum? The only reason I still get to keep my job is Dumbledore… I really owe him a lot,’

‘Why would the Ministry hate the Guild so much? Aren’t they helping the world by creating healing medicines?’

‘The Guild was not just doing that, it was conducting experiments, for the Philosopher’s Stone,’

Namjoon gulped. Dumbledore was right. All their research was proving to be right.

‘But what’s so wrong in that?’

Hohen’s eyes grew darker.

‘Namjoon, you are a curious student. Bright, smart and curious. But sometimes it’s better not to go knocking on certain doors. Some information makes you more curious and you plunge into things you shouldn’t,’

‘Professor,’ Namjoon changed his posture to seem more sure of himself. ‘You also know I am far from reckless. I don’t jump into things, I always think it through. As for me being curious, I think both of us know the need to know more about things that interest us. We just can’t give up. I came to you because I know you will guide me in the right direction. I will not misuse any information you give me. You’ve known me for seven years professor,’

Hohen studied him for a while, ‘Alright,’ he finally said. ‘But do you know the first law of Alchemy?’

‘Equivalent Exchange,’

‘Yes. I will answer all your questions. At the end of it, you must answer one of mine,’

Namjoon nodded. Hohen’s fingers clasped together and he looked down, away from Namjoon.

  Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Ramin Djawadi - House of Black & White

‘There has been only one stone successfully created… it was nearly 8 centuries ago and it resulted in a world wide wizarding war,’

‘The Red War,’ Namjoon said and Hohen looked at him in surprise.

‘How do you know?’

‘Professor Dumbledore told me,’

‘Then you must also know how the stone was made?’

Namjoon shook his head so Hohen continued.

‘No one could confirm it but a whole city disappeared. No one can tell how and why. But everyone believes that’s how the stone was made,’

Namjoon’s eyes widened in shock. ‘An entire city disappeared? All the people living in it?’

Hohen nodded, ‘Great power comes at a great price. Equivalent exchange,’

‘Then what about the one Nicolas Flamel made?’ Namjoon was finding it hard to believe that Dumbledore would work with someone who has used human lives for their experiments and personal gain.

‘Flamel…’ Hohen gave a dry chuckle. ‘Nicolas Flamel did not create the philosopher’s stone,’

‘What do you mean? How is he alive for 600 years-’

‘Nicolas Flamel died 300 years ago,’

Namjoon stared at Hohen, completely shocked.

‘That… can’t be possible… Dumbledore…’

‘Dumbledore doesn’t know this truth, or he chooses to ignore it to hide his one foolish moment,’

‘What do you mean foolish?’

Hohen sighed, getting up from his chair, ‘Well, I promised you the truth. I can already hear all your questions bouncing in your head. You might as well settle yourself in for a while if you want all your answers,’

‘I’m in no hurry,’ Namjoon said and saw Hohen open a shelf next to his study desk.

‘What would you like? I have beer, rum, mead, whiskey,’

‘Firewhiskey,’ Namjoon said and Hohen poured them 2 glasses. He handed Namjoon a glass and sat next to him. ‘Don’t let anyone know I offered you this. Next thing I know other students have come knocking at my door looking for a ‘long conversation,’

‘Dont worry,’ Namjoon chuckled, clinking the glass with him, ‘This secret is safe with me,’

‘Did you not wonder why I know so much about the Guild?’

‘Because… you were a part of the Guild!’

Hohen nodded weakly, ‘And once you are a part of them, you can’t leave them. I was fresh out of Hogwarts,’ Hohen said, ‘Dumbledore said I was especially gifted in alchemy, so I sought out to study and more about it. I travelled different countries, East Asia, Arabia, Africa, studying different methods and found my calling in transmutations. During this journey of a few years, I met a fellow alchemist who was actually my schoolmate but we never interacted much since I was a Ravenclaw and he was a Slytherin,’

‘Who was he?’

‘Martaeus Wright… we were friends… I wonder what happened of him. People say he’s dead… but I don’t think an Elkyre can die easily,’

Hohen noticed Namjoon’s eyes widen.

‘Yes, he was an Elkyre. An air controller. I considered myself the luckiest person to have not only known an Elkyre but be his friend as well,’

‘What was he like?’

‘Very powerful. And like the wind, he couldn't be contained. Even though we did some research together he often went on his own tangent. One day he's my roommate, next day I know he’s in Turkey, studying some new alchemic phenomenon,’ Hohen sipped his drink. ‘That's why when he came to me saying he's decided to settle down and start a family, I was shocked beyond all wits,’

‘Oh!’ Namjoon responded. ‘He had a family?’

‘I don't know how that turned out,’ Hohen said. ‘That was the last time I saw him, on a sunny April day, fifteen years ago when he came to tell me he’s starting a family. I asked him if he's sure about it, he was not a settler, he was a runner. Had always been a runner,’

‘He said he didn’t know what to do because he loved that woman, said he was willing to change for her. He told me not to seek him anymore, he wanted to be fully committed to this decision of his and didn't want any distractions… I never saw him after that… It had been so long that I had started to forget what he looked like…’

‘The Guild came to me, looking for him. I was his only known friend who's worked with him. This was 9 years ago. They said he had fled from the Guild but they wanted someone as talented as him back in their group. They showed me the research they did, their achievements and it was incredible!’

Namjoon could see Hohen’s eyes glisten with wonder at the memory. ‘When they took me to their base… it was an abandoned medieval town on a distant island. I don’t know where the island is… its in a secret location, protected by spells.

We lived in the castle on top of the tallest hill. We were 12 alchemists with one leader…’ Hohen looked into his drink. ‘A leader I never really saw face to face,’

‘What do you mean?’

‘He… used to keep himself hidden. Only the two highest ranking Alchemists were allowed in his chambers. We spoke to him through a veil… he had a light and thin voice… sometimes I wondered if he was there at all… and then I glimpsed his form…’

Namjoon could see that the memory still gave Hohen the chills.

‘The veil wavered once… and I saw… a bird speaking to us. A black bird, like a raven… with red glowing eyes. I didn’t know what to think of it… I guess it was probably a decoy,’

‘That’s weird indeed… why wouldn’t the leader show himself?’

‘For fear of being identified? Or was he really a bird? I refuse to believe the guild is following instructions from a black bird. They called him Abraxas,’

Namjoon gulped and nodded slightly. It was all falling into place, ‘And where does Nicholas Flamel fit into all this?’

‘This was all before I was even born. I heard of this in the guild. Nicolas Flamel was Abraxas. He never created a real stone. It was a way for him to get the word around. That was his first and failed attempt at sending word out to Elkyres to join him. Instead he made friends with the likes of Dumbledore, Grindelwald, a young You Know Who and Newt Scamandar… but no elkyres. Dumbledore has actually met the mastermind behind all this but didn’t realise it,’

‘And you didn’t tell him?’

‘I did… but he was skeptical. He said there was no way a soul could live on that long,’

‘How did you escape the guild then?’

‘I participated in their experiments, until I saw them using animals and sometimes even humans who had lost their way. They would wipe their memory and use them as test subjects. I knew refusing to be a part of that won’t work. I wasn’t the first one caught in their web, people had tried to escape but they never could. I had to figure out another strategy. I purposely started to slack, pretended I’m losing my skills. Then one day Dumbledore came back. He wanted to meet Nicholas Flamel again and tracked down the guild. They posed me as an apprentice of Flamel and sent me with him to Hogwarts, making Dumbledore promise to keep the whereabouts of the Guild a secret. They knew not to mess with Dumbledore at that time,’

‘Oh god…’ Namjoon said disbelievingly. ‘It’s this fucked up…’ Maybe Tae’s father was right and Serafin is just luring him…

‘Is there anything else you want to know Namjoon?’ Hohen asked him, sipping the last of his drink.

‘No… I haven't wrapped my head around this in the first place,’ Namjoon replied, still hazed with disbelief.

‘My turn then,’ Hohen said leaning forward. ‘You promised to answer one question of mine in return,’

‘Yes I did,’ Namjoon clasped the glass in his hand tighter in anticipation of what Hohen might ask him. Namjoon wished he wouldn't have to lie.

‘The resemblance… between your friend… Kim Taehyung and my friend Martaeus,’ Hohen said, ‘I should’ve known the moment I saw him. They have the exact same smile, among other identical features and mannerisms. So I know you will know the answer to this. He is Martaeus’ son isn’t he?’

Namjoon gulped, chewing his lower lip. Equivalent exchange… truth for truth…

Yes,’

‘And you asking me about the Guild… I suppose they are back in action,’

Namjoon nodded.

‘I know the implications your friend faces, being an elkyre. I can't tell you if the Guild is the right place for him or not. I hope you can protect your friend Namjoon. He is only a child,’

 

Chapter Text

‘And then he told me how he escaped the Guild. You know Dumbledore’s actually met Abraxas?’ Namjoon rambled on.

‘Slow down,’ Jin gestured with his hands. ‘You’re speaking a mile an hour!’

‘Sorry,’ Namjoon blinked. ‘So yeah, Dumbledore, You Know Who, they all met Abraxas when he was in the body of Nicholas Flamel,’

‘And the stone? The one Flamel claims to have made?’

‘Fake. Abraxas wanted to create some news around it so he that alchemists and Elkyres come to him. I think this is when he started his recruitment,’

‘Wow… all under Dumbledore’s nose,’ Jin couldn’t believe it.

‘Everyone was busy dealing with Grindelwald and then You Know Who. No one paid any attention to other suspicious activity,’

‘So Hohen and Martaeus were good friends,’ Jin asked for affirmation. ‘And both have contacted the guild at some point, been a part of it,’

‘Correct,’ Namjoon nodded. ‘Is that enough for you to go on with?’

‘I can only hope,’ Jin shrugged. ‘I’ll have to channel through Hohen’s memories until I find Martaeus and then… maybe, just maybe, can catch on that memory thread,’

‘Can I help in any way?’ Namjoon asked.

‘Not really. Just… keep an eye on me? Don’t let me fall,’ Jin remembered the time he fell into his comatose.. He didn’t want to be in that helpless state again. Watching, and not able to wake up and help. Namjoon nodded and squeezed Jin’s hand once before the older went to sit at their study desk.

Jin watched him from the side, remembering how worried Namjoon often got, about Taehyung and the way he felt responsible for keeping the boy safe. He wanted to help them both, in any way he can. He wanted to go back in time to know the truth, about Martaeus Aquiri, The Guild and Serafin, Hohen, Dumbledore and Flamel, all of it. Jin felt overwhelmed just thinking about it. It was one thing to go back a few months and try to figure out things from the segmented visions he would see. Usually if he was physically in front of the person who’s past or present he’s trying to see, it was easier. But even then he had never seen a proper vision, where everything was in order and made complete sense. He had seen a few things going back nearly ten years, but that was from Taehyung and Jiyeon’s connection to him. Would he be able to access the memories of people he’s never met? And go back more than fourteen years?

He breathed in. He had to try. There was a white lily he had plucked, the last one for the season. It was resting in a tall glass of water. He looked at it for a while, trying to bring all his focus and closed his eyes.

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Jin’s Theme | Hans Zimmer - Time

Places, voices and faces flashed past him, Taehyung, Namjoon, Jiyeon, Hohen. He was trying to grab a thread, the thread that would lead him where he wanted. Things Taehyung and Namjoon told him buzzed through his ears. He saw a woman with bright red hair waiting outside a house in a wizarding town. He saw Hohen and Dumbledore arguing, Hohen was crying at the old wizard’s feet. He plunged in further, voices and faces all buzzing past him. He followed Hohen back in time till he saw him with a man who resembled Taehyung. The boxed smile and blue eyes looking at Hohen as both sat on the ledge of a bridge, feet dangling below. It was a sunny day. It looked like a muggle town in Southern Europe. Both men looked like they were in their early thirties. Jin leaned on the ledge as well, looking at them talk.

‘Did they let you in?’ Hohen asked Martaeus.

‘No… They weren’t satisfied with my research. And I haven’t found anything solid on the Philosopher’s stone,’ Martaeus chuckled.

‘Well then, I’m sure the hope of me being able to join them is growing bleak. They’ll never take me in,’ Hohen kicked his leg in the air.

‘Don’t worry, just concentrate on your work, they’ll notice you,’

‘Hope Serafin notices me too,’ Hohen chuckled.

‘Oh god, you saw her ONCE Hohen! Don’t tell me you are stuck up on her,’

‘She’s an Elkyre! How do you expect me not to be in awe of her?’

‘I’m an Elkyre too!’

‘That’s why I put up with your obnoxious, irresponsible behaviour. Or I would’ve dumped you as a roommate long ago,’ Hohen raised his eyebrows.

‘When have I ever acted irrespons-’

‘I am seeing you after 5 months! You were working with me on my studies to create golden rain one night and next morning you have disappeared. All your stuff is still in that apartment. I thought you died in a ditch or something. And that’s not the first time you disappeared like that,’

‘Ha!’ Martaeus laughed dryly and looked away.

Jin leaned closer to look at Martaeus’s face. He looked like he was trying to hide a painful memory.

‘What is it?’ Hohen asked.

‘I… I think I’m abandoning my research. I don’t want to do it anymore,’

Hohen was silent in shock. Martaeus looked at him to see his response.

‘You are joking right?’ Hohen said.

‘I’m not,’ Martaeus said and his tone made it clear that he was indeed serious.

‘Why??’ Hohen’s eyes were wild. ‘You put in all these years of hard work, you used to say this is more important to you than your life!’

‘Things change?’ Martaeus slightly shrugged.

‘What can possibly change?’

‘I want to marry someone,’

Hohen’s silenced shock followed again. So Martaeus continued.

‘I love her. I want to be with her. She doesn’t approve of the Guild. And she doesn’t know for whom I spend day and night in research. I want to tell her everything, and tell her I’ve stopped it, for her. And then I want to marry her,’

‘Martaeus…’ Hohen said with precaution. ‘Are you sure?’

Martaeus gave the same dry and nervous laugh, looking up at the sky, ‘It’s what I want,’

‘But will you want it forever? You are thinking of having a family. You can’t leave and run away from a family. And you’ve been running all your life. You ran from that rich Dracwyn woman who you were almost engaged to,’

‘I didn’t run. She left me,’ Martaeus said.

‘She left you because you ran away. When you returned, she didn’t want you,’

Martaeus shrugged, ‘Doesn’t matter. I didn’t want to be with her anyways. It was only for convenience sake that I agreed to the engagement. I already knew I won’t follow through it. I also knew she’d figure out I’m not the right guy before that,’

‘You told me she was your good friend. Is that how you treat your good friends? I’m worried about myself now,’

‘Hey, why are you giving me moral lessons? Amelia is happily married and she even has a year old baby girl. She’s happy in her life, not like I tied her down into eternal sadness!’

‘I hope you don’t give yourself the opportunity to say these things about this woman you love right now,’

‘Listen, I am going to try my best. So just shut up for now and come and give us your blessings when we get married,’

‘And when should I expect that?’

‘Don’t know… maybe in a month if she says yes? I really can’t wait, I would marry her right now if I could,’

Jin tried to move the time forward. He wanted to follow Martaeus now. Jin felt he had enough gravity towards Martaeus to be able to see through his memories. Martaeus had returned to where he was living. It was a small house in a wizarding village. He came in, calling for Jiyeon but there was no one home. Instead, he saw all of his research parchments and notes trashed on the floor. Books were strewn everywhere. Jiyeon and her belongings were gone. All that remained of her was a ring he had bought for her, kept on top of his papers. Jiyeon had found out about his alchemic work, his connections to the guild behind her back. He knew how much she hated the guild. But she was gone, before he even had a chance to tell her that he loved her more than all of this. His heart arched, eyes started to glisten. His feet shook as he stepped closer to the ring.

Martaeus kneeled in front of the parchment pieces, crushing the papers in pain. He cried out loud, a burst of wind creating a tornado in the house, sucking everything into it, from the notebooks to their household items till it burst through the roof.

Jin followed Martaeus further through time. He had alienated himself from the entire world. The Guild was looking for him, Hohen was looking for him but he hid himself. A few years passed, he felt like he wanted to find Jiyeon. The anger within him had subsided. He wanted to see her, to know if she was happy in her life.

He watched people from town to town, trying to find her. She had become an Auror, he was happy for her. She had married a muggle and had a child. They were living in her mother’s house. He went there, just to see her once. Her features were blurry in his mind. Maybe if he knew she was happy, he would move on.

During one of the weekends, he waited in the market, hoping he would see her. She would definitely come to buy the persimmons, they were her favourite.

And there she was in a blue cloak in the market, going from one vegetable cart to another, picking up carrots and onions. Martaeus’ eyes were transfixed on her. She was smiling contently and fondly at someone beside her, probably her son. Martaeus has missed the way her eyes crinkled in mirth. She reached the persimmon cart and one of the yellow fruits fell from her hand and rolled towards Martaeus.

‘Sweetie please fetch that!’ He heard her voice. His heart beat a million miles an hour. He looked up from within the hood he was wearing. Jiyeon was pointing at some fruits, telling the seller how much she wanted. Martaeus felt himself smile slightly until someone distracted him.

‘Mister?’ he heard the voice of a child beneath him. ‘Mister my fruit is at your foot,’

Martaeus looked down, into a pair of identical blue eyes. A 6 year old boy, dark blonde hair like his own, blue eyes like his own, lips like his own. He stared at the boy, until his mind convinced him that he wasn’t mistaken. 6 years ago, Jiyeon had left him, and now, here was a boy like a mirror image of him, looking at him like a complete stranger.

Martaeus bent down, picking up the fruit and held it out to Taehyung. The boy clasped the yellow fruit with his hands and there was something charged that passed between them at the contact of their hands. The man guessed what it could be.

‘Go to your mum now,’ Martaeus said, letting go of the fruit and Taehyung ran back to Jiyeon.

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) The Alchemists' Guild Theme | Akira Senju - Fullmetal Alchemist Symphony

Martaeus returned, feeling utterly betrayed. He was angrier than he had been when Jiyeon left him. He had a son… he had a son and Jiyeon never told him about it. She kept his own blood hidden from him. How could she? Did he not have a right to know? Was he so wrong that she would do this to him?

He wanted to burst into Jiyeon’s house and demand his answers but there were some unexpected visitors.

Three alchemists in green cloaks arrived at his place. They let themselves in, despite his protests.

‘Finally,’ the red haired woman said. ‘We thought you were dead,’

‘You aren’t the first one to think that,’ Martaeus reluctantly let them in.

‘Why have you abandoned us?’ An older man with long black hair asked. ‘We promised you a place amongst us,’

‘I don’t want it,’

‘You are an Elkyre. We definitely want you to join us. We alchemists belong together,’ the third, a blonde haired man said.

‘Well, I’m not going to join you so leave me,’

‘You don’t understand,’ Serafin stepped forward, ‘It’s essential that we gather all Elkyres. Voldemort is gone, and we have to seize this opportunity while the rest of the world thinks its safe and happy. Their defenses are down and they are rejoicing. Now’s our time,’

‘Time for what?’

‘To finally create the Philosopher’s stone,’

Martaeus gave his dry laugh, ‘And how exactly will you do that? Annihilate a town again?’

‘No, we’ve found a way, where no harm will come upon anyone,’ the dark haired man said.

‘I’m listening,’ Martaeus folded his arms.

‘Never before has been more than one Elkyre alive. And here we are, you and I,’ Serafin said. ‘We have heard there’s another man on the Caribbean islands, an Earth Elkyre. And then we’ll need to look for a water elkyre. Master says he has been sensing a fourth elkyre but he’s not powerful enough to tell us where it could be. If we four combine our powers, we create the Prima Matter, an unquenchable energy which will become the Philosopher’s stone!’

Martaeus’s jaw worked as he watched Serafin’s excited eyes. It was so tempting, if only he wasn’t overcome with the protective feeling of not letting them find the fourth elkyre- his son. That is the charge of energy he felt when their hands touched, he was sure of it now - the elkyric powers present in both of them were heightened for that moment.

‘So?’ The blonde man asked.. ‘Will you come with us Martaeus?’

‘Yes, but not tonight,’ Martaeus said, turning away to walk to his room. ‘I want to collate all my research and then join you. You haven’t said this is a foolproof plan. What if it fails?’

‘The chances are infinitesimal,’ the dark man said.

‘I will see you tomorrow evening at your base,’ Martaeus said. ‘I wish that you take your leave now. You did come unannounced and I already had things to do. Seeing the new urgency, I should get started right away,’

The next day, Martaeus was at Jiyeon’s house, come to take Taehyung away. Jin had seen this in Jiyeon’s memories. Taehyung stabbed Martaeus through his chest and Jiyeon ran away with him. Martaeus evaporated himself, becoming the wind. Anyone would have thought he had died, his body disappearing into his element and merging with the atmosphere, when in truth he was alive.

He saw Martaeus again, many years had passed. Martaeus was in a circular room, kneeling in front of a veil. He looked defeated.

‘You must trust us Martaeus,’ the voice spoke from behind the veil, thin and faint. ‘We want no harm to come to you or your son,’

‘You say that now. We know that stone is for you,’

‘For all of us,’ the voice said.

‘I can’t believe you,’

This vision was blurry, glitching with images of the past, halos casted by the lights he was seeing. Jin felt dizzy as he blinked his watering eyes. Something was wrong...

‘But you must. Don’t you want the power? For yourself and your son? Can’t you see what I’m offering you is good? This world needs us, we can set it straight. We can defeat the Death Eaters. We can recreate the Ministry of Magic with balance. This world needs balance Martaeus,’

‘I know it does. But is this Guild the right body to bring that balance?’

The veil was lifting in the wind and Jin so very badly wanted to see what was behind it. Was this Abraxas? Jin felt something shake below his feet. Soon the whole room was shaking as a pain shot through his arm.

‘Jin!’ he heard a distance was calling him.

‘Come back Jin!’ the voice grew louder. Namjoon was calling him, he sounded terrified. Jin felt the world shake like an earthquake. The pain in him was spreading. He felt something touch his cheeks, tapping him. Namjoon’s screams continued and Jin tried with all his might, finally opening his eyes with a gasp. It was like he was returning from a vacuum. Namjoon was holding his face in his hands, looking extremely worried.

‘Jin! What happened?!’

Jin’s attention went to the pain in his forearm as he gasped for air. There was a crack in his skin, as if he was made of porcelain. It ran from his inner elbow towards his wrist but it was slowly disappearing. It looked like a surface crack, but how in the world did he get it?

‘When did this happen?’ Jin asked, astonished. He lifted his arm to observe it closely but hissed in pain, bringing it back down and pressed it with his other hand. It felt like he was breaking and had to hold himself close together.

‘You were into your vision.. and then suddenly I saw these appear on you. I didn't know what it was, I thought it best to call you back,’

‘This is… I don't know what this could be…’ Jin ran a finger over where the crack was. And then he remembered when he felt something similar on his cheek during his vision of Bellatrix and Gwen. Jin touched his face where it stung a little. He could feel something over his skin, like a divide even though Namjoon said he couldn't see anything and neither could Jin when he looked into the mirror. Were his powers breaking him? He hasn't been able to see properly since he woke up from his coma. And now this…

‘I just… I wanted to help you. If we find the truth, we’ll know how to prepare ourselves,’

‘Jin… you don’t have to push yourself so far… I can’t see you getting hurt,’

‘Why should this happen? First I cursed myself for having this sight… now when I want to put it to use, is it breaking me?’

‘We’ll figure something out. Till then, promise me you won’t use your powers?,’ Namjoon kept a hand on Jin’s shoulder. Jin looked down on the floor and smiled. But Namjoon saw the tear that escaped the corner of his eye, making its way down to Jin’s chin. Namjoon took a step closer and hugged him, his height able to enclose Jin’s wide shoulders. The moment Jin felt Namjoon against him, he started to shake with silent sobs. Namjoon stroked the back of Jin’s head, his lips placed softly against his temple.

‘It's going to be ok. I'm not gonna let this harm you,’ Namjoon whispered. ‘You don't have to put yourself in harm to help anyone,’

‘But…’ Jin cried. ‘I want to help… I feel useless,’

‘Jin, you do the most for us. If it harms you, I won't consider it as help,’ Namjoon pulled away and cupped Jin’s face. He slowly wiped the tears from his cheek. ‘Now you are red like a strawberry,’ Namjoon chuckled and Jin laughed, sniffling in between. He went back to hug Namjoon and remained in the warmth of his embrace for a little longer.

*

Next Day…

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) John Williams - A Window To The Past

Hoseok walked with his housemates towards the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom. It was yet another cold day and Hoseok wondered how much longer will Taehyung enjoy his ‘winter’. They were heading into March soon but it felt like the cold winds of December hadn’t left them. Yugyeom waved at him from the other side of the corridor and Hoseok waved back smiling. His eyes looked at the dark haired boy next to Yugyeom who didn’t seem to notice Hoseok’s presence as his head was buried behind a book.

Hoseok walked amusedly behind Jungkook who seemed lost inside the book. The Ravenclaw absentmindedly took a seat at the back of the class and Hoseok sat next to him.

‘Watchu reading there?’ Hoseok peered in from the side.

‘Hmmm,’ was Jungkook’s response so Hoseok pushed the book down, trying to read the contents.

‘Dragons?’ The Hufflepuff asked. ‘Do we have an assignment I don’t know about??!’

Jungkook finally lifted his eyes from the illustration of a Hungarian Horntail to look at Hoseok’s panicked face. ‘No no! I’m just reading… for my own knowledge,’

‘Oh,’ Hoseok blinked. ‘Why the sudden interest? Is it because of a certain Dracwyn?’ He nudged Jungkook in the ribs with a teasing grin.

‘Like you don’t question Yoongi all day about his secret castle in the clouds,’ Jungkook rolled his eyes. ‘I just… I want to know more,’

‘I get it,’ Hoseok nodded. ‘It’s interesting isn’t it?’

‘Almost unreal,’ Jungkook said. ‘I mean… firstly, till we turned 11 we didn’t even know if we’d make it here for sure. And even with the magic all around us, tales of dragons and royal bloodlines owning castles still seemed like something we only read about in books. And then we meet Jin and the Min-Dracwyns who are living a world apart,’

‘Which makes me more curious,’ Hoseok said. ‘And that’s why Yoongi has promised to take me to his castle,’ he beamed. Jungkook returned the smile but there was something sullen behind it and a curious look from the older was enough to let Jungkook know the burning question in his friend’s mind.

‘That’s nice of Yoongi,’ was Jungkook’s response, ‘You’re lucky you’ll get to see that with your own eyes,’

Hoseok knew Laura probably couldn’t make the same invitation to him, thanks to Grandpa Dracwyn. Hoseok had seen him during the trial and every tale about him being a towering, intimidating overlord was true. ‘Do you still feel like you and Laura don’t belong to the same world? Like you told me before the Christmas break?’ Hoseok asked. ‘If you can’t see much of her life yet, maybe she can see yours? During the holidays we could all meet up and go on a little trip,’

‘I mentioned that… I even told her she could come to my dad’s hometown because she’s never been to that side of the world. She didn’t really answer me… she just smiled and changed the topic. Maybe she doesn’t want to… maybe she doesn’t like a muggle lifestyle,’ Jungkook’s pout settled on his lips and he picked at the corner of one of the pages.

‘Hey, don’t assume what she wants and doesn’t want unless you’ve actually spoken about it with her,’ Hoseok poked his puffed cheek. ‘Did you get this book from her?’ He moved closer and started to look through the pages. ‘Does it have moon dragons? I want to see what the Min beasts look like,’ Hoseok caught his lower lip between his teeth, a look of adorable determination on his face.

Jungkook nodded. ‘This book has dragons divided by class and element. Hungarian Horntail comes in class II, fire. Moon dragons are…. Jungkook flipped the pages to the very end, ‘Class I, Light. It’s the highest class,’

‘They’re stronger than Horntails?!’ Hoseok’s finger traced over the seemingly peaceful, long serpentine form of the white dragon on the open page.

‘Class depends on the dragon breed, not it’s element. That’s what I read in this. Laura says the ancient class I dragons can roast 3 Horntails just for breakfast, they’re that powerful,’ Jungkook turned the pages further to show the last few dragons. They were black, silver, white and red. Some had massive wings, some long spiky tails, some had humongous bodies with claws that can crush a tower. And the note below the illustrations read that these were drawn from descriptions in old scripts and no man alive had seen them to confirm the accuracy of these drawings. Hoseok looked up at the ceiling of their moderately sized classroom where a skeleton of a dragon hung. This must’ve been a baby dragon… because these ancient class I dragons are said to have a wingspan of 300 feet, almost as big as a football field.

‘Good morning class!’ they heard the substitute DATDA teacher call from ahead. They turned their attention to the front where the young teacher descended down the steps in a muted purple coat, his light blonde hair tied in a short ponytail at his nape. One couldn’t really tell if his expression was happy or slightly creepy due to the absence of his eyebrows. His thinly stretched lips couldn’t really answer that either.

‘Good morning Professor Quirelll,’ the response came haphazardly.

‘Hope you all have been practicing the nonverbal spells. When Professor Roland returns next year, let’s show him we haven’t been slacking,’ Quirell said, walking between the middle row of benches. ‘Today I will be taking some theory. A bit of a serious topic in the syllabus today. Can we all open our textbooks to page 483?’

Hoseok flipped through the pages till he found the number and opened to the first page of the chapter. Their teacher was writing the title in big letters on the chalkboard as well.

Dark Curses - Affects & Defenses

‘Each year you have this chapter,’ Quirell said. ‘And each year you learn about the existence of darker curses,’

‘Which ones will we learn his year?’ Hufflepuff’s prefect Lee asked. The incantations were never mentioned in the books, for fear of any student trying them out.

‘The Three Unforgivable Curses,’ Quirell wrote on the board. ‘One can controls the mind, second that causes unbearable pain - a curse to torture someone, and third, the killing curse,’ he turned around to face the class, and everyone seemed very attentive today, trying to listen to this ‘forbidden’ knowledge carefully. ‘The incantations aren’t mentioned, but I’d be a fool to think some of you haven’t already heard about these curses. Are any of you aware of the spells?’

The students looked at one another apprehensively. All had heard of the curses, they were infamous for being punishable by death or a life sentence at Azkaban. They had heard versions of the incantations as well but the crime was so severe that it wasn’t spoken of openly. Sierra put her hand up but then retrieved it, not wanting to make a fool of herself with misinformation. Quirell’s eyes scanned the students and then one hand finally lifted up, unwavering.

‘Yes,’ Quirell cleared his throat, ‘Mr. Jung.’

Everyone turned their faces to the Hufflepuff, who’s smile had been wiped out from his face.

‘I… I know two of them,’ Hoseok said, voice trying to be firm but it shook a little at the end.

Quirell looked at him thoughtfully, ‘Tell us what you know,’

‘Imperio, the spell that can control someone’s mind,’ Hoseok said and Quirell wrote on the board The Imperius Curse.

‘Correct,’ Quirell said. ‘It does not have any colored beam of light. Extremely difficult to trace who inflicts it if there are more than two persons present. But it’s not easy to cast successfully or maintain control over a long period of time unless you’re skilled at the art of metaphysical magic like occlumency. And the other one that you know Jung?’

Hoseok gulped before speaking further. He couldn’t look at the faces of his classmates anymore and looked down at his clasped hands on the desk. It took him several moments before he could speak.

‘It’s ok Jung,’ Quirell said, sensing his apprehension. ‘I’ll take it from here-’

‘Crucio, the curse to torture someone,’ Hoseok said and there were goosebumps all over his body, like some of the pain he had felt from that curse still remained inside him, sending light currents of fear through his limbs.

‘Correct again,’ Quirell wrote the Cruciatus Curse on the board. ‘Where Imperio requires skill and power of the mind, Crucio relies more on your emotions. It’s intensity depends on how much the caster means to inflict the pain,’

Seirra’s hand shot up in the air for a question. ‘Was this the spell used in the Longbottom’s case?’

‘Yes, the four death eaters used this curse on the former Aurors. That is why they have a life imprisonment slapped on them and a big bounty on their heads,’

‘What happened to them then? The aurors?’

Quirell’s usual light voice turned deep and sombre. ‘It was a sad day for the entire wizarding community of Britain. Frank and Alice Longbottom were good people, skilled Aurors. Now they permanently live in St. Mungos. Both have suffered irreparable brain damage. It’s what prolonged exposure to the curse does to you. It’s better none of you talk about this matter lightly,’

‘This curse was the first one to be banned,’ he continued. ‘Back in 1717 when the dark witch Artemise Reid used it on muggles, torturing them to death. Muggles always have a lower resistance to any of the magical spells. That’s also the reason it is easier to obliviate them. We wizard kind don’t really hide ourselves well. But you need a license to use the Obliviation charm so don’t go trying that, or you might end up in Azkaban too,’ Quirell looked at the students pointedly.

But Hoseok wasn’t looking to the front anymore. He was staring hard at his open book, listening to whatever Quirell was saying. Muggles always have a lower resistance to any of the magical spells… It’s what prolonged exposure to the curse does to you... Both have suffered irreparable brain damage.

‘Back to the curses,’ Quirell wrote on the board, the chalk making a ticking sound every time it touched the board. ‘Cruciatus curse, has a characteristic bright red beam,’

Hoseok remembered that color very well. He had seen it when he was a small kid, shot at his mother. He had seen it again a few months ago, shot right at him and his friend. He remembered Jenkins’ malicious face. If that curse’s pain made him wish for death, what had his mother gone through? For so many days?

‘Hobi… relax,’ Jungkook’s hand came over his and only then did he realise that he had clenched his fists so tight that his nails left a deep mark on his palm. He also realised he was sweating, every inch of his exposed skin feeling chilled.

‘Don’t worry about this. It was all in the past,’ Jungkook whispered to him.

Hoseok nodded out of habit. His first step towards defense was the pretense of being okay. He looked up to where the teacher was and his heart jumped. He saw a flash of Jenkins standing where Quirell stood. His memories were merging with reality again. Hoseok shut his eyes and turned his face down.

‘Ok, the last one anyone?’ Their professor looked at the students but everyone shook their heads. The atmosphere in the cold classroom was grimmer than it had ever been. Quirell turned back and wrote on the board - The Killing Curse.

‘Avada Kedavra,’ he spoke, facing front. ‘One of the most difficult spells to cast, it takes up a lot of the caster’s energy. Unlike a physically killing weapon, like a sword, or the metal muggle artefact known as guns which can kill a human regardless of who’s using it, the killing curse cannot just work if you caste it without actually having the energy and will to do it. That doesn’t mean you should go experimenting with it, it’s a damaging curse. It can faint you of your energy, if casted, you can cause damage to someone and yourself without repair. And… as we know from the famous incident that happened a decade ago… it can backfire on you and kill you, even if you are the most powerful dark wizard of all time,’

‘A-Are we sure that You Know Who died from his own killing curse?’ Lee asked.

‘This curse,’ Quirell underlined the last line on the board. ‘It was the Dark Lord’s signature. I don’t think there’s anyone else who used this curse more than him. The parents of the boy who lived, they were found dead without a wound on them, which only meant they were hit with this silent and effective curse.

Sierra raised her hand again, ‘But… if this kills without any wounds, why is it an unforgivable curse? Wouldn’t death by torture or fire be… more harmful?’

‘You’re right Miss Gibson,’ Quirell said. ‘And this was the argument many put forward. This curse would actually be the best route when it comes to death sentences, or in rare cases when some dangerous beasts have to be executed. It’s swift, we assume it’s painless but we don’t ever know because no one has survived it and that’s the problem. We don’t know if it causes pain, there are no protective or blocking charms against it, there is zero chance of survival, unlike death by torture or fire where you may survive or be able to fight back. Maybe that’s why the Dark Lord used this so often. There was no time to escape it, his victory was always assured,’ his eyes looked at all the students staring at him with curious wide eyes. ‘So for your assignment,’ he quipped, snapping everyone back to reality. ‘I want a 1000 word essay on the history of these curses and the Ministry’s rules against them. And now how about we have a practice round of your non verbal spell casting? Get into pairs at the back of the class,’

Jungkook immediately paired with Hoseok who had been silent since a very long time. They stood facing each other and the Ravenclaw gave his friend an encouraging smile.

‘Go on, you can do it,’

Hoseok nodded and took his position, eyebrows narrowed in concentration. But his anxiety hadn’t gone down. He didn’t think he would be able to do this right now. He stood there for a very long time, trying to focus on the spell but it wasn’t able too, and the anxiety just increased in him seeing how badly he was failing. The grip on his wand kept tightening and loosing, lips moving like he wanted to say something but the words were stuck in his throat.

‘It’s ok,’ Jungkook felt slightly panicked too but he tried not to show it. ‘It’s ok Hobi, take your time,’

Hoseok mumbled, ‘I can’t do it,’ but Jungkook didn’t really hear it well.

‘Professor Quirell,’ Jungkook heard Sierra ask. The two Ravenclaw prefects were currently not on talking terms. Sierra wouldn’t even look at him but she made sure to be more vocal than usual in his presence, like a constant reminder that he hurt her.

‘Is Professor Roland really going to come back?’ He heard her ask. ‘I heard he was seriously ill and won’t be able to teach anymore. Heard the… the venom was indeed present in his body,’

‘Miss Gibson, I don’t really know the details of it,’ Quirell tried to stay diplomatic. ‘We should wait for news from Roland himself rather than assume from what we’ve heard shouldn’t we?’

‘It would be great if you taught us next year too!’ Seirra’s partner said. ‘Your classes are fun,’

‘Ah, even if the position was open, I wouldn’t be able to make it next year!’

‘Oh why not!?’ Asked Sierra.

‘I have a whole trip planned in the summer, to explore the eastern regions of Europe and study the dark creatures native to those lands. I won’t be in Britain for most of the year, will explore the sea monsters of Croatia, forest shape shifters of Albania. Might even go to some Siberian regions. I don’t think I’ll be back in time for the new term,’

‘Wow!’ Another student spoke, ‘I wish I could do all that! Go on an adventurous monster hunt through the world!’

‘Well, for now, get past your NEWTs and then maybe you’ll be travelling as well! To all the continents!’

Hoseok was just waiting for the class to end. Some of his mates had started to notice the fear in him. Many didn’t bother him, but some other house students often got curious, and would start asking questions in whispers to each other. It’s these whispers Hoseok hated the most. They would buzz in his ears even hours later and he would feel every face turn towards him, envisioning the same maliciousness as that of the Jenkin brothers.

‘Should I go first?’ Jungkook asked and Hoseok realised he had closed his eyes again. He nodded weakly and Jungkook continued to smile assuringly, taking his position to caste a spell, ‘Don’t worry Hobi, this will be a fun thing,’

As soon as the bell rang, Hoseok dropped his wand hand, moving back towards the desk to take his bag. Jungkook didn’t push his company on him and let him hurry out towards his common room. He was probably going to take a nap. Hoseok’s head hung low, not looking at anyone in the eye until he bumped into someone in the corridor to the Great Hall.

‘I’m sorry,’ Hoseok said but caught a glimpse of a familiar hand. It was Jimin, standing still and unresponsive.

‘Jimin?’ Hoseok looked at his pained face and then he looked to the front, into the Great Hall. The sight was unlike he had seen before in this castle. The banners that hung from every post were black. The staff’s table was black. The entire staff was present even though it was tea time, and this was the first time Hoseok had seen Dumbledore in these dark and sombre shades.

‘What’s happened?’ Hoseok shook Jimin. ‘Did someone… is this a mourning!?’

Students started to fill the Great Hall. There had been an emergency school meeting called. Hoseok and Jimin still stood at the wide doors when Dumbledore took to the dias to make the announcement.

‘We gather here today, to address a very sad news,’ the Headmaster’s voice was clear over the silent students. ‘We were informed, an hour ago, about the tragic death of our beloved Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor James Roland. He fought bravely to protect all of us, from the attack on Hogwarts in September. He defeated the infamous werewolf Skoll, something no Auror had managed to do so. Even though he was with us only for over a year, he taught you all wonderfully, he has become a very beloved part of Hogwarts. May we all remember him, as the brilliant teacher he was,’

Jimin was shaking next to Hoseok. His eyes glistened but the tears didn’t roll down yet.

‘Are you ok?’ Hoseok tried to hold his hand but Jimin moved away, walking out of the hall. He walked aimlessly in some kind of rage, finally ending up in the boy’s bathroom. He stood over the sink, hands on the edges of the basin.

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Jimins theme | Ramin Djawadi - Breaker of Chains

Tragic death of our beloved Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He defeated the infamous werewolf Skoll.

All kind words to cover up the cause of death. He died trying to defeat Lycanthropy. Roland failed. He succumbed to death in trying to not become a werewolf.

And at that moment Jimin too felt like he wanted to die. He banged his hands on the sink, the force of it knocking it off its hinges and it crashed to the floor, a side of the ceramic structure cracking.

‘Jimin what’s wrong!’ His friends had found him by now and at the front of it were Hoseok and Ash. Their eyes looked wide with worry at the damage caused to the sink and back at Jimin.

‘I need to be alone,’ Jimin said, preparing to storm out.

‘But, let us-’ Ash started to speak before Jimin walked past her, yelling.

‘I said I need to be alone!’

They watched him go, standing shell shocked in their spots.

‘I didn’t know Jimin was this strong,’ Jungkook looked at the fallen sink, water now flooding the bathroom floor.

Jimin rushed to Snape’s chambers, knocking harshly at the door.

‘Professor? Professor Severus Snape!’

‘Yes…?’ the nasal voice came from next to Jimin. Snape stood with the key to his chambers in his hand, having just returned from the Great Hall.

‘We need to talk,’ Jimin seethed.

Once they were inside, Snape lit up the fireplace and went about sorting the books as if a raging student wasn’t pacing to and fro his front room.

‘It was lycanthropy wasn’t it? He was infected. That’s why they amputated his leg first, thinking that will stop the infection. But it didn’t. That’s why he went back to Mungos, didn’t he?’

‘Correct,’

‘And then what happened? Why couldn’t he survive? Bitten humans don’t die!’

‘You’re right, they don’t die. They transform,’ Snape said. ‘But Roland refused to transform. Just like you. He kept taking wolfsbane. Just like you. The doses kept increasing, like it’s increasing for you,’

‘And then what!?’ Jimin yelled.

‘Can’t you see what you’re putting your body through? Both of you, are half wolf, whether you like it or not. And you can’t survive if you try to kill 50% of your body. The wolfsbane killed him. That is why both Dumbledore and I have been telling you, you can’t keep fighting this by overdosing on wolfsbane. You have to accept what you’ve become, it’s the only way to survive!’

‘Only way to survive? Do you think we want to survive like that? Like a creature that kills mindlessly and is hated by the entire world?’

‘Would you rather die?’ Snape asked and that shut Jimin up. The boy looked away from him and Snape went towards his bookshelf, retrieving something from the back of it.

‘Park, we have done all we can,’ he said. ‘You have to start accepting the reality, even if it is terrible. Roland is dead but maybe you don’t have to be,’

‘And what should I do for that?’ Jimin asked with pleading eyes.

‘I cannot increase your doses further. If you end up transforming, stop feeling guilty about it. Dumbledore will make sure he puts you in an environment where you can’t harm any human. And, you need to understand your wolf side better. Here,’ he handed him a book that looked like a hand written diary.

‘It’s a rare one so don’t lose it. I had to go to some lengths to get this. You must have read excerpts of this in your third year but that was a heavily edited version by the Ministry. This is the hand written diary of a werewolf named Amoux. Read it,’

Jimin took the diary in his hands. The binding of the brown leather book seemed delicate. The pages were worn out too. But now, he had to put his hopes in finding a way from these pages. He was at a fork, where one lead to his transformation, the other to a supposed cure through the mythical Philosopher’s stone and the other… to death.

Next day.

No one had heard from Jimin much. He didn’t speak to Yoongi when the boy returned after dinner to their dorm. Even Taehyung couldn’t get much out of him at breakfast the next morning. But the rest were trying their best to not let their spirits drown. Despair would not let them function.

Namjoon walked towards the clubroom, his 6th and 7th year books in hand. There was a small board on the door of the clubroom that read ‘Study Group of Kim Namjoon, Genius IQ 148’ along an animated caricature of Namjoon who was putting on his spectacles but breaking it in the attempt. His eyes widened in embarrassment and he opened the door, the faint din of people talking filtering out.

‘Hey who made that board?’ he asked his friends.

‘It was Jin’s idea,’ Jungkook immediately pointed at the older boy. ‘I have nothing to do with it,’

‘Liar!’ Jin threw a paper ball at him, ‘Can’t you see that artistic handiwork? It’s all Jungkook’s,’

‘Not me!’ Jungkook feigned shock again.

Namjoon sighed and took off the paper board, tucking it into his notebook. It was too cute to throw away, too embarrassing to be on display.

‘Ok, what’s the topic you needed help in?’ he set his books on a table.

‘Transfiguration,’ Laura said.

‘Arithmancy,’ Jungkook said next.

‘Muggle studies,’ Jin said and everyone turned towards him.

‘What help can you need in muggle studies?’ Jungkook said disbelievingly.

Why have you taken Muggle studies for NEWTS?’ Laura asked.

Jin shrugged. ‘I just... want to know more about them. Some of us have muggle families so shouldn't we learn about how the other half lives? If we have to interact with them at some point?’ he looked at his hands that were playing with a piece of scrap paper while he said it. In reality, he wanted to feel like he's a proper part of both of Namjoon’s worlds, wizarding and muggle.

‘Ok, I can teach you muggle studies anytime. It's not tough,’ Namjoon said with a warm smile. ‘Any other topic?’

‘Potions,’ came Hoseok’s voice from the back.

‘Why are you even here?’ Jungkook turned around on his bench and asked him. ‘Why isn't your boyfriend tutoring you?

‘He is. But I’m not making much progress,’

‘Coz the only progress you’re making, is on him,’ Jin whispered in Hoseok’s ear and the Hufflepuff smacked his arm.

‘Ah! YAH!’ Jin yelled out. ‘What did I say? Tell me I'm wrong? I dare you! Tell me!’

‘Namjoon throw him out of class, he's not gonna let anyone study,’

As the whole ruckus was going on, Jungkook was busy passing tiny folded notes to Laura. He sent it flying to her who caught it and smiled.

The first note came in, ‘We need to go to Hogsmeade. Even NamJin went on a date and we still haven't had our first date,’

And then a second one that lost direction and hit Namjoon in the face who was walking back to the front. He caught the paper and opened it, reading it out loud. ‘You looked cute with the scarf around you. Like a little otter,’ and then looked at Laura and Jungkook who were red in the face and said to them, ‘Make sure you don't display these deadly stealth skills in McGonagall’s class!’

‘Where are the other three Slytherins?’ Jin looked at Laura. ‘I and Namjoon wanted to discuss something with you all,’

‘Here here,’ Yoongi walked in, followed by Ash and Jimin at some distance, the diary from Snape clasped in his hand. He remained standing near the seats while the other two squeezed next to Hoseok. They closed the door and caste the Muffliato charm.

‘I’ve been letting you all know about the visions I see, whenever I make sense of it,’ Jin said, eyes looking at all of them. He still hadn’t told them about the fire he saw in one of his visions. Maybe he won’t, just yet.

‘I went back to see Martaeus’ life. And from what I gathered, I still don’t like the Alchemists’ Guild. At this point I have more faith in Martaeus than in the Guild,’

‘Even after he tried to forcefully take Tae away from his own mother?’ Jimin asked in disbelief.

‘Have you forgotten what you saw that day in Jiyeon’s memories?’ Laura asked, ‘He almost killed her,’

‘But he didn’t. He could’ve if he wanted to. He’s not a saint, but I choose him over this… Abraxas,’ Jin said the last name with contempt. ‘He was trying to protect Tae from the Alchemists, that’s why he came to take him away,’

‘But he has joined the guild now, so what do we make of that?’ Jungkook asked.

‘I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll go back again to see,’

Namjoon caste him a worried look at that. Was it safe for Jin to use his powers again? He had seen those cracks appear and fade on Jin’s body… what if, one day they don’t fade? What would happen to Jin then?

‘You want to tell them the other thing?’ Jin broke his thoughts and Namjoon blinked, looking to the front.

‘Uhh, yeah. So, Taehyung wants to restart the training we used to give him,’ Namjoon said.

‘Really?’ Hoseok looked slightly surprised. ‘Never thought he would want that,’

‘Maybe he’s feeling more confident in his skills and abilities. Or he wants to share with us what he’s learned. I think this is a good thing. At least he’ll spend time with us and won’t push us away,’ Namjoon said.

‘I agree,’ Yoongi nodded his head. ‘At this point we need anything that will keep Tae closer to us,’

‘So we’re resuming our personal Duel Club?’ Jungkook rubbed his hands excitedly. ‘How long has it been? Two months?’

‘Ever since Dumbledore increased his classes with Taehyung,’ Hoseok said. ‘Is he still training him?’

‘It’s reduced a lot,’ Jimin said. ‘Since the Christmas holidays. And now Taehyung himself tells Dumbledore there’s not much he is curious about,’

‘Because he has Abraxas to teach him things,’ Jin rolled his eyes.

‘But Taehyung seems happier now doesn’t he?’ Jungkook interrupted. ‘He seems better than before,’

‘Maybe because Abraxas is feeding him false information, telling Taehyung what he wants to hear. I don’t think I can ever trust that… being,’ Jin said with a tensed frown on his brows. ‘I can’t, I don’t get a good feeling from it,’

‘Anyway, it’s a good idea we’re training again,’ Yoongi said. ‘With all that’s going on, maybe we’ll need it,’

‘Need it for what? To fight the Death Eaters?’ Namjoon asked disbelievingly.

But Jin nodded, ‘Maybe.’

And that’s when the gravity of the situation hit them hard again.

‘Jin… fighting the Death Eaters… do you know what that means?’ Hoseok spoke.

‘I know. I know it’s too grave to even think of. But we can’t ignore the situation,’ Jin said. ‘They are preparing to come for Tae again. We can’t go to the Ministry for help. We can hope Dumbledore helps us or we have to protect Tae on our own, the eight of us. And those Death Eaters won’t come at us with school book spells. They attack to kill,’

‘If we hang on to our old ways, we don’t stand a chance,’ Laura said. ‘You wouldn’t have lifted your wand and Bellatrix will shoot green from hers within a second,’

‘That’s reassuring,’ Jimin raised his eyebrows.

‘If it’s up to us to protect Taehyung, then we have to learn to fight. And not just school level hexes, we really need to understand what we’re up against and what we’re ready to do,’ Laura said.

‘And what are we ready to do?’ Jungkook asked her. ‘I’m not… I’m not going to use any unforgivable curses on someone,’

‘I’ve seen it with my own eyes,’ Hoseok said, ‘What the death eaters can do to someone. I’ve seen it three times now. First my mother, then us,’

‘You think you could’ve fought them by not hurting them?’ Laura asked and Hoseok shook his head.

‘We’re taught to be good but we can’t sit behind a curtain of morality anymore when we’re up against death itself. They are evil. They will torture us, rip us, kill us. That is the truth,’

‘Eight students,’ Ash chuckled. ‘Just eight students against the worst dark wizards. Do you think it’s possible?’

‘We can’t give up without trying. For Tae’s sake. For Jimin’s sake,’ Jin wrung his hands together uncomfortably, ‘We cannot let anyone take them, they cannot create the stone and use it for far more evil things. There will be no stopping them if they have the stone,’

‘Ok,’ Jungkook nodded, trying to not get swept up by the fear and emotions of it all. ‘Ok, we’ll do what’s possible for us. We’ll train,’

‘Luckily all present here have a good grasp on duelling,’ Yoongi said. ‘But let’s not share the reason for our training with Taehyung yet. He’s told us time and again he doesn’t want us involved,’

‘I agree,’ Jungkook said. ‘Let him open up to us, share his discussions with Abraxas. He should know he can depend on us,’

‘Agreed,’ Jin said too.

‘Am I late for something?’ They heard Taehyung and turned to the door awkwardly.

‘Wow, looks like you all had a meeting without me,’ Taehyung looked slightly offended and hurt. ‘Maybe I should come back later,’

‘No no! Where are you going!’ Jungkook made a grab for him. ‘We weren’t having any meeting without you! We were just discussing about the nasty NEWTs! I am absolutely not prepared to take it next year!’ Jungkook whined. ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do!’

‘That’s odd, are they hiding something from you?’

Abraxas’ voice spoke to Taehyung. He had spent most of his afternoon talking to the ancient being. Abraxas told him many interesting historical stories. Today’s story was about the fight against Grindelwald and how the man this dark wizard loved became the reason for his downfall. Abraxas also told him about the palace they were currently in, and if they succeeded in their plans, that would be where they work from. He thought it was a good setting, to work from a place meant for kings, queens and rulers as the next creators of the world.

And now Abraxas had asked if he could accompany him in this meeting of his friends and Taehyung had agreed. The question he asked was making Taehyung re-affirm his doubts. They were hiding something.

‘So where do we head for our practice duelling?’ Yoongi asked, trying to deviate the topic. ‘I don’t think we should practice publicly. And I am very excited we’re doing this again,’ he smiled at Taehyung.

‘How about that room we met in for discussing the Red War?’ Namjoon said. ‘The Room of Requirements, that’s what it’s called, isn’t it?’ he looked around and everyone nodded in agreement.

Mood Music (Don't forget to open in a new tab/window) Namjoon’s Theme | Ramin Djawadi - King in The North

Within the next fifteen minutes, the nine of them stood in a circle inside the Room of Requirements. It was different than what they remembered. Now the ceiling was extremely high, and the room seemed to have expanded in size, giving them all enough area to practice whatever blasting spell they wanted. The walls looked worn out too, like, even if it took a confrigo hex, the burn mark would just merge with the rest of the scratches and cracks. It gave them a feeling of not having to worry about spoiling the place.

They divided into pairs on Namjoon’s instruction with the Head Boy acting as their teacher. Jimin paired with Jungkook, Taehyung with Jin and Hoseok with Ash, though he looked apprehensive of it. Namjoon told them of the practice spells - Impedimenta, followed by Stupefy. He walked around the room, straightening people’s wand hands and correcting their postures. Once he was satisfied with their stances, he stood at the front facing them.

‘Shall we begin?’