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The Absolution of Jeon Jungkook, Slytherin

Chapter Text


"Yo, kid!"

Jungkook stopped and raised his head carefully.

The person who walked up to him was Min Yoongi, a senior Slytherin with a bloodline almost as ancient and noble as Jungkook's. Though Yoongi didn't flaunt his lineage like some of the older Slytherins did. It was for this reason more than anything else that Jungkook trusted the older boy. As a potential ally, if nothing else.

"Yes, hyung?" Jungkook shifted. He planned on studying in his room for the rest of the day.

"Old Sluggy's looking for you. I would avoid going down to the dungeons because I just saw him heading down there," Yoongi said as he continued walking past Jungkook.

"Oh." Jungkook's brow scrunched slightly in displeasure. Slughorn really wasn't letting this go.

Quickly, he spun around, but Yoongi was already half way down the stairs, humming some idle tune under his breath.

"Thanks, hyung!" Jungkook called down to him, wincing as his voice echoed and a few students in the hall looked over at him.

Below, Yoongi waved a hand without looking back. "Don't mention it, kid."

Always the cool guy, that hyung.

Jungkook turned away, smiling wryly. He was planning on finding another place to study until it was safe to go to the dungeons when he noticed a trio of Hufflepuff girls staring at him. Instinctively, he dropped his head. 

He tightened his grip on his books and swept past the Hufflepuffs, ignoring how their whispers followed him down the hall. They were probably talking about how they'd seen the Slytherin outcast grinning by himself like an idiot.

Jungkook told himself he didn't care.

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Kim Taehyung was having the time of his life.

"Hold on, hold on! Not yet!" Jimin whispered, an arm across Taehyung's chest to keep him back. They were around the corner of the corridor leading to the Great Hall, their heads peeking out past the wall. Other students walking by just shook their heads at the duo and hurried past so they wouldn't be involved.

"I just saw him I swear!" Taehyung shook the little vial in his hand. He was bouncing in place, unable to hold in his excitement.

"Yeah, but you know how he likes to weave around. He's going to pass through here, I just know it!" Jimin insisted.

They looked at each other and shared matching grins, cheshire cat wide. 

Even though they were in separate houses, Taehyung and Jimin had maintained their close friendship since the day they met on the Hogwarts Express as first years. Jimin dropped his chocolate frog in horror when it started moving, and Taehyung, shocked to meet his very first Muggle-born wizard his age, accidentally let the frog escape their compartment. They got in trouble afterwards for chasing that chocolate frog from one end of the train to the other, yelling and cackling at the top of their lungs.

"Shoot! Just missed it!"

"Over there! Grab it, Taehyung!!"

"Hey, you kids! What on Merlin's beard do you think you're doing?!!"

After they got to Hogwarts, Taehyung was disappointed to find Jimin entering Gryffindor, especially since he had been sorted into Ravenclaw and was anxiously waiting for his new friend to sort into Ravenclaw too. Jimin later told him that the Sorting Hat had a very persuasive argument for a battered scrap of dusty cloth.

"And it's not like we can't stay friends right? House lines aren't law you know!"

Years later, here they were, just like Jimin said. Partners-in-crime and best friends for life.

Suddenly Jimin whirled around and Taehyung jumped back to avoid knocking into him. In the abrupt movement, the vial slipped out of his hands and they both fumbled for it at the same time, just barely managing to catch it in a net between their fingers.

"That was close...," Taehyung sighed, hanging his head briefly in relief. Jimin hurriedly closed Taehyung's fingers around the vial as he darted a look over his shoulder.

"Tae, he's coming!" Jimin whispered loudly, "I just saw him leave the Great Hall and he's heading straight here!" 

They plastered themselves against the wall, Taehyung closer to the corner. He peeked out carefully and tried to spot their target around the students in the hall.

"We have a few seconds, do you see him?" Jimin said, mouth hanging open in excitement. He took an exaggerated dueling stance, giggling. 

"Shhh, move back a bit. I see him," Taehyung muttered, eyes narrowing in concentration. He grinned and then moved back a few steps himself to match Jimin's pose, throwing arm back and the other outstretched in front of him, his wrists held limply like a foppish pure-blood. Jimin's chest started shaking with the force of his giggles.

The students passing by gave them strange looks. Taehyung winked at one first year that gaped at them. What was life without a little fun?

Just seconds later, their target flew around the corner well above the heads of the students in the hall. Taehyung threw the vial at hard as he could as Jimin cried out the incantation behind him.

"Immaterialis!" The spell streaked through the air and hit the vial, making it glow temporarily.

Behind Taehyung, Jimin pumped a fist and shouted, "Yes!"

Peeves didn't have a chance to avoid the vial since he was flying too fast. For a second, Taehyung thought it would hit him straight in the face. Then it passed right through the poltergeist, making both boys' faces fall. The vial somersaulted through the air in a long arc, and Taehyung distantly heard someone say, "Oh, no," right before it fell on an unsuspecting Slytherin and splattered all over his head and shoulders. 

Peeves exploded in evil cackles, jeered at the boys for their failed attempt to get him, and swooped out of there with calls for the nearest professor to clean up the mess in the hall.

"Taehyung, come on! Peeves is going to get the professors down here and if we get caught by the headmistress again we're screwed!" Jimin tugged at Taehyung's arm as the Ravenclaw slowly let himself be led away.

His eyes were stuck on the dripping boy down the hall, who was slowly wiping his fingers across his cheek to see what he was covered in. The clear liquid of the potion was darkening, going first pink and then red as it sunk into his skin, like reverse bloodletting. 

Jimin was shoving at Taehyung now, loudly proclaiming the need to escape before authorities set upon them, and the Slytherin must have heard because he turned his head.

Large, soulful eyes caught Taehyung's across the hall. The boy didn't look angry, or embarrassed, even though the students around him were staring and pointing at his sorry state. The flattened line of his mouth was definitely unhappy though. Taehyung decided that needed to be fixed.

As he walked backwards, Taehyung took a deep breath and bellowed, "SORRY! WE MISSED. I'LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU LATER OKAY?"

He took some pleasure in seeing the boy's mouth drop in astonishment and threw a large wink. Then he turned and sprinted out of the hall like the hounds of hell were on his tail. Jimin swore and chased after his heels.

Inwardly, Taehyung wondered where he had seen the Slytherin before. He looked familiar.

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.

A look of horror came over Jungkook as he started to come out of his daze. The red liquid on his fingers was evaporating but not quickly enough, and Jungkook was distinctly becoming aware of how his hair and robes were plastered to his skin. Some of the red stuff dripped off his bangs, syrup slow.

His eyes followed the line of it from his hair to the ground. To his vague fascination, the liquid turned clear again when it hit the stone.

Not the time, Jeon Jungkook. 

Trying to ignore the stares and snickers of the students around him, Jungkook raised his head high and quickly walked out of the hall. He only broke into a run when he was around the corner.

Kim Namjoon jumped up in his seat on the couch when Jungkook stomped into the common room, looking harried.

"Hello," Jungkook bit out, not slowing down as he made a bee line for his room. The stuff he was covered in had mostly dried out and disappeared, but he felt sticky all over. He felt like jumping into the Great Lake. 

Namjoon made a choking sound behind him that made Jungkook's stomach sink to his knees. "You walked around like that all day?!" The older Slytherin called after him.

As soon as he was in his room, Jungkook ran to the long full-length mirror beside his bed. What he saw made him stagger back, hand to his mouth. 

His head looked like it had been dunked in a vat of dragon's blood. The hair glowed softly red like embers, almost fluorescent in the room's lamp light.

"No way," Jungkook breathed. He reached out to finger a strand. The hair was as soft as it was when he spelled it dry after a shower. Despite the stickiness, his skin looked as clear and pale as ever. Only his hair showed any evidence of the potion he had been hit with.

"Right," Jungkook said vaguely, staring at himself in despair. "Right then."

Resolutely, he turned around and headed for the showers. Since it was the middle of the day, the showers were free of any other students. Which was good for Jungkook. He spent an hour trying to drown himself in hot water.
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Jung Hoseok, well-known Hufflepuff Chaser, was surprised to find himself pulled aside after Charms class by his professor.

Hoseok looked worried. "I didn't do that badly on my last paper, did I, Professor?" Flitwick chuckled so his whole body shook, reminding Hoseok of one of those tiny dogs that barked alot. The man's hair, what was left of it, even fluffed up in the back the way a dog's tail would.

"No, no, no, my boy! It has nothing to do with that at all! Although I do wish you had gone more into depth with that section on foreign wand movements. Found it fascinating, I did!" Hoseok turned pink at the praise from his Head of House. He scratched at the back of his head as he laughed sheepishly.

"Anyways, my dear boy, I do have somewhat of a favor to ask of you...."

And this was how Hoseok ended up as a Charms tutor. Yoongi was not impressed when he found out Hoseok would be missing two out of three of their usual practice sessions because of his new tutoring duty.

"So on top of Quidditch practice, you're skimping out on our time to make awesome music together to tutor some Gryffindor kid stupid enough to be failing Charms?"

"Aww, Suga-hyung, I didn't know you cared!"

"Shut up, you useless flobberworm!" Hoseok laughed and then made kissy faces at his grumpy friend, making the Slytherin shove his face away with one hand.

At first glance, no one would ever have expected the easy-going Hufflepuff and the stone-faced Slytherin to be friends, but somehow they were. They had lived near each other their whole lives. Hoseok had memories of Yoongi laughing at him when he fell off his toy broom at seven years old, and then screaming for the house elves to save him when he fell from a considerably higher height a few minutes after.

Yoongi often said Hoseok was like a potent fungus, the kind that absolutely refused to separate from its host until they both died. Hoseok translated that to mean that Yoongi wanted them to be friends forever.

"So, where's Rapmon?" he asked blithely, leaning back in his seat.

"He's in the dungeons, working out a battle plan for next week's game," Yoongi replied and then gave him a dry look. "You don't actually have a secret weapon for the next match, do you?"

"Hehehe." 

Yoongi snorted disdainfully. "I knew you just said that to freak him out. Hufflepuffs can never be trusted."

"Hey!" Hoseok feigned a hurt look. "This coming from a Slytherin?"

"At least Slytherins are up-front about being self-centered little bastards. We don't try to fake we're honest angels the way you badgers do."

Hoseok smiled cheekily. "Ever met a badger in real life? They're vicious animals when cornered." Then he reached over and punched Yoongi playfully in the arm, making the other scowl briefly. "But also the most loyal you'll ever find in the wild," he added gently.

Yoongi rolled his eyes, but when he went back to his notes his face was soft with contentment.

Yeah, Hoseok thought, it was strange for a Hufflepuff and a Slytherin to be friends, especially after the War. But here they were, breaking conventions like tissue paper.

Yoongi had time to kill until his next class, ("Muggle studies," he said disdainfully, making Hoseok sigh and kick him for the attitude), so he stuck around while Hoseok waited for the Gryffindor kid to show up. Eventually, he dozed off, head leaned into his fist, frown going slack. 

Yoongi always claimed he had more inspiration when the moon was out so he almost never had the right amount of sleep hours to function properly through the day. Namjoon once commented that Yoongi might have a much sunnier temperament (pun intended) if he slept at night like a human being.

It would at least help Yoongi's reputation, Hoseok thought. Underclassmen still skittered out of his way when he walked through the halls.

True to form, when the Gryffindor burst through the doors, blathering apologies for being late, he immediately drew up short at the sight of Yoongi's ruffled hair and sleepy glare. To Hoseok, he looked just like an irritated bear woken from hibernation too soon. The Gryffinder looked like he wanted to flee the scene.

"What are you staring at?" Yoongi growled, sleep-heavy eyes narrowing to slits.

Hoseok opened his mouth to scold him for being rude when the Gryffindor sputtered, "M-min Suga," and then blanched like he had set his own death sentence.

Yoongi jaw-dropped. Hoseok laughed so hard he couldn't breathe, collapsing over the desk in front of him.

"S-suga! He called you Min Suga!!" he howled, banging on the desk with his fists.

"Shut up, Hoseok!"  Yoongi snapped, all traces of drowsiness gone now. His rough tone made the Gryffindor step back warily, his round cheeks twitching.

For a moment Hoseok thought he would run, but like a true Gryffindor he stood his ground and firmed his chin the way children do when they were trying not to cry. Hoseok manfully pulled himself together.

"Hey, hey," he said kindly, smiling broadly when the Gryffindor looked hopefully at him. "Don't worry about Yoongi, he's just testy because he didn't get any sleep last night."

Right on cue, the Slytherin yawned. Hoseok chuckled, "See, he's just a big teddy bear, really."

"Shut up, Hoseok," Yoongi repeated lazily, his flare of energy gone now. His gaze cut to the Gryffindor, who was nervously dragging the toe of his shoe across the floor. "So, you know my name. What's yours, kid?"

To their surprise, the Gryffindor shot Yoongi a daring glance of reproof and mumbled, "I'm not a kid."

Yoongi huffed in amusement. He was leaning his head sideways on his fist as he stared at the Gryffindor, eyes appraising.

The Gryffindor cleared his throat and said a little more boldly, "I'm Park Jimin. Nice to meet you, I-I guess?" He was speaking clearly when he looked at Hoseok, but as soon as his eyes went to Yoongi he lost his nerve in a stutter. It was actually kind of cute. 

"Min Yoongi," Yoongi introduced himself unnecessarily, and then smirked when Jimin sent him a quick, shy smile. Hoseok, bewildered to find himself forgotten, glanced between the two.

Well, he thought, this would be interesting.

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Kim Seokjin, Ravenclaw Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, was deeply dismayed to find members of his own house cornering a Slytherin boy on his patrol.

"I hope you lot are ashamed of yourselves," Seokjin said after he gave them a scalding lecture. "Now scat!"

The Ravenclaws scampered, tails between their legs. Seokjin unfolded his arms as he turned to the Slytherin, who gave him a cautious look and thanked him quietly.

"Jeon Jungkook, right?" Seokjin asked before the Slytherin could walk away. He smiled when the boy gave him a startled look.

"You know me?" Jungkook said, tone doubtful.

Seokjin wasn't sure what he was supposed to know. He had a distinct memory of Jungkook being Sorted, because he had been the only pure-blood to enter Slytherin in his entire year.

A small, pale-faced boy with large, flat eyes. His name had hushed the Great Hall so efficiently that every step he took towards the Sorting Hat echoed across the room.

Tap, tap, tap, tap. 

The story of Jeon Jungkook's Death Eater family was notorious. Everyone knew about how his family members front-lined the battles. Then also, how many of them had subsequently died or been dragged to Azkaban kicking and screaming. Their infamy extended to Jungkook, who had been conceived during the war by parents who must have been either fearless or insane to have a child while under service to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Seokjin gave a grim smile and tactfully replied, "My family knew your family. I think we might share some very distant cousins."

"Oh," Jungkook said flatly. Everything about Jungkook was quiet, reserved and a little melancholy. It made the motherly side of the Ravenclaw want to gather him up in a tight hug.

"So," Seokjin started hesitantly. "Does that happen often? Before with those Ravenclaws," he clarified at Jungkook's glance.

Jungkook shrugged. "...Not really? It's about the same as usual." Seokjin's eyebrows drew together as his face darkened.

"Really," he said.

"Well, honestly this week has been worse than usual," Jungkook admitted with a disgruntled jerk at his hair.

Seokjin just then noticed that there was something off about the shade. Noticing his squint, Jungkook took a step out of the shadowed part of the hall. When the candlelight caught his hair, Seokjin gasped.

It was as scarlet as the Gryffindor crest, even brighter if possible. It was a wonder that Seokjin hadn't noticed it earlier.

"What happened to your hair?"

"Prank," Jungkook huffed, tugging at a strand again. He looked down, seeming embarrassed. "I can't get rid of the enchantment. And every time I try to spell the color back it keeps turning red again."

"Have you gone to your Head of House?" Curiously, Jungkook shook his head.

"And why not?" Seokjin was rebuffed when Jungkook gave him a look through his bangs. 

Seokjin almost laughed. Of course, Slytherins and their secrets. Even though the Ravenclaw in him yearned to dig out all the details, Seokjin allowed the boy his privacy.

He insisted on walking Jungkook to the Slytherin dungeons though. It was late, and Seokjin was already unsettled at finding his own house members bullying the boy.

Last year the Slytherin common room was flooded by a bunch of industrious Gryffindors that claimed they were doing some "spring cleaning". Three years past, all the Slytherins were sent to the infirmary after being poisoned at the Great Feast, and one of them was transferred to Durmstrang because her family feared for her safety.

The War was supposed to have ended with their parents, but to Seokjin, it felt like they were still living it.

When they got to the entrance of the dungeons, Seokjin made a motion at Jungkook's hair and said jokingly, "At least this'll make it easier to keep an eye on you."

Jungkook made an odd twist of his lips before he thanked Seokjin again and vanished into his common room. It was only as Seokjin was walking away that he realized that that was exactly the problem. 

He needed to talk to Namjoon, he decided. 

Chapter Text

Heads turned as Jungkook speed-walked towards the Slytherin table. With every stare he spotted out of the corner of his eye, the lower his own head sank. This was why he had spent so much energy avoiding the Great Hall. Everyone was staring at him. 

By the time he reached his own table, his head had sunk low enough that everything was a wash of red through his bangs.

Woo Jiho snickered at the sight of him. "Finally embracing your secret inner lion, Jungkook?" Jiho quipped over his pumpkin juice, gathering snickers from the surrounding Slytherins. 

Jungkook's face warmed as he sat down at the very end of the table, across from a dozing Yoongi who had his head on his fist.

Jiho was one of the few Sytherins that wasn't intimidated or awed by Jungkook's family history, but that in no way meant that they were friends. No one wanted to be associated with Jungkook's black reputation, even if their own families had fought on the wrong side of the War as well. There was little solidarity among the losers of a battle.

With Jungkook's lack of reaction, Jiho quickly gave up on teasing him to chat loudly with the others. He was in the middle of making a joke about a Gryffindor and the Great Squid when his fun ended abruptly with a slap to the head and the appearance of a tall grim-faced Gryffindor behind him.

"What was that about Gryffindors, little brother?" Woo Taewoon asked darkly, letting his brother sputter for a minute as he glowered down at him.

"H-Hyung!" Taewoon slapped him upside the head again, making Jiho whine and the rest of the Slytherins look delighted.

"I'm going to have to borrow this monkey here. I'm sure nobody minds?" Taewoon questioned the table at large, and the difference in his features when he smiled handsomely at them was disarming. Jungkook could practically hear the girls swooning over the dashing Gryffindor.

Glancing up, Jungkook was startled to find himself included in Taewoon's warm regard. Immediately, his eyes dropped again, and he missed the way Taewoon's gaze lingered on him. 

In another life, Taewoon thought regretfully, considering how strong their family alliances used to be, Jiho and Jungkook might have been as close as brothers. How the War changed things. Sighing, Taewoon dragged Jiho up and out of his seat by the collar of his robes, expression placid in the face of Jiho's loudly indignant protests.

"What--let go of me! Don't you have your own table to terrorize? What are you even doing here!"

"Why, yes I do, little bro. Come on, let's spend some quality time in the lions' den."

"Noooo, hyung! Stop, let me go!!"

Outright cackling now, the Slytherins cheerfully waved Jiho off. The Hufflepuffs a few tables over looked scandalized when the Jung sisters waggled their manicured fingers and sang, "Bye, bye, bye~" after the poor boy, Slytherin solidarity all but nonexistent.

Jungkook bit his lip to keep from smiling as he turned back to the table. Yoongi, woken from his doze by the commotion, had one tired eye cracked open as he observed Jungkook's fiery new hair.

"Well damn," Yoongi commented as he opened the other eye to properly take him in. "So this is why you've been eating in your room lately."

"Morning, hyung," Jungkook greeted as he went back to his bowl of porridge. It was steaming lightly, spelled just the right temperature.

"So, who did you piss off this time, kid?" Yoongi was rolling an apple between his palms, ignoring how the second year girl beside him pouted over having it taken from her plate. There were perks to being known as one of the scariest seniors in the house, even if Yoongi hardly did anything to maintain the reputation but steal food from his underclassmen.

"No one," Jungkook said shortly, shoveling more porridge in an excuse to stop talking. He was sending all kinds of I-don't-want-to-talk-about-this signals, but as usual, Yoongi was selectively blind when it suited him.

Yoongi looked up from his apple to give Jungkook a sly look. "You mean no one you know," he interpreted correctly, making Jungkook scowl at him. Though his cheeks were puffed out with food so he probably looked as threatening as an angry kneazel.

Yoongi seemed to agree as he snorted over his apple and took a bite. After he chewed and swallowed, he continued, "So that means it can't be anyone from our house...." He trailed off speculatively before guessing, tone light, "Gryffindors again?"

"No," Jungkook stirred his porridge harder, "Seriously, leave it, Yoongi-hyung. It's not a big deal."

"I'm just curious. No need to be so defensive, Jungkook." Yoongi took another bite and looked off to the side before giving him an unreadable glance. "You're not invincible, you know."

"I know," Jungkook mumbled automatically. He felt like he was being scolded.  He poked at his now congealed mass of porridge and tried for a casual tone as he asked, "So where's Namjoon-hyung?" 

Yoongi gave him a flat glance that told him he wasn't being nearly as subtle as he hoped. Finally, he said, "Out on the Quidditch fields as usual." Then he yawned; he seemed tired just at the mention of physical activity. "If I didn't room with the guy, I would swear he slept there."
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"J-hope, J-hope, J-hope!" A single stand filled with Hufflepuffs, the vast majority of which were female, were chanting their heads off as the Hufflepuff team conducted their exercises.

Seokjin felt for the Hufflepuff Captain Kim Jinwoo, having to deal with a distraction like that every practice. The gentle-eyed senior was already jumpy enough as it was.

One of the Chasers, who Seokjin guessed was 'J-hope' by his goofy smile, graciously dipped his broom into a couple barrel rolls in the air, drawing screams of joy from his fans. The way he threw finger V's at the girls with both hands was somehow both terribly obnoxious and grudgingly charming in that cheesy, class clownish way. Seokjin could see why he was popular, his Chaser skills aside.

Although Seokjin hadn't seen him in action yet, rumor had it that the Hufflepuff team's newest addition flew like a Seeker and had stickier hands than Victor Krum himself. Namjoon probably heard about it as well if he was dragging his team to practice so early that Seokjin missed him again. 

Despite himself, Seokjin had to admire the Slytherin Captain's determination. Namjoon would have made a good Gryffindor in another life. He had a surprisingly straightforward air around him that didn't befit the usual Slytherin stereotype of the quiet and cunning. His single-minded drive was also very Gryffindorish.


Seokjin hopelessly gave the fields another sweeping glance before turning to head back inside the castle. Why was it so difficult to pin down one student?

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"Whoever created O.W.L.'s was evil. Evil, I tell you!" Jimin slapped his quill down on the table and whined, "Whyyyyy! Why do we have to do thiiiiiss." He scratched at his scalp with both hands, making his bed head fluff up twice as big.

The students studying around them gave Jimin dirty looks. Taehyung, who was busy balancing his quill on his nose, looked up cross-eyed.

"You do know we have to take the N.E.W.T.'s next year right? They're harder," Taehyung said matter-of-factly, seeming unbothered by the fact. 

He was actually, because his Ravenclawish thirst for knowledge meant he soaked up subjects like a sponge. Even in his own head, Jimin sounded sour about it.

Jimin didn't have any particular gift for academics the way Taehyung did. He was actually doing so badly in Charms (everyone else's easiest class) that Professor Flitwick had assigned him a tutor, to his utter mortification.

It didn't help that the tutor was this super cool, older Hufflepuff, or that he was friends with the also really cool but also more than a little terrifying, Min Suga. His actual name was Min Yoongi, but everyone called him Suga because he was the exact opposite of sweetness. He was one of the most intimidating Slytherins in the entire school, arguably more than even Jeon Jungkook who had so much Death Eater in his blood it was a wonder he didn't light up skulls wherever he walked.

"It's only three tests," Taehyung said, setting his quill before him. "Just keep copying my notes and you'll retain at least a little of the information, no problem."

"Easy for you to say. They're your notes," Jimin grumbled, but took up the quill anyways. Meanwhile, Taehyung started folding up origami turtles so he could animate them to race against one another on top of Jimin's texts.

Jimin tried really hard not to, but sometimes he couldn't help feeling envious of his Ravenclaw best friend. Taehyung hadn't failed three out of his eleven O.W.L.'s last year. He aced them, scoring Outstandings in every subject except for Care of Magical Creatures which he got an Exceeding Expectations in. And even then, Taehyung hadn't scored lower because of any lack of academic ability; he scored lower because he had been kicked out of the testing room for refusing to touch any of the knarls provided in the practical.

"Knarls destroyed my dad's turnip garden when I was a kid, and I was blamed for it. They're not to be trusted," Taehyung told him seriously after the exam.  

Jimin didn't realize he was frowning at the same page for a while until Taehyung abruptly stood up from his seat, the chair squealing as it slid back. The duo received more reproachful looks. Taehyung didn't seem to notice.

"Tae, where you going?" Jimin asked hurriedly. The other boy was already halfway to the library entrance, his long legs eating up the distance in seconds. If Taehyung answered, Jimin didn't hear it, and he watched with bewilderment as his friend disappeared through the doors in a near sprint.

Jimin looked at the texts and notes gathered around him, half of which were Taehyung's, sighed and picked up his quill again.

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Taehyung thought he was daydreaming when he saw the flash of red through the library doors right after a group of Slytherins had walked in. Just a glimpse through the crack before the doors swung closed. It took him a full five seconds after he looked away to realize where he had seen that oddly bright shade of red before.

It was him.

The Ravenclaw stood up mostly to check, but even as he pushed back from the table his gut told him he was right. Taehyung practically ran out of the library, only distantly aware of Jimin callng after him.

He jumped through the doors, nearly hitting an entering Hufflepuff in the face, and took off down the hall throwing belated apologies behind him. The redhead wasn’t in sight but he couldn’t have gone far. 

As he expected, Taehyung found the Slytherin walking around the next corner and slowed to a jog.

“Hey, you!”

The Slytherin slowed in the middle of the hall like he expected to be accosted, back tensing, hand slipping towards his pocket. Taehyung didn’t stop to think about the strangeness of his reaction. When the Slytherin turned to the side to watch him approach with cool eyes, Taehyung smiled and waved.

“Remember me?” Taehyung pointed his thumb at his face expectantly. The Slytherin’s eyes widened familiarly.

Yep, that was him alright, even if his hair was a blazing red now. He could have easily passed for a Weasley.

Taehyung openly marveled at the results of his and Jimin's potion. “Looks like you couldn’t undo the spell.” He winced at the sharp look he got in return. “I bet Slughorn could fix it in a jiff. It’s just a doctored Permotionem potion," he offered apologetically. 

Slughorn had assigned the color-change potion to them last year as one of the easy projects they could finish in the lazy gap between the end of exams and summer break. The purpose of it was to make the subject's hair color change with their emotions. Taehyung's alterations were supposed to make the color change permanent, and looking at the grim-faced testee before him, it looked like he was successful.

The Slytherin twisted his mouth distastefully and said, finally, "Can't you undo it?" 

"Err no? I could try but I never learned the antidote." The Slytherin's face fell. 

"What did you put in it?”

Taehyung perked up. “Actually, the interesting part is that I didn’t add anything new! I just left out the Nix Aspus scales and increased the amount of dried Foetidum mushrooms and let it brew longer so the mushrooms would be more potent. That’s why the new color hasn’t changed since the first day, you see. The original calls for fresh mushrooms but I figured if it was anything like the Converto potion, switching to dried would make the potion more permanent. If we don't do anything about it the color could stay like that for weeks."

Taehyung didn't notice the Slytherin's blanch as he rubbed his hands together, eyes gleaming. "We could record how long it takes for the potion's effects to wear off. If you want to, I mean." He tried not to look too hopeful, not wanting to seem greedy.

The Slytherin didn't look nearly half as excited as Taehyung did, puffing a red strand out of his eyes as he stared at him in disbelief. Taking the silence as refusal, Taehyung ventured, "You don't have to though...." He watched as the Slytherin blinked, sooty lashes brushing his cheeks. 

The Slytherin had expressive eyes, emphasized by thumbprint shadows under each, like he didn't get enough sleep. It made Taehyung wonder if he was taking his O.W.L.'s, because he sure hadn't gotten enough sleep while studying for them. That would mean the Slytherin was younger, which was easy to imagine. He was about the same height as Taehyung, matching eye to eye, but still had baby fat clinging to his cheeks.

Then there was the hair in all its fiery glory. The hallway they were standing in was fenced on one side by windows that reached up to the ceiling and that glittered with the sunlight shining through it. Shrouded in the warm, dusty light, the Slytherin looked like he was burning before his very eyes. A human phoenix.

"The color is interesting," Taehyung murmured, more to himself than the other boy who just looked confused. "The potion is supposed to change with your emotions and personality. Red means passion...and anger," Taehyung clarified and then his face went thoughtful. "What are you so angry about?"

The Slytherin's mouth went slack enough for his prominent front teeth to show. Taehyung smiled because the boy looked like a startled rabbit.

"You don't know who I am," blurted the Slytherin. It wasn't a question; he said it as if he was just coming to the realization. His stance loosened somewhat. He turned to face Taehyung, revealing his green-striped tie. Taehyung glanced at it briefly before drawing his eyes back up.

"Should I know who you are?" Taehyung asked, head cocked.

"No," the Slytherin answered immediately. "No, I just―I thought you were...aiming for me. With the potion and the hair―" He waved at his red locks impatiently, seeming embarrassed.

"Oh no, we were aiming for Peeves. We cast Immaterialis on the vial so it would hit him. But it went right through him like swoosh." Taehyung moved his hand through the air in an arc. "And then it hit you." His hand came down to hit his other palm with a loud clap that made a lone student walking by jump and look over at them. Taehyung didn't notice how the Slytherin turned his head so his face wasn't seen by the other student. 

"Maybe potions don't affect poltergeists," Taehyung mused. "I'll have to do some research on it."

"Did you try immaterializing the potion too?" the Slytherin suggested, cheeks pinking a little when Taehyung blinked at him. "Since the potion itself was solid, it wouldn't be able to hit Peeves unless you made it as incorporal as he is...."

The Slytherin bristled like a startled cat when Taehyung hit his palm with his fist and shouted, "That's it!!"

He could have hugged the boy, but the way the Slytherin drew back when he moved too quickly stayed Taehyung's feet. Even so, he wanted nothing more than to wrangle the boy in a headlock and squeeze the clever little thing to death.

"What's your name? I'm Kim Taehyung! You can call me hyung."

The Slytherin mumbled something so quietly that Taehyung had to bend closer to hear. Even then he only caught the tail end. "...Kook? What Kook? Kookie? I'll call you Kookie! Can I call you Kookie?"

"Sure, yeah, sure," the Slytherin sputtered at the barrage of questions. He looked so bewildered, eyes taking up his face, that Taehyung couldn't help himself.

He hugged him.

.
.

"I almost got killed," Hoseok gasped as he dropped his sweaty uniform-clad self into the seat opposite Yoongi's.

The Slytherin, who had been napping with his cheek against the table, drawled against the wood, "If you would stop teasing them, the fangirls wouldn't try to kidnap you so often."

"Yeah, but it's so much fun! Wait, no that's not what I'm talking about," Hoseok backtracked, "Some kid just barreled through the doors when I was coming in and I almost lost my nose in the process." When Yoongi glanced up with one lazy eye, Hoseok was holding his nose tenderly with a weepy look on his face.

Yoongi was too tired to roll his eyes so he did it mentally.

"Don't tell me you stayed up all night again. I don't know how your body takes all this abuse when you're just a sad sack of skin and bones." Yoongi didn't need to look to know Hoseok was frowning at him. It was funny how Yoongi was older but the Hufflepuff was always the one to scold him.

When they were younger it had been Yoongi on the scolding end, but that was when he had been the prim and proper young pure-blood, slicked back hair and all. He had mellowed out sometime when he was ten and Hoseok was nine, after his father made a derisive comment about Hoseok's older sister Sorting into Gryffindor. Yoongi had taken one look at Hoseok's balled up fists, fingers turned white as the nails dug crescents into the palms, and promptly started a row with his father that had him confined to his room without dinner for the night with a swollen cheek and a hot surge of rebellion in his chest that would endure through his teens. 

"I'm stronger and cooler than you'll ever be. And we both knew it since that time I had to carry your ass out of the Great Lake after you fell off your broom during a pick-up game." Yoongi's delivery might have been better if it hadn't been droned into the table, but he's sure the message got across.

Someone further down the study table giggled as Hoseok waved at them. Good-naturedly, Hoseok said, "You say that, but who has to carry whom to the breakfast table in the morning because he can't keep his sleepy wittle eyes open?"

"I will dump your body in the depths of the Forbidden Forest to be eaten by giant spiders," Yoongi threatened menacingly. He must have been losing his touch because Hoseok just chuckled. 

"Testy, testy~ So you didn't get anything good last night?"

"I don't know yet," Yoongi groaned. "I haven't looked it over. I must have passed out again because Kim bloody Namjoon set a wake-up charm on me without any bloody notice. That piece of centaur shit."

"Did you want to miss breakfast?" 

"What I wanted was to have a little warning before having my ears bloody rung off by pixie screeching," Yoongi growled, snapping his eyes open. "He has the worst wake-up charms known to wizardkind. I can't tell if he's doing it on purpose to be a shit or if he honestly didn't learn how to make them otherwise."

"My wake-up charm is the sound of the windchimes on my balcony back home." Hoseok looked cheery despite his bedraggled appearance. His Quidditch uniform had grass stains across the chest like he had rolled across the fields like a child, and his hair was a tangled bush around his head. His grimy, sweat-dried face was relaxed as it was only after an intense amount of flying. 

Yoongi grimaced at Hoseok's appearance but didn't bother to comment on it. "Well then teach the arsehole, will you? I've only been rooming with him for a couple months and I'm already ready to tear my hair out."

"You've been saying that since the day you met."

"And it keeps getting more relevant."

They had a joint Slytherin-Hufflepuff Divinations class in a little over an hour, which Yoongi always tried to skip to no avail because Hoseok kept dragging him there. Usually Hoseok wouldn't care about Yoongi ditching class, but he claimed that Professor Trelawney always stared at him like he was destined to die tragically and he didn't want to endure it alone. 

Yoongi lowered his head again and turned his face to the other side for a more comfortable angle on his textbook. Settled, he glanced tiredly down the table and then closed his eyes. Then he cracked his eyelids open again.

Well, what do you know, he mused. It was that Gryffindor brat Hoseok was tutoring, bent over his books near the other end of their table, maybe five meters between them. He looked like he had been there for a while. Books and open notes took up a three-person diameter of space around him.

Gaze half-masted, Yoongi lazily took in the wild bedhead (did he just roll out of bed and walk out without once passing the bathroom?), and the familiar puffy cheeks, distinguishable even from this distance. The kid was biting absentmindedly at the end of his quill. A nasty habit, though one Yoongi was guilty of himself.

"Where is Rapmon anyways? Hyung?...Are you asleep again?"

.
.

Jungkook should have known better than to let his guard down just because it was late. 

He had come out to catch some air on his broom while the fields were dark and deserted. It was hours after curfew, which was why he hadn't bothered to double check if anyone was around. That had been a mistake. He had landed on the Astronomy Tower and had been strolling down the stairs with his broom over his shoulder when he found a three-man ambush waiting for him at the bottom of the staircase. 

Jungkook threw himself down to dodge the hex aimed at his head, a nasty one that would have caused a salt burn sensation all over his body if it had hit. He scuttled back up the stairs like a crab, barely avoiding the barrage of spells that hit and vanished into the stone steps below. 

The hooded students advanced on him, and the curses came swift and vicious, as unforgiving as lightning strikes. Jungkook could barely fend them off. If not for him hiding within the shadows of the staircase they would have overcome him quickly. Jungkook flicked off as many of the spells as he could, wand in constant motion as he tried to step backwards up the staircase. Then he accidentally stumbled over a step, which cost him. One curse sliced across his hip making him cry out from the burn. 

Jungkook fell backwards and frantically tried to pull himself up the steps so he had some cover from the stone overhang of the staircase. One of the attackers took the opportunity to cast Tarantallegra on his legs, and he could barely keep himself from slipping back down the steps as his legs started flailing against his will.

He was in trouble now. He couldn't stand up under the Tarantallegra spell. His elbows dug into stone, his front completely exposed. He blocked another curse while hanging onto the steps for dear life to keep from falling down further. 

Jungkook heard steps approaching and futilely raised his wand in front of him in a white-balled fist. He knew he couldn't defend himself against all three of them, but he could try to go down fighting. Of all the ways to go out, he thought bitterly, why did it have to be red-haired like a blasted Gryffindor. The unfairness of it all made his eyes sting and he nearly bit his lip through to keep from tearing like a baby. He didn't want this to end with him crying for his life. 

The attackers stopped a few meters away, just close enough for Jungkook to see that they had spelled away the colors from their uniforms to hide what house they were from. Jungkook couldn't see their faces clearly under the shadows of the hoods they wore and the flickering torchlight from the corridor lent him little help. One smirked at him hatefully, just the victorious curve of his thick lips visible, and twirled his wand tauntingly between his fingers. 

The tall one raised his wand and leveled it at Jungkook. "This is for my mother," he declared.  

Then it came. "Expelliarmus!" The tall one hissed when his wand was zapped out of his hand. 

"What the bloody fucking hell do you lot think you're doing?"

The three jerked around. Jungkook's face near crumpled from relief. 

"Namjoon-hyung!" 

  

Chapter Text

Just the appearance of Namjoon unsettled Jungkook's attackers enough to make them back off. They immediately recognized the Slytherin Head Boy. After a stunned pause, only one of them had the nerve to try anything. Namjoon deflected the hastily thrown hex with a growled Protego! The tense silence that followed was thick enough to cut with a knife.

"Man, you have no idea who you're dealing with," Namjoon said in such a venomous tone it made the student closest to Jungkook step back towards the stairs. Jungkook heard a loud gulp and wondered exactly what Namjoon's expression looked like. The older Slytherin wasn't exactly a scary guy, at least to him. 

Whatever Jungkook thought, the students scattered after that. Namjoon must have let them run around him like mice skirting a cat, because he didn't hear any more spells cast afterwards.

The slaps of their feet against the pavement made Jungkook go limp against the stairs. His bottom half kept dancing. It seemed like only seconds before Namjoon's long legs were standing before him, just out of reach of Jungkook's spastic feet.

"Finite," Namjoon said shortly, with a hard tap at his knee with a long, black wand. Finally freed of the incantation, Jungkook slumped against the stairs, panting. He felt like he had just run fifty laps around the school. The bangs stuck to his forehead were soaked with cold sweat. His limbs were trembling lightly.

Jungkook swallowed, cracked open his eyes and tried to manage something like a smile. "Evening, hyung." To his credit, his voice didn't waver, but Namjoon narrowed his eyes at him like he could see right through him.

A scoff. "'Evening, hyung,' he says. It's not as if I found him two seconds from being sent to the moon or anything," Namjoon groused, more to himself than Jungkook as he helped pull the younger Slytherin to his feet.

The loss of adrenaline made Jungkook droop and Namjoon had to hold him tight by the shoulder to keep him from collapsing into a heap on the floor. It was a warm, solid grip. Jungkook tried not to lean too obviously into it.

Kim Namjoon was a sight for sore eyes. His broad, blunt face was as sun-darkened as ever, and shone with dried sweat in the torch light. That and the rumpled Quidditch uniform he was wearing told Jungkook that he had been practicing recently, if not all day.

"So much for the House of the Brave," Namjoon commented as he glanced Jungkook over for injuries. "If that's what we're calling lionly courage, we need to update our Sorting Hat cuz the old one ain't cutting it."

"Update?" Jungkook asked vaguely.

Namjoon impatiently blew an errant strand out of his eyes. "Nevermind."

Jungkook just tried not to spill to the ground. His stupid knees were rebelling.

"Do you need to see Madam Pomfrey?" Namjoon asked. Somehow his sharp eyes caught how Jungkook favored one side in the dim light and he probed his fingers right where Jungkook was injured.

 Jungkook yelped, twitching away. "Ow! Hyung, you can't just poke it!"

"I'm just checking. Get back here, or I'll confiscate your broom till further notice. Like graduation," Namjoon said meaningfully, raising one eyebrow to show he would do it without any lost sleep.

Jungkook scowled. "You can't do that. I'm not even on the team."

"Yet," Namjoon retorted and snorted at how Jungkook's scowl deepened.

The wound was a shallow cut that extended from near his belly button to his hip bone. It had gone numb in the heat of battle, but now that all the excitement had gone down Jungkook was starting to feel the sting of it.

"At least the wound is clean. It stopped bleeding already." Namjoon pointed his wand at the area and mouthed, "Episkey."

Jungkook shivered as a tingling sensation spread through the area and faded. He cautiously flexed his right leg, and was rewarded with a mild twinge where the sting had been.

"Bloody awesome," Jungkook said, though his grateful look dropped when Namjoon swiftly flicked his forehead. Jungkook squawked and winced, holding his hand to his head defensively. "What was that for!" 

"Don't swear," Namjoon said, "You're like twelve."

"I've already turned fifteen!"

"Yeah, yeah, say that when you lose the baby fat, kiddo."

"Hyuuunng."

They walked back to the dungeons together, and there were no more hiccups that night except for one moment when Jungkook almost walked into a wall in his sheer exhaustion. Namjoon's hand stayed around his arm the rest of the way after that, and he insisted on carrying both their brooms.

"By the way."

"Yes, hyung?"

"What the hell did you do to your hair?"

.
.

Jimin was so, so screwed.

He was sprinting too fast to dodge a group of students and had to do a kind of ballerina twirl to spin around it. He heard laughter chase his heels, but he was too worried about being late to care. Jung Hoseok, Hufflepuff's best Chaser, was probably already hovering around on his broom waiting for Jimin.

Of all the days he could have overslept, he had to pick this one, Jimin inwardly wailed as he tore down the halls. Desperate as he was, he very nearly used the broom in his hand to smack people out of his way.

It was like this, with his face scrunched up with panic, Quidditch uniform barely fastened and flapping off him and broom waving wildly in his hand, that Jimin jumped a corner and ran smack dab into the one person who didn't see him coming. He bounced hard off a sharp-elbowed body, throwing them both across the floor. He rolled and the other person skid. Stopping was somehow more painful than the initial impact.

"Ohhhhh my head," Jimin whined, squeezing his eyes tight as his skull throbbed in protest. A little ways away, the other body groaned, gravely voice making Jimin wince as he realized he had probably run into an upperclassman. With great effort, Jimin rolled over and pulled himself up into a sitting position, holding his head.

"Oh, geez, I'm so sorry! Are you o--oh." Jimin's eyebrows jumped up in apprehension when he saw the other's house colors. He had knocked down a Slytherin.

For god's sake, you're a Gryffindor. Don't be a wimp, Jimin told himself, and he scrambled to his feet to help the other up. His helping hand was knocked away though, and this time Jimin nearly did run away when the other opened his eyes and instantly narrowed them in on Jimin.

Of all the Slytherins he could have felled like a tree, Jimin thought faintly as his stomach dropped to his knees. He had felled Min Suga.

"You. I should have known it would be you," Suga groaned again, startling Jimin out of his horrified daze. "Are you stalking me? Why do I keep running into you everywhere?"

Dumbfounded, Jimin tried to say, "What are you talking about?" and managed little more than a lame "Whuh?" when Suga squinted up at him in a mix of pain and irritation.

There was something about Suga that made Jimin want to curl into himself. He was just so intimidating. His every glance made the hairs on the back of Jimin's neck go straight up.

The funny thing was, Jimin wasn't sure why he was so on edge. He wasn't scared of being hexed into oblivion anymore, despite Suga's reputation for shooting stray Gryffindors out of his path. It was hard to hold onto that fear when he had seen the Slytherin visibly nuzzle into the blanket Hoseok-hyung threw over him after falling asleep in the middle of Jimin's tutoring session. 

"He does this alot," Hoseok had explained good-naturedly at Jimin's wide-eyed look, which just got wider when the Hufflepuff diligently tucked the edges in.

Jimin nervously shifted from foot to foot as Suga laboriously got to his feet. After his last attempt to help had been met with a dark look, Jimin kept his hands tucked securely into his armpits, eyes bouncing from the Slytherin to the walls and back.

"Merlin's bloody bullocks," Suga swore when he gingerly touched a swiftly darkening bruise at his temple. It stood out brilliantly against his moon-pale skin.

Jimin's sense of personal safety must have been on the fritz because before he could think about it, his mouth was blabbering, "It looks sort of cool, like a tattoo."

Suga's gaze cut to him. Jimin went still as a deer in the headlights.

Deliberately, Suga looked him up and down, from the tip of his hedgehog bed hair to his scruffy sneakers. When Suga's mouth thinned slightly, Jimin looked down as well and realized he was wearing his Muggle brand high-tops.

It felt as if someone dumped a bucket of cold water over him. That's right, Jimin realized. How could he have forgotten. Min Suga was one of those old school pure-bloods.

They didn't like Muggle-borns, did they? The revelation was unexpectedly hurtful, and when Suga neared, Jimin couldn't bear raising his head.

A hand more warm than it should have been flattened the spikes of Jimin's atrocious bedhead, and shocked a silent, shuddery breath out of him that if Suga noticed, he gave no indication of. "I don't think I've ever seen you without looking like you've just crawled out of bed," Suga said in a low, curious voice. "You should invest in a comb, kid." 

Suga didn't wait for a reply before he walked away, and Jimin's typical knee-jerk reaction of, "I told you my name was Jimin!" stuck in his throat as he watched him go, looking completely lost.

.
.

The morning after Namjoon found Jungkook cornered at the Astronomy Tower, Namjoon was displeased to find himself similarly cornered, ironically on his way to his Astronomy lecture.

Namjoon folded his arms. "And to what do I owe this pleasure?"

Seokjin seemed to falter at his sardonic tone before he asked, urgently, "Can we talk? Not here." His eyes roved around the students around them, and then he started for the nearest empty classroom, motioning for Namjoon to follow him.

Namjoon had half a mind to continue heading to class, but Seokjin was the kind of person who would chase him down until he gave in and listened. A kind of persistence that was both admirable and annoying as all hell.

Sighing, Namjoon followed. It wouldn't be the first time he was late for Astronomy.

Once the door closed behind them, Namjoon leaned back on one of the desks, crossing his arms again as he leveled a look at the Ravenclaw.

"So? What's this about, Kim Seokjin?"

There was a minor moment where Seokjin looked a little confused, but he got down to business quick enough. "It's about Jeon Jungkook. I found him being...bothered by some students the other day," Seokjin said hesitantly, letting his worry show. "I think this has been going on for a while. You know about his family, surely. We all do. I think we should try to work together, to make sure this doesn't happen again."

A few reactions ran through Namjoon then, but the most prominent was scorn, and he let it suffuse his words as he said, slowly, "You want to work together to protect Jungkook."

The acid was not lost on Seokjin. His brow furrowed as he looked at Namjoon directly for the first time, really looked at him, and saw what he had missed before.

"Namjoon, are you...angry with me?"

The Slytherin made a derisive noise. "Why would you ever think that," Namjoon said, looking past him.

Kim Seokjin, Ravenclaw golden boy, Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, was the first person Namjoon ever met from Hogwarts. He had been the one to sit next to Namjoon on his first train ride to school, after bumping into him as he was gaping at the crowds of students on the platform.

Namjoon had been bursting from the seams with nervous shakes, so Seokjin, then a second-year, regaled Namjoon with all kinds of wonderful stories about Hogwarts, like how the school ghosts would swoop through the students if they were in a tetchy mood, or how getting on the DADA professor's bad side could make sure you were the class's test dummy for the rest of the year. Pretty soon, Namjoon had been laughing too hard to remember being nervous.

The best of all though had been the stories about the Quidditch games. Namjoon had never heard about anything as amazing in his life as Quidditch. He had listened with his jaw hanging as Seokjin told Namjoon about his wish to be part of the Ravenclaw team one day, and perhaps to become Head Boy as well, if he could manage his grades right.

Then they arrived at Hogwarts, and Namjoon, bright-eyed and beaming with excitement, walked straight up to the Sorting Hat, put it on and was sorted into Slytherin. His enthusiasm soon faded when Seokjin ignored his childish waves after he sat down. Things got worse when Namjoon realized what kind of burdens came with being sorted Slytherin.

Namjoon learned to wear a thick skin. He learned to match the looks he received with cool sneers, and the curses with heavier ones. To sleep with his wand under his pillow. To always watch his back, even in a crowd.

His family hadn't committed the war crimes the other Slytherins' families had, but it didn't matter. He still had the snake's crest on his chest, like a bullseye. It had taken Namjoon a long time, years, to learn how to wear it proudly. 

Now, he was Slytherin Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, equal to Kim Seokjin in every way. Namjoon smiled bitterly and relished in the unsettled look the Ravenclaw gave him.

"You used to call me Jin-hyung," Seokjin said.

"I don't think we're that close anymore," Namjoon replied coolly, and ignored the hurt that tinged Seokjin's face at his words. Namjoon let the viper's tongue do the rest of the talking for him. "You want to help Jungkook? Do you really want to be "helpful"? Well then, keep your house in line."

Seokjin flinched like he had been hit, and Namjoon barreled on, standing. "Slytherin can take care of its own. We don't need your help, and we don't want it. What you can do for us is to leave us alone." With that said, he stalked towards the door, anger prickling to the edges of his thick, frizzy hair.

"Wait," Seokjin tried to stop him as he blabbered, "I just don't want Jungkook to get hurt again. I'm offering an―an alliance of sorts. We're both Head Boy of our houses. Together we could―"

Namjoon snorted, and turned his head to give Seokjin the kind of pity-filled look that made his heart sink.

"If it took you this long to figure out Jungkook's been being 'bothered'," Namjoon quoted with his fingers, "how useful can your alliance be for Slytherin?" 

Seokjin mutely closed his mouth.

"It's not just Jungkook, you know," Namjoon told him, almost gently. "There are even younger ones in my house that have to bear it."

When it was obvious Seokjin didn't have a proper response to that, Namjoon shook his head and left, the door silently swinging shut behind him. Seokjin, very carefully, sat down at a desk, and breathed.

.
.

Taehyung nearly bounded straight into Seokjin as he was exiting the classroom.

"Woah!" Taehyung yelped, wheeling back. "Hyung, you came out of nowhere!"

The older Ravenclaw gave him an odd grimace of a smile that instantly had Taehyung's radar going off. Seokjin looked like he had aged ten years, his classically handsome features drawn tight at the edges.

Warily, Taehyung asked, "What's wrong, hyung?"

Seokjin just shook his head. "Mmm, it's nothing."

"Bullshit," Taehyung said automatically, and was even more convinced the world was ending when Seokjin merely pursed his lips rather than telling him off for swearing.

"Is it family? Did someone get hit by lightning again?"

Seokjin's lips tugged up briefly. "That's not exactly how my aunt got her heart attack, Taehyung. But I appreciate the sentiment."

"It certainly didn't help. Numerous studies show that electrical incidents can interrupt heart circulation and cause perman―"

"Taehyung," Seokjin interrupted before he could get started. "It's not family. And before you ask, it's not grades either," Seokjin tacked on hurriedly when Taehyung opened his mouth again.

"Then what is it?" Taehyung didn't like not knowing things, especially if those things were making his favorite hyung look like someone had stomped on his puppy. "Do you have a puppy?" he questioned mindlessly. "That's been stomped on?"

"―? No, Taehyung!" The exasperated face Seokjin made was more familiar, and inwardly, Taehyung gave himself a pat on the back.

"Don't be sad, Jin-hyung. Your fans will drown our common room in flowers again and we'd all go around sneezing petals like last Valentine's Day." Taehyung raised his eyebrows. "Although we'd smell pretty nice."

"I apologized for that," Seokjin groaned, but he was also smiling reluctantly. "I got the message, Taehyung. Go, run off and play your pranks now. And thank you," Seokjin added sincerely.

Taehyung bowed dramatically, one hand flourished before him, the other behind his back. "Any time, hyung. And since I've got the Head Boy's permission, I will now go cause mayhem." Taehyung's face spread in a mischievous smirk, and quickly he walked off before Seokjin could take back his words.

"Wait―no, I didn't mean it like―Taehyung, get back here!"

.
.

Jungkook didn't know how exactly it happened, but one second he was walking calmly from his last class, and the next he was being squeezed to death from behind by an octopus of a Ravenclaw.

"Kookie~! I missed you!" Taehyung cried as he nuzzled his face into the back of Jungkook's head. The Slytherin blushed to the roots of his fiery hair. Quick as a flash, he wriggled out of Taehyung's clingy hug, face burning.

"How―how did you see me?" Jungkook croaked, patting his hair down anxiously. He didn't think he would ever get used to how touchy-feely the Ravenclaw was. With most of his family locked behind the bars of Azkaban, it was an understatement to say he wasn't accustomed to much intimate contact.

Taehyung stepped back to take in Jungkook in his entirety and raised an eyebrow. "You do realize your hair is red right?"

"How could I forget?" Jungkook said, not noticing how bitter he sounded until Taehyung's face went all droopy on him. At the sudden puppy look, Jungkook hurriedly backtracked. "I don't mean it like that! I just―I mean...."

He glanced around warily and then hooked his fingers in the sleeve of Taehyung's robe to pull him into a more secluded hall where classes were being conducted. Taehyung followed obediently, clearly bemused at being the one dragged for once.

Jungkook turned around to face him. "Can you keep a secret?"

"I love secrets," Taehyung replied automatically, making Jungkook's lips twist.

"That isn't reassuring, you know."

"But you'll tell me anyway," Taehyung pointed out. One side of his mouth hooked up in a way that shouldn't have been as charming as it was.

Jungkook wasn't sure if he knew himself anymore. He tore his eyes away and coughed, and slipped his hand into his pocket. Taehyung immediately straightened at the sight of the polished rock he pulled out.

"Ignoscantus charm cast on the rock," Jungkook explained, holding it up between his thumb and index finger so the light glinted off its smooth face.

Also known as the "notice-me-not" spell, the charm was more subtle than it seemed at first glance. The purpose of it was to take all the attention the caster drew and divert it elsewhere, so the caster wasn't so much invisible as ignored. Others' eyes slid off, hiding the caster in a cloud of disinterest.

The only problem was the spell wasn't meant to be used long term. If you caught your reflection while using it on your body, you could accidentally throw yourself into disinterest in everything. Which was why Jungkook cast it on a spell stone. 

Taehyung whistled, looking impressed. "Advanced level. Nice. But they don't teach that spell in your year, so how did you...?" He cocked his head in confusion.

"I researched it," Jungkook admitted. "I spent a whole week in the library to find the right spell." That was his second year, when he decided he couldn't take the attention anymore. "I wanted to be hidden, but not so much that the professors would think I wasn't showing up to class."

"They see you, but they don't see you. That way you're invisible without really being invisible." Jungkook nodded and Taehyung beamed at him. "You're wasted on Slytherin."

The earnestness of Taehyung's words made heat diffuse through Jungkook's face again. He awkwardly looked down, quietly pleased. "The spell isn't perfect though," he said shyly. "I have to use it sparingly because I can only cast it once a day. And you saw right through it."

"The thing about the notice-me-not charm is that it can't put off anyone determined to find you," Taehyung rattled off, ever the Ravenclaw. "I was looking for you specifically, so the spell couldn't divert my attention."

It was ridiculous how fluttery that made Jungkook's stomach go. Knowing that the Ravenclaw didn't realize who he was made everything even better. Like Taehyung actually liked being around him.

Jungkook was looking down so he didn't notice the older boy trying to catch his eye until he stuck his face right next to his. The Slytherin jerked back, mouth popping open.

Taehyung laughed a little at his reaction. "You're so jumpy."

"I'm not!" Jungkook protested. "You're just―too close. All the time."

Taehyung stuck out his tongue, making Jungkook smile despite himself. "What are you, five?"

"Jimin says I'm turning five next year," Taehyung said solemnly, though his eyes were dancing.

Jungkook's eyes crinkled into little moons. "Is that so?"

"Mm hm."

Taehyung was the kind of person that one could expect never to have a boring moment around. He was so much more interesting, so much livelier, than everyone Jungkook knew that he felt energized just being near him. He was like no one Jungkook had ever met.

Jungkook felt like a moth being drawn towards the flame, and the pull was irresistible.

"Interesting as the spell is, it seems like a lot of trouble just to hide your hair," Taehyung remarked. "Why didn't you just have Slughorn fix it up for you?"

"I was using the spell before already―um, because of Professor Slughorn," Jungkook fibbed just a little. It wasn't exactly a lie, since he was currently using it to avoid Slughorn too. It just wasn't the whole truth.

"He's trying to recruit me for the Slytherin team because he thinks Namjoon-hyung―our new Captain―can't cut it." Taehyung watched how Jungkook's mouth turned down in distaste.

"You don't like Quidditch?"

Jungkook shook his head. "No, I do. I just don't want to be on the team."

"Why not?"

"It would be...troublesome," Jungkook decided on.

Taehyung looked oddly fond. "Seems like a Kookie thing to say," he hummed.

"What does that mean?"

"Nothing~"

Neither of them had eaten breakfast yet so they went to the Great Hall to grab a bit of food. Thankfully, Taehyung didn't blink when Jungkook asked if they could take their meals outside. 

He did however grab Jungkook in a playful attempt to pick him up, unfortunately for him. Jungkook had to fight the urge to double over in pain when the healing wound across his lower abdomen was pressed against hard. He tried to pass it off as a cramp, but he didn't miss how Taehyung's mouth flattened, nor how the air around him sobered. In his panic, Jungkook did the first thing that came to his mind.

The expression Taehyung made when Jungkook's toast slapped him in the face butter-side first was hilarious, not that Jungkook had much time to enjoy the moment. Taehyung jumped at him with a war cry, armed with his own pieces of toast in each hand.

.
.

"Your Patronus is getting better," Yoongi remarked when he found Namjoon, seated on his hovering broom at the base of the Astronomy Tower. "It looks like one of those dogs that waddle around on their sausage legs. What are those things called again?"

Namjoon scowled at him. "It's not a dog. It's got scales."

"Maybe it's a turtle," allowed Yoongi diplomatically.

"Maybe I'll just kick your head in," replied Namjoon snidely.

"That's hyung to you," Yoongi retorted, though both of them knew that he couldn't care less about honorifics. He leaned against the cool stone of the tower beside Namjoon's broom and gazed out into the sparse forest spread before them. It grew thicker the further out you traveled, offering some measure of privacy around the tower. The air was crisp enough that he regretted not grabbing his scarf.

"Now what do you want that couldn't wait till I got back tonight? I don't appreciate being called out like a house elf when I'm trying to sleep."

Namjoon rolled his eyes. "It's 5 in the afternoon."

"Your point?"

Namjoon got to his feet to face Yoongi, who straightened up at the grimness he saw in Namjoon's demeanor.

"What happened?"

"Last night, while I was practicing drills I found Jungkook here at the tower, surrounded by a bunch of Gryffindor punks." Namjoon's nostrils flared at the memory. "It was pretty bad. Jungkook's alright, just a bit shaken up, but if I hadn't gotten there in time...." His meaningful look confirmed Yoongi's worst suspicions.

"Shit. Shit," Yoongi swore furiously, and scrubbed his hand through his hair. "Not again."

"Yeah," Namjoon agreed, eyebrows down in a stern line. "They spelled away their colors, but the idiots obviously didn't figure I would recognize the shape of their House crests. One female, two male, by the voices. And I'll be damned if the beak I spotted on the leader of the bunch didn't belong to Lee Jaehwan."

"Lee Jaehwan," Yoongi repeated, thinking hard. "Son of Lee Soon Ok, who went down during the Ministry take-over. I thought we wouldn't have to worry about anything from him."

Namjoon quirked an eyebrow skeptically. "He lost a parent and you thought he wouldn't try anything?"

Yoongi clicked his tongue. "He had a squeaky clean record as far as I knew. Till now." Yoongi rubbed a hand over his face, suddenly exhausted. 

"It's probably cuz of Jungkook's hair," Namjoon said, "It's catching too much attention so his cute little pebble charm isn't working as well as it normally does." 

The kid still didn't know that they had caught on to his rock trick years ago. 

"We should just shave it all off," Yoongi said darkly, making Namjoon laugh.

"I don't think that'll make him any less noticeable." He leaned against the stones beside Yoongi, and looked up into the red-streaked sky, mentally matching it to the bloody red of Jungkook's new hair.

"We can start doing rounds again," Namjoon said, "I already set a tracking spell on him last night." Namjoon meant in addition to his own nightly rounds as Head Boy. 24/7 tracking spells between the two of them would take immense concentration and energy, but they had done it before. They could do it again.

"So much for sleep," Yoongi sighed. "Should I give J-hope a heads up?"

Namjoon shook his head. "No need to include Hufflepuff yet. It's not like the first couple years. It's been a while since the last incident."

"Yeah, where we waited too long and those Gryffindor bastards tried to flood us out," Yoongi spat, teeth baring at the reminder. A couple of their House members had nearly drowned, and the professors had barely arrived in time.

"Suga-hyung," Namjoon said sharply.

Yoongi pushed off the stones. "I get it, Sir Head Boy. We keep it to ourselves. For now." He didn't like it, but Namjoon's wariness had gotten them this far, and they were whole, if not unscathed.

"Hey, I do need your help with one last thing though," Namjoon called to make him swivel back around. What he suggested next made Yoongi brighten up.

"Ha! Sounds fun," declared Yoongi. 

The two Slytherins shared secretive smiles before Namjoon caught up, broom over his shoulder. They walked away from the tower, side by side.

 

Chapter Text

Hoseok yelped when he was knocked off his broom by a Bludger that came out of nowhere. He had one hand on the broom handle, barely managing to keep his grip on it as he and the broom plunged downward. Fortunately, the broom slowed his descent enough that when he hit the field and rolled, it wasn’t hard enough to warrant any injuries.

He got to his hands and knees, spitting grass. “RAPMON!” Hoseok yelled up the players above him.

The Slytherin in question laughed and knocked the next Bludger into the Hufflepuff Chaser in possession of the Quaffle, resulting in the Slytherin team’s steal and subsequent ten-point goal.

120-120, even.

From the benches sidelining the field, Jungkook winced when he heard a howl cut through the roar of the crowds. Taehyung must have cast a Sonorous on his voice because there was no way Jungkook should have been able to hear him so clearly. Though it warmed him to know that on the off chance he was called into the game, he would have at least one supporter.

From the stands, Jimin tugged Taehyung down with a grimace. “Dude, seriously?”

Taehyung blew his floppy orange hair out of his eyes and grinned. “What, I’m showing team spirit.”

“You don’t even cheer on your own house,” Jimin retorted, which was ignored as Taehyung stood up again to start a chant worthy of Muggle football cheerleaders.

With wary glances around them, Jimin sunk down in his seat and pretended not to exist.

Inside the castle, Yoongi’s lip twitched at another roar from the crowds. Someone must have scored.

“Too bad, sounds like we’re missing a good game,” he said to the Gryffindor he had at wandpoint.

Lee Jaehwan sneered despite the wand leveled at his nose. “Your house is probably getting its arse kicked right now. Hufflepuff has Jung Hoseok. We all know he’ll wipe the field with you snakes.”

“How typical of Gryffindor to put all their hopes on one person,” Yoongi said snidely, making Jaehwan’s nostrils flare. They both knew Yoongi wasn’t referring to Hufflepuff’s J-hope, and Jaehwan blustered at Yoongi’s nerve.

“How dare you―”

.
.

PREVIOUSLY

Namjoon was grabbing a quick bite before he hit the fields when something clattered onto the table before him. The sound made a couple of their housemates twitch and send him crabby looks, but he ignored them in favor of observing the object glinting innocently in front of his bacon rashers.

“This is it?” Namjoon asked as he picked up the rock and smudged his thumb over its shiny surface.

Yoongi, who obviously hadn’t slept a wink the night before, bared his teeth in a brief semblance of a smile and dropped onto the bench next to him. His tired face as he leaned it against his fist was vaguely smug.

“Yup. The kid was still snoring like a troll in heat when I snatched it off his bedside table,” Yoongi drawled, eyes closed. “You’d think he would be an expert in those anti-theft charms by now.”

“Don’t fall asleep,” Namjoon said absently. Yoongi made an incoherent noise in return that could’ve been an affirmation or an expletive short for, ‘Fuck off, Rapmon, I haven’t slept in two days.’

“Good.” Namjoon tossed the rock up and caught it with a snap of his wrist. “Good,” he repeated with satisfaction. “He’ll try to avoid the Great Hall, but I’ll get him to eat something before practice today. He’s going to need the energy.”

Namjoon was already making the mental plans for the drill schedule he would put Jungkook on. They had less than a week before the Hufflepuff game. Jungkook would be too new to place as anything but reserve, but he would still need as much training as possible for Namjoon to deem him satisfactory as a team member.

Yoongi seemed dubious, though not enough to warrant tearing his eyes open. “So soon? How’re you going to get him and Slughorn together?”

“No need to. He has Potions today.” Rapmon paused delicately and disclosed, “I checked his schedule.”

Yoongi snorted, but didn’t comment. The stolen spell stone in Namjoon’s hand showed he was no saint either.

Yoongi’s face was going lax like it did when he was falling asleep, so Namjoon let him be and quietly finished his breakfast as his head filled with the drill routines and exercises he planned to inflict on the team’s newest member. Jungkook had the right build for a Chaser, but with his spunk he might even cut it as a Beater. The possibilities made him giddy.

It was when Namjoon was standing up to head for the fields that his tracer spell pinged and he smirked. Jungkook was awake and probably panicking over his missing stone. The spell that he and Yoongi used was a variation on the Ministry of Magic’s tracer spell on underage wizards. It alerted them whenever Jungkook cast a spell, and right now it sounded like Jungkook was Accio-ing the shit out of his room.

Yoongi could hear him too if his swiftly darkening face was anything to go by, and in a few moments, the students around them jumped when Yoongi loudly growled, “Shut up, Jungkook!”

Namjoon left the table laughing.

.
.

Jungkook tried to hide in the back of the classroom, but his damned hair still stuck out like a sore thumb. Professor Slughorn caught him before he could slink out of class.

Slughorn had been trying to recruit Jungkook for the team ever since he caught him flying loops out on the Quidditch field the previous year. He backed off a little when Jungkook made it clear that he didn’t want to join the team, but when Namjoon was made Captain at the start of the new season Slughorn renewed his efforts with a fervor. 

To make matters worse, Slughorn enlisted the aid of one of Jungkook’s classmates to escort him to the Quidditch fields to be signed up.

Jung Chanwoo, a pudgy-cheeked Slytherin with a quiet air, gave Jungkook an assessing look that put his back up.

“I was the newest member before you. Think you’re going to take my spot on the team?” Chanwoo questioned idly as they walked towards the fields together. He had a way of smiling that didn’t completely reach his eyes, and Jungkook shrugged reflexively.

“Depends on how bad you are,” Jungkook said, and then he added, quite honestly, “I don’t even want your spot.”

For a split second, Chanwoo’s eyes pinched skeptically like he didn’t know if he should believe him, before his face smoothed over in a way that Jungkook truly envied. He wished he could feign nonchalance as well. He had a tendency to turn stony-faced when he was caught off guard, which was as obvious as shoving a cauldron over his head, and about as useful.

Unlike most of the other Slytherins in Jungkook’s year, Chanwoo wasn’t a pure-blood. He was a half-blood, which was about the same level as a Muggle-born when it came to some of the older pure-bloods in their house. They were the only ones that thought blood purity was still a thing of pride, having been born and raised of the same bitter pure-bloods that only had their lineage left to cling to after the War stripped them of everything else.

If Jungkook’s parents were around, he might have ended up the same way, sneering whenever the topic of blood lines came up and boasting his own like a badge of honor. As it was, he didn’t know exactly how he felt about it.

He felt the weight of his family line, generations upon generations of magical blood, settled on his shoulders like a mantle. At the same time, he felt Jung Chanwoo, a mere half-blood, was someone to watch his back around. Two instincts that should have conflicted somehow went side by side in Jungkook’s head.

“Well…welcome to the team, I guess,” Chanwoo offered belatedly as they stopped in front of the locker rooms. He seemed to realize that they would have to spend alot of time together in the future, because then his face contorted in a truly awful attempt to look friendly.

He looked constipated and Jungkook almost laughed. Knowing that Chanwoo felt just as uncomfortable as Jungkook did, no matter how well he hid it, was comforting. Without him realizing it, one side of his mouth quirked up in a small half-smile.

“Thanks, I guess,” Jungkook offered back.

Chanwoo blinked and looked like he wanted to say something before the sound of approaching students made them both look up. Chanwoo’s mouth snapped shut.

Of course, thought Jungkook with a sinking stomach. Of course with his luck he would run into the entire Slytherin Quidditch team on the day he lost his main form of invisibility.

They arrived in a lazy, sleepy crowd of five. Only two of them were fully dressed in the deep emerald robes that marked them as Quidditch team members, but Jungkook knew who all of them were.

“Huhhh, I thought you wouldn’t be caught dead in a Quidditch field, Jeon Jungkook,” remarked Jung Ilhoon, who spotted them first.

Behind him, senior Kim Kibum oohh'ed over Jungkook’s hair color, while Jung Soojung’s feline eyes bounced between Chanwoo and Jungkook in clear curiosity.

“He’s a new member,” Chanwoo explained, pointing a thumb at him. “Professor Slughorn told me to bring him here for Namjoon-hyung to sign up.”

Kang Seungyoon, who was bringing up the back with Woo Jiho, made an irritated noise. “A new member when our first game is this weekend? That’s ridiculous. Namjoon would never allow this.” Thankfully, he didn’t give Jungkook a second glance, seeming more annoyed with Slughorn than him.

“He would if he was Jungkookie’s big-brother-bodyguard,” Soojung retorted, crossing her arms as Jungkook looked startled at the familiar tone. 

In the back, Jiho quietly adjusted the broom he was carrying on his shoulder, a sleek Nimbus 5X. Jungkook immediately dropped his gaze when it accidentally grazed the older Slytherin's.

With his eyes trained on the floor, partially hidden behind red bangs, Jungkook said, “If you don’t want me on the team, tell Namjoon-hyung not to let me join. It’s not as if I want to be here either.” He glanced up at the last part, knowing he probably looked as childish and rebellious as he felt.

“Punk,” Ilhoon said first, though he was smirking. He had spikes punched through the lobes of his ears that Jungkook recognized as magically-shrunken dragon teeth when he turned his head and the light bounced off them, revealing a familiar yellow sheen. Expensive and dangerous, they said.

Jungkook wondered if the fashion accessory was acquired despite Ilhoon’s conservative pure-blood family, or because of it, and couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. Yoongi had earrings too, silver hoops that curled over his earlobes like claws. They made him look untouchable in a way that Jungkook craved for himself.

“Your hair’s a problem, pretty though it is,” Kibum said. “Get that fixed and I have no problem with you on our fields.”

Before Jungkook could say anything, Soojung said, “It’s an eyesore. Like seriously, the red is hurting my eyes. You look like a poster boy for the Gryffindorks.”

“I don’t know, I’m a little disappointed someone thought to do it before I did.” Ilhoon frowned a tad regretfully. “Not that I would go for red, mind you.”

“And what color would you even go for?” That came from Jiho, who had his wrists hung around the broom now lying lengthwise across his shoulders.

“Pink.”

Jiho rolled his eyes. “You would.”

“Don’t be hating, hyung. You know you were jealous the moment you saw this kid’s hair,” Ilhoon teased, making Jiho’s face drop.

Surprised, Jungkook’s eyes flew to Jiho, who was suspiciously warm around the ears. “Shut up, Ilhoon.” Jiho kicked at the other boy, who squawked and flitted out of the way with incredible agility.

Ilhoon, if Jungkook remembered correctly, was also the Slytherin team’s Seeker.

Meanwhile, Chanwoo was filling Seungyoon in on what happened that morning, before he spoke up to ask the entire group, “So why is everyone here so early? There’s no practice today.”

“There is,” Soojung corrected, pulling out a coin from her pocket. “Namjoon called everyone to meet up right now.” The silver coin she held up between delicate fingers was emblazoned with the Slytherin crest on one side and was blank on the other. 

When Namjoon needed to send the team a message, the coins would grow hot in their pockets and reveal his words on the blank sides. Everyone knew that the idea was based on the Death Eater tattoos that the Dark Lord used to call his followers during the War. Openly using a method of communication the Death Eaters had used got the Slytherin team dirty looks, but no one could really say anything. The Boy-Who-Lived himself had taken the idea from the Death Eater tattoos so that the members of Dumbledore’s Army could pass messages among themselves. 

Usefulness aside, the coins also felt deliciously defiant. A Slytherin's privilege.

“Didn’t even get to finish my breakfast,” Kibum grumbled, pouting visibly.

Chanwoo groped around his robe pockets for a moment. “Oh, I must have left mine in the dungeons,” Chanwoo realized.

“Don’t Accio it here,” Seungyoon warned, “You might knock someone out in the hall again.”

“It might be a Gryffindor. Do it,” Jiho countered wickedly, and the rest of them either sighed (Soojung and Seungyoon) or slapped him high-fives (Ilhoon and Kibum).

The group didn’t seem to welcome Jungkook per se, but there was a distinct lack of animosity to the news that he could potentially be joining their team. With no wall to run against, Jungkook’s rebellion fizzled out. He found himself gazing around at the rest with a mystified look that he was unaware of making him look like a dazed first-year.

“Come on,” Chanwoo motioned as the team lost interest in Jungkook and started disappearing into the locker rooms. “There should be a spare uniform lying around.”

“But I’m not even on the team….” Chanwoo ignored him.

.
.

What Jimin both liked and disliked about the Quidditch lockers was that they separated into different sections for the houses but were still sharing one room. To get to the Gryffindor lockers, he had to pass the Slytherin and Ravenclaw lockers, which could be a little daunting at times, especially if he was outnumbered.

Like if he were to accidentally walk into the entire Slytherin team when they were about to head out to the fields. 

Jimin tried not to cringe at the sneers he recieved as the forest of green robes swept past him. Left in their dust was a dazed-looking kid with a shock of red hair. He must have been a Ravenclaw because there was no way Jimin would have missed that hair in his own house.

Jimin smiled sympathetically. “They’re always in such a bad mood right? They’re probably freaking out about the game they’re going to lose to Hufflepuff. You okay?”

The kid’s eyes widened before they abruptly narrowed and the air turned ten degrees cooler. Jimin realized his mistake when he turned fully so his house crest was visible.

“Oh,” said Jimin, flustered.

The Slytherin’s cold stare bored into him for a few awkward moments, before he was suddenly declaring, “We’re not going to lose. Hufflepuff doesn’t stand a chance against Slytherin right now.”

His arrogance made Jimin bristle, and he rebuttaled, “Hufflepuff has J-hope, who’s probably the best Quidditch player in the whole school. It’s Slytherin that doesn’t have a chance.”

The Slytherin wrinkled his nose in a way he probably meant to look haughty, but looked more childish than anything. “The best Quidditch player in the school is Kim Namjoon, our Captain.”

“No, it’s not! It’s J-hope.” Jimin pushed into his space, flexing his arms.

“Keep telling yourself that, short stack.” The Slytherin made a show of peering down at Jimin.

“Who are you calling short!”

“Are you deaf as well?”

You–”

Somehow they ended up nose to nose, spitting insults at each other like grade school children. Everything about the Slytherin made Jimin’s blood boil, from his annoying height, to his big nose and bunny teeth.

He had met his mortal enemy, Jimin decided.

They had to stop when a bushy-haired Slytherin with a scary face came in to drag the redhead off, but Jimin knew this wouldn’t be their last meeting. If the redhead played Quidditch, they would inevitably meet in the field where Jimin would get the chance to soundly thrash the kid.

He couldn’t wait.

.
.

Taehyung wasn’t even searching for Kookie when he ran into him outside the Quidditch fields on his way to meet Jimin. The Slytherin was looking in another direction and it was only Taehyung’s hands catching his arms that stopped their collision.

Kookie blinked and Taehyung, centimeters away, returned the action. His eyelashes brushed a strand of the boy’s bangs.

“Kookie,” Taehyung murmured, voice automatically hushing so he didn’t startle the other boy.

“Hy-hyung,” the Slytherin stuttered as he fell back. He seemed embarrassed at their proximity, but to Taehyung’s delight, he received a tiny smile after they were a few more steps apart.

Taehyung didn’t like that Kookie always seemed a little gloomy, as if he was carrying something unbearably heavy on his shoulders. When he smiled his features opened up like sunshine breaking through the clouds, and it seemed like for that rare moment he forgot about his troubles. It made Taehyung determined to keep him smiling.

Now that he was a bit further back Taehyung noticed the color of his robes, which clashed with his hair in a rather festive way. “I didn't know you were on the Quidditch team.”

Kookie shook his head. “I just joined right now.”

"So that's why I haven't seen you play before! What position?” Taehyung asked.

“Reserve. I’m too new for anything else I think.” The Slytherin shrugged like he wasn’t really bothered by the fact.

Taehyung chuckled. “You look like a Christmas tree," he said, laughing again when Kookie made a face at him. 

“Shut up, Taehyung-hyung.”

“Aww, Kookie, are you pouting?”

“No...hyung, get off!”

Sighing, Taehyung let the redhead go, but not before rubbing his nose into the side of Kookie’s face so it lit up like a proper Christmas tree. The Slytherin gave him an aggrieved look.

“You have no concept of personal space,” he told Taehyung as he held his hand to his face to protect against any more cuddle attacks.

Taehyung shot him a finger v-sign that had the boy rolling his eyes.

“I’m going to go to the game this weekend. Do you think you’ll play?” Taehyung asked eagerly.

“I don’t think so but…,” Kookie glanced at Taehyung and shrugged, toeing the grass. “Maybe, you never know what’ll happen.”

“I’ll be in the stands,” Taehyung promised. “You won’t be able to miss me, I swear.”

“Okay,” Kookie’s eyes curved, looking quietly pleased. “Sounds good, hyung.”

Though Taehyung wasn’t athletic, he was often described to be rather active all the same. So when the Bludger came flying at him from the side, Taehyung managed to jump forward into Kookie and shove both of them out of the way before it could make contact. He practically belly-flopped on the Slytherin whose back planted flat against the grass.

Taehyung heard someone shout, “Merlin’s bloody balls! Namjoon, where are you aiming!”

Underneath him, Kookie moaned, “Hyung, you’re heavy….”

Taehyung raised his head warily, expecting the Bludger to come back. To his relief, he realized it had vanished after its attempt on his life, and instead, hovering high above them with a Beater’s bat in hand was a Slytherin whose face Taehyung couldn’t make out, shadowed as it was. For a moment, he blocked the sun like a wizard-shaped cloud before flying away to join the other players on the field.

Taehyung stared after him, open-mouthed, as the cogs in his head worked overtime.

Bludgers were specifically designed not to hit people on the ground, so the only conceivable way one could have gone after Taehyung was if someone had aimed it directly at him. Even then, the Bludger would normally reroute itself towards the players. Meaning, whoever had aimed it at Taehyung had done it with enough power to force the Bludger out of its natural course.

Meaning…he had a nemesis. He’d never had an nemisis before, (at least not one that wasn’t a knarl, damn them). Taehyung wondered if he was supposed to do anything different now.

Eventually, Kookie had to push Taehyung off for him to remember he was still lying on the younger boy.

.
.

Hoseok took his position across the opposing Chaser, a Slytherin from the same year as him. Seunghoon or Seungyoon, he thought his name was. Hoseok always mixed him up with a beanpole of a Slytherin with a similar name.

Above them, the Beaters bantered at each other from across the line. Or at least, their Beaters Jackson and Sandeul did. They were trying to rile a response from their Slytherin counterparts, but Woo Jiho looked more bored than anything and Namjoon was too busy reviewing the game plan in his head to notice.

Behind them, in the Keeper's starting position, Hoseok heard Jinwoo give a loud sigh. Hoseok grinned broadly, which surprised a reflexive smile from the Slytherin hovering in front of him.

“Let’s have a good game, eh?” Hoseok offered.

Seungyoon or Seunghoon graciously nodded back. “Same to you.”

Right on time, Madam Hooch blew the whistle and the Quaffle flew up.

Hoseok whooped and lunged for it. The game was on.

.
.

Yoongi didn’t have to wait as long as he expected. Though he was just happy he didn’t have to hunt down the Gryffindor personally since there had been a good chance he wouldn’t even show up.

Lee Jaehwan seemed to waver at the door before steeling his nerve and walking over to where Yoongi was leaning against the opposite wall. He stopped a good four meters away, wand held tight in his hand. He was a long stretch of a boy, with a wild tuff of chocolate brown hair that reminded Yoongi of another certain Gryffindor. That was about as far as his charms went.

Yoongi twirled his wand nonchalantly. “So, I heard you had a run-in with one of my housemates,” Yoongi started. “I’m sure you’ve heard of him. Gloomy, red-haired kid about yay-high?” A cutting motion above his head at the referred height.

Children were growing so big these days, Yoongi mentally lamented. Whatever happened to good old inbred dwarfism?

“I thought that was why you called me out. And on game day. Didn’t want anyone to witness you finishing me off?” Jaehwan asked belligerently like he dared Yoongi to try. He probably did. He probably came here expecting to be made an example of, so he could show the rest of the school how evil Slytherins were. Maybe he even hoped to get Yoongi expelled.

It was all so obvious Yoongi felt a smidge disappointed. Couldn’t they ever come up with anything new?

“You want the Yang Yoseob treatment,” Yoongi determined aloud. That was the wrong thing to say. He inwardly cursed his lack of mind-to-mouth filter as Jaehwan's face tightened angrily. 

“So you admit it,” Jaehwan spat out. “You forced Yoseob-hyung out of this school.”

Yoongi’s lips thinned. “I didn’t force anyone out,” he said slowly, clipping around each word. “Yang Yoseob graduated early of his own free will.”

“But you went after him!” Jaehwan exploded, rage going from zero to a hundred in a split second, “Everyone knows how you hunted him down, there were witnesses!” Jaehwan’s hand swiped over his eyes, coming away with sudden angry tears that made Yoongi uneasy to see. “You almost killed him. Just like Jeon Jungkook’s family killed my mother. All you–you Death Eaters–how can you be so cruel…so heartless.” 

When Jaehwan raised his wand, Yoongi raised his own, although they both knew that Jaehwan was no threat in this state. His wand hand was shaking, his eyes pinched and wet.

“I didn’t hunt him down,” Yoongi said evenly. "He went after me on his own. I was defending myself."

Yang Yoseob had faced him in a scenario eerily similar to this one. Yoongi remembered his long, large-knuckled fingers trembling as they pointed his wand straight at Yoongi’s face, with the syllables of an Unforgiveable shaping his lips. He remembered his own eyes prickling when he was standing over Yoseob’s collapsed form. He had pulled himself together just before Mrs. Norris came racing around the corner with Filch the caretaker on the cat's heels to catch him in the crime.

No one really treated Yoongi the same way after that, not even Namjoon and Hoseok, who knew him best. Sometimes they acted like he was liable to fly off his broom-handle at any moment. He couldn’t really blame them since this was how Yoongi felt himself.

The bloodlust he had fallen into with Yoseob was so easy to pull up again, it was frightening. He felt the change almost viscerally; it was in the sharpened edges of his mouth, the tightening of his eyes and the tingling in his fingers as they begged to release the magic within them.

Yoongi brought them back to the matter at hand. “You went after Jungkook a while ago,” he reminded, twirling his wand. “No matter what his family did during the War, you know as well as I do that the kid has nothing to do with that.”

“Doesn’t he?” Jaehwan scoffed, and then his inflection changed, telling of a pure-blood upbringing that Yoongi was unaware of till now. “The responsibility for our family's actions passes down to us.”

“But that was war," Yoongi snarled, surprising them both, "We’re in peacetime now. There's no excuse for ambushing someone in the middle of the night. If Namjoon hadn't been there that night what would you have done to Jungkook?”

Jaehwan's blank silence answered his question for him. Yoongi straightened his wand arm. 

“You didn’t come here to fight.” His suspicions were confirmed when Jaehwan’s breath caught. Yoongi's lip curled. 

“Yeah, not very Gryffindorish of you, to come here specifically to lose. You want to be made an example of, don’t you? To get me caught by the professors. I wouldn’t be surprised if you even had one of your buddies fetch a professor to catch me in the act.” Jaehwan's eyes jumped from Yoongi's wand to his face and back again as his voice lowered to a silky sibilant thing, like a snake in the grass.

“Well, here’s a newsflash for you: I’ve been there, done that. So here’s what we’re going to do instead. IMMOBULUS!”

.
.

Every time Jung Hoseok made a goal the crowds chanted his name, stand after stand, so it seemed like the entire stadium was vibrating with the cry of, J-HOPE, J-HOPE, J-HOPE

It was a little awe-inspiring, despite the fact that Jungkook knew what Hoseok-hyung looked like when he was squirting pumpkin juice through his nose. He didn’t know the senior very well, but he had shared a couple meals with him when the Hufflepuff had dragged an irritable Yoongi-hyung out of his cave to stuff some food in him.

Hoseok was much cooler in the air than on the ground, Jungkook decided when he flipped his broom around to smack the Quaffle through one of the goal posts with his broom tail.

The game was intense. The teams were scrabbling for each and every point, so that the score read only 120-110 in Hufflepuff’s favor even though the game had been in progress for an hour already. The competitiveness was odd for the first game of the season, if not very surprising, to Jungkook at least.

Neither Namjoon nor Hoseok wanted to lose to each other, and the tension of their rivalry was echoed through their teams.

After the Hufflepuff goal, possession went to Slytherin, or at least it was supposed to. Keeper Kibum tossed the Quaffle to Soojung, only for Hufflepuff Zhang Yixing to snatch it out of the air before it could reach her outspread fingers.

The crowds started screaming, with an audible screech of LAY~!!! from one fan with a truly impressive set of lungs.

“AND HUFFLEPUFF’S LAY HAS STOLEN THE QUAFFLE. I REPEAT, HUFFLEPUFF’S LAY HAS STOLEN THE QUAFFLE!” thundered their announcer. “NOW HE’S HEADING FOR–OOOHHHH THAT HAD TO HURT.”

The Hufflepuff had swerved to avoid a sudden Bludger and flown straight into one of the stands whose audience members, despite everything, seemed delighted and sucked him into the crowd with glee.

High above Jungkook, Jiho cackled and knocked his Beater’s bat against Namjoon’s in triumph. Speedily, Chanwoo plucked the falling Quaffle before it hit the ground and tossed it up to Seungyoon who was directly above him. Seungyoon then tucked the ball under his arm and streamlined towards the goal posts, flanked by Hufflepuff's Song Yunhyeong and Park Kyung.

They shouldered Seungyoon between them, trying to steer him off course and nearly succeeded. Hufflepuff Jackson Wang knocked the Bludger straight at Seungyoon’s face, which he barely avoided by spiraling his broom, but in the process he lost the Quaffle which the Chasers simultaneously dived for.

Soojung caught it first and tossed it up as hard as she could to Namjoon who, in a replay of Hoseok’s earlier goal, spun his broom around to slap the Quaffle to Chanwoo who snatched it and restarted the chase.

FOULLL, screamed the Hufflepuff side, though Jungkook knew Madam Hooch wouldn’t call it in. Beaters weren’t supposed to handle the Quaffle, but Namjoon technically didn’t make any contact since the ball hadn’t touched his skin. Calling it now would just waste time.

Slytherin would have made this goal if it weren’t for Hoseok diving in to catch the Quaffle before it could pass through the goal hoop. Behind him, the Hufflepuff Keeper Kim Jinwoo yelled something inaudible at Hoseok that had him sending a sheepish wave back at him.

Unfortunately, it was at this second of distraction that Namjoon knocked him off his broom with a well-timed Bludger.

The audience booed and cheered. Hoseok went down with his broom in hand and tumbled over the field. He seemed uninjured, if extremely annoyed as he shook a fist up at Namjoon, grass in his hair.

Park Kyung had the Quaffle for a few precious moments before Namjoon sent the Bludger his way next. He fumbled the ball, letting Seungyoon slap it out of his hands for Soojung to catch and attempt another goal. This time, her throw went through, grazed by the tips of Keeper Jinwoo’s fingers.

The Slytherin side erupted. “Yeah!” Jungkook clenched his fist.

With the Slytherin side roaring their heads off, Jungkook didn’t notice the small commotion going on at one of the Ravenclaw stands. Not until the announcer boomed, “IS THAT THE GOLDEN SNITCH ON THE RAVENCLAW SIDE? SLYTHERIN SEEKER JUNG ILHOON IS DIVING, FOLKS. LOOK AT HIM GO!”

Jungkook had always prided himself on his keen eyesight, with which he immediately pinpointed the stand the Snitch was at. It fluttered above the heads of the audience, merely two or three meters away from the approaching Ilhoon’s hand. It was when his gaze lowered a handful of centimeters that he promptly forgot about the Snitch, because even with the distance that was unmistakably Kim Taehyung with orange hair.

Jungkook’s mouth dropped open just as Ilhoon’s fingers wrapped around the Snitch.

The stadium exploded.

 

 

Chapter Text

"Min Yoongi. I thought I told you I didn't want to see you in this office again." 

"I missed your lovely face, Headmistress." 

Sigh. 

"Three months of detention, young man."

.

.

The day after the match it poured.

The enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall dripped rain that never reached the candles floating above the house tables. Breakfast was accompanied by the comforting background sounds of plink plunk all morning. 

Since Jungkook was still missing his stone he was no longer protected by the cloak of disinterest that the notice-me-not spell provided him. On a day like this he would've eaten in the Great Hall, but the glances his hair received were too much for him. He grabbed an apple and a hunk of bread and made it out of the hall in record time, not noticing Hoseok arriving at the same time in a crowd of Hufflepuffs. 

"Jungkook?" Hoseok said as the boy passed by him, flaming hair unmistakable. 

"Flashy these days, aren't we?" one of his fellow Hufflepuffs sniffed, making Hoseok frown. 

He watched Jungkook walk away, food in his hands, and sighed. "Eating in his room again," Hoseok murmured to himself.

"What was that Hoseok?"

"Oh, nothing."

Contrary to Hoseok's expectations, Jungkook didn't head for his room, but let his feet carry him right out of the castle. He spelled his robes waterproof and ducked his head under the collar as he speed-walked down to the Great Lake.

He took shelter under one of the trees lining the edge of the forest beside the lake. His shoes were drenched by then since he forgot to waterproof them too, so he took them off to spell them dry. Feeling adventurous, he left them lying against the tree trunk and dug his bare toes into the grass. The ground here was higher so rainwater fell away rather than towards the line of trees.

There were a few drops leaking through the leaves and Jungkook turned his face up and opened his mouth to catch them in between bites of his food. He laughed at himself a little under his breath, feeling childish.

Coming outside was a good idea, Jungkook thought as he gnawed into his apple with relish. He didn't want to go back in for his classes. If it were up to him he would stay out for as long as the rain lasted, in his own little bubble of water. 

Jungkook was tossing the apple core into the bushes behind him when he heard the voices and instinctively ducked.

There were two boys in hooded cloaks nearing the Great Lake with brooms over their shoulders. They didn't see Jungkook, busy chattering between themselves. One of them, the louder one, had a deeply excited voice that was mildly familiar to Jungkook. He didn't realize why until the loud student threw back his hood and roared, "GOOD MORNING GIANT CEPHALOPOD!" 

He recognized that blinding shade of tangerine orange and unconsciously sat up to watch as Taehyung and his still hooded companion, now giggling, got on their brooms and kicked off into the rain. Neither of them seemed to care that they were getting drenched.

They flew loops and wide figure eights over the lake. Every now and then they shot sparks into the Great Lake at seemingly random intervals, hooting to each other words that were drowned out by the rain. 

They were going to piss off the Merfolk at this rate, Jungkook thought as he scooched back against his tree. He couldn't stop watching though, bread forgotten in his lap. 

Taehyung was significantly more wet than his friend because he had his hood off, but he shook his head like a dog and threw Snitch-sized drops of water off him as if he didn't have a care in the world. His hair was plastered to his head, now more of a burnt pumpkin shade while soaked. 

It was hard to tell if Taehyung was a good flier. He flew recklessly, with his hands free and waving instead of securely gripped around the broom handle like his companion. A few times he tilted his head back to catch rain in his mouth the way Jungkook had earlier. 

The other student was skimming daringly low across the lake, hand parting the water, when he yelped and jumped up with his broom, nearly swerving into Taehyung who had been doing loop de loops above him. He had escaped just in time because at the same instant the Giant Squid surfaced like a small mountain. 

Its behemoth head peeked out of the water and Jungkook's breath caught in his throat. It was gigantic, nearly as large around as the lake itself. 

Taehyung, being Taehyung, bowed first and then bellowed, "Long time no see, Sir Squiggles!" 

Jungkook snorted despite himself. Taehyung's friend yelled back, just loud enough to be heard over the backdrop of rain, "I thought his name was the Terminator! Don't just change his name whenever you want, Tae!" 

"But Sir Squiggles is so cute!" 

"His name's the Terminator!" 

What a stupid conversation, Jungkook thought. Meanwhile, the Giant Squid just calmly watched them with one massive eye, surprisingly non-confrontational despite the manner in which it had been called out. 

After Taehyung and the other student decided on Sir Squigg the Terminator as a suitable label for their tentacled friend, they tried to entice the creature to play with more sparks and tickling charms. Eventually, the thing gave in and moments later the two students were having a ball trying to dodge the tentacles that flailed around them.

At least until a professor came rushing out screaming detentions. 

"Aww, professor! We were just having some fun with it!" 

"Detentions, boys!"

No one noticed Jungkook snickering under his tree, his blaze of hair ducked under his robes. 

.

.

The professors never allowed Jimin and Taehyung to have joint detentions anymore, not after the time they had been sent to pick potions ingredients in the Forbidden Forest and disappeared for the rest of the day. Hagrid, the Care of Magical Creatures Professor, had almost had a heart attack. In Jimin's defense, it had been Taehyung's idea to search out the centaur tribes and gotten them lost.

Jimin was cleaning the hallway floor with hand brushes, no magic allowed, when he overheard a group of passing students gossiping loudly among themselves. 

"Yeah and whoever they think did it wasn't caught! Isn't that a little scary?" 

"Poor guy. I was his partner for Herbology once and all he did was make lame plant puns the whole time. He's such a sweety." 

"Who wants to bet a Slytherin got their hands on him?" 

"Wouldn't be surprised...."

Jimin looked up and realized that the students were Ravenclaws and waved, hoping some of them would recognize him as Taehyung's friend. 

"Oh, Jimin!" one of the girls noticed him and waved back. A chorus of hello's from the others. 

"Sorry, couldn't help but overhear," Jimin said, smiling sheepishly. "What are you guys talking about? Someone got hurt?" 

"Lee Jaehwan was found locked in a wardrobe in an empty classroom last night," the girl, Lee Hyeri, told him officiously. Then her mouth puckered delicately. "He was found with a Boggart and a lantern." 

Jimin felt his face drain of blood at the imagery. The mandatory Boggart lessons for all fourth years was painful enough in a lit classroom full of all your housemates. But alone in a closed space, literally face-to-face with your worst fear? 

Jimin shuddered, a motion that was echoed through the group of Ravenclaws as they all shifted or twitched in unease. 

"Is he okay?" Jimin said mindlessly. 

Hyeri gave a short Ha! "Would you be? No, they've got him in the hospital wing dosed up with fifty Calming Draughts." 

"Man, Jung Leo still isn't talking either," another Ravenclaw remarked, and explained for Jimin's benefit, "He's the guy that found him."

Jimin bit his lip at that. Both Lee Jaehwan and Jung Leo were older Gryffindors that were well-liked and admired. Jaehwan could make everyone at the table laugh hard enough to spit out food, and Leo would always help out the younger students when they couldn't understand their Arithmancy homework. They weren't the kind of people that you could actively dislike, Jaehwan especially. 

Which is why it boggled Jimin's mind to hear that someone would purposely play such a cruel prank on Jaehwan. Locking him in with the Boggart could have been an accident, but then what about the lantern? Everyone knew Boggarts couldn't scare you in the dark. 

"And no one caught the person who did it," Jimin muttered to himself long after the Ravenclaws departed, dripping brush forgotten in his hand. The easy conclusion to make was that it had been a Slytherin, but even then he couldn't imagine who in the house of serpents would be stone-hearted enough to lock a person in with a living nightmare.

For a moment Jimin recalled an image of a certain Slytherin swearing up a storm as he dabbed at a purpling bruise on his forehead and snorted, drawing a glance from a passing student.

No, it couldn't be him, Jimin thought, shaking his head and smiling to himself. 

.

.

Hoseok slammed down his books. "It was you, wasn't it!"  

Yoongi dug his finger into his ear. "What is he yelling at me for now?"

"I don't know, but no yelling for god's sake," Namjoon begged, rubbing his temples. "I'm still recovering from all the celebrating yesterday. Have mercy, Hope." 

The reference to Slytherin's victory over Hufflepuff the day before made Hoseok's mouth turn down even more if possible.

Despite the game results, the joint Hufflepuff and Slytherin Divinations class was as sedate as always, with three-quarters of them still rubbing morning crust out of their eyes. Hoseok's loud accusation attracted only a few drowsy squints.

The three of them hushed and made themselves look busy with their crystal balls as Professor Trelawney swanned by, tittering to herself. 

"I still don't see jack shit," Yoongi groused as he stared at the swirling smoke in his orb. 

"Don't change the subject," Hoseok hissed as he pulled his crystal ball closer towards him and straightened his seat. His hair was slightly windswept, as if he had run though the beginning of class was just simple dream divinations. 

"Everyone's talking about it, hyung. Did you do it?" Hoseok urged for an answer in a not-so-discreet whisper that he consciously lowered when he realized everyone in their immediate area could still hear him. 

"I don't know what you're blathering about," said Yoongi with a yawn. 

"What the hell are you talking about?" asked Namjoon at the same time. 

Hoseok's narrowed gaze bounced between the two Slytherins like he couldn't believe they didn't know. 

"Lee Jaehwan was attacked yesterday, during the game," Hoseok said slowly, watching carefully for Yoongi's reaction. The Slytherin boy looked moderately interested as Hoseok continued, "He was locked in an empty classroom on the third floor, with a Boggart." There was a short involuntary pause before the second part of the statement where Hoseok's face tensed in discomfort. 

Namjoon gave a soft whistle, careful not to catch Trelawney's attention. "Well, damn." Then his eyes cut to Yoongi appraisingly. "Ain't that interesting, Suga-hyung?"

"Very," Yoongi said shortly as he returned to his crystal ball. 

Hoseok folded his arms over his chest, not buying the act for an instant. "Here's what I can't understand about it," Hoseok started, tapping his finger against the table top. "Lee Jaehwan might be a loudmouth, but there's no way he's annoying enough to warrant something like this. Rumor has it that there was a lantern with a lasting charm locked in with him, and that he was frozen so he couldn't use his wand to get free. No one knows how long he was stuck there with the Boggart. He couldn't even close his eyes." 

He lowered his voice when a couple heads turned in their direction. 

"That is pretty brutal," Namjoon commented, brow furrowing. 

"Yeah, brutal," Hoseok repeated blandly, not taking his eyes off Yoongi. "So tell me, what do you think could have called for this kind of action? What could Lee Jaehwan have possibly done to bring on this kind of wrath?"

Your wrath, Hoseok added silently. 

Yoongi raised his head and for a moment, just looked at him. Hoseok sucked in a sharp breath. 

"Who?" Hoseok asked. 

"Jungkook," Namjoon answered for Yoongi.

The Hufflepuff swore and accidentally knocked his crystal ball off the table, bringing Trelawney flying from the other side of the classroom. 

After Divination when they had to split up, Hoseok for practice, the Slytherins for classes, Yoongi caught Hoseok by the arm. 

"I'll explain later. I have detention tonight so wait for me to call for you." 

Hoseok's eyes widened. "You were caught?"

"No," Yoongi denied, looking annoyed. "But the old bat suspected it was me. I got three months." 

When Hoseok left, it was Yoongi's intensely put off expression at being assigned 'three months of forced labor, Merlin's saggy ballsa―' that had him chuckling on the way to the Quidditch fields. 

.

.

It took Taehyung maybe ten minutes to track down Kookie to his morning Potions class. He had some time to waste. His detention wasn't until later that day and Jimin was already serving his detention since he had Quidditch practice.

Taehyung's History of Magic class would have to be sacrificed, though it was doubtful Professor Bins would even notice he was missing. He'd been calling him Taecyeon since his first year. 

To Taehyung's dismay, he didn't see Kookie exit the room when the class let out. His eyes weaved around for the redhead among the Slytherins to no avail, and Taehyung was about to give up for the day when he heard voices coming from within the classroom.

Taehyung perked up. Maybe that was Kookie!

When he poked his head through he discovered that he was right. Kookie had his back to the door but the hair was unmistakable. He was speaking to Professor Slughorn in a quietly urgent tone, his back slightly bent to accommodate for the professor's smaller height. It didn't look like something Taehyung should interrupt, so he settled against the patch of wall beside the doorway and waited for Kookie's approaching footsteps. 

It couldn't have been more than a few minutes but Taehyung was so impatient it felt like an eternity. By the time Kookie finally came out of the door Taehyung was near vibrating with anticipation. 

He saw the vulnerable back and leapt. 

"Kookie!"

"Ahhh!" 

"My word," came Professor Slughorn's voice from inside the classroom. He was at his desk where he could see the two students entangled in front of the doorway at an angle. 

Taehyung grinned and saluted before dragging off the protesting Slytherin under his arm. 

"Wait, wait, where are we going?" Kookie asked, though he followed Taehyung's lead regardless. He was learning, Taehyung thought proudly.

"Just trust me! You trust me, don't you?"

"As much as anyone can trust a stranger they met a week ago," Kookie replied blandly. 

Taehyung was actually a little disappointed, but he pouted extra heavy to play it off. "Aw, I thought we were already buddies! You're mean, Kookie." 

Rather than making him sputter to defend himself as Taehyung expected, Kookie just looked a touch somber and said, "Well I am...a Slytherin." 

From the way Kookie's mouth shaped in the break in his words, Taehyung could tell he had been about to say something else. 

People sometimes forgot that the main characteristic all Ravenclaws shared was a love of knowledge. And knowledge didn't always come from books. As a result Ravens, by nature, were observant. Curious. More in tune with the environment around them than any of the other houses.

It was practically a house requirement to be attentive. 

Just because Taehyung chose to ignore a lot of the things he saw didn't mean he didn't file it away in his mind to save for another day. He noticed how Kookie didn't have any friends waiting for him after class, and how careful he was not to touch Taehyung even if the Ravenclaw was manhandling him first. Some of the things he said pinged on Taehyung's radar as being uncommonly lonely. It never failed to make Taehyung want to squeeze the boy tight and kick away all the demons that plagued him. 

"So? Of all the houses, Ravenclaw is the closest to Slytherin," Taehyung countered. They were both watchful, just for different reasons. "And you're too late, we're already friends. It was love at first sight for me. I knew we were meant to be friends from the moment I hit you with that color-change potion," Taehyung announced without an ounce of shame. 

Sometimes it was more interesting to see the reactions when you used idioms unconventionally, even if the meanings technically fit the situation at hand. Kookie was gaping at him now, eyes round as marbles.

Taehyung took advantage of the Slytherin's stupefied state to carefully take him by the hand and pull the boy up the stairs to the next floor where Defense Against the Dark Arts was being held. With the drawl of the DADA professor's lecture in the background, Taehyung led Kookie to a small corridor where there was a statue of a one-eyed witch off to one side.  

Kookie finally found his voice again and asked as Taehyung looked over his shoulder to make sure the coast was clear, "What are you doing...?"

Taehyung put a finger to his lips, winked and then tapped the hump of the witch with his wand. He hissed, "Dissendium."  

The hump shifted down to reveal a hole about the width of both of Taehyung's hands stretched apart thumb to thumb. 

"After you," Taehyung offered, and when Kookie hesitated he repeated, "You trust me, right?"

At Kookie's inscrutable look Taehyung widened his eyes to make himself look as trustworthy as possible. He also quirked up his lips and waggled his eyebrows, just to get a laugh out of the Slytherin. 

He got a reluctant smile. "Okay, stop. I'll go, just stop doing that. Please." 

Kookie folded his long legs into the hole and after another uncertain look at Taehyung, let go of the edge and disappeared down the slide. Taehyung quickly followed him with another tap at the hump, and above him as he slid down, the hump scraped back over the opening to hide it. 

.

.

Seokjin didn't know why he was being called to the headmistress's office. He hadn't done anything wrong as far as he knew. 

He was called in the middle of his morning DADA class. He walked out of the classroom just as a pair of boys with matching wildly colored heads ducked into a little corridor beside the stairs, and missed them again striding past it, a preoccupied frown on his face. 

"Tell me, do you know why there are four sets of Head Boys and Girls rather than just one?" Headmistress McGonagall asked after greeting him with a bland smile. The question was so sudden that Seokjin's mind went blank. 

"One...ye―yes." Seokjin cleared his throat self-consciously and tried again, "I do. It was changed from one to four sets of Head Boys and Girls, one pair from each house, after the War." His voice grew softer at the last word, as most did. The War was not a light topic to throw around. 

McGonagall gave him a beady eye that made the sweat pop underneath his robes. "But do you know why the rule was implanted?"

"Inter-house tensions, I believe."

"You seem uncertain."

"I...," Seokjin looked at the headmistress, though her stern countenance hadn't budged an inch. "I don't know if separating the houses further with their own set of Head Boys and Head Girls was the right decision to make if the goal had been to lessen inter-house disputes. If anything, I feel like it would have...worsened them," Seokjin confessed.

When he looked up again he was surprised to find the headmistress' expression had softened, just slightly, her gaze approving. 

"I am sure that Hogwarts, A History is filled with a great many truths," McGonagall said, making Seokjin blush. "However, you are right to question the validity of all its truths. A wise man once told me 'a thing is true only as far as we believe it is true'." 

She paused then, and tapped at the bowl of candies on her desk. "Lemon drop?"

"Ah, no, thank you," Seokjin said dubiously. For some reason, the portrait of the late Albus Dumbledore behind the headmistress' desk winked at him. 

McGonagall continued unflappingly, "It was not my intention to further divide the houses. Back then, the Wizarding world was on the verge of collapse." Her face went distant. "Everyone had lost a loved one, and people were bitter, hurt and angry. Like wounded dragons. What we, the school as a whole, needed was unity among the houses, more than we ever did before." Her eyes refocused on Seokjin, who immediately straightened up in his seat. 

"You are correct, young Seokjin. The new rule didn't help Inter-house tensions. But it was necessary. What the history texts did not mention was an incident among the students that directly forced my hand. No matter how dire the need for unity was, I had to prioritize the safety of my students first and foremost."

Seokjin connected the dots and said, "The incident included the Head Boy and Girl."

"Yes. The both of them," McGonagall confirmed, the lines around her mouth and eyes suddenly looking more pronounced. "It was my fault, if I am to be honest. I chose them because I trusted their judgment to be fair across the houses."

Seokjin hazarded a guess. "They...abused their power?"

"Not at all. They were as hardworking and fair as I believed them to be." McGonagall then looked down at her bowl of lemon sweets and sighed.

"That did not protect them."

.

.

"So what were you talking to Slughorn about?" Taehyung queried as they traveled down the dark tunnel that seemed endlessly long. They were both holding their wands to light the way, not that it helped much. The Lumos spell seemed to be smothered by the inky darkness, only revealing as far as two or three steps in any direction. 

Jungkook held his wand in his sweaty left hand. His equally sweaty right hand was gripped in Taehyung's left, though if the Ravenclaw noticed the dampness he didn't mention it. 

This was probably the most vulnerable moment of Jungkook's life. He was blind and confused, had no idea where he was or where he was going, with Taehyung's sure hand and voice as his only security.  It took a few moments for his heavy tongue to find the words to answer Taehyung's question.

"My hair. Slughorn said he can't fix it without knowing exactly what you did to it, like measurements and boiling times, and even then it might be a waste of time. He told me to just wait it out." Even to himself his voice sounded glum. 

"You really don't like it, huh?" Surprisingly, Taehyung didn't seem offended. 

"I don't like the attention," Jungkook admitted. "I mean, I'm not like you. I'd rather keep a low profile." 

"Huh? Oh yeah, the hair." Taehyung's wand tip moved as he touched his head with that hand. "I had some of the potion left over," Taehyung told him proudly. "I guessed it would be orange or yellow or violet, but it turned out a lot brighter than I expected."

"What does orange mean?" 

"Happiness, mostly. The enthusiastic kind. Creativity and adventure." 

"That sounds like you." 

Taehyung's teeth gleamed in the dark. "I thought so too."

The Ravenclaw didn't remember exactly what he had done to the potion ("I just followed my gut," Taehyung gave apologetically), but Jungkook had expected as much. He would just have to acquire a new spell stone to hold the notice-me-not charm. Casting the charm straight on himself could have dire consequences if he caught his reflection, and it wouldn't last long before he would have to recast it. 

Taehyung suddenly stopped and felt around the side of the tunnel for a reason Jungkook couldn't understand until he realized there were stairs leading upwards. Taehyung let go of Jungkook's hand to clamber up them, calling down, "Come on, Kookie!" when Jungkook didn't move. 

The stairs led to a trap-door that opened up into a dusty room filled with boxes. From the noise coming from above, the tunnel had led them into a cellar. Jungkook looked around, staring. There was a familiar brand on each of the boxes. 

"Is this...?"

"Yep!" Taehyung looked thrilled. He swiped a handful of jelly beans from the barrel closest to him and offered some to Jungkook with his mouth full.

"Welcome to Honeydukes."

.

.

When Seokjin left the headmistress' office, his shoulders felt like they were carrying a Hippogriff each. The headmistress' instructions were clear, as well as her warnings. Seokjin just couldn't believe that he accepted as quickly as he did. He was the cautious type, he needed time to think things out. 

"But it felt right," Seokjin said aloud, stalled at the stairs to the floor. Shaking his head at himself, he kept walking, mind thrumming with the news he had just received from the school's highest authority. 

He was conscious now more than ever of the weight of the Head Boy Badge on his chest. The difference now was that it had the title 'Head Boy' emblazoned across a four-square patch of red, yellow, blue and green colors representing all the houses. 

 

Chapter Text

This wasn't Jungkook's first time in the Honeydukes sweets shop, but alongside Taehyung and his childish enthusiasm, he found himself looking at everything with new eyes. 

While he was watching an employee reload a barrel of ice mice, swearing as a few fell chittering to the ground and tried to escape, Taehyung made easy small talk with the shop owner, a portly older woman with a sharp tongue and eyes in the back of her head for any sticky-fingered customers. 

Jungkook wasn't following the conversation so he almost didn't notice when, out of the corner of his eye, the woman handed Taehyung a small bag from behind the counter, which the Ravenclaw took and slipped into his robes in one smooth motion. The exchange was so quick and natural that if Jungkook hadn't been paying attention he wouldn't have caught it.

He turned back to the ice mice as the shop owner rang up the rest of Taehyung's purchases, a little bit of almost everything in the shop, and put it into a much larger bag as she tsked over Taehyung's giant sweet tooth.  

"Everything's just so delicious I can't help it," the Ravenclaw said with sparkling eyes, making the woman laugh. 

"Oh get out of here, you sweet talker," she shooed.

Taehyung looked skeptically at Jungkook's empty hands as they left the shop. "You sure you didn't want to get anything?" Taehyung shrank his giant bag of sweets and put it into the pocket on the other side from which the first bag had disappeared.

Jungkook shook his head. "I don't really like sweets," he fibbed, not wanting to reveal the fact that he didn't have any cash on him. He'd left his money pouch in his room as he usually did for classes.

"It's still early," Taehyung mused with a glance at the sky. "Come on, let's go grab a pint before the lunch crowd hits. My treat."

When Jungkook hesitantly made it known that he didn't really drink, Taehyung seemed amused. 

Jungkook scowled. "What's so funny?" 

"I didn't mean firewhisky or anything. Unless you wanted that." Then Taehyung threw a sly look his way and asked, "Have you ever had firewhisky before?" 

"No...," Jungkook replied, and to his confusion the Ravenclaw seemed to brighten at his response. However, when he added that he hadn't had butterbeer before either, Taehyung's horrified reaction was as instant and dramatic as a brick to the face. 

"You've never had butterbeer before? This is a travesty!" 

The Ravenclaw seemed to take it as a personal insult. Before Jungkook could say a word otherwise Taehyung was dragging the bemused boy down the street by the hand until they stopped in front of an unfamiliar building with a hanging sign bearing three criss-crossed broomsticks. 

"The Three Broomsticks," Taehyung explained at Jungkook's blank look, which made him startle a little. Was his uncertainty that obvious? 

Or was Taehyung just much better at reading people than he seemed to be? 

Inside was a dimly lit pub, the air warm and thick with candlelight and the smell of hot food. It wasn't very busy, and of the sparse crowd there were only two other students, Gryffindors, that waved at Taehyung from the bar when they passed by. Jungkook turned his face away. 

Taehyung left him at an empty booth with a promise to be right back and returned what felt like seconds later with two brimming mugs that he surprisingly didn't spill a drop of. 

"This is butterbeer?" Jungkook asked with a cautious sniff. It smelled a little yeasty, like fresh bread, and caramel sweet, which was reassuring. 

"Yeah, try it. It's good, I promise," Taehyung said, though his own mug sat forgotten in front of him in favor of avidly watching Jungkook. The weight of his attention was heavy on the Slytherin's face as he raised his mug, eyes lowered. 

"You make a lot of promises," Jungkook murmured absently, and didn't see Taehyung's speculative squint, suddenly all Ravenclaw in his observation. 

Taehyung opened his mouth but whatever he was about say in reply choked off into a laugh when Jungkook came up with a mouth and nose dipped in foam. Jungkook's face turned hot enough to cook eggs on, especially when he noticed the looks Taehyung's loud laughter drew to their booth. 

Fortunately, the second sip was more fruitful, with the mug angled to deliver more liquid than foam. Jungkook's eyebrows jumped up. It tasted even better than it smelled.

His eyes fluttered as the butterbeer ran down his throat like hot liquid butterscotch, warming him up from head to toe. Glancing up, he found Taehyung looking almost as amazed and delighted as he did.

"Good, right?" Taehyung said before he finally took a long pull of his own mug.

Jungkook was too busy drinking to answer. He didn't understand how Taehyung could drink it so slowly when it was so good, honestly the best thing Jungkook had ever drunk.

He licked his lips as he stared mournfully down at the dregs of foam left in his mug and when he looked at Taehyung, he found the Ravenclaw gazing at him, mouth open, eyes slightly hooded. 

Jungkook wanted to ask what Taehyung was thinking about as he looked at him like that. 

Instead, he looked down at his empty mug and back up. "Can I have another?"

.

.

"I need to talk to you," declared Seokjin as he appeared from seemingly out of nowhere beside Namjoon during lunch. 

The Slytherin swallowed the bite of sandwich he had in his mouth and retorted, "Can it wait? I'm busy." He couldn't keep the snap out of his voice. His lingering hangover, a constant throbbing behind his eyes, made Namjoon irritable enough without Seokjin's interruption. He knew it showed too; the younger Slytherins veered out of his path like he was Yoongi-hyung on a rampage. 

Seokjin seemed surprised, like he didn't learn from their last meeting that Namjoon had no patience for his dramatics. He was about to make an appropriately cutting comment on it when Seokjin said, "Yes, that's what I meant. I'm sorry, I meant I need to talk to you later. When you're not eating, of course." 

Namjoon frowned. "Oh."

"How about tonight. Maybe we can patrol together?" Seokjin asked hopefully.

Namjoon's first instinct was to reject the offer immediately, but when he glanced up he couldn't help noticing how drawn and wan Seokjin's face looked. He was worried about something, and by the looks of it, it was something big. 

The Slytherin relented. "I start at eight and end up near the west side around half past." The west side of the castle was where the Ravenclaw Tower was located. 

Seokjin's responding smile made Namjoon's stomach clench uncomfortably and he avoided the Ravenclaw's gaze. He chewed mechanically. 

"Perfect. I'll see you then," Seokjin said. 

"See you," Namjoon grunted, not bothering to look up as Seokjin left. He was so busy trying to bury himself in his lunch that he didn't notice the curious stares of his housemates on the departing Ravenclaw. One of the younger ones elbowed another and pointed at her chest in askance, to which her friend nodded quickly. 

"Interesting," Soojung remarked across from Namjoon, and when he glanced up her feline eyes were alight with intrigue. 

"I wonder when that happened," added Kibum beside her. "Must have been recent, because I certainly hadn't noticed it before."

Namjoon growled defensively, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

To his ire, the two Slytherins looked at each other and simultaneously began snickering. Jung Sooyeon, Soojung's older sister, gave Namjoon a pitying look with her chin in her palm. 

"Apparently not, you oblivious boy." 

Glowering, Namjoon ignored his housemates for the rest of the meal. 

.

.

Butterbeer didn't have much alcoholic content on its own, Taehyung knew, but mixed with some witch's brew it could have quite a kick. 

Too much of a kick in fact. Enough to knock out a certain red-haired Slytherin halfway back to Hogwarts. 

"Hey, hey, don't fall asleep!" Taehyung yelped when the boy near face-planted into the ground bringing Taehyung with him. He hefted Kookie closer to him, arm around his back, Kookie's arm over his shoulders.  

It was hard enough traveling through the secret tunnel guiding the drunken boy without having to carry him too. 

"I'm not sleeping. I'm awake," Kookie mumbled, making Taehyung grin to himself.

The Slytherin was so cute when he was drunk. All bleary sullen looks and barely coherent mumbles. 

"Maybe we should have stopped after that third mug of witch's brew."

Taehyung wasn't sure where the Slytherin dungeons were, nor if it was safe to just drop Kookie off completely inebriated, so he cast a Disillusionment Charm on him and took him to the one place he was sure would be safe. 

His room.

"I don't know, Kookie, you look kinda nice on my bed," Taehyung whispered, and snorted at himself the way he knew Kookie would if he were sober. Or maybe he would blush and his eyes go round the way they did when Taehyung got too close to him. Taehyung was touchy-feely with all his friends and family but no one reacted quite as satisfyingly as Kookie did, which was part of the reason why he hugged him all the time. 

The Slytherin, let loose a small groan when Taehyung deposited him on the sheets, was silent now, except for the faint drift of his breath. Taehyung would have thought the boy was asleep if it weren't for the thin sliver of his eyes peeking out under thick lashes. He took off Kookie's shoes and tugged the blanket out from under him so it could cover his entire body. 

"There. Snug as a bug in a rug."

In the few minutes it took him to tuck Kookie in, the boy seemed to have fallen asleep, lips tilted open just a crack, lashes against his cheeks. Taehyung smiled and indulged himself to a quick cheek kiss the way he did with his little sisters when he put them to bed. Or at least he tried. 

He leaned forward and at the same time Kookie's head rolled to his side, and Taehyung's lips landed sloppily against the edge of Kookie's mouth. He snapped back with a gasp. 

This was new. He gaped at the still slumbering Slytherin. The phantom warmth against his lips had Taehyung rubbing his fingers over them, his blood thrumming with quiet excitement.

He expected to feel upset, maybe a bit disgusted. And yet. 

Slowly, his Ravenclaw mind recalled how he had been drawn to Kookie since day one, inexplicably. Almost irresistibly. How light he felt when Kookie didn't move away when Taehyung touched him, or when he would give Taehyung one of his rare smiles. 

The Slytherin turned his head again and sighed under his breath, just a little huff that seemed somehow impatient. Like he was unconsciously telling him to get on with it. 

"Hey," Taehyung said to the younger boy as he leaned in again, anxiously watching for any sign of waking, "You won't hate me for this will you? Please don't hate me, Kookie. I'd die if you hated me." 

Hands making dips in the bed, elbows bent, head tilted, this time his aim was perfect. Soft, sweet pressure against his mouth for two or three heart-stopping seconds before Taehyung fell back on his bum, gasping for breath like he had run a mile. He dimly registered that he was trembling lightly. 

"Now what?" he said aloud. 

.

.

He already had practice earlier this morning but with the sting of yesterday's defeat still lingering, Hoseok decided a few extra drills on his own time wouldn't hurt. 

The Gryffindor team was just finishing up when he arrived with his broom over his shoulder, regular robes in place. He exchanged greetings with the members he knew, and wasn't surprised to see Park Jimin practically jumping off his broom to see him. 

"Hobi-hyung!" The excitable Gryffindor Beater was glistening lightly and pleasantly tanned, showing the results of a productive practice. 

"Getting ready for our upcoming match, I see. You confident you can beat us?" Hoseok said teasingly. To his chagrin, the Gryffindor balked. 

"Of course not! I mean it's your team, hyung―" Jimin was saying with the usual stars in his eyes when one of his passing teammates threw a Quaffle at him. 

"Yo, stop fraternizing with the enemy!" Park Chanyeol, the second Gryffindor Beater, shouted, making the rest of the team laugh. He was long and stretched where Jimin was short and compact, making them an interesting combination for a pair of Beaters. But Hoseok's sharp eyes caught the hard muscles that threaded through both Chanyeol's and Jimin's arms, and could feel the anticipation already stirring in his blood.

The Gryffindor team this year was nothing to sneeze at. Hufflepuff had another tough match coming soon.

Hoseok had joined the Hufflepuff team at the end of the previous school year. He didn't know exactly why he had given in at that time, after years of being chased by Jinwoo-hyung to join the team. Hoseok had just been so wiped out by family drama and final exams that when he walked out to the fields one day the yearning that struck him nearly brought him to tears. 

Quidditch was in his blood. He loved it. He craved it. The unforgiving wind against his face, the headiness of seeing the world fly under him and the slap of leather against his palms. 

The only thing he didn't love was how everyone expected more from him.

They looked at Hoseok and saw his father, the hope of the national Quidditch team for the past seven years. They didn't see Jung Hoseok, just an incredibly average Hufflepuff that loved to fly. 

When Jimin looked at Hoseok like he was the best Quidditch player in the school, Hoseok knew that his admiration was misplaced. It belonged to someone like Namjoon, who actually deserved that kind of attention. The Muggle-born didn't have the childhood years of living with a broom in hand like Hoseok did, and yet he was Captain of his own Quidditch team, one that was good enough to firmly trounce Hoseok's. 

After the Gryffindors left, Hoseok drilled by himself until it was too dark to see the goal hoops. He had a lot of time to make up for if he was going to catch up to Namjoon. 

.

.

"Namjoon, will you just wait!" 

If anything the Slytherin seemed to speed up, making Seokjin groan as he was forced to chase after him. 

He didn't know how Namjoon had missed the appearance of his new badge earlier that day, especially since his range of vision had been closer to Seokjin's chest while he was sitting. 

Abruptly, Namjoon stopped and spun around. "You know what?" 

Before Seokjin could sputter an answer, Namjoon spat, "What I don't get is why you're even talking to me when you've been ignoring me for years." 

"I just want to work together with you, is that so hard to believe?" Seokjin cried in exasperation, fists tightening at his sides. "I can't do this by myself, Namjoon." Motioning at the badge on his chest. "I need help―and I think you do too."

He met Namjoon's gaze, clear and solid. They were of a similar height now, which was unfamiliar enough to be disarming. He distinctly remembered having to lower his gaze a foot to talk to the Slytherin when they were younger.

The headmistress trusted him with a heavy responsibility that Seokjin was wise enough to know he couldn't handle alone. The goal was to unite all four houses, and to do that, Seokjin needed Namjoon's cooperation more than any other's.

The houses had always been pitted against one another, but it was only with the terrorization of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named that Slytherin had split off even farther from the rest of the houses. They had to bring Slytherin back into the fold, or Hogwarts would continue to be plagued by the ugly hatred and fear that the War brought upon their parents. With the ostracized house of serpents suffering most of all. 

Namjoon scoffed, though he seemed grudgingly impressed with the conviction written across Seokjin's figure. 

"What do you mean I need help?" Namjoon said as his eyes trailed to the multicolored Head Boy badge glinting on Seokjin's chest, so different from his own green badge with the Slytherin mascot curled around the title.

Seokjin inwardly sighed at Namjoon's tone. "I didn't mean you can't take care of your own house," he clarified. "I just meant I thought you could use a hand. It's a big school, Namjoon. You can't watch everyone, and most definitely not if you insist on making it about three houses against one." 

He knew as soon as the last words left his mouth that it was the wrong thing to say.

Namjoon's nostrils flared and his mouth twisted into an ugly shape. "You can't possibly be blaming my house for that―"

"No, I'm not! I don't think it's your fault. Or ours, or any house's," Seokjin blurted. "It was the War that separated the houses. It's just up to us to put it behind us." 

Namjoon seemed like he was holding back a sneer at Seokjin's optimism, but his steady look as he folded his arms told Seokjin to keep going. 

The Ravenclaw took a breath. "I can't stop the petty attacks, making them trip or grow boils or what have you," he admitted, "But I can try to stop things before they get out of hand and someone gets hurts. I've been patrolling more often, sometimes as much as every hour between classes. I want to make this a safe place for everyone, not just Slytherins, and I can't do that without help from all the Head Boys and Girls. The students need to see us working together, as a united front." 

Namjoon caught his meaningful glance and realized, "You want me to talk to Chaerin." He furrowed his brow at the thought of the steely-eyed Head Girl hearing Seokjin's proposition. "You know it's not going to be easy getting her to do joint patrols or whatever happy camp bonding activity you had in mind. She's from old blood."

"So am I," Seokjin countered, undaunted. "Old blood can be persuaded."

"If you say so," Namjoon said, his tone doubtful. He gazed at Seokjin for a long moment, and then looked around and stepped aside, "I don't know Ravenclaw territory as well as you do. Lead the way, hyung." 

The return of that little bit of familiarity made Seokjin inwardly leap. There was hope for them yet. 

.

.

Jungkook woke up boiling. As soon as he opened his eyes, he threw the suffocating sheets off him and pulled off his robes. Underneath, his shirt and trousers were plastered to him and he shook his limbs loose to get some air against his hot skin. 

Without looking, Jungkook grabbed for his wand off the nightstand and made a face when his fingers met nothing but wood. Jungkook pushed himself up on his elbow and blinked. 

This wasn't his room. Even in the dark, he could tell none of the furniture was where it was supposed to be. He groped around himself and nearly wept with relief when he found his wand in the discarded robes. 

"Lumos." The bed curtains were a midnight blue instead of the forest green he was used to. Jungkook traced a carving of a bird on the bedpost and hazily connected the dots. "Bird...raven...claw. I'm in a Ravenclaw's room." 

He stumbled out, startling any students he ran into. The Disillusionment Charm he unknowingly wore was fading at the edges so he looked like a walking blur to anyone who saw him. 

Jungkook never noticed the piece of paper that was lying on the desk in the room he woke up in. Its contents read in large loopy writing:

Kookie! I had to leave for detention. :(( I'll be back late, but wait for me ok? 

.

.

"Oh Merlin, that's priceless." Hoseok was wiping away tears from laughing too hard. "After all the fuss he made to not be put on the team." 

Yoongi smirked. "Jungkook was whining and bitching about it even after Slughorn made him join. Namjoon had to put him on time out during practice to reflect on his bad behavior." 

Hoseok shook his head in disbelief. "You two are ridiculous. No wonder Jungkook keeps complaining about being harassed. You guys act like he's a child."

"Maybe we would stop treating him like a kid if he would stop acting like one," Yoongi threw back. 

"He's only a few years younger than us," Hoseok reminded soberly, and ignored Yoongi's click of the tongue to go on. 

"I know Jungkook's first year was sort of...traumatic, for all of us, what with Yang Yoseob―" Hoseok cut off when Yoongi's mouth thinned warningly, "I know he's never really stopped hiding since then, but he seems like he's getting out of his shell lately. I saw the new red look he's got going on. A little too Gryffindor for my tastes but some light blue should balance that out nicely―"

"That was a prank," Yoongi snapped. "Some idiot threw a faulty potion on him. What is your bloody point?" 

"My point is that Jungkook is not as defenseless as you think he is. I'm not saying you should take a hands off approach or anything. I'm just saying...did you ever consider telling the kid about Lee Jaehwan? So he could maybe, kind of, sort of, decide for himself how he wanted to deal with him?" 

Yoongi hadn't actually, and by his sullen silence they both knew it. 

Hoseok's fingers tapped randomly over the arm of the sofa chair he was sitting on. A few glares from Yoongi had emptied the common room of the handful of students that had been lingering after hours, so it was just them and the crackling fire.

"It's better for him not to know," Yoongi said in a low voice. "How many times has Jungkook had to deal with this bullshit? Too many for my taste. It's better to just let me clean up the trash so he doesn't have any more on his plate." 

"Is it that difficult to show you care?" 

Yoongi saw red. "You condescending piece of shit, Jung Hoseok!" he snarled.

Before Yoongi could really get started though, someone fell through the common room entrance. Literally. 

They hit the floor with a thump and started moaning in a familiar voice. "That hurts."

The fallen figure was blurred as if they were viewing him through a fog, and Hoseok glanced at Yoongi, who rolled his eyes and pointed his wand at the newcomer.

"Finite." 

The blur cleared like wiping condensation off a glass, revealing red hair that burned in the firelight. Yoongi swore and they both jumped to their feet. 

"I hurt," Jungkook told the seniors seriously as they approached him, and then hiccuped. 

"Jungkook, are you drunk?"

"No," came the sulky response before another hiccup broke the air.

"Yeah, that's convincing," Yoongi drawled. They pulled up the boy in between them as he kept mumbling under his breath, too softly for Yoongi to hear. It was a wonder he managed to remember the password to the entrance as tipsy as he was. 

Yoongi made a face when he got a whiff of Jungkook's breath, which was sickly sweet like a custard cream going bad. The boy must have had butterbeer, and something else unless he was a phenomenal lightweight.

"Do I even want to know where you got your grubby mitts on actual alcohol?" 

Instead of answering, Jungkook squinted at Yoongi like he'd never seen him before. 

"Suga-hyung," Jungkook identified, making Yoongi raise an eyebrow. "Why are you called Suga?"

Hoseok answered, voice was thick with humor,"He's called Suga 'cause his smiles are so sweet."

At Yoongi's unamused look, the Hufflepuff said defensively, "What? It's true. After all," he grinned, "I'm the one who thought of it." 

It was to Yoongi's eternal annoyance that the nicknames that Hoseok had made up for them as children were picked up by the gossip mongers of the school. It was bad enough when they were kids. Now Yoongi had the dreadful feeling that the moniker would follow him till the day he died.

Jungkook began giggling so hard that he doubled over and they had to stop for a moment for him to uncurl himself.

"Suga-hyung...sweet," Jungkook choked out and giggled again. 

Yoongi met Hoseok's eye over the boy's lowered head and said flatly, "Not. A word." 

.

.

In Jimin's second detention of the week, he kept getting the stink eye from the librarian because he spent half the time giving loud mournful sighs. He couldn't help it. While everyone else was enjoying the start of the weekend, he was stuck in the library with a bunch of dusty books. To top things off, his detention partner hadn't even shown up, leaving Jimin with double the work to finish before he could leave. 

Two hours in, his black robes were smeared with dust and he had bite marks over his hand from when he accidentally picked up one of those evil monster books that had actual teeth and bit like a demented chihuahua. Driven as much by boredom as annoyance, he was in the middle of mentally calling his missing partner every dirty word in the book when he heard a familiar gravelly voice speak.

"You again." Jimin looked up from the stack of books he was cataloging and jaw-dropped at the lazy-eyed senior standing next to his table.

He was in casual wear, robes open to reveal a loose white tee and some black trousers. Underneath the fringe of hair pushed flat against his forehead by a beanie, there was a faint green outline of a bruise from the other week when Jimin quite literally ran him into the ground.

Then Jimin realized that he was staring, and Yoongi was smirking, and oh wow this was embarrassing. Jimin deliberately closed his jaw and tried not to sink into his seat. 

"You're my detention partner?" he asked, coughing when his voice came out high and squeaky in his distress. 

"No, I'm here to spend my Friday night in a deserted library with you," Yoongi deadpanned. 

Jimin wasn't sure if he was supposed to laugh or not so he gave a nervous giggle that made Yoongi stare to his chagrin. 

"So what's a little lion like you doing in detention?" Yoongi questioned idly while he helped Jimin catalog the towers of books around them.

To Jimin's surprise, despite his lateness, Yoongi settled down to work right away, long, tapered fingers deftly writing down the information with a precise handwriting that made Jimin a little jealous. His handwriting looked like toddler scrawls next to Yoongi's. 

"We were caught playing with the Giant Squid again," Jimin said, ducking his head with a sheepish look when Yoongi's quill stopped.  

"I don't know which part of that sentence to address first." Yoongi twirled his quill in amusement. "Again? Is that a favorite pastime of yours?" 

Jimin shrugged shyly, looking down. "It's fun if you ever want to try it. The Giant Squid's really playful. To be honest, it's like a puppy with a bunch of tentacles."

That startled Yoongi into a laugh, and it was amazing how it changed his features. Jimin found himself grinning stupidly, pleased with himself. 

"How many of you were there?" Yoongi asked. He put his head against his fist the way he did the first time Jimin met him. Humor was etched across his face, bringing out the elegant lines of his eyes and the cutting edge of his jawline.

Jimin discreetly pinched himself in the thigh to stop staring.

"Just me and my best friend Taehyung. We got eight detentions each for it," he told the Slytherin with with a small pout. "How many do you have to finish? Just today's?"

Yoongi's expression turned sour. "Three month's worth." He smiled grimly when Jimin choked. 

"Three months?! What the hell did you do?" Jimin's shrill tone immediately brought a loud and insistent shhhhh from the direction of the librarian's desk, that made him duck his head.

Yoongi was tapping his quill thoughtfully against the table, either not noticing or caring that he was leaving chicken scratches on the wood.

"I would have gotten worse than detentions if the headmistress had any actual evidence that I did the crime," Yoongi said distantly, as if he were thinking aloud rather than telling Jimin. Then his eyes refocused on the Gryffindor's face. 

"You really want to know what I did?" Yoongi asked silkily.

Jimin felt like he was caught in a cobra's gaze, and slowly, audibly, he gulped. 

"I thought not." Yoongi chuckled. "Ask me again later and I might tell you. Jiminie." His mouth curved wry and secretive. 

As if on silent cue, they both went back to working on the catalogs and the endless stacks of books, though Jimin was honestly just going through the motions. His head was a roiling, chaotic mess, and he hoped desperately that it wasn't apparent when Yoongi looked at him.

Inside his skull, Yoongi's roll of the tongue over his name kept replaying again and again, like an old record player looping a line into eternity. 

 

Chapter Text

Before Taehyung's prank had turned his hair the attention-grabbing scarlet it was now, Jungkook used to force himself to go to the Great Hall to eat breakfast before he cast the notice-me-not charm for the day. There were two reasons for this.

Reason number one: it benefited him to cast the charm later in the day, rather than earlier.  The spell stone limited him to one spell a day, and the more attention the charm had to divert that day, the quicker it wore off. 

Reason number two: being visible for breakfast was a necessity to pick up mail. Owls wouldn't be able to find him if he was charm-hidden. 

Jungkook didn't get a lot of mail, which a part of him was quietly grateful for. The only person to ever mail him was his grandmother who always got extremely tetchy when he dawdled in his replies. He tried not to get on her bad side, but it was hard not to when he was the sole remaining heir and everything he seemed to do was wrong. 

It wasn't as if she had anyone else to torture either. Jungkook and his grandmother were the only living members of the family not locked behind bars. 

"...Centuries of magical blood running through our veins. You hear me, boy? Centuries. And for what... half my children rotting six feet under and the other half  begging for the same release behind bars." 

She took a long pull of her goblet to hide the trembling in her hands. 

"We've been had, by a mudblooded maniac. Take this as a lesson, Jungkook. Never trust those mud-crawling worms. They're filth... an abomination on this earth." 

Her anger over the results of the War had only festered over the years to become the bitter rotted thing it was today. Jungkook tried his best to keep out of its path but sometimes he screwed up and it was unavoidable. 

Like now. 

Jungkook bit his lip at the letter he held in his hands. He had come up to the Owlery to check if he received any mail, and sure enough he found that his grandmother sent him a letter. Since Jungkook had been skipping meals because of his hair, the letter could have been a day old or weeks old. Jungkook was afraid to find out which. 

He should have known better. After all, it was autumn all over again. Any day now his family name would be plastered across the front page of the Daily Prophet, courtesy of his grandmother. 

Jungkook wasn't looking forward to it. It was a little hard to keep a low profile when the news kept reminding everyone how his entire family was made up of war criminals. At the very least, he hoped his picture would be kept out of the article this time. He hadn't seen any reporters lurking around Hogwarts but maybe they were just biding their time.

Suddenly, Jungkook had the horrifying thought of Taehyung finding his picture in the news and accidentally crumpled the letter between his clenched hands. He tried to spell away the wrinkles and gave up when he couldn't muster the concentration to do it properly. 

Taehyung dragged Jungkook around, turned his hair red, cajoled him to ditch class and got him drunk on butterbeer and witch's brew before lunchtime. No matter which way you looked at it, Taehyung was a horrible influence on him. And yet, he was probably Jungkook's only real friend. 

Jungkook felt like swimming in a tub of flesh-eating slugs when he thought about the Ravenclaw finding out his real identity and ditching him for someone with a little less Death Eater in his blood. 

Because that was what it always came down to, wasn't it? Blood. 

With dread cooling in his gut, Jungkook broke the wax seal on the envelope and hoped for the best. 

.

.

"You what?"

The chocolate frog that Jimin was about to eat jumped out of his mouth, using his dropped jaw as a springing board. With one limp leg from where his fingers had pressed, it fell with a splat on the ground and weakly crawled for as long as its animation charm held. 

"I want to ask Kookie to the Hallowe'en Ball." 

"That's what I thought you said," Jimin said morosely, gazing down at his struggling chocolate frog. Taehyung picked up the frog, brushed off the specks from the floor and popped the thing whole into his mouth. He smirked with chocolate-stained teeth at Jimin's disgusted look. 

"You shouldn't be eating sweets before breakfast anyways." 

"Look who's talking."

"It's called self-sacrifice, Jiminnie." 

Jimin kicked him in the shin, or he would have if the Ravenclaw wasn't strangely agile for someone who didn't play any sports and who largely subsisted on bacon and treacle tarts. 

"So it's like that with you guys? Will that be okay?" Jimin asked with a concerned side-eye. "With your parents, I mean." 

It took a long blank-faced moment for Taehyung to realize what Jimin was getting at, and when he did his eyebrows disappeared in his tangerine bangs. Jimin nearly shrieked when Taehyung lunged for him. 

The Ravenclaw planted two hands on Jimin's shoulders and shook him like a rag doll. "Are Muggles against same-sex coupling?" Taehyung demanded, and at Jimin's panicked glance around them he released him with a yell, "They are! I had no idea!" 

"Keep walking," Jimin moaned and pushed Taehyung along so people would stop staring at them. "It's not that all Muggles are against it," he defended, voice lowered discreetly. "It's just not as common as here. I saw Amber-noona making out with that tall girl from your house that can do that body pretzel thing―and no one seemed to blink." 

"This explains alot though," Taehyung said with a rub of his chin, "I really need to take more Muggle Studies classes." 

"Anyways," Jimin cut in, narrowing his eyes slightly, "I don't care about it, but I didn't think you were into guys. We've known each other since we were first years and you never mentioned liking any guys at all! I thought we were friends, Tae." 

"I didn't think I was into the brawnier sex!" Taehyung threw back, spreading his hands out in concession. "I thought I was just witch-oriented. But then Kookie sauntered in with his big Puffskein eyes and pouty lips and there was sweets and Butterbeer―he's such a lightweight it's adorable, I'll take a picture next time. And Merlin he knows every Arctic Mermaids song in existence―"

Open-mouthed, Jimin followed Taehyung's rambling until it petered out to one last exhale of, "I think I have been converted to Kookie-sexuality."

Jimin gulped down the reflexive hysterical giggle that crawled up his throat because Taehyung looked serious and there was a tenderness to his features that Jimin knew was meant for this mysterious Kookie kid. 

He looked, Jimin thought with no little horror, like he was in love. 

As Taehyung's best friend he knew he should have some sort of wisdom to pass on, like advice on how to ask his crush out to the Hallowe'en Ball, or at least a warning on taking things a little slower because it'd only been a month for pete's sake, there shouldn't be hearts in Taehyung's eyes that foreshadowed wedding bells and matching bridal suits.

His best friend powers were coming up short though. Jimin could only think of all the things that would go wrong, like―

"What if this kid isn't even into wizards?" As soon as the words left his mouth,  Jimin felt guilty for bringing it up. 

Taehyung gave a sad sort of shrug and looked away. "He probably isn't. Most traditionalists aren't."

"That's dumb," Jimin said, scowling automatically on his friend's behalf. "Is it because two guys can't have kids?" 

To Jimin's surprise, Taehyung shook his head. "Nah, that's not an issue since we have brew babies. It's just that old pure-bloods don't believe the magic flows―"

"Wait, wait, wait," Jimin threw up a hand before he could go any farther, "What do you mean brew babies?" 

Taehyung opened his mouth to explain when his eyes locked in on something ahead of them like a homing missile and he fell silent. Jimin followed his gaze to what looked like an argument among a group of students. 

The other students in the hall seemed unconcerned so Jimin didn't think it was anything to worry about until wands were whipped out almost simultaneously and one of the girls in the group was knocked back by a hex straight to the chest.

The way the others advanced on her with their wands poised made Jimin's blood chill in his veins. The movement of Taehyung leaping forward in his peripheral spurred Jimin into jumping after him. As he ran, he pulled out his own wand. 

The girl that had been knocked down was being helped up by another who was swearing viciously at the boys surrounding them. One of them shut her up with a spell that made her gasp and slap a hand over her mouth. In just a couple seconds, huge beaver teeth extended past her hand and kept growing. 

"Hey troll arses!" Taehyung shouted at the same time Jimin cast out sponge-knees curses at the two attackers closest to them. Only one of the curses hit its target, who flailed his arms for balance before spilling across the floor. 

Taken off guard by Jimin's offense, the other two students ran for it, calling back jeers. Jimin thought that would be the end of it but when he slowed down to a stop beside the girls, Taehyung sprinted right past him after the retreating students.

"Tae!

"That guy picked up my wand," coughed the fallen girl, hand pressed to her chest like she was afraid her heart would drop out. Her face was pinched in a mixture of pain and outrage. "He took my wand!" 

That must've been what Taehyung saw, Jimin immediately understood.

"Don't worry, my friend will get it back for you," he reassured, but neither of the girls seemed to be particularly convinced. The fallen girl ignored Jimin's hand when he offered to help her up. 

The girls were Slytherins that looked around his age but Jimin didn't recognize either of them. The hexed one was getting a little teary as she tried in vain to undo the spell on herself around the newly enlarged teeth in her mouth. The other girl had gotten up by herself and was verbally lashing at the boy that Jimin had downed with his curse. 

To Jimin's dismay, it was a student from his own house. He was younger, which was probably why he didn't know the counter spell to the curse and was still struggling to get to his feet. 

Before Jimin could figure out whether to help the girls to the hospital wing or go after Taehyung, another Slytherin, with bushy hair and a face like a storm cloud, strode onto the scene. 

"What's going on here?" he thundered, looking first at the two Slytherin girls, at the sponge-kneed Gryffindor and then at Jimin in quick succession. 

Jimin was too busy staring at the Head Boy badge on his chest to answer.

Were the Head Boy badges always multicolored? 

.

.

Hoseok blinked when a large snowy owl fluttered down to fight his family owl for the bacon on his plate. 

"Good morning, Agust," Hoseok greeted, smiling when the owl hooted blandly at him, just as unsociable as his owner. "You couldn't find Suga-hyung at the table again?" 

Even the bob of his head looked like Yoongi's dry shrug. Hoseok laughed. He tried to pat its nape which was speckled like coal sprinkled over snow, but the owl dodged him easily. 

"I'll take whatever you have for him, if you'd like," Hoseok offered, redundantly, because he knew there was no other reason the owl would be before him now.

As if the assurance was the last thing the owl needed, the claw-marked letter was promptly dropped in front of him, face up so that the familiar wax seal was recognizable. 

Hoseok immediately hissed. A letter from Yoongi's parents never meant anything good. He held it up gingerly like it might blow up in his face like exploding snap. He had expected the letter to be from Yoongi's brother, who Yoongi had been keeping cautious contact with for the past year. He couldn't remember the last time Yoongi's parents had mailed him―perhaps three years ago when he had almost been sent to Azkaban for attacking another student? 

No...they had shown up in person then, which was infinitely worse. 

Hoseok tucked the letter into his robes and resolved to find Yoongi sometime that day to give it to him. Maybe after his classes were over since he would be in a black mood afterwards. 

Wait. Hoseok stopped and groaned.

He had Quidditch practice today after classes, and he really didn't relish the idea of delivering the letter while he was sweaty and exhausted. Especially since Hoseok had been looking forward to practicing longer by himself. 

Hoseok let the still bickering owls squabble over the rest of his plate and left for the Slytherin dungeons. Might as well drop off the letter now before his first class, he figured. 

.

Namjoon adjusted his tie as he speed-walked down the main corridor leading from the headmistress' office. 

Well, he thought to himself, that was definitely one of the most uncomfortable conversations he'd ever had in his life. He didn't necessarily hate the headmistress but there was definitely no lost love between the two of them. 

She knew (aka, highly suspected) that Namjoon was behind a number of incidents at the school. In return, he (not so secretly) disdained her inaction when it came to student conflicts. 

In trying to keep herself a neutral party among the houses, she ended up doing nothing at all, which was maddening to Namjoon. Didn't she see how the younger Slytherins were being pushed around, in class and out? Or notice how students from the most infamous Death Eater families (like Jungkook's) were routinely harassed unless they made themselves near invisible among their peers?

It was because of such useless authority figures that Namjoon had to take matters into his own hands years ago. Hoseok didn't approve of Namjoon's reasoning, but then, he didn't understand what it was like to have every other person at this school look at you and wonder which one of your family members killed theirs. 

Yoongi approved only because he had walked into Hogwarts thinking he would only ever be on one side: his own. Though that obviously hadn't worked out the way he planned, Yoongi still trusted the professors about as far as he could throw them. 

Namjoon knew he should go find Chaerin now that he had proof in the form of a four-colored badge that Seokjin wasn't full of hippogriff dung about the house integration thing, but arguing with her again was the last thing he wanted to do after seeing the headmistress. Plus, he wasn't sure he wanted to be flashing around his new Head Boy badge right away. 

To his great chagrin, he found himself doing that much sooner than expected. Mere minutes after he left the headmistress' office, Namjoon walked in on the end results of a sloppy quarrel. 

The two Slytherin girls were incapacitated so Namjoon took them to the hospital wing after he took care of the snot of a Gryffindor responsible for their injuries. The other Gryffindor (apparently not his accomplice, according to the girls) came along and even helped console the hexed girl whose front teeth hung past her chin. It must have been a different form of the Densaugeo spell because the shrinking charm Namjoon tried to use to counteract it didn't work. 

"Thanks," Namjoon said gruffly after the girls went in. 

"For what?" The Gryffindor's confusion seemed genuine and Namjoon's stern composure cracked to allow a small smile. 

"That thing you did, talking Yerin down from a panic attack."

"Oh, that was nothing," the Gryffindor brushed off sheepishly. 

"It wasn't," Namjoon said. "If she started crying I know I wouldn't have been able to calm her down. Hell, I probably would have made her cry more."

At his candor, Gryffindor gave a surprised laugh. It was short but genuine, and like a bubble popping the tension between them eased. 

"Like the way you did with that kid?" the Gryffindor said with laughter still in his eyes. "I think he regretted asking me to undo the curse on him since then he would've had an excuse to stay on the floor while you loomed and knocked off a bajillion points from our house." 

His amused tone didn't seem to ask any apology from Namjoon for the point deduction, even though it was much larger than the deduction from his own house. That was fortunate, because Namjoon didn't regret taking more points from Gryffindor than Slytherin. If the girls were telling the truth, they had been outnumbered three to two and the Gryffindors had hit first. 

Seokjin would be proud of him for his objectivity, Namjoon thought wryly. Then he grimaced at himself for thinking he needed the Ravenclaw's approval. He was getting soft. 

Namjoon coughed gruffly. "The girls said they were discussing bloodlines when that Gryffindor punk and his friends overheard and decided to pick a fight. Knowing how loud-mouthed both Yerin and Jimin are, I'm sure it wasn't as cut and dry as that. But still, they didn't deserve that treatment. They probably didn't understand half the things they were saying. Since they're Muggle-born." 

Namjoon snorted when the Gryffindor looked as if he had poked him in the side with his wand. 

"You seriously couldn't tell by the beanie or the Hello Kitty hair clips they had on?" 

The Gryffindor sputtered like he wasn't sure whether he was supposed to be offended before the dots in his fluffy head finally connected. He exclaimed, "You're Muggle-born!"

"Now he gets it," said the Slytherin. Deliberately, he glanced down at his companion's shoes. 

"Sweet kicks by the way." 

 .

 .

With the help of a few leg-locking spells and a Hufflepuff's accidental interference, Taehyung retrieved the wand he'd been hunting down. 

High with triumph, he Accio'ed the wand and tucked it into his robes to return later. A little apart from the pile of groaning Gryffindors was the Hufflepuff who was shakily getting to his feet, and Taehyung hurried forward to lend a hand. 

"Hey, thanks for your help," he said cheerily. 

"Uh huh?" 

"For getting in the way."

Literally, Taehyung inwardly snickered. The Hufflepuff had been walking away when the Gryffindors rounded the corner and hurdled straight into him. 

"Ah sure, that's me I guess. Always in the right place at the right time," the Hufflepuff said wryly. They both winced when he straightened and his back cracked audibly.

"...Or the wrong place." 

When he turned his head the right way, Taehyung recognized his profile from the game he'd seen last week and pointed a finger. 

"You're J-hope," he blurted. The Hufflepuff just casually smiled in return. 

He must have been used to being called out in the middle of the hall, considering how many World Cups his father had flown in.

"In the flesh," said Jung Hoseok, just as Taehyung finished with, "Jimin told me you were keeping him from failing Charms."

Hoseok raised his eyebrows then and looked at Taehyung hard. "Jimin's friend Taehyung," he recalled and gave him a rueful look. "I almost forgot. Your hair was brown when I saw you last." 

"Crashing the tutoring session because Jimin forgot to give me back my class notes," Taehyung shrugged and grinned. "Nice to see you, J-hope-hyung." 

"...You too, Taehyung," Hoseok returned after a dubious glance at the collapsed Gryffindors a little ways away. 

After he secured a promise from Taehyung to tell Jimin he was going to be late to the next tutoring session this weekend because his team had double practices, Hoseok took his leave. From the way he started jogging, he must have been late to class. He quickly disappeared under Taehyung's curious gaze. 

The Ravenclaw was about to head off himself to find Jimin and return the Slytherin girl's wand when he noticed a thick piece of paper lying on the ground. He picked it up and turned it over. It was an envelope with a purple blob of a wax seal. 

He squinted at the seal. For some reason, it looked familiar, though he knew there weren't any blood relations between his family and Hoseok's. 

Careful not to crumple it, he put the letter away in one of his robe pockets. He would give it to Jimin so he could get it back to Hoseok at their next tutoring session. 

.

.

As per usual, Yoongi woke up that day, late and with his quill stuck to his cheek. He looked around and cursed. 

"Mornin', sleepin' beauty. Or rather, good afternoon," his mirror told him cheekily as he got up from his desk.

It was leering as much as its ornate metal design would let it, which was Namjoon's fault as usual. Yoongi's mirror used to be very polite until his troll-footed roommate had accidentally knocked it down and shattered the mirror face into a dozen pieces. Reparo fixed everything but the mirror's genial personality. By now they had given up on trying to make it be less greasy. 

"Shut it, scrap metal," Yoongi said wearily as he pulled on a clean shirt and jammed on a beanie over his messy hair. He judged how late he was by the lightness of his room. 

"Aww don't play so hard to get, darlin'!" Yoongi slammed the door behind him on the way out.

He was passing through the common room when Jungkook slipped through the entrance, looking like hell. 

"Hey, hyung," Jungkook greeted colorlessly. He looked like he'd just spent the last hour getting drained by a vampire. 

Ordinarily, Yoongi would have told him that. He would have poked and prodded until Jungkook fessed up to what was bothering him. He might have even shot a cheering charm or two when the boy wasn't looking. 

Now, Yoongi wasn't sure how to treat Jungkook. Ever since the conversation with Hoseok the other day, he'd been questioning his own motives for the overprotective streak that came out around the other Slytherin. It was easy to act like Jungkook was his little brother, but how much of that was because he genuinely liked the kid and how much was because of guilt over Yoseob?

He could taste it at the back of his throat sometimes, threatening to burst out. It made him sick; this putrid, rotting guilt over what he'd done and what he'd put them both through. The fact that he could see that guilt echoed in the younger boy made it so much worse. 

After all, how could Jungkook ever hope to absolve himself of his own crimes if Yoongi couldn't do the same? 

Torn, Yoongi patted Jungkook on the shoulder as he passed and told him to get some sleep. Then he sped out of there like the coward he was. 

"You look like crap," Jimin told him when he showed up, late but present. 

"Thanks," Yoongi said sardonically as he took the shovel Jimin handed him. He huffed a laugh when the boy sputtered an apology, pink to his ears. 

It was a good thing he hadn't slept any longer than he did. Skipping classes was one thing, but skipping detentions could multiply the amount of detentions he had overall. Yoongi had learned that the hard way. 

Their job this time was to work on the groundskeeper's pumpkin patch. Besides hand picking all the pumpkins and rolling them out of the way, they had to lay out fresh soil and plant seeds for the next week's crop. No wands, of course. 

Without magic, it was exhausting, thankless work, and Yoongi swiftly tired of it.

As soon as the groundskeeper left for his Care of Magical Creatures class, Yoongi narrowed his eyes at the nearest cut pumpkin, aimed his pointer finger like a wand and felt for the magic inside him. 

Swish and flick. "Wingardium Leviosa!

The pumpkin shifted once before slowly rising in the air and Yoongi carefully directed it to the pile of other harvested pumpkins outside the fenced patch. After he finished, a yelp from Jimin made him look over and chuckle.

Jimin's pumpkin had rolled back on his foot while he had been distracted by Yoongi's casting. Jimin was hissing, hopping on one foot and over all looking so pathetic that Yoongi laughed again. 

The sound caught Jimin's attention, who looked up and asked with no little awe, "You can use wandless magic?" 

"Oh, is that what this looks like?" Yoongi's voice was liquid sarcasm as he levitated the next pumpkin to the pile. "Keep cutting the pumpkins off their stems," he ordered lazily, "I'll take care of the rest." 

Dumbly, Jimin did as he was told and left Yoongi to concentrate on his spell work. 

"This is amazing," Jimin whispered as they were looking over the huge pile he had made when he finished. 

Yoongi didn't have the breath to answer, but he appreciated the sentiment all the same. He mopped at his forehead with his beanie and regarded the accumulated sweat stains with disgust. This is why he didn't do manual labor. 

When he looked up, Jimin was watching him curiously. Yoongi raised an eyebrow and Jimin asked, "Why use wandless magic if it's so difficult? You look exhausted." 

"Wandless magic is tough, but it gets easier with practice. And it's still easier than doing all this slave labor by hand. I'm not a house elf. Nor do I have those pretty muscles you have," Yoongi said with a nod at Jimin's bare arms. 

The Gryffindor reddened so quickly Yoongi was afraid he'd insulted him.

With a grimace at the sweat stains, Yoongi pulled his beanie on again. They still had alot of work to do, which was what he was about to tell Jimin when the boy spoke. 

"You wear a lot of beanies." Yoongi pulled up his shovel and paused.

"What does that have to do with anything?" 

Jimin shook his head, a tiny enigmatic smile light on his lips.  

"Nothing. Let's get back to work," he suggested. 

.

.

Taehyung, head propped by a fist under his chin, watched the boy fingering his food across from him and wondered what had changed in the three days since he'd last seen him.

It was the weekend so they were eating by the lake just like they had the first time he had dragged Kookie out for a meal. The air was starting to bite, All Hallow's Eve fast approaching, but that didn't seem to bother the Slytherin. When Taehyung asked, he had requested eating outside as usual. 

So, here they were. 

Kookie hadn't given more than one-word answers since they had sat down. It was driving Taehyung mad. 

"Didn't sleep well?" Taehyung asked, observing the near perpetual dark circles Kookie had. It wasn't just his imagination; they were deeper. 

"No," Kookie shook his head. He gave up on pretending to be interested in the palm-sized meat pie Taehyung had brought out, and took a sip from the flask of pumpkin juice instead. 

I never sleep well, replied Taehyung's mental Kookie.

"You should get a dreamless sleep potion from the infirmary," Taehyung advised and frowned when Kookie just nodded. 

It's not dreams that are bothering me. I can't sleep at night because I stay up thinking of you, said mental Kookie. 

Taehyung wondered if it was even worth asking Kookie to the Ball right now. He used his finger to dab up the crumbs left from his pie. He would ask Kookie what was wrong if it weren't likely that he would lie again. 

He was such a terrible liar too. Even if his steady voice was convincing, his eyes would drop down like he was trying to prevent anyone from seeing the lie reflected in them. 

Well, it was now or never. 

"Hey, so, who are you going to the Hallowe'en Ball with?" Taehyung asked casually. 

Kookie raised his eyes from the uneaten pie he was half-heartedly poking at and lowered them again. 

"I'm not going," he muttered. 

Because I don't know how to dance. Teach me please? 

"Why not?" Taehyung leaned forward. "Is it because you don't have a date? That's alright, I don't either. I'm probably going to go with Jimin, perpetual bachelors that we are." 

There was that little wrinkle between Kookie's brows but Taehyung couldn't lose his nerve now. 

"You could go with us, you know," Taehyung blurted and hoped his nervousness didn't show as much as it felt. "Just as friends hahaha. And you could finally meet Jimin! He's probably getting sick of hearing me talk about you." 

That got the Slytherin's attention, but not in the good way. 

"You talk to other people about me?

The aghast tone made Taehyung immediately jump to reassure him, "Just with Jimin, you know, since I tell him everything. He's my best friend and he always slugs me in the arm or something when he finds out I lied to him. You wouldn't think he could pack a punch since he's like a dwarf but it bloody hurts."  

Kookie didn't seem to realize he was crushing the pie in his hand until Taehyung grabbed his hand and peeled his fingers off it. 

"Sorry...I'm just kind of on edge lately."

"Don't apologize," Taehyung said, watching as Kookie wiped his hand down. "I could tell you're out of it. Maybe we shouldn't have met up today...."

Kookie shook his head. "No, I wanted to see you today. Since―" 

He bit his tongue, which was a shame. Taehyung urged him to go on with his eyes. 

Kookie stared back at him and switched gears. "I'll go to the Ball with you," he said, making the Ravenclaw's breath punch out of his lungs. "And Jimin," Kookie added hastily, ears blushing charmingly. 

"If you still want me to next week." 

"Of course I will," Taehyung replied, grin stretched ear to ear. Like there was any way he'd change his mind.

"This is going to be brilliant!" 

Excited as he was, Taehyung didn't notice the melancholic set to Kookie's shoulders, nor how his responding smile never reached his eyes. 

.

.

Taehyung dropped the letter while he was trying to climb one of the trees to check for Snorkacks, whatever those were. Jungkook was about to draw his attention to it when he noticed the violet wax seal and his voice choked off. 

His eyes went wide, and when Taehyung called down to him he instinctively shoved the envelope into his robes. Which was a stupid move because once Taehyung noticed it was missing he would know Jungkook took it.

When Taehyung wasn't looking, Jungkook double-checked the letter to make sure he hadn't mistaken. 

Yes, without a doubt, that was Yoongi-hyung's family seal. What had Taehyung been doing with it?

 

Chapter Text

"I heard Ed Sheerwand might be coming! And Red Cap for Cutie is going to be the main band. I'm so excited. I mean, to be honest, I like Maroon Firedragon better than RCC but how many times can they visit Hogwarts right?"

A nervous giggle was accompanied by a sneak peek beneath extremely dark, thick lashes.

Seokjin tried to return the smile and hoped it didn't look as awkward as he felt. It wasn't that he wasn't flattered. Jung Eunji was as attractive as she was stubborn with her gorgeously wide smiles and crescent-eyed laughs. It was just that he hadn't been planning on taking anyone to the Hallowe'en Ball since he would be one of the chaperones. 

Also, he had tutored Eunji the previous year. It was difficult for him to see her as anything more than a younger-sister type of underclassman. Not that he would tell her that. 

The younger Ravenclaw was definitely disappointed by his careful rejection, and Seokjin inwardly winced as she blinked rapidly and walked away at a brisk pace. A group of watching Ravenclaw girls tittered and drew her into their fold with sympathetic sounds. 

"Well, aren't you popular?" Seokjin turned to see Namjoon approaching from the side, wand somersaulting over and over his knuckles. 

He pursed his lips at the Slytherin, unamused. "I'm sure you've gotten quite a few people asking you to the Ball as well, since you're both Slytherin Head Boy and Quidditch Captain," he said dryly. 

"Not just Slytherin Head Boy anymore," Namjoon corrected with a flick at his badge. "Just one patrol with you and a few days later I'm being called up to the Headmistress' office to switch out my nice green badge for this gaudy rainbow thing. I'm just two colors away from LGBT pride status." 

He wasn't smiling exactly but the tilt to one side of his mouth and the light tone said the Slytherin was in a better temperament than usual for their patrol. Too bad Seokjin was utterly lost.

"What pride?" 

"Nothing, forget it," Namjoon muttered, dropping the subject. He led the way down a main hall as Seokjin followed and mentally kicked himself for ruining the mood. 

As this was their sixth time patrolling together, they naturally fell into step with each other, Namjoon to the left, Seokjin to the right. They didn't take up that much space in the wide main halls of the school, but it felt like it the way students parted around them to let them pass. 

It gave Seokjin a secret thrill that everyone could see them patrolling together as a united front the way he had planned. He was still having trouble organizing joint patrols with the other Head Boys and Girls, but just the fact that he had gotten Namjoon on board was a huge personal victory. Even now, their Head Boy badges were drawing gazes. Though Namjoon didn't think it was doing any good Seokjin knew it was. 

Let them see the Head Boys working together, he thought with satisfaction. Not everything had to stop at house lines. 

"Chaerin-noona!" Namjoon called, startling Seokjin out of his musing.

His gaze jerked over to where Namjoon was saluting, one hand in the air, at the Slytherin Head Girl who had been walking away from them in a small crowd of students, presumably on her way to class by the timetable in her hand. 

She was a lithe girl with hair as long, straight and pale as the bristles of his broomstick and a chilliness to her demeanor that Seokjin thought was meant for him until her eyes slid over to him and went even colder. A shiver went up Seokjin's back like he'd been hit by a freezing charm. 

"Yeah, so, I might have told Chaerin-noona about you," Namjoon relayed under his breath with faux nonchalance. 

"Did you tell her I was a unicorn-hunter in my free time? Maybe that I also kick orphans and puppies between classes?" Seokjin muttered back, trying to keep the irritation off his face so the Head Girl wouldn't think it was meant for her. 

Namjoon coughed like he was trying hold back a laugh and when Seokjin glanced over he looked like he was biting his cheek. "That would probably make her respect you more to be truthful," Namjoon said wryly. 

Slytherins, Seokjin thought with an eye roll up at the ceiling.

To his amazement, Namjoon swiftly shot back, "Ravenclaws," in the same disdainful tone, and Seokjin colored to realize he had spoken aloud without noticing. He was still faintly pink when they caught up with Chaerin and her companions. 

"What's up, Namjoonie?" Chaerin said in a surprisingly friendly manner. She hooked her arm around him in a quick greeting hug; Seokjin, she ignored entirely. 

Of her entourage was Kim Kibum, who bit his lip like he found something funny about the Head Boys, another Slytherin girl who seemed too preoccupied with her planner to bother with them, and to Seokjin's bemusement, a younger Gryffindor girl who was impatiently tapping her foot as she waited for Chaerin to finish pleasantries. 

At the Gryffindor's obviousness, Chaerin snorted and motioned for them to go on ahead as she followed at a more sedate pace with her arm around Namjoon's waist. The intimacy took Seokjin off guard, but Namjoon didn't seem to blink.

"This is Seokjin-hyung," Namjoon introduced with a wave in his direction. Seokjin felt a bit like a store display in Diagon Alley. "I told you he was trying to set up joint patrols with the rest of the houses, remember? Are you still thinking about it, noona?" 

Chaerin laughed lightly. "Ahhh, you're cute, Namjoon. 'Still thinking about it'. You know I've already thought about it. And my answer was no," she said with a squeeze of the arm around Namjoon, which could have been wordless comfort or a subtle threat. 

Seokjin deflated at Namjoon's other side. He was about to interject when the Slytherin gave him a quick glance and an infinitesimal shake of the head that said, let me take care of this

Who was he to argue? Seokjin might as well have been expired newt eyes for all Chaerin considered him.

With a chagrined grimace at Namjoon, he obligingly fell back a few steps so the two Slytherins could converse more privately. 

With half an ear on their conversation and half on the morning chatter of the other students in the hall, Seokjin walked absentmindedly, his gaze not focused on anything in particular. It was a mystery if he ever would have noticed the newspapers being waved about him if he hadn't accidentally stepped on one a student dropped in passing. 

"Hmm?" He pulled back his foot and bent over to pick the newspaper up. His movement stuttered to a stop when he saw the cover photo he had stepped on, footprint smear and all. He recognized the little figure peeking into the photo frame. Slowly, his eyes moved up the paper to confirm. 

"I see it's that time of year again," Seokjin murmured, gaze lingering on the headline. He hadn't bothered to wait for the owl mail drop that morning so he must have missed the paper at breakfast. 

When he checked the photo again, the figure within the frame had cautiously walked back into view and was looking around him in a guarded fashion, just as skittish as the actual wizard whose photo had been captured. 

Seokjin folded the paper under his arm before he hurried to catch up with Namjoon and Chaerin, neither of whom having noticed his delay. He didn't need to read the paper right at that moment to know what it would say. Everyone knew that the Wizengamot opened its court of appeals for Azkaban prisoners every autumn.  

If Jungkook's face was on the cover, then there was no doubt that the Jeon family was once again leading the charge against the wizarding court. 

.

.

Everyone stared when Jimin gagged on his oatmeal and started hacking coughs over the Gryffindor table.

"Ew," said Kim Yura emphatically before she pointed her wand and vanished the oatmeal specks in her immediate area.

The girl seated to her right blinked. "Seriously? You're seriously just―?" Bang Minah huffed and finished vanishing the rest of the oatmeal mess on the table. "Next time just get rid of all of it, not just the bits around you!" she scolded as the taller Gryffindor grinned sheepishly. 

"Sorry about that!" Jimin apologized, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand in case he had drool hanging. He flushed guiltily when Yura narrowed her eyes at him over Minah's shoulder and made an 'I'm watching you' gesture with two fingers in a v-sign. He waved the newspaper in his hand in defense. "I just got a little surprised by the news." 

Byun Baekhyun, next to Chanyeol who was surreptitiously trying to levitate his and Kim Jongdae's bacon from their plates, pitched in, "I don't blame you, that's some flaming hair on the Jeon kid. I took him more for a black-as-my-soul kinda guy." 

"Yeah, for real," Jimin agreed, tone going vague as he looked down at the paper again. 

Below the headline title that read, JEON FAMILY HEAD TO TACKLE WIZENGAMOT COURT RULING YET AGAIN, was a photo of a familiar red-haired figure throwing suspicious glances around him before striding swiftly out of the panel. Under Jimin's stare, the photographed figure poked its head back into view and re-entered the frame with a frigid set to his face like he was being forced at wandpoint. 

It was that Slytherin that Jimin had run into at the Quidditch locker rooms with the too-big nose, too-big front teeth and snooty pure-blood way of talking down to him. The Slytherin that was also apparently Jeon Jungkook. 

Jimin was suddenly intensely grateful that his mother made him sign up for the Daily Prophet newspaper. Who knew how long he could have gone not knowing that the random kid he marked as a Quidditch rival was actually the school's most infamous Death Eater spawn? Jimin had seen his photo in the paper before, and yet, between the red hair and Jimin's spotty memory, he hadn't recognized him in person.

Chills ran up Jimin's arms and he rubbed them under his robe sleeves. 

Students like Jungkook were raised by people that wanted Muggle-borns like Jimin dead. He felt like he had narrowly dodged a bullet. 

"Hey, Tae," Jimin called, swiveling around in his seat to face the Ravenclaw table. "Did you see the news...?" He trailed off as he realized the spot where Taehyung had been sitting directly behind him was empty. 

"He was right here!" Jimin wailed. 

.

.

Taehyung flat-out sprinted from the Great Hall with the newspaper he'd swiped from the student sitting next to him crushed in his fist. He hadn't seen Kookie at the Slytherin table so he must have been skipping breakfast as usual, either still in bed or already on his way to class. 

That was good, Taehyung decided. This day's Daily Prophet had been everywhere. He didn't imagine that was pleasant for Kookie―no, Jungkook, who valued his privacy more than any other witch or wizard Taehyung knew. 

Taehyung was still mentally chewing on the information that he had received this morning. It was a lot to swallow. 

The Slytherin never talked about his family with Taehyung. He hadn't even mentioned them. Taehyung hadn't pressed him, because family could be a sore topic among wizards, but that didn't stop him from wondering why the younger boy was so close-mouthed about it. 

If Kookie was a Jeon, it explained everything. 

The Jeon family appealed to the Wizengamot to release its war criminal family members from Azkaban almost every year. Famous for stubbornly, repeatedly fighting the Wizengamot's appellate court on the rulings since the end of the War, and for the fact that they had the backing of nearly every pure-blood family that was on You-Know-Who's side, the Jeons had become the face of the ex-Death-Eaters. 

Or rather, just one Jeon had. Taehyung had grown up seeing Jungkook's face blinking back at him from the Daily Prophet, which focused on the boy every time the Jeon family tried to appeal. He could recall a stern-lipped old woman alongside him, but as a child Taehyung found the other boy and his quiet, solemn-eyed gaze more memorable. 

Photographs of the unsmiling boy in courtroom settings, formal robes dragging him down, accompanied such headlines as: 

MORE JEON LOSSES AT WIZENGAMOT COURT OF APPEALS

MINISTRY OF MAGIC VS. JEON FAMILY, REMATCH

WIZENGAMOT STRIKES DOWN APPEALS FOR JEON WAR CRIMINALS

The notice-me-not charm, the queer vigilance around other students, the twitchiness when Taehyung hugged him like he wasn't used to that friendly intimacy―it all made so much sense now. Taehyung felt blind that he hadn't noticed the clues before. 

Kookie was Jungkook, the Jeon family's poster child. No wonder he wanted to hide so badly. It was near impossible for him to when most of the wizarding world already knew what he looked like. 

Taehyung reached the Slytherin dungeons in record time. When the entrance portrait refused to let him in, he banged on the fiercely protesting portrait until someone finally opened the door and told him where Jungkook's year had their morning classes. 

Care of Magical Creatures. If Taehyung hurried he could get there before the class started. He didn't know why exactly he needed to see Jungkook right at that moment; he just knew that the urgency thrumming in his blood wouldn't let him rest until he did. 

The class was already assembled out on the castle grounds by the time Taehyung ran into view, but luckily for him it hadn't begun yet. The groundskeeper/professor was still busy setting up at the front of the loose crowd of Hufflepuffs and Slytherins. 

It took approximately four and a half minutes for Taehyung to determine that Jungkook wasn't in the crowd, and curious looks were starting to draw to the random older Ravenclaw snooping through the class. Dejected, Taehyung began to head back to the dungeons, suspecting he had been sent on a wild goose chase.

He stopped mid-step and backtracked when he caught a snippet from a cluster of Hufflepuffs off to the side, sure that he had heard Jungkook's name.

As Taehyung watched, one of the girls gave an exaggerated shudder and said, "The way he was just standing there and not saying anything was so weird. His eyes are so creepy." 

"Good riddance to Death Eater scum," a boy remarked with a sniff. "Like I'm going to take my lesson with the likes of him." 

"You have to admit though, his new hairdo's not bad to look at. I can't ever do anything like that with my hair," one mused as she fiddled with one of her frizzy curls.

"Seriously, you want that color?" 

"What shade is that anyway?" 

"Dragon-blood red?"

"More like red like the blood of his victims!" 

A shock of scandalized laughter came from the lot and Taehyung decided he had heard enough. He walked over to the group with a single-minded purpose, lips quirking out of habit as heads turned toward him. 

"Hello~ I'm looking for my friend, maybe you could help me find him. He's about my height, red-haired and quiet as a dormouse?" 

Their expressions changed. Taehyung's smile dropped.

.

.

Hoseok was ruminating so heavily on Yoongi's missing letter that he didn't notice Jimin's arrival until the younger boy was waving a hand directly in his face and he broke out of his thoughts. 

"What―oh, Jimin!" Hoseok straightened up in his seat as the Gryffindor pulled the chair around from the desk in front of his and sat down. They were using the emptied Defense Against the Dark Arts room since it was the most suitable for practicing spells. There was a wide space in the front if they needed to stand, and most of the chairs and desks were already scuffed from previous magical accidents. 

"You worried about N.E.W.T.'s, hyung?" Jimin asked, peering at him through his boyish bangs.

Bless him, he actually looked concerned, thought Hoseok with a surge of fondness for the Gryffindor. 

"Not right now exactly. I mean I am," Hoseok admitted with a twist of his lips, "I know it's next spring and everyone thinks I'm being overly cautious about it, but I can't help but worry." 

Before Hoseok could go on, Jimin exclaimed, "You're not being overly cautious, you're just being prepared!" At Hoseok's perturbed look, he coughed and said, "I get it, I mean. I'm getting ready for my O.W.L.'s in the spring too. I can't afford to slack off really, since I'm also failing Charms and barely passing all my other classes right now." 

"On top of Quidditch," Hoseok said understandingly and chuckled as Jimin nodded frantically. "But wait, I thought your year was done with O.W.L.'s." 

Jimin bashfully looked down and scratched at the beat up desk between them as he replied, "Everyone else is except for me. I failed three of my O.W.L.'s last year and now I have to retake them in the spring." 

"Which ones?"

Jimin used his fingers to count them off as he spoke. "Divination, Ancient Runes and Defense Against the Dark Arts. In my defense for DADA, the test was crazy hard. We were the year that had Professor Tablo as the test master." 

"That's right." Hoseok made a sympathetic sound. "Is it true that he made you learn Latin for the O.W.L.'s?" 

"Yeah, so we could 'understand the spells better through language'," Jimin relayed with finger quote signs and a tired look at the memory. 

Hoseok's ensuing laughter pulled a handful of wide grins from the Gryffindor. 

"Oh, that's right, I almost forgot, Taehyung told me that he found a letter of yours, hyung," Jimin remarked, and just like that, all traces of humor on Hoseok disappeared. 

"Where?" He nearly lunged forward in his excitement and Jimin seemed to sense that because he warily leaned back. "Sorry," Hoseok apologized and tried to settle down though his heart was still jumping. "It's just important that I get it back as soon as possible. It's not actually my letter," he explained with a pained expression. "It's my friend's."

Jimin's face dropped, which wasn't a good sign. "Oh...oh no, I'm sorry, Hobi-hyung. Taehyung found the letter and he said he meant to give it to me so I could get it back to you at our last tutoring session but he forgot. And then he lost it over the weekend while he was looking for Snorkacks, which I keep telling him aren't real but now he's convinced that one of them stole the letter!" 

Hoseok felt all the nervous tension leave his body in the worst way. That was it then. He had to tell Yoongi he lost the letter. He drooped in his seat even as he smiled to reassure Jimin, who was starting to look panicked over his reaction. 

"It's fine, don't worry about it Jiminnie," Hoseok repeated gently as Jimin kept pouring apologies for the mishap. "I know it was just an accident, it's alright."

"I don't even know what's up with Taehyung anymore. He's so spacey lately, even more than usual I mean," Jimin revealed in his agitation. 

"Maybe it's classes," Hoseok said out of courtesy more than anything else. He was still busy dreading the fact that he had to tell Yoongi he'd lost a potentially important letter from his family. 

"I think it's because of his crush on some kid named Kookie, but none of his other crushes made him this wacky―"

"Hold on, a crush on who?" Hoseok interrupted. "Did you say cookie?" 

"No, Kookie," Jimin emphasized. "It's a nickname for a Slytherin kid―hey, that's right, maybe you know him, hyung! You hang around the Slytherin table a lot, don't you? Who do you know that's a fifth year, big-eyed, broody and abnormally quiet? That's about all Taehyung would tell me about his crush." 

Hoseok promptly choked on his next breath. 

.

.

Yoongi was curious at the disappointment he felt when he saw someone else instead of Jimin waiting for him in the dusty back end of the library. He had gotten used to the spunky Gryffindor's presence over the last few detentions. He was surprisingly easy to talk to when riled out of his shy silences. Even if Yoongi liked the shyness too. 

Jimin blushed more than any other teenage wizard he knew. It was more endearing than Yoongi would ever admit aloud. 

The boy already working on the book cataloging for their joint detention had his head bent over so he didn't see the approaching Slytherin, nor his slight frown at his hair, which was a shade of orange so bright it ached Yoongi's eyes to look upon it. And he thought Jungkook's hair was bad. 

"Someone's prank gone wrong?" Yoongi asked, making the boy raise his head, quill feather tip in his mouth. He motioned at his hair when all he received was a dumb look. 

Orange-hair spit out the quill feather and answered, "No, I did it myself. On purpose," he clarified, "Though the color was a surprise." He tugged on a bang and simultaneously raised his torso out of the bent position he was in so Yoongi could clearly see the Ravenclaw crest on his chest. 

"I bet," Yoongi said dryly as he sat himself in the chair opposite. "Min Yoongi," he introduced himself succinctly, picking up the other quill and ink pot laid out for him. 

"Kim Taehyung," the Ravenclaw gave in reply. Yoongi thought that would be it, but in his peripheral he noticed the Ravenclaw peering at him and inwardly sighed.

"What?" 

Taehyung didn't seem to be perturbed by his testy tone and shook his head. "I was just thinking you don't seem as scary as you usually do up close," he said blithely, turning back to the cataloging. 

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at his bluntness, unsure if he found it refreshing or irritating. 

"You don't find my eye bags terrifying? I'm hurt," Yoongi quipped, to which Taehyung laughed, loud and bright as his hair. 

He seemed like an okay kid, if a little air-headed. Like Jimin, he didn't seem to be bothered by Yoongi's reticence, and throughout the detention period, kept up the idle, one-sided chatter by himself with just a few audible cues from Yoongi in the form of grunts. 

After detailing his exact opinion on the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor which summed up to, "At least he doesn't force us to learn Latin like Professor Tablo did,"―Yoongi looked suitably boggled at that―Taehyung started complaining about the fact that he had to serve double detentions that day. 

That actually piqued Yoongi's interest enough to question about it. "You some kind of delinquent?" 

"Those Hufflepuffs had it coming," Taehyung declared, which explained...next to nothing. 

Yoongi blinked deliberately to release some of the stress between his brows. "So, you're in two detentions for blasting a bunch of Hufflepuffs," he concluded. 

"Close enough, I only gave them some warts," Taehyung corrected and then paused. "Pus-filled warts, that is." 

"Not bad," said Yoongi approvingly, to which the Ravenclaw smiled in a pleased manner. 

"Thanks! I thought so too." 

They had maybe about ten or so seconds of silence where Yoongi could concentrate on accurately marking the book slips in front of him before Taehyung was speaking again. 

"The warty Hufflepuffs are just the reason for this detention though. My next detention today is for playing with the Giant Squid. Does that sound fair to you?" Taehyung asked with no little petulance. "I keep the school's mascot hale and hearty with love and exercise, and they give me detention for it! Now Sir Squigg the Terminator is all alone with only the Merpeople to keep him company and to be frank, I don't think they treat him all that well because he always looks really happy to see me and Jimin," he told Yoongi in a gossipy hush. 

There were so many different things Yoongi could say to that he wasn't sure where to start. Focusing on the least ridiculous part of Taehyung's explanation for his own sanity, Yoongi said, "You know Jimin?" 

"He's my best friend," replied Taehyung.

"Somehow, that doesn't surprise me at all," admitted Yoongi. 

.

.

Today, Jungkook was practically chased out of one of his classes by a gaggle of Hufflepuffs, tripped twice in the halls (resulting in some colorful bruises), and alternately stared and glared at the entire day, all because of the newspaper lying on his desk before him. 

At the moment, Jungkook was in the middle of contemplating setting it on fire, having barely managed to hold back the urge until he got to his room tonight. It wasn't that bad this time around, except that they put his photo right under the headline so it looked like he was the 'Jeon family head' mentioned, and the photo they chose made him look like he was sneaking around to do something unscrupulous. 

He had the torching spell on the tip of his tongue, wand poking into the photo where his face looked back at him, when the silver cloud came oozing through the bedroom wall beside his wardrobe. Jungkook flipped up his wand, though no defense spell came to mind, shocked as he was. To his confusion, the silver cloud didn't come after him. 

Floating in gently like bird on an airdrift, it stopped before him and glimmered. It was more the expectant silence than the actual form that clued him in and his stiff stance loosened, wandtip lowering a few centimeters.

"You're a Patronus," Jungkook said, an unbidden curve edging his lips when the silver haze deliberately glowed in affirmation. He bent down to better inspect it. "You don't have a shape yet." 

Which meant it couldn't send any messages with it. As if to make up for this fact, the Patronus drifted from side to side in a vaguely playful manner. Even though it wasn't fully solidified yet, the Patronus had a subtly canine-shaped head and a constantly moving extension that Jungkook could imagine was a tail. 

"Who sent you?" Jungkook murmured, though he knew it couldn't answer. This was his first time in close proximity with a Patronus animal and he sat down on the edge of his bed so he wouldn't do something stupid like try to touch it. He wasn't sure if it would dissipate if he did. 

Just the fact that the owner could create a Patronus that could travel away from them was a huge feat, no matter the lack of solid form. Whoever sent it was powerful, very intelligent or both, and was most likely an upperclassman since they were the only ones that received Patronus lessons. Jungkook was jealous; he still had another year before he could get the same training. 

The upper years got all the best spells, he thought sulkily. 

The Patronus lasted only about a minute before it started to disintegrate and disappear into the air. The last part to go was its head, which left a vague outline shimmering in the air before it was gone. 

Jungkook stared blankly at the space where the Patronus had lingered and bit his lip. There was only one upperclassman that Jungkook knew would send him a Patronus with no message, but it was the same person he thought wouldn't want to see him again after the news on his family came out. 

Was the Patronus from Taehyung? And if it was, what could it mean? 

He looked over at the newspaper on his desk and then reached into his robe for the letters he'd been carrying around since he found them. With the letters overlapped in his hands, the wax seals came together in a pair of green and violet. Only one of the letters had its seal broken. The other was Yoongi-hyung's. 

He had procrastinated giving the letter to Yoongi because he already had an inkling on what it would say, if what his grandmother told him in his own letter was true. He still didn't know why Taehyung had had Yoongi's letter in his possession but the appearance of the Patronus seemed like a sign that he should do something, anything, rather than continue to worry and wait the way he was now. 

Taking the letter, he left his room in direction of the seniors' rooms where Yoongi and Namjoon's was located. Thankfully, this part of the dungeons was deserted, so no one noticed him slip the letter neatly under the door of their room and walk off before it could open. 

There was no way to know if Taehyung wanted to see Jungkook again without speaking to him in person, but that was the last thing Jungkook felt ready for. The next few weeks would be difficult enough without knowing he'd lost his friendship, and even if Taehyung did want to be around him still, he might change his mind once the rest of the news about the upcoming court hearing appeared in the Daily Prophet. 

Jungkook didn't even want to think about Yoongi's reaction. 

.

.

"It's hip hop, not 'hip bop' or any variation thereof," Namjoon corrected for what felt like the hundredth time. 

"Exactly, that's what I said. Hop pop," Hoseok said with a confused squint. His ruddy cheeks and slight swaying was starting to alarm Namjoon, and finally he reached over to pluck the goblet out of his friend's hand. 

"Alright, that's it, you're cut off for the night," Namjoon said firmly, vanishing the contents of the goblet with his wand when Hoseok reached for it insistently. "There was entirely too much firewhisky in that fruit punch." 

"What are you talking about. Give it back, Namjoon!" Hoseok demanded with a belligerent swipe at the goblet and then glowered when the Slytherin tossed it over. 

"What? I gave it back."

"And it's empty!" 

"Is it? I hadn't noticed."

"Rapmon." 

This was turning out to be a pathetic fart of a night. 

Namjoon hadn't come to the ball expecting good music and company; he hadn't wanted to come at all. He was only here because Seokjin had roped him into chaperoning with him, and despite the 'with' part of the deal, he had swiftly disappeared at the start of the ball, leaving Namjoon sitting at one of the little round tables and cringing at the live music. Then Hoseok came by, freshly dumped by his date after he mistakenly insulted Witch Direction, which was apparently one of her favorite bands and not to be slandered because it had just lost one of its core members. 

"Who the bloody hell is Zayn and why am I supposed to care?" Hoseok went back to drunkenly whining about his lost date when it became obvious Namjoon wouldn't return his missing alcoholic punch. 

"I don't know. I've never heard of any of these wizard pop artists. Stop asking me," Namjoon groaned. 

Just then, Namjoon's vision seemed to have gone completely red, and he raised his chin from his hand to look up at the scarlet-robed boy standing next to their table. Flashy robes aside, he seemed mostly unremarkable until Namjoon's gaze floated up to his hair and stayed. 

If the boy's robes were bright, his hair was just ridiculous. Orange that neon had to be magically-colored, Namjoon determined. No Muggle dye job could glow like that. 

"Not enjoying the music, Namjoon?" Seokjin asked from beside the boy, drawing Namjoon's attention. He was in more sedate robes, in a deep serious blue that edged on cobalt in the right light. His Head Boy badge shined on his chest as always. 

"I don't even know who it is," Namjoon admitted. 

The orange-haired boy seemed to find that funny; his teeth gleamed white in the dim light of the Great-Hall-turned-ballroom. "It's the Scroll," he said. "I thought everyone knew this group." 

"Too bad I'm not everyone," Namjoon replied, tone turning an edge sharp when he noticed how closely the newcomer was standing next to Seokjin. With an arm wrapped around the Ravenclaw's shoulders, they were hip to hip, a long line of contact with no space between their bodies. 

So much for chaperoning, Namjoon thought snidely. 

Seokjin was making a face at his tone so Namjoon deflected by turning to check on Hoseok. To his dismay, the Hufflepuff was busy drooling into the tablecloth, and Namjoon had fight back the urge to conjure water to throw on him. 

"I thought Jimin looked bad, but Hoseok-hyung looks worse," the orange-haired boy observed aloud. At Namjoon's blank look, he explained, "Jiminnie drank too much of that spiked punch and had to take a bathroom break to sober up. Which is why Jin-hyung is helping keep me company until my dance partner gets back." The last part was spoken with a tight side hug that Seokjin returned with a half-hearted but fond air. 

"Oh," said Namjoon as he registered that. There was only one girl he knew named Jimin, and he queried, "Park Jimin? Loud, snarky, about this high?"

Seokjin's not-date goggled at the hand Namjoon held at collarbone-height and told him, "That's sort of harsh. Jimin's not that short."

Before Namjoon could start arguing him on that point, he had the sudden realization that the sound of the bells ringing at the edge of his hearing was not part of the music playing and whirled away from the two to concentrate on it. As he suspected, it was Jungkook's tracer spell going into overdrive, the bell sound of it ringing so quickly there were hardly any pauses in between each individual ring. That meant Jungkook was using spells quickly, one after another. 

It sounded like he was in trouble. 

"Merlin, I hope this is a false alarm," Namjoon cursed and pushed up from his chair. Turning to Seokjin, Namjoon asked, "Could you keep an eye on Hoseok for me? I have to go, now." The press of time made his words short and abrupt, and he hoped Seokjin would understand him later when he could make up a proper excuse instead of just dashing off.  

"Where are you going?" the orange-head asked, and before Namjoon could tell him it was none of his business, he followed with another rapid question of, "Can I go with you?" 

"I don't even know who you are," Namjoon retorted on reflex, nonplussed. 

"I'm Taehyung," the orange-head replied. "And I have to warn you, I'll probably just follow you even if you tell me not to." 

As mild as they were, the words made Namjoon flare defensively. "I could just Stupefy you," he threatened. 

"Then Jin-hyung would be disappointed in you," Taehyung said shrewdly, making Namjoon falter. 

"Taehyung," murmured Seokjin, just audible over the music. He looked as disoriented as Namjoon felt, which meant he didn't know what Taehyung was up to either. 

"I don't know what your problem is. I'm just going to take a leak," Namjoon lied, badly. Taehyung seemed to have gotten it into his head that Namjoon was going somewhere interesting, and he didn't have the time to convince him otherwise if Jungkook really was in trouble. 

When Taehyung affirmed his desire to tag-along once again, Namjoon snapped, "Why? Where do you even think I'm going?" 

"Jin-hyung told me about you," Taehyung confessed, making both Head Boys widen their eyes. "And I recognize your hair. You hit a Bludger at me once. I have an idea on where you're headed right now, and if I'm right, I want to help." 

The Bludger reference caught Namjoon fast in his tracks and he blinked at Taehyung as he tried to recover from the whiplash.

"You used to have dark hair," he said finally. 

"Yeah, I know. I changed it to match Jungkookie's," said Taehyung , smiling as Namjoon closed his eyes in defeat. 

He knew

"What in the name of Rowena Ravenclaw is going on?" snapped Seokjin. 

.

.

Jungkook knew it was a bad idea to go to the ball, he knew that. But the timing of the latest Patronus just this morning, the glow of it warmer than the pale sunlight shining through the lakewater outside his window, was just too coincidental for Jungkook to ignore. Even if it wasn't actually Taehyung sending the silvery wisps to his room. 

He waited until long after the ball began so the hallways would be clear when he left. He assumed once he was inside the ballroom, he could just hide within the crowd. For his hair, he stole one of the many beanies Namjoon had in his room. Since he let Yoongi take them all the time that meant he wouldn't mind if Jungkook did too, right?

Strangely he didn't see Yoongi around anywhere, and knowing he hadn't gone to the ball like Namjoon it was a mystery where he could have disappeared. 

Jungkook thought he could just stop by the ball to satisfy his urge to see Taehyung and then leave. He didn't want to admit it but he missed the Ravenclaw badly, and it ached to imagine that Taehyung might be wary of him now that he knew who he was.

Just a minute and he would leave, Jungkook promised himself and mentally prayed for the magic of All Hallow's Eve to aid him. When he heard the first sound of a spell zapping, he almost mistook it for an answer to his prayer. Then cursing noises were thrown out along with more spell zaps and he understood what he was actually hearing was a duel. 

A wizard's duel after hours wasn't uncommon, though Jungkook wondered at the reasoning for having it while the ball was under way. Until he walked in view of the side hall where the noises were coming from and discovered it wasn't a duel. He stepped back before he could be spotted. 

Two male students in formal robes were jeering as their wands spurted red sparks that left painful looking pustules all over the face of their dangling victim, a short brunette hanging from the air by his ankle. By the way only his eyes squeezed from the pain, he must have been petrified by a body-binder curse as well.

Jungkook honestly felt bad for him, but this wasn't his fight. His appearance might even make things worse. He was about to go fetch a professor to stop the bullies when the boy in the air glanced over in his direction and caught his eye.

Jungkook's jaw dropped. It was that Gryffindor from the Quidditch locker room! 

Mindlessly, he moved forward a step and the Gryffindor's eyes widened. Jungkook was too far to see what he was trying to wordlessly say, but he could imagine easily enough from the little conversation they've had. 

Help me, you big-toothed dunderhead.

Unfortunately, Jungkook had stalled for too long. He lost the element of surprise as both boys standing by the Gryffindor noticed him at the end of the side hall. 

"Oh, it's you," said one, squinting in the torchlight of the hall. "The little Jeon lordling. Here to join in on the fun?" 

Both the Gryffindor and Jungkook's eyes popped. 

Jungkook walked in further now that he had nothing to lose, biting his inner cheek in dismay as the two turned towards him casually. They were older Slytherins he hadn't talked to before but who he frequently saw goofing off together around the school. They didn't seem like the type of people to pull this kind of stunt, and Jungkook wasn't sure what to do now that he'd stopped them. 

"No, this isn't my kind of fun," Jungkook said, and pulled out his own wand. "I think you should stop now. He's had enough." 

Both Slytherins locked on the movement and subtly, their stances changed. The cold night air was getting thick; Jungkook could hear every breath he pulled into his lungs. 

"I don't know, we were just getting started. Weren't we, Jinyoung?" 

The other Slytherin twirled his wand between his fingers, his previously playful look gone tight and mean like a rat's. "Mm hm, we're still talking plenty with Jimin here," Jinyoung remarked, and then he slapped Jimin's cheek with a crack, making Jungkook wince. "He always had so much to say about us in class. Me and Jaebum-hyung were just returning the favor." 

"What did he say?" Jungkook blurted before he nearly bit his tongue through for the spill. 

"Does it matter?" Jaebum drawled cuttingly. "It's all the same hippogriff shit. You know, you must have gotten plenty of it yourself." 

"Funny, funny, funny. They all think they're so funny!" Jinyoung pointed his wand at Jimin and conjured fire-brand curses that made the Gryffindor's robes smoke. The fact that Jimin didn't even twitch was somehow more frightening than if he had. His eyes were overfilling with tears. 

"Aguamenti!" Jungkook doused the heat with water, and then he promptly threw up a shield charm when Jinyoung shot one of those fire-brands at him. 

"Incendium!" 

"Protego!" 

Jinyoung's spell flashed out when it hit Jungkook's shield and the Slytherin looked near murderous. 

"Seriously, you're protecting him?" Jinyoung yelled, advancing on him. Curse after curse was thrown almost too quickly for Jungkook to keep up. 

"Protego! Protego! Protego!" Jungkook shouted, scrambling to keep up with the older Slytherin. Jaebum was still standing by Jimin's hanging body, arms crossed, an inscrutable set to his face as he watched his housemates battle it out. 

Finally, one of the fire-brands caught Jungkook in the fleshy part of his bicep on his wand arm and the pain made him stagger and hiss. He clasped a hand over the smoking cloth and immediately regretted it when it rubbed over the raw wound. Jinyoung wasn't holding back, Jungkook understood then with a tingle of fear down his back. 

"I always did want to try dueling a Jeon," Jinyoung mused as he kept advancing. 

Behind him, Jaebum clicked his tongue and muttered, "I knew I should have kept you from drinking too much of that punch. Don't get carried away, Jinyoung."

"I won't~," Jinyoung sang in a not so reassuring way, "Just let me write my name on this kid's face and I'll be good." 

Jungkook backed away, breathing hard, as Jinyoung raised his wand and the tip glowed like an ember with another fire-brand curse. His wand arm hurt too much to keep raised and he wasn't sure how long he could fight Jinyoung off with his shield charms before the arm gave out on him.

"Stupefy!" Jungkook shouted, heart sinking when Jinyoung simply knocked it away with a shield charm of his own. Jinyoung was too quick to catch off guard and Jungkook was getting sloppy as he started to panic. 

Finally, he thought of one spell that Jinyoung wouldn't be able to defend against and he raised his wand arm as high as he could.

Fight fire with fire. "Fiendfyrio!" Jungkook cried, and gnashed his teeth through the pain of keeping his wand arm raised as a stream of fire burst from his wand like water from a breaking dam. The fire moved faster than the shield charm that Jinyoung threw up and it hit him in a blazing lightning strike of flame. 

Jinyoung screamed from within the inferno and Jungkook did too when he tried to stop the ribbon of fire coming from his wand and found out he couldn't do it quickly enough. The fire broke off from his wandtip but continued its stretch to Jinyoung who kept screaming and screaming until finally, a torrent of water came crashing over him from Jaebum. 

Jinyoung fell in a wet, steaming black mass of robes as the water puddled around him spread out like blood. 

"Oh Merlin," Jungkook breathed as he fell to his knees. Jaebum was checking on Jinyoung, swearing madly in between begging his friend to be alright, to hold on until he got him to the infirmary. 

"I didn't mean to," Jungkook whispered, eyes watering. From the corner of his eye, he caught movement at the end of the hall and turned his head to find Yoongi standing there, soaking in the scene. 

"Yoongi-hyung," gasped Jungkook when Yoongi's blank gaze met his. "Help." 

.

.

"I didn't mean to," Jungkook said when Yoseob didn't get up again. The boy was starting to hyperventilate, streams of tears sliding down his face as he took in huge gasping breaths. Yoseob's body was very still. 

"I just wanted him to stop hurting you. I didn't mean to, hyung. I didn't, I swear."  Yoongi heaved himself to his feet, despite the pain making his head dizzy and his breath short.

He said through gritted teeth, "Jungkook, stop. Stop, and just―get out of here. Now. Hurry." 

"But what about you?" 

"Don't worry about me. I started this." Oh, did he start this, Yoongi thought, the regret bitter on his tongue. "It's not your fault, so go on," Yoongi ordered, the pain making his voice sharp. "Get out of here. Go, Jungkook! GO!"

Yoongi snapped back to the present. Jungkook was collapsed on the ground not too far from him. There was a smoking body about two or three meters from Jungkook, a charred mess that Im Jaebum, a Slytherin underclassman, was panicking over as he tried to levitate the body through stuttering lips. Another body lay on the ground a little farther off. 

"Loc―loc―dammit! Locom―" 

"Locomotor," a voice behind Yoongi spoke the incantation, making him jerk around. 

"Rapmon," Yoongi said in relief. The grim-faced Head Boy was a sight for sore eyes. To Yoongi's confusion, his latest detention partner was also there, rushing forward from behind Namjoon to gape at the scene. 

"I'll take this one to the infirmary," Namjoon said as he directed the levitating body by wand tip. "His injuries look too serious to wait around. Can you take care of the others?" 

Before Yoongi could answer, Taehyung was leaping past him and calling, "Kookie!" and he turned just as Jungkook was being swallowed up in the Ravenclaw's arms. 

"What in the name of Salazar Slytherin," Yoongi murmured, shaking his head, but turned back knowing he could leave Jungkook to the Ravenclaw. "I've got it, go on ahead. I'll probably be meeting you there," Yoongi told Namjoon, who nodded and snapped at Jaebum to follow him. 

Once their steps were echoing down the hall Yoongi went to check on the other body, expecting the worst. It still didn't prepare him for the cold shock he felt when he found the puffy-faced Gryffindor lying there. He was bruised and swollen wherever skin showed, and his robes were a smoking, wet mess, not unlike the body Namjoon had just levitated out. 

"Jimin?" Yoongi's voice came out so hoarsely he couldn't recognize it. He slapped gently at the Gryffindor's cheeks. "Hey, kid, wake up. Hey, hey." 

Behind Yoongi, Jungkook croaked, "I found them dangling him in the air, no wand or anything. When I tried to stop them they turned on me, and then...I lost control." 

Again seemed to be the unspoken word in the air between them. 

"What did you use on that guy? The one Namjoon took to the infirmary?" Yoongi asked, looking over his shoulder. 

"Fiendfyre." It came out on a broken exhale, and Taehyung's arms tightened on the Slytherin.

A high level curse using dark magic. Jungkook's family taught him well, Yoongi thought as he looked around and located the wand that must have been dropped by Jimin during the fight. 

"Good job," he said aloud before he cast the incantation to levitate Jimin's still body into the air. "Now let's get out of here before any professors come running to see what the noise was about. I could hear the yelling from a floor away, I swear." 

"They're all too busy getting smashed at the ball," Taehyung was saying when he choked and garbled the rest as Yoongi floated Jimin past him. "Is that Jimin?!" he nearly shrieked, pulling Jungkook after him. 

"Hold your hippogriffs, he's fine," Yoongi said. "A little beat up, and a lump on his head the size of a Quaffle, but he'll live. You two good to walk? Jungkook? Alright then, let's go." His brisk tone demanded no argument and the younger students promptly followed in step. 

The four of them departed down the emptied hall, three walking, one floating. What an end to this All Hallow's Eve night.