Jeon Jeongguk. 18 years old. First year. Family of notorious Death Eaters. Pure blood.
They filed into the Great Hall in pairs, absorbing all the details of the glorious night ceiling and floating white candles until they reached a stool with an old hat that looked long past its due date. The boat ride from the station was exhilarating but now, inside the actual exquisite school, the grand space, which held four long mahogany tables, certainly lived up to its name the ‘Great Hall’.
Upon reaching the front of the hall, the figure who led them explained “When I call your name, you will come forth and I shall place the Sorting Hat on your head and you will be sorted into your houses.”
The first years slowly got called, starting with Kunpimook Bhuwakul, a thin small-faced bloke that many girls ogled at. The other restless students who sat along the four tables shuffled in their seats and although hunger was clawing at them, each house erupted into loud cheers when a student was sorted into their house. However, all talk ceased as soon as his name was called.
“That’s him, isn’t it? The Jeon heir. So the rumours were true then.”
“With his family’s history, there’s no doubt he’s a Slytherin.”
“It’s hasn’t been that long since the War ended. No one has and will forget what they did. What are the Jeon family planning by sending their heir here?”
“Probably here to show off his power and dark magic and whatnot or spy on their next victim.”
“His parents destroyed so many of our families. How does he have the face to come to school here with the victims?”
“Hey Yoongi, isn’t that the same kid as the one in your photo,” whispered a Slytherin who shared the dorm room with Yoongi.
Min Yoongi. 22 years old. Fifth year. Slytherin. Pure blood.
“Mm,” grunted the mentioned Slytherin as he inspected the dark haired boy who hesitantly walked towards the stool amongst the hisses and glares, looking anything but threatening behind those doe eyes and bunny teeth. Growing up with the younger, and practically raising him for the last five years since most of his family decided to take a permanent trip to Azkaban, Yoongi had become quite fond of him and vowed to keep him safe from those who would hurt him, including his family. This did not seem like a difficult feat since the boy was sure to end up in Slytherin with him. He could sense the discomfort radiating off the boy as the hall hushed and stared at him, awaiting the verdict the Sorting Hat will soon deliver.
“Hmmm… Difficult... Very interesting. Your family has quite the history I must say. But that aside, I sense loyalty and a great mind too. Fairly ambitious and plenty of courage. There’s talent, a good deal of that, and a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?”
A short silence ensued whilst everyone held their breaths and Jeongguk fidgeted in the seat with his eyes tightly shut as if opening his eyes will cause him to regret his decision of coming to Hogwarts just to receive blatant hate. The confines of his grim and cold so called ‘home’ was suffocating and the shivering walls, which were old and fragile, threatened to crumble as it beckoned to the call of gravity. The dusty, neglected furniture complimented the cobweb-laced windows and moving portraits of Jeongguk’s renowned ancestors while creaky floor boards streamed up and down the wooden staircase. Jeongguk dubbed the mansion nothing more than a ghostly silhouette as the only evidence of life was his messy bedroom, which considered of several articles of clothing strewn on the floor and various spell books decorating the black walls. He needed a break. But was this the right choice?
“GRYFFINDOR!” roared the Sorting Hat, snapping Jeongguk out of his thoughts.
I guess there’s no turning back- Wait, what? Gryffindor?
“Are you sure?” whispered Jeongguk hurriedly at the hat, which remained on his head due to the surprise of the teacher, who was still standing beside Jeongguk with wide eyes. But before he could hear the reply, the hat was removed from his head and he was finally aware of the identical expressions everyone wore on their faces which, no doubt, reflected his own.
“Well, go on,” said the teacher stiffly as he gestured for Jeongguk to move to the table that the Gryffindors occupied.
He had never felt more unsure, uncomfortable and self-conscious in his whole eighteen years of life. What could one possibly experience in their first eighteen years of life that might challenge what Jeongguk was feeling now and prepare him for the onslaught of hate, they would think but little did they know the struggles Jeongguk faced to come to terms with his identity. To accept that people had and will always fear his family. To accept that people are disgusted by not only his family’s actions but his as well. To accept that he would never be able to live a normal life with a normal family and normal friends, going to watch Quidditch tournaments and laugh over disgusting flavoured Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
Ironic isn’t it? Magic, a term thrown around naturally in Jeongguk’s life and was considered ‘normal’. Everyone knew the disdain the Jeon’s had towards muggles and there was no doubt that Jeongguk had never encountered a muggle born before or even came in contact with anything muggle. No, Jeongguk was brought up by distant relatives who drilled the dangers of the world into him and taught him dark magic at an early age in attempts to emphasise the need for him to avenge Lord Voldemort as the last living heir of the Jeon family. Jeongguk was tough and can look intimidatingly unapproachable sometimes, but he had a strong sense of justice and morals and would never hurt an innocent. Although Jeongguk was also prideful, he was neither one to look down on others nor one back out from anything. But in this current situation, he was beginning to regret his defiance to his relatives’ harsh warnings and insistence in coming to Hogwarts for a chance at a new life, which seemed to be going down the drain. I knew it. Coming here was a bad choice. Can I regret it now? Why are my decisions so rash?
He hung his head, stumbling out of his seat and almost stacking it down the short flight of stairs, leading to the table. I guess I’ll just die here. If not from the hate, then from the embarrassment.
As soon he sat down on the Gryffindor bench, he felt unsurprisingly out of place and a little intimidated when he sensed the already seated people shifting to get as far away as possible like he was a contagious virus. The sorting continued but no one paid any attention and all eyes were set on him, eyes wide with fear, pleading him against harming them. He cast his own eyes down and observed his clammy hands, wondering if he should dismiss himself and head to the dorm rooms. However, he realised he had no idea where the Gryffindor dorm room was or how to get in, only ever hearing stories from Yoongi of the Slytherin dorms in the dungeons, so he stayed put and hoped for dinner to come to an end soon.
“I don’t think me mam will let me back here if she hears about him. I might come here one day but then never be able to return home,” whispered a Ravenclaw.
“Don’t say that. He looks harmless, I mean look at those eyes! And those chubby cheeks! I could just squish them!” another Ravenclaw, with a box smile, exclaimed not so quietly.
Kim Taehyung. 19 years old. Third year. Ravenclaw. Muggle born.
“What happened to don’t judge a book by it’s covered. I thought Ravenclaws were meant to be smart. If he doesn’t even know what a threat Jeongguk imposes, why is that kid in Ravenclaw?” mocked a second year Hufflepuff. However, he was attacked by a hand, which cuffed the back of his head as he finished.
“Don’t insult people you don’t know,” huffed another Hufflepuff with an unusual glare which replaced his typical sunshine grin that blinded most people on the receiving end.
Jung Hoseok. 21 years old. Fourth year. Hufflepuff. Muggle born. Chaser.
However, said Ravenclaw seemed unaffected at the comment directed at him and just displayed his usual rectangle smile, complemented by a row of straight white teeth. He turned in his seat to look at his friend beside to him who smiled back a dimple smile and patted his head endearingly.
Kim Namjoon. 20 years old. Fourth year. Ravenclaw. Half blood. Beater.
They both turned to look at the Hufflepuff who had spoken up for Taehyung and Namjoon recognised him to be in the same grade since Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw had a few classes together the previous years. He was going to mouth a thanks to the other student, name he did not know, but he was already engrossed in a conversation with a handsome senior Hufflepuff, whose blonde hair stood at a reasonable length, hiding his perfectly arched brown eyebrows.
Kim Seokjin. 22 years old. Sixth year. Hufflepuff prefect. Half blood.
Namjoon made a mental note to thank the Hufflepuff the next time he saw him and they returned to look in front of them at the headmaster’s lifted cup and ‘Let the feast begin’, staring hungrily at the food that started appearing on the previously empty and polished silverware. Halfway through his third drumstick, Taehyung began to feel slightly queasy and regretted is inability to control himself when the lady on the Hogwarts Express rolled a trolley filled with sweets over. Despite his best friend’s exasperated reminders of the upcoming feast, he insisted on having a few ‘snacks’ before arrival and proceeded to stuff his face with various chocolate frogs, fizzing whizzbees and butter toffees. Turning around towards the Slytherin table, it wasn’t hard to spot his friend. Although Taehyung teased his friend about his height, he currently sported the brightest fluffy, cotton candy pink hair, which was easily distinguishable against the backdrop of their standard black robes.
Upon spotting his friend, he waved frivolously to get his attention and when the Slytherin looked up, Taehyung was greeted with his charming eye smile, which seemed to put him in a better mood. He faked a pout and patted his stomach at which his friend started laughing and shaking his head before rolling his eyes and giving him an ‘I told you so’ face. His friend’s face split Taehyung’s into a reflected grin.
Park Jimin. 19 years old. Third year. Slytherin. Pure blood. Chaser.
Jimin turned back to his own food and out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the senior Slytherin that everyone in Hogwarts deemed the most intimidating, ignoring his meal and watching a particular first year with a grim expression on his face. Following his line of sight, he discovered that the subject of the Slytherin’s intense stare to be Jeongguk, sitting by himself on the end of the Gryffindor table, plates of food in front of him barely touched. The kid moved to reach for his cup and the people around him flinched at the action before settling down, still cautious of any other movements. Even though Jimin did not personally know the younger, he could tell that Jeongguk was tense and probably wanted nothing more than to leave the Great Hall. He took pity on him for he had no reason to hate him but he didn’t necessarily like the way the other carried himself, as though people were going to attack him. After so many years, the houses were still very much divided, each house keeping to themselves, but he was certain that no one would go superfluously throwing spells at him.
Near the end of their meals, they were disrupted by a horde of ghosts who flew in to surprise the first years, popping up from tables and crashing through windows. The Slytherin ghost, Bloody Baron, did not fly down the Slytherin table like he usually did but to the Gryffindor table instead, coming to a halt in front of Jeongguk.
“Fancy seeing you here Jeongguk Jeon. Thought you would end up in my house. Not very ambitious? Or was it just that you’re not cunning? Or maybe The Sorting Hat is getting old and got the traits mixed up?” he shot at Jeongguk, who stared at his cup unperturbed.
His questions elicited a few giggles from the nearby students.
“Either way, you’re parents will be very disappointed to hear about this. Imagine their shock. The only heir of the Jeon family. A Gryffindor. Oh, the woes. God take pity of him for he has done nothing wrong but betray the hopes of his family. No, he did not choose this fate. This fate chose him,” he ended dramatically with a high-pitched snicker.
Jeongguk’s stomach did a flip and then sunk to the depths of his body. Jeongguk was aware that his relatives were against him attending Hogwarts as they found it a complete waste of time but he forgot about his parents. Judging by what his relatives had told him, his mother and father were ruthless Death Eaters so if they hear that he ended up in Gryffindor on top wanting to attend Hogwarts, the first thing they’ll do when they leave Azkaban is disown him and then probably kill him. Hopefully it will be an easy death. Avada Kedavra. Maybe I should be glad they aren’t getting released anytime within the next century.
“Leave. You have no business here at Gryffindor. Go terrorise your own first years,” said the Gryffindor prefect sharply as he stepped towards the group of Gryffindor first years. The Bloody Baron gave a glare to the prefect and flew away. The prefect, himself, gave Jeongguk an undecipherable look before directing all the first years to follow him to their new dorm room.
“I am Minho Choi, the prefect for the Gryffindor house. First years, please follow me to your dormitory. The password is ‘carpe diem’ by the way. You will need to remember it if you want to enter the common room.”
As the houses dispersed, Jeongguk looked around and identified Yoongi but was ushered away with the other first years before he had a chance to talk to his friend. While he was lead up several flights of moving staircases then a down a corridor to the Gryffindor Tower, he noticed that the portraits would gasp as he walked past, vociferously staring and pointing. He tried to ignore them but as he approached the entry of his new dorm, the Fat Lady shrieked and waved her pudgy finger at him.
“What is he doing here? I will not allow him to enter,” she hissed.
She refused to open to the door.
“Carpe diem,” the prefect said more firmly this time. “Do I need to go call the headmaster for this?” he asked when she still didn’t open the door.
“Fine. But if any of you die tonight, don’t come blaming me for letting him in,” she shrugged and swung the door open after one last hesitation. Jeongguk hardly felt offended at this point.
As they walked in, Jeongguk noticed that the room was illuminated by a flickering light, the fire blazing cheerily in the ample fireplace and directing its warmth to every corner of the room.
“Alright, everyone gather around here. Welcome to the Gryffindor common room. Boys’ dormitories, upstairs and down to your left. Girls’ dormitories, the same on your right. You will find that all of your belongings have already been brought up. If you do not have any questions, then I think everyone should go turn in for the night.”
“Actually, I have a question,” came from a lanky boy with a pale hand in the air. “Are we going to have to… you know… share a room with him?” gesturing to Jeongguk. Some other first years nodded immediately at his question and Jeongguk sighed, unsure how to feel. Maybe if I was one of them, I would be scared of me too.
“Is there a problem with that?” Minho asked.
“Well, I think it’s pretty obviously that none of us want to die just yet, so I reckon it’ll be safer if we don’t sleep together.”
“I guess if you have another place in mind, be my guest. I’m sure no one will die just yet but if I don’t get my sleep, you’re really going to get it,” he replied with a slight smirk, internally congratulating himself for his own wittiness before turning in his heel and walking to his own room, leaving the first years a bit confused and shocked.
“Can’t you and your family just leave the rest of us alone? I mean do you have any idea what your parents did to my family? Because of your family, I barely had a childhood. You think it was easy for me growing up with only one parent. No, it wasn’t. I came to Hogwarts to hopefully find coverage not to place myself in danger,” spat the same pale-skinned boy at Jeongguk once the prefect was completely out of sight.
“That’s your problem, not mine. You heard him. If you have an issue with sleeping in the same room as me, go sleep somewhere else,” Jeongguk snapped.
“Don’t play with me. Half of my family is in hospital because of your family,” he snarled back. “If you ask me, they should have received the Dementor’s Kiss. Rotting away in Azkaban was too kind of a punishment for them.”
“Shut up. Shut the fuck up. My family might not have been the greatest people but they were still powerful wizards and witches who deserve some respect and not have their names dragged through the dirt by the likes of you.”
“Ha. Respect? You want me to respect them? You’re just like them. Filthy, prideful bastards who don’t know where to stand in this society. So what if I insult you family? What’re you going to do? Kill me? That’s what the Jeons do, don’t they? You’re nothing more than an animal. A vile, foul dog who does what it’s told and then goes back wagging its tail to its owner for a treat.”
“Stop it. Both of you. Before I call the prefect back here, I suggest that we all go to bed. We need to wake up early,” intervened another Gryffindor, with a face full of prominent features and head noticeably above the others.
Jeongguk and the lanky boy looked ready to pounce on one another but the tall Gryffindor walked up to Jeongguk and grabbed his bicep lightly before motioning him towards the boy’s dormitory staircase.
“I’m Yugyeom. Come on, let’s go. We don’t want to be late for classes tomorrow,” he murmured softly.
Their shared dormitory was empty when they arrived, consisting of a few beds that circled the room draped in red curtains. Although it was considered fairly small compared to Jeongguk’s large bedroom, which he shared with his snowy owl, Gureum, he felt the splash of red and yellow comforting and settled onto the bed next to the window, Yugyeom taking the bed next to his. As the others entered the dorm, they looked at him with guarded and begrudging expressions before moving to their respective beds and turning in for the night.
Jeongguk thought over the events in the common room, the other boy declaring ‘I barely had a childhood’. That had engraved itself into his mind. Jeongguk knew what it felt like. His world was so big while he was so small but he had to fight against it. Jeongguk sighed as he revisited his past and forcefully brushed the thought out of his head, not wanting to delve deeper into the tragic memories. Despite finding his roommates’ hostility cumbersome, he soon found himself in deep slumber, succumbing to the warmth the fire and blankets provided.
This was going to be one long year.