Jimin realizes with great disappointment that the spell did not work. Yet again. There is no silver animal jumping out of his wand’s end, not even a shapeless cloud of mist – absolutely nothing, at all. He runs his hand through his hair with an irritated grimace, his fingers slightly trembling out of frustration. Recurrent failure is not an easy thing to swallow for a model student and perfectionist like Jimin, but what angers him the most is the fact that he is scared.
The Forbidden Forest is a scary place, after all, with such terrors lurking around in it that Jimin has not been the same person ever since witnessing some of them.
The Forbidden Forest is a scary place, especially if – when – you are all alone there, in secret, at night, and you know that no one would come even if you screamed at the top of your lungs. Jimin runs his fingers through his hair again, tugging at the locks with a bit more strength than intended. The mild pain makes him hiss and grit his teeth.
What is it that he is doing wrong? Why does the spell never work?
Sounds of chatter and laughter seep through the train’s thin walls and Jimin glances around anxiously. Other than his trunk, a pack of Sugar Quills and a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, there is nothing extraordinary to be found. There are curtains drawn in front of the window and the glass of the door. Jimin is alone in the compartment, he locked and protected it with strong charms against possible intruders or eavesdroppers, in order to practice charms in peace. The Express is clattering towards Hogwarts – the place that feels more like a home to Jimin than the actual tiny house he and his father live in together.
Summer is over, his sixteenth birthday is approaching, a new school year is about to begin, and Jimin will soon be back at his beloved castle – and that hated, feared, damned Forest.
”Expecto Patronum,” he says again, and he knows that his wand movements are flawless, he knows that his concentration is perfect. Still, the charm fails to work. Jimin fails to cast it.
”Why?!” He throws his head back, rubbing at his eyes with his small fists. If he cannot learn the stupid Patronus Charm for yet another year… A shiver runs down Jimin’s spine at the thought and memories flash through his mind; of dark hooded creatures and giant spiders, of werewolves and other horrors that Jimin does not think he will ever be able to speak about. Horrors that Jimin does not want to get close to or see ever again.
Suddenly laughter erupts on the other side of the compartment’s wall, the loud noise makes him flinch. In his head he runs through all the noise-excluding charms he knows, but his thoughts get halted by a voice so clear, that for a moment Jimin thinks, mortified, that it speaks to him.
”Hey! Nice to see you, man! On prefect patrol, eh? And how was the summer break?” Comes the voice of someone that Jimin does not recognize. Apparently, some students decided to have a conversation in the corridor, right next to Jimin’s compartment. Jimin sighs, relieved, then flicks his wand and opens his mouth to cast the anti-noise charm—
”Nice to see you, too, Smith!” Says a familiar, airy and sweet voice, and Jimin almost drops his wand. Jeon Jeongguk. The second voice definitely belongs to Jeon freaking Jeongguk – Jimin knows, because he would recognize it out of a thousand.
His fingers turn sweaty around the wand, his face flushes, his heart is pounding, and Jimin hates it; hates how it is enough to hear Jeon’s stupid voice for him to get reduced to this flustered mess in less than a second. Jeon is not even talking to him, for Merlin’s sake!
”Stupid idiot,” he clicks his tongue, slippery grip tightening on his wand. With a determined glint in his eyes, he casts the charm and drowns out all sounds with it from the outside. He ignores the nagging little voice in the back of his head that tells him to keep listening to Jeon Jeongguk’s
dreamy arrogant voice and learn how he spent his summer break.
”I don’t care,” Jimin mutters under his breath, trying to convince himself. ”I literally couldn’t care less.”
In the next five minutes he tries to make the Patronus Charm work for at least ten times. He eats a Bean and spits it out immediately, because it turned out to be mango flavoured which he dislikes.
He wonders if Jeon—
He throws another Bean into his mouth and is happy when he realizes that it is mint flavoured.
His thoughts wander to Jeon—
No. Focus, focus, focus. Annoyed, Jimin tries to cast the Patronus Charm for the eleventh time, and is not surprised when it does not work. His mind is occupied with intrusive thoughts of Jeon Jeongguk’s fluffy hair and round eyes and gentle smile and soft voice. He has not seen Jeongguk for months. Jimin sighs, cheeks burning, and with a jerk of his wrist and a whispered spell he reverts the anti-noise charm, then charms the thick, dark curtain on the compartment’s windowed door to be transparent from the inside.
He tells himself that it is ridiculous and nonsense for him to feel disappointed when he finds the corridor right in front of his compartment quiet and empty.
Later that evening he tells himself that it is laughable and pathetic for him to feel disappointed when Jeongguk chooses to sit into another Carriage together with his friends, and not in the one Jimin has already taken a seat to himself.
He tells himself this and that, but no matter how hard he tries to convince himself, disappointment sits sourly on his tongue for the whole night.
ੈ✩‧₊˚✧* 1 year ago *ੈ✩‧₊˚✧
”Hey, Jeon?” Yugyeom poked him on the side with his elbow. ”See that Slytherin guy on the far end, with the silver hair?” Chewing on an enormous piece of chicken loudly, he pointed at said boy, finger shiny with grease. Jeongguk scrunched up his nose in distaste at the loud munching noises right next to his ear but chose not to make a snarky comment.
”Yeah, what about him?” He asked instead, on the plainest voice he was capable of.
”I heard his name’s Park Jimin.”
Jeongguk gulped, fingers twitching around his fork as he tried to conceal how excited he feels, how his skin is tingling everywhere. Park Jimin. So that is his name.
Turning his head slowly, to appear as nonchalant as possible, Jeongguk looked in the direction his friend pointed towards and his stomach squeezed once his eyes had taken Park Jimin’s lithe form in; the sight ethereal. Ethereal and magical, even for standards of a wizarding school. Soft cheeks and plump lips and cute nose… Jeongguk’s face felt warm.
”He’s British-Korean, too.” Yugyeom swallowed down the bite and shoveled another piece into his awaiting mouth immediately. He pitched his voice low, urging his friend to lean closer. ”He hadn’t come here with the Hogwarts Express, that’s why no one’d seen him on the train, and was sorted earlier today, in McGonagall’s office. Jaebum’s cousin’s girlfriend apparently knows him… She said he’d come as a transfer student from Durmstrang or somethin’.”
It was Jeongguk and Yugyeom’s 5th year in Hogwarts, the year when Jeongguk was in that awkward phase of puberty where he was trying to grow into his body yet, skin bronze with summer tan, limbs lanky and nose a tad too large for his young face. The year when Jeongguk was just about to accept the fact that he finds both girls and boys very, very attractive. In that year Park Jimin appeared in his life, with his sweet laugh and soft voice and silver hair and pretty eyes, and sparked something foreign inside Jeongguk at first sight.
Jimin’s arrival was subtle and quiet; on the evening of September 1st suddenly he was just there in the Great Hall, on the far end of the Slytherin table, sitting silently next to Min Yoongi, an upperclassman prefect and Quidditch captain. Jeongguk spotted him out right away, due to that eye-catching hair color, and from that moment on he could not really tear his gaze away for long. Green and silver suited Jimin, looked good on him. Though, if Jeongguk was being honest with himself, probably even a potato sack would have looked good on Jimin, but that is beside the point. The point is that Jimin was not sorted together with the 1st years, nobody expected him to come, nobody knew precisely who he is and why he is there. He was sitting there by the Slytherin table, in the middle of the Great Hall – yet, he seemed distant, closed-off, wrapped up in secrets.
Jeongguk wanted to know all the answers.
”He’s kinda… good-looking,” Yugyeom grumbled, drawing back Jeongguk’s attention to him.
Yugyeom shrugged. ”There’s a rumor I heard that he has some Veela blood in him.”
”You’re such a gossipmonger…”
”Shut your mouth, Jeon,” Yugyeom poked him in the ribs again, grinning. ”Thanks to me being a gossipmonger, you’re not a completely lost case when it comes to socializing. Anyway, it’s easy to be good-looking if your ancestors managed to snog a Veela, isn’t it?”
Jeongguk nodded stiffly, barely listening. His eyes were back on the transfer student, watching closely as Yoongi engaged in a conversation with him. When Jimin flashed a smile at Yoongi, Jeongguk’s breath hitched and he almost stabbed his fork into Yugyeom’s hand instead of his pie.
”Bloody hell, mate, watch what you’re doing,” Yugyeom muttered with laughter lacing his voice, then he licked the grease off his finger. ”By the way, I heard another rumor about this Park guy. Someone said that his classmates in Durmstrang used to bully him for him likin’ boys, that’s why he changed schools.”
”O-oh…” That was all Jeongguk could stutter out absentmindedly, eyes never leaving Jimin’s face. When Jimin glanced up and their gazes met for a second, the air in the Great Hall suddenly became too dry and too hot for Jeongguk to breathe. There was something in Jimin’s eyes, something broken and captivating, that attracted Jeongguk like moth to flame. Something that kept him awake that night for a long time, staring at the red curtain that frames the bed, wondering how it would feel like to have Park Jimin’s smile directed at him.
:｡･:*:･ﾟ’★,｡･:*:･ﾟ’☆ Present :｡･:*:･ﾟ’★,｡･:*:･ﾟ’☆
Jeongguk lands on the grass elegantly, his new broomstick gleams in the golden sunlight of autumn.
“Well done, everyone! Practice’s over for today!” Lee Jieun, the captain of the Gryffindor team and fellow Chaser shouts while flying towards the bleachers to greet some friends of hers. Jeongguk follows her with his eyes, gaze searching for a tuft of ashy silver hair amongst the spectators, hope flickering in his chest, and feels a drop in his stomach when he cannot find it. There are a couple of Slytherins huddled together in a group on the lower seats, but the one Jeongguk is looking for is not among them.
Three 3rd year girls scream his name while holding their self-made fan posters high; Jeongguk waves jerkily at them with an awkward little smile. At that the screaming gets louder, one girl pretends to faint and the two others start giggling. Someone behind Jeongguk bursts into boisterous, teasing laughter. Jeongguk turns away from the audience shyly, scratching his neck; it is still a bit difficult for him to process that now he has his own fans within Hogwarts.
He was accepted as a starter player in his 4th year and ever since then Gryffindor has not lost one single match, won the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup twice in a row by a record-establishing large margin, and Jeongguk was unanimously voted the MVP of the year both times. Yugyeom and Kunpimook, the two devilishly fast Beaters of the team and also Jeongguk’s dorm-mates, like to boast about Jeongguk being a star and a prodigy. Truth be told, Jeongguk is more of a diligent and perfectionist hard-worker than a prodigy. Back when he was a 1st year student it became clear quickly that he possesses some natural talent for Quidditch, but as a Muggle-born he still had to practice for years to catch up to those who were basically born with a broomstick between their legs. He had to polish his skills relentlessly whenever he had the time, and thanks to all that effort now he can finally truly shine.
”Jeon Jeongguk! Jeon Jeongguk! Are you relieved that you once again made it to the team as a starter?” An eager and very tall 2nd year kid whose name Jeongguk shamefully cannot remember elbows his way towards the players on the pitch, with an old-fashioned Muggle camera clutched against his chest. As a self-proclaimed Nr. 1 fan of Gryffindor’s team, this boy used to follow around all members last year. However, Jeongguk – as someone who knows the Hogwarts castle’s secret routes and shortcuts pretty well – was able to avoid him most of the time.
”Um,” Jeongguk replies intelligently, blinking rapidly when the camera suddenly flashes. ”I—“
”Pose with a peace-sign, please? Cool! So, what are your thoughts of this year’s upcoming season? What are the chances of Gryffindor winning the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup for the third time in a row? You got a new broomsti— damn, is that the newest Thunderbolt VII? Awesome!”
”Um,” Jeongguk repeats himself numbly, head spinning from all the questions and noise.
”And, and! Are you excited for the Triwizard Inter-Cup? Are you?”
”That’s the life of a beloved celebrity,” Kunpimook laughs at Jeongguk’s misery as he passes by with the other members of the team, heading towards the changing rooms to take a shower. ”Make sure to end your star interview before dinner, though; I can’t promise there will be any treacle tart left for you if you won’t hurry~”
”If you dare not to save me at least one, I’m gonna use Tarantallegra on your arse, just saying!” Jeongguk threatens his friend, his grin widening when Kunpimook shows the middle finger as a response.
”So? Will you really answer all my questions?” The tall and broad underclassman is still standing in front of Jeongguk with sparkling eyes, practically vibrating with excitement. ”And can I take another photo of you? For the school newspaper?”
”Uh, just—“ With a deep sigh Jeongguk rubs his eye and wipes away his matted hair from his forehead. The exhaustion after a hard practice is seeping into his bones slowly. “What do you want to know, again?”
The boy lists his questions once again, and Jeongguk leans onto his broomstick, trying his best to answer everything as patiently and eloquently as possible. Once the nosy underclassman is finally satiated with the results and leaves him alone, he does not do anything to hide the relief on his face.
The pitch is almost empty by now, the spectators either went back to the castle to eat lunch or went to take a walk at the lake on such a sunny Sunday morning. Jeongguk’s skin is itchy with dried sweat, his tense muscles are aching for a warm shower and the growling of his stomach reminds him that he has not eaten anything since breakfast. While making his way towards the changing rooms, from the corner of his eye he spots something green and silver, and hope immediately swells up in his chest like a soap bubble. The bubble bursts as soon as Jeongguk recognizes the Slytherin as the Head Boy, Kibum, rushing towards the greenhouses. Not the one Jeongguk was secretly hoping for, either. He knows that he should not be disheartened just because Park Jimin was not there today to watch a simple training session, the first one this semester for Gryffindor, yet he cannot help the disappointment gnawing at him inside.
Last year Jimin watched all his matches and training sessions, even the very first one with the try-outs. What if during the summer Jimin lost interest in him completely?
Jeongguk is so deep in turbulent thoughts, he registers it only belatedly that Minho, his team’s 7th year Keeper is calling for him.
”Hey, JK!” It is a nickname that the team members love to use ever since Jeongguk got a knitted sweater for Christmas with those two letters on the front. There used to be a time when Jeongguk had found it lame and annoying, but last year Jimin held up a small self-made paper flag during the final match with “GO, JK!” written on it. Ever since then Jeongguk does not really mind the nickname anymore.
”Hey! Wait for me!” Minho’s yelling turns into panting halfway as he breaks into a run to catch up. He pats Jeongguk on the back roughly once he is next to him, flashing a lopsided grin at the younger boy. ”Try-outs were tough this year, too, eh? Jieun’s not going easy on us for sure… But the team’s the same as last year, we’re both starters yet again, so I’ve a good feeling about winning the Cup for one last time before leaving this place…” He has that nostalgic glint in his eyes, for a moment reliving all the remarkable memories he has been through in Hogwarts so far. Jeongguk glances away, the moment feels too private for him to witness, and his heart clenches at the thought of graduation. The thought of Minho and all his 7th year friends leaving the school relatively soon – it briefly makes Jeongguk long for a Time-Turner to never let that happen.
At least Jimin is in his 6th year yet, just like him.
“Anyway,” Minho clears his throat, mirth returning to his voice. “Wanted to ask, how’s the Thunderbolt VII? Seems like speed’s not gonna be an issue anymore for you, eh?”
With his grip tightening around the broomstick, Jeongguk smiles and nods proudly, ”Yes, it flies like a dream! I’m pretty sure our first match’s gonna be an easy one.”
”With a Thunderbolt VII?” Minho steals a wistful glance towards the broomstick. ”Against Ravenclaw? ‘S gonna be a piece of cake!” He laughs, giving Jeongguk’s back a strong pat once again.
There are red and golden leaves crunching beneath their feet, the wind is getting chilly and the smell of pumpkin juice wafts in the air everywhere. It is the last week of September and the Quidditch season has officially begun. The Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw match is a couple weeks away and Jeongguk has never liked a birthday gift as much as the new broomstick he got this year from his parents, on the morning of September 2.
”Let’s hurry up, I’m dying to eat something!” Minho yawns while stretching his neck. “Hope there’s still some dragon tartare left from lunch.”
Jeongguk scrunches up his nose at that, as everyone knows how dragon tartare stinks like the unwashed socks that can be found in the boy’s dormitory under the bed, but does not comment on Minho’s weird life choices. On their way towards the changing rooms he looks up at the enormous castle and wonders where Jimin could be. Despite being quite hungry himself, he plans to pay a visit to the library first, as he knows that that is the place where Jimin usually can be found.
Well, he thinks bitterly, usually, except when Gryffindor has Quidditch practice or a match. Or at least, last year that’s how things were.
”Park Jimin wasn’t here today,” Minho says it casually, on a carefully neutral tone, as if he was reading Jeongguk’s mind. ”Bit strange, eh? But at least this meant that you were able to concentrate a hundred percent on the try-outs instead of showing off,” he cackles but clamps his mouth shut once his eyes meet Jeongguk’s fierce ones.
”I’m not a show-off—”
”Sure,” Minho deadpans, lifting an eyebrow. ”When last year you did the Wronski Feint and caught the Snitch right in front of the stand where he sat, that totally wasn’t on purpose…”
“It wasn’t,” Jeongguk grits his teeth, color blooming on his cheeks.
”Mate, you’re not even a Seeker—”
”I was just fooling around!” Jeongguk snaps, voice defensive and ears flaming red.
”It was in the middle of a practice match against ‘Puffs! The ‘Puffs’ captain kept going on about us being conceited, immature and unsportsmanlike bastards for about half an hour after your little trick!”
”The Snitch was just, right there, and I just caught it instinctively, okay? For fun! I’m sorry, I already apologized for, like, a thousand times for it. When will you guys stop bringing it up?”
”The Snitch was just right there?” Minho snorts, enjoying the way Jeongguk’s face is slowly turning into the shade of the Quaffle. “Mate, you did the Wronski Feint to catch it, it wasn’t anywhere near you—”
”Locomotor Mortis,“ Jeongguk murmurs, wand in his hand, and watches with great satisfaction – ignoring the way his ears still feel hot – as a swearing Minho has to start bunny hopping towards the changing rooms under the effect of the Leg-Locker Curse.
”I always forget your bloody habit of keeping your wand around even during practice,” between two hops Minho shoots a murderous glare at the younger boy who just smirks back smugly at him and shrugs.
Okay, maybe during that practice match he indeed was showing off to impress Jimin. Maybe the entire last year he spent with trying his damned best to catch the attention of and then make a lasting positive impact on one Park Jimin. So what? Half of Hogwarts does the same, it is not like Jeongguk is special…
Well, he thinks with a sad sigh, pushing his tongue against his cheek, if Jimin won’t show interest even in Quidditch anymore, then for sure there won’t even be a chance left for me to be special.
Jimin cannot be found in the library at his usual table, and he is not in the Great Hall, either. Jeongguk, to distract his mind from his absence, busies himself with eating generous amounts of food for lunch (Kunpimook saved him two treacle tarts, bless him) and then finishing his N.E.W.T. level DADA homework in the library.
Admittedly, Jeongguk is not one of the model students at Hogwarts – if he had to choose between doing homework and playing Quidditch, he would choose the latter without missing a beat. Despite passing three subjects with Outstanding grade at O.W.L.s, there are some classes he sleeps through peacefully, there are some essays he finishes just ten minutes before deadline, and yes, sometimes – when he is too tired after a training session to really care – he does not take his prefect duties that seriously, either. His grades are decent, a bit above mediocre – and he is perfectly fine with that. His parents are fine with that, as well – his whole family knows that Jeongguk aspires to be a professional Quidditch player, not a professor or healer, after all. One subject is a personal goal for him to always excel at, though; Defence Against the Dark Arts, his favorite subject from day one. So when last year him and Jimin were paired up to practice dueling, and Jimin defeated him with ease in less than two minutes, that was definitely something new, a blow to his pride—
—And it also made him fall just a little more for the Slytherin.
Once Jeongguk finishes his homework essay about the Unforgivable Curses, it is already getting a bit late. He looks out the window with a strange sense of longing nestled into his chest, outside the afternoon sunshine is making the lake water glow like solid gold. Suddenly he feels a familiar burning sensation against his skin and quickly draws out a small mirror from his pocket. From the mirror Yugyeom’s face laughs at him.
Panicked, Jeongguk immediately hugs the mirror to his chest to muffle his friend’s loud voice. ”Shhh, you fool!” He whispers to the two-way mirror. ”I’m in the library— Oh no!”
Madam Pince clears her throat in a sinister way as she stops right next to Jeongguk’s table. Jeongguk looks up at her from his seat with wide eyes, trying to appear as innocent as possible.
”Get out,” is all what Madam Pince hisses venomously, but it is enough for the boy to grab his bag, essay and quills, and rush out the library right away.
”I got kicked out because of you,” he complains to Yugyeom a few corridors away, making his friend snort.
”You’re lame, Jeon. Come with us instead of sticking your nose into books on such a sunny day! Kunpimook and Jackson smuggled some firewhisky in, we plan to go to the lake, maybe to the boathouse, drink and have some fun! Wanna join?”
Jeongguk is not exactly the partying type.
”Maybe next time? I have to go on prefect patrol tonight after curfew,” he reminds Yugyeom with an apologetic shrug.
”C’mon, you’re such a buzzkill,” Yugyeom pouts, but then his expression morphs into a mischievous one. ”Then, I guess there’s nothing I can do or say, nothing will convince the mighty prefect…” He takes a glance to his left, grin turning wider, voice pitched lower. ”Not even the fact that Park Jimin’s here…”
Jeongguk closes his eyes. This should not be so easy, to make his resolve crumble in seconds, but sadly, it is.
”Where are you?”
”So you wanna come with us?”
Jeongguk presses his lips together, he does not like the smugness and satisfaction in Yugyeom’s voice one bit. He wants to say yes on a graceful tone, one worthy of a prefect, but his voice comes out meek and embarrassed when he stutters out, ”Y-yeah.”
”Sweet!” Kunpimook abruptly and enthusiastically shouts into the mirror, resting his chin on top of Yugyeom’s shoulder. ”Meet Jackson by Sir Cadogan’s portrait in five mins! You two can come here together. We’ll be waiting~”
With this being said, Yugyeom and Kunpimook’s faces disappear from the two-way mirror and Jeongguk’s own reflection stares back at him. He uses the mirror to try and style his hair into a cooler shape than the fluffy poodle-like mess that currently is on top of his head, but after a few attempts he gives up with a deep sigh and starts walking towards the meeting point instead.
When him and Jackson arrive to the huge oak tree by the lake, Jimin is indeed there, sitting alone a couple of meters away from Yugyeom’s little group. There is a thick book in his lap, the bottoms of his trousers are rolled up to his knees, little feet dangling in the water. It is just a pair of uncovered calves, but the sight of them still leaves Jeongguk breathless, tongue dry. There is so much skin, smooth and pretty skin… Jeongguk tries not to stare too obviously but when he trips on his own two feet and his whole circle of friends erupts into laughter, he knows that he failed.
”So, tell us, JK! How was the Quidditch practice today? I wanna know all the juicy stories about the try-outs!” Mingyu, another dorm-mate of Jeongguk, asks very, very loudly. So loudly that there is no way Park Jimin did not hear it.
Jeongguk sits down and steals a glance towards Jimin, his hand flying up to his neck, a nervous tick of his. Jimin’s eyes are trained on the book, but Jeongguk somehow can sense that he is listening, can feel Jimin’s attention. It makes him act weirdly, like it always does when he has Jimin’s attention on himself – his skin gets all tingly and his stomach small and tight like a Snitch.
The hand on his neck runs up and through his hair, ruffling it up to make it look windblown, like he just got off his broomstick a minute ago.
”Yeah, the try-outs,” he starts, no, basically exclaims, a bit surprised by the volume of his own voice. ”Well, they were a piece of cake. And, like, not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure no other team has a chance against us this year, either. I feel kinda unstoppable, y’know?” He knows that he is speaking too loudly, he knows that he is bragging, and he knows that he sounds like an arrogant prick. But Park Jimin is there, sitting only a few steps away, and being this close to him always brings out a part of Jeongguk that just desperately wants to impress.
”And the TIC?” Eunwoo, Jeongguk’s fourth dorm-mate asks with a sly glint in his eyes.
Oh, right. How could Jeongguk forget the Triwizard Quidditch Inter-Cup? It is a contest between Europe’s three largest wizarding schools, or to be more exact, their selected Quidditch teams. The Inter-Cup was brought to life in order to replace the Triwizard Tournament after Cedric Diggory’s tragic death. Quidditch is a dangerous sport but it is still less lethal than those notorious Tournaments, after all. So the three wizarding schools decided to revive the tradition of friendly rivalry between them, and thanks to this decision, now every five years the Inter-Cup is being organized by one of the schools. This year it is Hogwarts’ turn to host the contest; the selecting process for the team that will represent Hogwarts is usually held on the week after Halloween. (Jeongguk is totally not nervous and exhilarated at the thought of possibly being selected and being able to compete against other schools’ teams. Totally not.) The Inter-Cup itself is always in the early spring, the selected teams of Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy will arrive one week earlier. It is always an exciting and special year, but last time when it happened, the contest then was hosted at Beauxbatons, and even though there were magical projectors in Hogwarts’ Great Hall where the students could watch the matches, it was just not as enjoyable as being there in the flesh. Additionally, Jeongguk was just a 1st year and not really skilled at Quidditch yet, so it held no such significance for him as it does now: huge professional Quidditch teams tend to send their talent scouts to these Inter-Cup matches, and often offer contracts to those who catch their eyes.
”Uh, yeah, I have a good feeling about the TIC, too,” Jeongguk replies, flustered, and he just wants to stop speaking so damn loudly, or speaking in general, but it is like he physically cannot hold himself back. He wants to Silencio himself, or throw himself into the lake, but his mouth keeps running. ”I mean, I’m not selected yet, or anything, but, um, I have high hopes?” He shoots another glance towards Jimin to see his reaction, and to be honest he does not know what kind of reaction did he expect, but his galloping heart sinks when Jimin rolls his eyes and stands up to leave. For some irrational reason Jeongguk wants to jump up and apologize, beg for him to not go away, ask him to stay and join them— But now his mouth finally figured out how to shut up, and so he remains silent, rooted to the spot, watching Jimin’s receding form with furrowed brows.
”Mate,” Minho claps him on the back sympathetically. ”He’s just playing hard-to-get.”
Jeongguk forces a weak smile onto his lips, but actually, he is not so sure about anything anymore. Last year, after accidentally mistaking a vial of Veritaserum for Laughing Potion while demonstrating effects in Potions lesson, he confessed to his closest friends that he finds boys attractive, too, especially one boy in particular. To this day he is immensely grateful for his incredible luck that he has friends as accepting and encouraging as they are. He knows that non-straight wizards can draw the short end of the stick once their sexuality gets revealed.
Though, even with having supportive friends, Jeongguk never really hoped that he has a chance with Jimin – until Mingyu pointed out that there is a strange pattern in Jimin’s behavior. He belongs to Slytherin House, yet he goes to only those matches and training sessions where the Gryffindor team is present. Plus, as all of Jeongguk’s friends confirmed it, during all matches and training sessions Jimin basically cannot take his eyes off Jeongguk’s flying form, not even for a moment.
So Jeongguk started to hope.
He started to hope and daydream about chances and possibilities – but every attempt to get closer to Jimin failed miserably. In his most desperate moment last year he even wrote a love letter; he poured all of his honest feelings onto the blank parchment, confessed his crush and even signed the letter with his own name (he is a brave Gryffindor, after all, isn’t he?), then enchanted it to fold itself into a little dragon and fly directly to Jimin. It was during lunch break, right before Transfiguration class, Jeongguk can remember vividly. He was hiding behind the classroom’s doorframe, peeking inside like some creep, watching with tense shoulders and tight fists as the dragon-shaped letter landed on Jimin’s desk, right in front of him. Without sparing the letter a single glance, Jimin moved his wand elegantly, and the next thing Jeongguk knew, the parchment-dragon was aflame. Only a tiny pile of ashes remained of it on Jimin’s desk but then with a sweep of his wand Jimin vanished that, too.
To say that Jeongguk was heartbroken would be an understatement.
Then the next day, during the final match of the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup, Gryffindor and Slytherin went against each other – and Jimin was there, dressed fully in red and gold, holding the little flag with “GO, JK!” written on it. Jimin cheered loudly when Gryffindor won.
To say that Jeongguk’s poor heart was confused would be a gigantic understatement.
Park Jimin is a confusing person, after all.
No one knows much about him for sure, and that also does not help that Jimin has an extreme talent at dodging questions. He is secretive about his family, vague about his past studies, enigmatic about his own feelings and thoughts – he can chatter for hours sweetly without revealing anything personal, and he changes topics with the speed of light and the smoothness of a snake. He carefully remains polite and kind with his wording at all times. His smile is always gentle and maybe a bit apologetic, even, when he rejects questions, offers or flirting attempts in the most thoughtful way possible. So ultimately, talking to Jimin is never a bad experience, but in the end one does not really know more about Jimin than before. And of course, the unknown is always a perfect ground for rumors to spurt out from.
In the first few months of last year Jeongguk heard many rumors surrounding Jimin besides the ones Yugyeom had already told him: that Jimin’s father is a dark wizard who was released from Azkaban not so long ago. That his hair is naturally grey and it is because his mother is a Veela. That he knows how to cast a spell just with his eyes. That he is cold-hearted and full of himself, looking down on others.
When one afternoon of last November during a shared Care of Magical Creatures class he witnessed the way Jimin was petting a lone thestral, movements so loving and full of care, Jeongguk became pretty sure that at least the last rumor is untrue. When one morning of December, right before breakfast, he was the witness of the scene as in an abandoned corridor Jimin stood up for a little girl whom some older boys mocked for her big freckles, Jeongguk became not only a hundred percent sure that Jimin was not cold-hearted and mean, but also felt a bit enamored. Up until that he had just found Jimin physically attractive and intriguing, but after that day his crush on Jimin got more serious.
He appeared to develop some mysterious sixth sense that always tingled whenever Jimin was close – now that Jeongguk truly paid attention to Jimin and was even subtly searching for him with his eyes all the time, he could spot him out anywhere. His attraction has gotten even stronger once he learnt that on top of being stunningly beautiful and kind, Jimin is a very skilled and smart wizard, too. Slytherins and Gryffindors often have shared classes, so Jeongguk experienced first-hand just how great Jimin is academically. Being able to brew advanced-level potions? Check. Continuously being able to stay awake and even take notes during Professor Binns’ classes? Check. Being able to remain effortlessly glorious in appearance even with muddy hands and scratches on his forehead during Herbology? Double check. (That year Jeongguk got either seized or slapped by the Venomous Tentacula at Herbology classes more times than he could count, because Jimin with his hair tied up was just an unfairly distracting sight.)
Before starting his prefect patrol, Jeongguk plans to visit the Owlery and send a letter to his parents. His head hurts slightly from the two glasses of firewhisky that Mingyu forced onto him and his vision is swimming a bit as he climbs the staircase, but he knows that this letter cannot wait. Now that today he finally had the chance to try it out, he has to thank his parents for the fantastic broomstick they had bought for his birthday.
“Cloud!” He calls his owl as soon as he enters the Owlery. ”Clou— oh!”
Jeongguk was not prepared physically nor emotionally, to run into Park Jimin today, in the Owlery out of all places. Jimin appears to be ready to leave the tower, he has no letter or little package in his hand, and the huge brown school owl that regularly brings the Daily Prophet to Jimin’s table is missing from its usual spot on the wall.
”H-hey,” Jeongguk stutters, jerking his hand into an awkward wave. The lifted hand then finds its way to his neck, scratching the skin there nervously. His cheeks are burning and he would not mind if the ground opened and swallowed him wholly in this moment.
Jimin nods. ”Hey,” he looks him in the eye and greets Jeongguk on that dulcet voice of his, and Jeongguk’s knees buckle.
Jimin passes by, stepping out the door already. A waft of his flowery-fruity shampoo hits Jeongguk’s nose and makes his head spin.
”Uh,” he breathes, and honestly, he has no idea where all this bravery is coming from, but he says, “Jimin, wait!”
The other boy turns back, eyes wide, looking slightly startled. Outside, the sun is setting behind him, painting the sky dark red and orange and pink, his long lashes are fluttering like leaves in a breeze, his hair shines like liquid silver, and Jeongguk cannot do anything but stare dumbly at the unearthly sight.
”Yes?” Jimin lifts one eyebrow.
”Ah, oh, um…” Tongue-tied, Jeongguk thinks that if someone wanted to vanish him from existence, this moment right now would be a perfect time to do that. ”I, uh, just wanted to ask you if you, um, next weekend… W-wanna go to Hogsmeade together? Like, with me? Maybe?” Probably it is the firewhisky talking. He is close to throwing up out of anxiety when Jimin lifts both his eyebrows, looking stunned.
Well. Jimin had not come to watch him practice, left when Jeongguk and his group sat by the lake, so one more rejection today can really do nothing to his already damaged self-esteem, Jeongguk supposes.
However, as the silence stretches longer and longer, Jeongguk cannot help but notice that Jimin’s face gets more and more red per second. Did he just… Did he really have the nerve to ask Park Jimin out, and made him blush with it?
His palms are sweating and his heart is thumping so hard, he is certain that Jimin can hear it.
Jimin looks away, expression closed-off, but when he speaks up, his voice is genuinely sad and apologetic. ”I’m sorry, next weekend’s not… I have to study,” he explains, not meeting Jeongguk’s eye but appearing and sounding sincerely sorry.
Jeongguk is certain that Jimin can hear the way his heart breaks, too. ”O-oh, of course— I m-mean, right! It’s fine, really. I understand—“ He rambles while staring at the floor, tugging the little hairs at his nape in embarrassment. It was a gentle rejection, but a rejection nonetheless. There are tears prickling the corners of his eyes and he has to inhale deeply to not start crying on the spot.
”Maybe…” Jimin whispers hesitantly, his voice almost shy, and it makes Jeongguk look up at him in surprise. ”Maybe some other time?”
For a second they are just staring at each other wordlessly. Jimin’s ears are as flaming red as the sunset behind him.
Jeongguk blinks. Some other time?
”Forget it!” Jimin grits out and, with small hands curled into fists, he rushes out of the Owlery so hurriedly that Jeongguk does not even have time to react. He calls for Jimin but it is in vain – the other boy is gone already.
Cloud flies to Jeongguk and sits onto his forearm, waiting patiently as he ties the letter to its leg. It takes much longer than usual, because instead of focusing on the task at hand, Jeongguk keeps staring at the door where Jimin disappeared a few minutes ago. Yes, Jimin basically ran away, but he had said ‘maybe some other time’… This means that things are not completely hopeless, right? This means that Jeongguk might has chance. With a goofy, love-struck smile plastered onto his face, Jeongguk wanders back to the castle to eat dinner before starting his patrol, Jimin’s words ringing in his ear the whole evening.
”Stupid Jeon Jeongguk and his stupid ideas, really!” Jimin throws his head against the toilet stall’s door, fanning his warm cheeks. The encounter with Jeongguk left him breathless and heated in the face, the image of the boy’s round, warm brown eyes still vivid in Jimin’s memory.
Floating close, Moaning Myrtle nods along sympathetically. She is watching Jimin intently – eager to hear about some new drama. ”What happened this time?”
Jimin pays no mind to the ghost, not in the mood for gossiping. He washes his face with cold water in order to calm down. He has to concentrate. He has a mission, a task, a job to do – he cannot lose focus. Cannot get distracted by pretty eyes and cute smiles. He cannot be greedy and selfish, he has to settle for what he already has and nothing more.
Jimin shakes his head, swiping his slightly wet hair away from his forehead.
Every Sunday evening, always at the same time, Jeon Jeongguk goes on rounds of prefect patrol. Every Sunday evening Jimin joins him on those rounds, and this amount of time spent together should be enough.
Has to be enough.
Jimin has a mission to complete, the clock is ticking, and every minute is precious. He is already wasting more time on Jeongguk than he should.
The image of Jeongguk’s timid, hopeful smile and glimmering eyes re-appears in Jimin’s mind, making him flush from head to toe. A tight warmth is coiling in his chest; it makes him draw a shaky breath. While Myrtle is sobbing quietly in the background, Jimin allows himself five minutes to daydream, then glances at his wristwatch and leaves the bathroom.
It is time to get ready for tonight.
Prefect patrols used to be impossibly boring. Jeongguk has learnt many cool things about the castle of Hogwarts ever since last year he got named as one of the new Gryffindor prefects, but overall, walking around in dark, empty corridors for hours is much less exciting than one might expect.
After last year’s Christmas break, though, something happened. Something, that made the boring patrolling rounds a bit nicer.
Jeongguk just left the Prefects’ Bathroom one Sunday evening when a shadow and some fast movement caught his attention. He grabbed his wand and looked around suspiciously – that was how he met Mimi.
Mimi, the small, slender, soft-furred male calico cat.
Mimi is a cryptic creature, and Jeongguk knows close to nothing about him. He came up with the name himself, and to this day has absolutely no idea whether Mimi is a stray cat or not, and what is he doing in the castle. Does he belong to a student? When they first met, and Jeongguk wanted to touch Mimi, he received bloody scratches. The cat never lets Jeongguk to pet him, but listens to him well and purrs a lot. He has a collar around his neck, and on the front there dangles a small moleskin pouch, tied to the leather. Once Jeongguk attempted to touch it, and Mimi hissed and scratched his hand immediately.
Mimi always appears at the same time at the same place; since their first encounter every Sunday evening he sits in front of the Prefects’ Bathroom, waiting for Jeongguk with his tail curled around his body. When Jeongguk begins his patrolling rounds, he crouches down without a word and lets Mimi climb onto his shoulder. This is how they walk together: Mimi is tiny enough to fit comfortably onto Jeongguk’s shoulder, holds himself in place with sinking his claws into the thick material of the prefect’s robes. It does not hurt at all. Once they walked through the floor, Mimi always jumps off his shoulder, looks up while searching for his eyes and meows a goodbye, then rushes towards the staircases. Where he goes, what does he do – these remain mysteries.
Jeongguk likes to talk to Mimi. Maybe it is pathetic or funny, but Jeongguk feels comfortable with opening up to the cat. Mimi looks like he is listening to every word he says, his big, blue eyes trained on Jeongguk’s profile, blinking slowly. It feels nice, to have a partner to do the patrolling rounds with, to have someone to talk to – someone who does not tease or judge or gossip.
”Hey, Mimi,” he greets the cat with a wide smile while stepping out the Prefect’s Bathroom. The cat meows delicately, curling his tail into the shape of a question mark. Jeongguk lets Mimi climb up onto his shoulder as usual, and when the cat is stable and comfortable enough, he starts walking.
”I have so many things to tell you,” he whispers, holding up his wand. “Lumos.”
Mimi purrs, seemingly content. He appears to like Jeongguk’s voice.
”Alright, so, let’s start with the biggest thing that happened to me today,” Jeongguk grins, the light coming from his wand makes his eyes sparkle. ”I asked Park Jimin out, and he said maybe!” He whisper-shouts, excitement simmering under his skin from the memory alone.
Mimi hides his little face in the wrinkles of Jeongguk’s robes, a thing he strangely always does when Jeongguk talks about Park Jimin, but he does not stop purring.
”I don’t know what made me do it, maybe Peeves possessed me for a minute or something… But what matters is that I asked him out,” Jeongguk continues. ”I was so nervous, you have no idea! Merlin, I think only last year during O.W.L.s was I this nervous, when I casted the Patronus Charm for bonus points—”
Mimi perks up at this. He stops purring, even, but Jeongguk is too lost in memories to notice.
”— or when we practiced the Boggart-Banishing Spell for the first time,” Jeongguk laughs, carried away. ”Shit, that lesson was nerve-wracking, everybody was close to tears… But in the end we all learnt the spell.” He turns to Mimi, expression contemplative. “I wonder if cats have fears? Would the boggart turn into something when it’s in front of you, huh, Mimi?”
Mimi growls softly.
”My boggart was weird,” Jeongguk sighs, and Mimi starts purring again, now louder than before. ”It was me, but at the same time not really, y’know? It was a distorted kind of me, I guess…” He quiets, mood souring a bit.
The Jeongguk that the boggart showed was bad at everything, and no matter how hard it tried, it never got better at anything. It fell off its broomstick, got Ts for exams, was called names, was called hopeless. Everybody was laughing at it: Jeongguk’s parents, friends, teachers. Learning to laugh together with the mockers, learning to laugh at himself – it was the hardest lesson Jeongguk has ever learnt in DADA classes so far.
Jeongguk halts his steps and looks at Mimi curiously. The cat never once sounded that demanding as just now.
”Sorry,” he chuckles with a weak smile, scratching his neck. ”I ruined the mood, didn’t I? Let’s return to talking about the good stuff, shall we?” Mimi meows as if he agreed. ”Alright, so, good stuff: Park Jimin. Y’know, the guy I already told you lots about, he said that maybe next time we can go to Hogsmeade together. What do you think, if I manage to get into the selected TIC team, will he find me cooler? Will he say a firm yes then?” Mimi emits a groaning sound and buries his face in Jeongguk’s robe again.
”Young man,” an old lady from a painting nearby interrupts the kind of one-sided conversation, making both Jeongguk and the cat jump slightly, startled. ”Coolness has nothing to do with the matters of heart. I believe, one kind act speaks louder than a thousand flips on a broomstick. If you want your crush to fall for you, surprise him with something adorable!”
”No, no, coolness is important,” another painting butts in excitedly. ”Every Sunday night you walk through this floor and mope about your unrequited crush on this Jimin guy. Listen to me, child: don’t throw your pride away, remain cold and unapproachable—”
”Nonsense!” The old lady screeches, outraged. ”This is not how crushes work!”
The paintings start to argue vehemently, and this is the moment when Jeongguk whispers “Nox!” and hurries away from the scene through the darkened corridors. There is a quiet, rumbling sound coming from Mimi, and it sounds like a laughter. It makes Jeongguk giggle, too.
”I think at this point on this floor every painting knows more about my love life than some of my friends…”
They reach the staircase where Mimi always departs with a single goodbye. This night, however, is slightly special, it seems: Mimi rubs his face against Jeongguk’s shoulder before jumping off, an act he had never done before.
The words of the painted lady are swirling in Jeongguk’s mind as he continues his patrol alone. He knows that Jimin’s sixteenth birthday is in less than two weeks, and he remembers that last year Jimin got nothing from his parents on October 13. He wonders what kind of gift would make Jimin happy.
”I heard you can cast the Patronus Charm.”
Jeongguk blinks, trying to conceal how shocked he feels.
It is Friday morning, they are practicing non-verbal spells in N.E.W.T. level DADA class, and at the start of the lesson Park Jimin unexpectedly chose him as his practice partner. They dueled in silence for a while, then suddenly, without a warning or a single word Jimin just started to walk towards Jeongguk, wand lowered and steps confident. He came so close that Jeongguk could count the little freckles spread across his nose and cheeks.
”The Patronus Charm. I heard you’re pretty good at it,” Jimin repeats on a low voice, rolling his eyes impatiently at Jeongguk’s slowness. He looks around warily but fortunately all their classmates and even the professor are too busy dueling and practicing, so no one spares a single glance to Jimin and Jeongguk’s duo.
”U-uhm, yeah?” Jeongguk mumbles, confused and flustered at the same time. Jimin is so close, he can feel warmth radiating off his body, he can smell Jimin’s flowery-fruity shampoo, and he starts to feel heady.
”So it’s true? Can you really do it?”
Jeongguk nods, lowering his gaze shyly. ”Yeah. I casted a full, corporeal Patronus for bonus points during O.W.L.s, why?”
There is a long pause. He looks up and searches for Jimin’s eyes. The boy’s expression is reluctant but there is that tight, stubborn set of his jaw that Jeongguk knows well. It always appears when Jimin wants to reach his goal, no matter, what – be that goal a perfect grade or a flawless casting of a spell.
”I want—” Jimin cuts himself off, his gaze contemplating and unsure. Then he takes a deep breath, apparently his internal debate reached a conclusion. ”I want you to teach me how to cast it. Please,” he adds, looking anywhere but at Jeongguk, pink slowly blooming on his cheeks.
The sight is so endearing, Jeongguk’s stomach does a somersault. ”Me?” He asks, incredulous. ”But—”
”You’re the only person I know about who can cast a corporeal one,” Jimin grumbles, his eyes are pleading. Jeongguk feels weak, so weak and wobbly like jelly, and his stomach keeps flip-flopping with a weird mix of joy and anxiety.
”S-sure,” he manages to stutter out. ”I’ll teach you gladly—”
”Thank you,” Jimin hurries to say, already turning away and going back to his previous spot, then gets into dueling position, as if the conversation never happened. His ears are pink, though, Jeongguk notices.
He stares at Jimin, flabbergasted, trying to make sense of what did just happen, but when Jimin’s non-verbal Disarming Charm knocks him off his feet, he forces himself to concentrate on the duel.
It seems like he is going to spend a lot of time together with Jimin sooner than he has ever expected.
”So…” Jeongguk starts, voice unsure.
”So?” Jimin raises his wand and stares at the other boy expectantly. They are in an empty Transfiguration classroom. It is Saturday morning, the whole castle is so quiet – almost all students are asleep, even Peeves is not active around such early times.
”Uh, try to cast the spell. I’m watching you,” Jeongguk instructs while gesticulating awkwardly. Yesterday he agreed upon teaching Jimin the Patronus Charm but actually he has no idea how to start with that. He learnt to cast the charm by himself with a lot of practice last year, after all.
Jimin nods, then closes his eyes to muster his happiest memory. With his wand he begins to draw circles in the air, the position of his hand and the movement are clean and precise.
”Expecto Patronum,” Jimin says, words clear and articulate. Nothing happens.
“See?!” Jimin seethes, the wand slightly trembling in his fist. ”No matter how many times I try, I just can’t conjure it!”
Jeongguk knows that what he is about to say is going to anger Jimin further, but before he could stop himself, the sentence slips out his mouth, ”Maybe the charm is too difficult for you? I mean—”
The glare Jimin shoots at him is downright murderous.
”I was able to cast the Protean Charm when I was twelve!” He argues, pointing his wand at Jeongguk threateningly, and Jeongguk would be lying if he said that deep down he is not intimidated (and strangely aroused) at least a little bit. ”I got eight Os in O.W.L.s, and for Merlin’s sake, I’m an ani—”
Abruptly, Jimin closes his mouth, looking horrified. There is regret in his eyes, as if he revealed something that he had not intended to.
”W-what I want to say is,” Jimin clears his throat, folding his arms and looking out the window with his chin held high, ”that I don’t think my abilities are the problem here.”
Jeongguk is still busy with wrapping his mind around the fact that Jimin received 8 Outstanding grades last year.
”You’re incredible,” he says with awe clear in his voice. ”You just came to Hogwarts last year, and already got eight Os? How amazing is that?!”
”Shut up,” Jimin orders him, pouting, but Jeongguk can see by the shimmer in his eyes that actually he is pleased by the praise. ”Instead of fake compliments, how about you tell me what I’m doing wrong?”
”I meant those compliments,” Jeongguk defends, then hurriedly continues talking before Jimin could interrupt him. ”And about the Patronus Charm, well. Your hand movement was very neat, you said the spell perfectly, too… If not the level of difficulty is the problem, then the only other thing left is the memory or scenario you think of. Maybe it’s not strong enough, or happy enough? Maybe you don’t concentrate on it firmly enough?”
Jimin huffs, annoyed.
”Why? How can you tell if a memory is ‘happy enough’?”
”What do you think of while casting it?”
Jimin’s expression becomes closed-off, unreadable. ”You tell me first. Tell me what you think of while casting it, then show me that you can actually do it. I want to see you conjuring a Patronus.”
Jeongguk cheeks heat up. How could he tell Jimin that he thinks of that final Quidditch match from last year, when Gryffindor won and all his friends cheered for Jeongguk? The match where Jimin chanted his name loudly and held up that little paper flag just for him? That memory is precious to Jeongguk not just because his team won, but mostly because he felt so cherished and loved that day; and seeing Jimin root for him, too, made the event much more special.
But Gryffindors are supposed to be brave, right?
He takes a big gulp of air, then: ”I, uh, I think of the final Quidditch match from last year,” he admits it with a sheepish smile.
Jimin snorts. ”And that’s a memory ‘strong enough’?”
Jeongguk shrugs again. ”Apparently…”
”And what’s your Patronus? Let me guess, a rabbit?”
Jeongguk stares at him blankly. ”Why is that your first guess?”
Now it is Jimin’s turn to blush. ”I don’t know, you kinda remind me of a bunny when you— W-when you smile,” he coughs at the end of the sentence awkwardly. ”If not a rabbit, then what is it? A wolf? A doe? Or a dog?”
”Those are the animals you associate me with?”
Jimin folds his arms together, plump lips pressed into a pout. A smirk grows on Jeongguk’s mouth slowly, the flustered tension leaving his body bit by bit as their conversation progresses, making him feel more at ease. Usually Park Jimin is distant and not easy to approach, and in his proximity Jeongguk either has the urge to impress or his confidence wavers dangerously (alongside his ability to speak eloquently). However, things are different now. Yesterday Jimin threw his pride away and asked him to practice the Patronus Charm together, and now they are here together in an abandoned classroom, just the two of them, and Jimin’s cheeks are flushed. They are having a conversation, a normal one, longer than a few shyly uttered sentences. And, let’s not forget that a few days ago Jimin said maybe.
Jeongguk has a chance.
To prove himself, he raises his wand and starts moving it circularly. ”So a dog? That’s your final guess?”
Jimin squints and nods.
”Expecto Patronum,” Jeongguk casts the spell, focusing on the memory of that final Quidditch match. A silver cloud appears then takes shape of a huge, cat-like animal. Even though it is silver and dazzling, it seems to be darker than Patronuses are in general, fur lacking any kind of pattern.
”It’s a black panther,” Jimin whispers in wonder, eyes fixated on the gorgeous animal. ”I’d have never guessed this, but now that I think about it… It kinda suits you.”
”Is it?” Jeongguk laughs, parading his Patronus around in the classroom proudly.
”Yes.” Jimin sounds breathless, he cannot tear his eyes away from the panther. ”It’s beautiful.”
”O-oh.” Jeongguk’s eyes are as wide as saucers. As soon as Jimin realizes what he just said, he punches Jeongguk’s shoulder weakly.
”I didn’t mean it like that, you idiot! It suits you because it’s a show-off, just like you,” he huffs, avoiding Jeongguk’s gaze. ”So you want to tell me that when you think of a Quidditch match, it’s enough for you to conjure a corporeal Patronus but when I think of my Mom and Dad, that’s not good somehow, not enough even for a small cloud of mist?”
Jeongguk hums, choosing to ignore the way his heart wants to explode in his ribcage.
”I think I have an idea how we could find some stronger stuff for you to think of.”