• Jimin, a muggle-born wizard blessed with academic and magical talents is sorted into Slytherin in his first year. It's unusual, but not unheard of, for a muggle-born to be sorted into a house of pure-bloods.
• Despite coming from a long line of pure-blood Slytherins, Taehyung manages to break away from tradition (the way he often does) when he's sorted into Hufflepuff. Harmless on the outside, with his bright eyes and captivating charm, Taehyung hides a dark secret about his past.
• At first, Jimin & Taehyung don't get along. Taehyung is robust in nature, popular & talkative; he's exceptionally gifted in the art of magic. Jimin is quieter, more shy than most students, when he finds himself in the middle of pure-blood Slytherins with no magic to his name.
• By the end of their first year though, it's difficult for them not to be drawn to each other. They're fast friends by the time their first set of final exams come around and they send letters to each other over the summer.

By their second year, they're inseparable.
[This will be written in brief, chronological scenes, following vmin from Years 4-7.

Please do not reply to this particular thread!! ;^; Quote rts and reactions are very much appreciated though; I love seeing what people think of my writing/plot. I hope you enjoy reading! uwu]
i. Year 4
"Have you got a date?" Taehyung asks, turning around in his seat to face Jimin's desk behind him. The professor has stepped out for a bit; the classroom dissolves into its usual noise.

Jimin looks up from his textbook, quizzical. "Hm?"

"For the Yule Ball, duh," Taehyung huffs.
"Oh," Jimin says quietly. He frowns slightly and shrugs, lips pushing out into a small pout. "I don't think I'm gonna go."

"What, why?" It's Taehyung's turn to frown now, confused. "You kept hyping it up all of last year; we can finally attend it this year."
"I know," Jimin murmurs, looking back down at his book & picks up his quill.

"Then why?"

Jimin shrugs. "No date; and it's not fun to go by myself."

Taehyung almost looks affronted. "What about me?"

"What about you?" Jimin asks, lifting a brow. He looks amused now, smiling.
"You could go with me," Taehyung grumbles, looking put off.

"What about your girlfriend?" Jimin teases, grinning slowly.

"What girlfriend?" Taehyung throws back, feigning ignorance.

Jimin gives him a deadpan stare and narrows his eyes a little. "Right..."
"We broke up," Taehyung explains simply, shrugging. His fingers tap against the oak of the table idly & he throws a side-long glance at a girl, three rows behind Jimin.

"In a week?" Jimin snorts, snapping his book shut. It was impossible to get any studying done with Taehyung.
"That's quick, even for you," Jimin says, snorting.

"In my defence," Taehyung starts, indignant, "I never liked her." He lowers his voice to a harsh whisper, a pout pushing at his bottom lip.

"Then, why?" Jimin asks, laughing.

"You know I'm bad at rejecting people, Jimin."
"Call me crazy but I think it'd hurt people less if you rejected them the first time around instead of agreeing to go out with them and then dumping them," Jimin muses, smiling faintly.

"I don't like the word 'dump'," Taehyung mutters, sulking. "You're so crude."
"Oh, I'm the one who's crude?" Jimin laughs,brows lifting all the way up & disappearing behind his fringe.

"Yeah! What's wrong with giving people a chance & then letting them know that I think we're better off as friends?" Taehyung asks defensively, chest inflating with offence.
Jimin stares helplessly, then breathes out a disbelieving laugh. He shakes his head. "You're impossible."

"And you're going to the Ball," Taehyung says, smacking his palm down over the table with an air of finality. He pauses, thinks it over for a moment, then adds, "Please?"
"I am, am I now? With whom, then? With you?" Jimin asks, smiling fondly. He can't help it, really; can't help the way his entire being melts around Taehyung.

"Yes," Taehyung says, firm, determined. He pauses and then repeats again, more softly, "Please."
"I've always wanted to go to the ball with a date though," Jimin teases, resting his chin in the cradle of his palm. He leans over the table, elbow over his text book, and studies Taehyung's expression.

"That's fine," Taehyung says, shrugging. His face gives away nothing.
"Is this your way of asking me out, Kim Taehyung?" Jimin asks, smiling. His laughter chimes, like evangelical bells of some sort, Taehyung thinks.

Taehyung opens his mouth to answer & is cut off by the sound of the doors opening, the professor's sharp voice demanding attention.
"Turn to page four hundred," comes the biting command. The chatter dwindles down into static silence.

Later, when everyone is busy scribbling into their notebooks, a small, crumpled piece of paper lands on Jimin's book & startles him. He looks up, making sure it went unnoticed.
Glancing up in the direction of the professor, Jimin carefully unfolds the note, smoothing the creases out with his fingers.

Taehyung's handwriting stares back up at him.

'If I said yes, would you agree to it?'

Jimin bites down the inside of his cheek, holding back a smile.
The note that hits Taehyung's shoulder in reply reads:

'Ask me again properly and find out for yourself.

P.S. You're on the wrong page, dork'
Taehyung can't help the smile that spreads across his face, biting down on his bottom lip.

He can't bring himself to care when the professor asks, "Do you have something you'd like to share something with the class, Kim?"

"No, sir," Taehyung answers, a smile in his voice.
- - - - - - - - -

Jimin watches on, amused, as Taehyung pokes at the flask in front of him with his wand, a frown creasing his brows.

"Why isn't it working?" Taehyung huffs, glaring at the sludgy looking, bubbling liquid inside the glass container.
"Think you might have messed up somewhere, pretty," Jimin says, his own flask pleasantly calm, filled with an iridescent purple liquid.

Taehyung glances up at him & frowns, unable to admit to making a mistake. "No way; think I got a bad root in this," he murmurs.
Jimin rolls his eyes at that and snorts. "Sure; blame the plants."

Taehyung crosses his arms over his chest defiantly and straightens up. "Gimme the one you used."

"I used the same one /you/ used," Jimin says, snickering.
Taehyung's lips press together thinly and he stares at Jimin, long and hard, before wordlessly reaching out. He picks up Jimin's flask, and his own, and smoothly exchanges their places on the table, brazen, bold and shameless.

"Professor, I'm done!" Taehyung calls out, beaming.
Lifting Jimin's stolen flask, he shows it off to the professor as she walks over & Jimin sputters, stunned.

At times like this, Jimin is reminded of how the blood that runs through Taehyung's veins is the same blood that's run through the veins of a long lineage of Slytherins.
- - - - - - - - - -

Their conversation from the classroom doesn't come up again until several weeks later, when Jimin is wiggling his toes in front of the fireplace in the Slytherin House's common room.

"Will you go home for the holidays?"
It says something about Taehyung's ancestry, about his family history and familial influence, that no one breathes a word against his presence in the Slytherin's common room.

Jimin sniffs a little, nose stuffy with a cold, & scrunches his nose slightly as he answers, "Maybe."
"Will you?" He asks, looking up at Taehyung where the latter is curled up on the couch.

Taehyung shrugs slowly, glancing at the fireplace. "Not if you won't."

"Oh?" Jimin lifts a brow. "How come?"

"Can't I stay here if you're gonna stay?" Taehyung asks.

"Never said that."
There's a long, pregnant pause, and then:

"I miss you when we're apart," Taehyung admits finally, quietly. He sounds thoughtful, pensive and embarrassed.
"You miss me?" Jimin asks, voice soft and eyes softer.

Embarrassed, Taehyung looks away. "Quit it; it's not like that's anything new."

Jimin smiles at that & shifts himself around to face Taehyung, sitting with his legs crossed & hands over the tops of his thighs. "It's not?"
"'Course not," Taehyung mumbles, the barest hint of a pout teasing at his lips. "I miss you all the time. Miss you when you're asleep, when you run off to your classes, when you're out helping the professors and being a goodygoody all the time."

Jimin snorts, rolling his eyes.
"It's true; you're such a nerd," Taehyung says, sighing wistfully. "But I miss you all the same."

That makes Jimin smile, makes the corners of his mouth quirk up a little bit despite his efforts to hold back, and Jimin looks away, bringing his knees to his chest. "Why?"
"Why do I miss you?" Taehyung confirms, brows coming together slightly.

"Mm," Jimin hums, hugging his legs and resting his chin over the tops of his knees. He looks back up at Taehyung, eyes round and pretty, lit up by the dancing embers within the fireplace.
There's a quiet, long pause again, and Taehyung seems to be mulling over his answer for a while, before he says, "I like you."

It catches Jimin off-guard a little, even if it isn't surprising. Taehyung usually isn't one for saying these things aloud to anyone. "You like me?"
Groaning, Taehyung sits up straight. "Don't make me repeat myself."

Jimin makes a noise of protest mixed with disbelief, before he barks out a quiet, short laugh. "You're not very good at this stuff, are you?"
Disgruntled, Taehyung flops back against the couch once more and turns away to sulk. "Listen, if you don't like what I've got to say, then–"

"No!" Jimin cuts in, eyes eager and smile fond, gentle. "No. I like it. You. I like you, too."
Swallowing thickly, Taehyung chances a shy glance at Jimin again, sliding down the couch a little. He pulls the fabric of his oversized sweater up a little higher, like he's trying to hide behind it. It muffles his voice a little when he peers over it, voice barely audible.
"What?" Jimin asks, craning his neck a little to hear better.

Huffing, Taehyung rolls his eyes and looks away, pointedly avoiding eye contact. He speaks a little more loudly this time as he repeats himself. "Will you go to the ball with me? As my date?"
"Do you really want me to?" Jimin asks, looking a little surprised. "Really-really?"

Taehyung sighs and groans again, nearly flails a little on the couch with his lanky, wiry arms and legs. "Ah, Park Jimin, I swear to God, if you make me repeat myself one more ti–"


"Yes," Jimin repeats, more firmly this time. His face is pink, but his eyes are determined, and Taehyung isn't sure if it's Jimin's heart he can hear thundering all the way from there, or his own.

"Okay," Taehyung breathes. "Cool."

"Yeah, cool."
- - - - -

"How do I look?" Jimin asks, almost a little shy. He smiles in that way that Taehyung loves, cheeks round and pink and lips pursed sheepishly, eyes lowered to the ground.

Taehyung bites his bottom lip and looks him over, mouth going dry. "You look..."
"Hm?" Jimin urges, eyes eager and gentle as he looks up at Taehyung. He looks...breathtaking.

He's wearing a white, v-necked shirt that shows off his collarbones. A white blazer, embroidered with gold thread and held in place with a slender, golden belt completes the outfit.
"You look—" Taehyung lifts his hands a little helplessly, struggling to find the right words. "Great."

'Great' barely scratches the surface of how beautiful Jimin looks tonight, but he glows under the praise anyway, breaks out into a smile so bright, it would shame the stars.
"You think so?" Jimin asks shyly, practically vibrating with delight. He smoothes his hands over the gold detailing of his clothes and Taehyung takes note of the many rings on his fingers.

It's new, Jimin's love for accessories. Taehyung thinks it's cute.
Seeing Jimin like this, dressed up and flustered, self-conscious of his appearance for the first time ever, maybe, Taehyung can't think of anything cuter.

"Mm," Taehyung hums, nodding and smiling softly. His own attire is midnight blue, embellished with silver thread and stars.
They're kind of like the sun and moon right now, like day and night, and Taehyung thinks it's very fitting of them.

"You look like—" Taehyung starts, still at a loss for words.

"Like?" Jimin asks, smiling coyly now as he rocks back on the balls of his feet.
"Like the sun," Taehyung says finally, shoulders deflating. "Like—like all of the stars & just. Really— just..pretty."

The word takes Jimin by surprise. No one's ever called him pretty before. Boys normally aren't called pretty. He can't say he minds it though, heart fluttering.
Giggling lightly, Jimin gently and playfully shoves at Taehyung's chest. "That's kind of gay, Tete," he teases, eyes twinkling.

"Mm," Taehyung nods, biting his lip. "That's kind of precisely what I was going for."

Jimin laughs at that first, falling into Taehyung's chest.
Taehyung isn't sure what it is that makes this moment feel different, special.

Maybe it's the fairy lights or the floating candles that decorate the corridors of the school. Maybe it's the magical snow that never melts away, hardened like crystals & diamonds along the windows.
Maybe it's the Christmas spirit, the distant music filtering out from the ballroom as students gather together & dance the night away for the Yule Ball.

Maybe it's the mistletoe, bright red & green & decorated with gold, hanging above their heads as Jimin buries himself close.
They're only teenagers. Taehyung hardly knows what love is yet, but he thinks that the way Jimin makes him feel comes pretty darn close.

He'd only confessed a week ago; they're still only friends, maybe just a little more than that. It doesn't even make sense to feel this way.
And yet— it makes all the sense in the world.
"Can I kiss you?" Taehyung asks some time later outside the ballroom. His voice is soft, nervous.

He's never felt nervous about kissing someone before, has never felt his hands grow clammy like this, or his heart grow several sizes too big for his small, lanky frame.
"Right now?" Jimin asks softly, sounding a little startled.

Taehyung blinks and takes a step back, nervous hands twisting at the hem of his shirt. He looks down. "N-No, just— whenever you want," he mumbles, embarrassed.

Jimin stares at him, dumbfounded.
Taehyung is, by no means, a novice in the dating department, nor does he lack experience in kissing both girls & boys.

Jimin, on the other hand, has had one kiss thus far & he's not quite sure it counts if it had been a forced peck on the lips by another toddler when he was 3.
"Not now, then," Jimin says, sounding apologetic & sheepish. He smiles unsurely and looks down at his hands. His favourite song comes on and he fights the urge to look up. "I'm sorry— I just...I want it to be special, you know? I've never...before...not really..."

"You haven't?"
Taehyung looks a little shocked.

Jimin blinks and sputters, looking up indignantly. "Don't you think you'd have known if I did?"

"I'unno," Taehyung mumbles, pouting faintly as his brows come together.

"When have you seen me dating anyone here?" Jimin asks, snorting.
"Ah, well, it doesn't have to be here," Taehyung stammers, taking another step back in embarrassment. "And you don't have to be dating someone ki—"

Jimin cuts him off, pressing a palm to Taehyung's lips. "Stop it, I know," Jimin whines, groaning softly. "I just..."
"I want it to be specia—"

"I know," Taehyung says, voice muffled. He pouts faintly as he pushes Jimin's hand away gently. "I get it. We don't gotta."

"Are you upset about it?" Jimin asks cautiously, feeling visibly bad. He bites his lip, studying Taehyung's expression.
"Hey, I'm upset at the fact that you think I'd be upset over something like that," Taehyung huffs, grabbing Jimin's hand properly. He's still pouting, is close to sulking, as he lifts their joined hands together for emphasis. "This is good enough for me; okay? I don't care."
"I don't care what we do or don't do, as long as I get to be next to you, okay?" Taehyung says, firm despite the pink beginning to paint its way up the apples of his cheeks. "So don't go thinking that I don't respec—"

He freezes, words cut off by a quick, brief peck to his lips.
Shyly, Jimin quickly pulls back, bringing his free hand up to cover his own mouth. His face is as red as Taehyung's is, and his voice is muffled as he says, "T-That doesn't count, okay? It was just...that was just a small 'thank you'; s'not a real kiss, I know, but—"
"Jimin-ssi," Taehyung interrupts, fighting back a grin. "D'you wanna dance with me?"

Grateful for the change in subject, & currently on cloud nine, Jimin breathes out a relieved giggle. "I thought you'd never ask."

They dance hand in hand, identical smiles on their faces.
ii. Year 5

Taehyung's fist beating against the doorway is loud, chaotic. Someone curses from inside the common room.

His heart is racing, cheeks aching with the force of his smile as he waits for Jimin to come out. The lady in the painting looks down at him disapprovingly.
When he comes out, Jimin looks a little frazzled & flustered, hands coming up before either of them can speak.

"Be quiet," he hushes Taehyung, lightly smacking the other's chest.

"You weren't coming out," Taehyung argues, pouting indignantly. "I had to tell you something."
"I did it," Taehyung gushes, pout giving way to bright eyes and an unwavering grin. Jimin begins to smile, the other's excitement contagious, before he even knows why.

"I made it, Jimin," Taehyung cheers, grabbing both of Jimin's smaller hands in his own.
"What? What is it?" Jimin urges, his own voice growing louder too. Taehyung's smile is infectious, his happiness contagious & Jimin feels his own excitement building up at the sight of the others.

"I'm captain of the Quidditch team!" Taehyung declares, chest proud & grin big.
Jimin gasps. He'd cover his mouth with his hand if he could, but Taehyung's still got both of Jimin's hands in a firm grasp.

So instead, Jimin laughs, lets out a noise of exclamation, and falls forward to press his mouth over Taehyung's fully in a congratulatory kiss.
When Jimin pulls away, Taehyung's face is beet red. He stands, frozen in place, and blinks owlishly.

Two other students pass by, snickering at the obvious public display of affection and The Lady in The Portrait makes a scandalized little sound, tutting disapprovingly.
"You did it," Jimin breathes out, grinning from ear to ear. His eyes are twinkling, full of stars, and Taehyung's heart skips a beat at the thought of someone caring about him this much, loving him this much, that they were able to be happier for him than he himself was.
"I knew you would," Jimin gushes, prying his hands out of Taehyung's hold so that he can bring them up and cup the latter's cheeks proudly.

Taehyung swallows past the sudden, emotional lump in his throat and grins, biting his lip. "You'll come watch all my matches, right?"
"Duh." Jimin rolls his eyes and pinches Taehyung's cheek. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."

At that Taehyung's smile brightens infinitely, teeth pressing into his bottom lip and cheeks hurting. "I'll win 'em all. I'll win every game for you."
Giggling, Jimin reaches up to fondly push Taehyung's too-long fringe back. "Even against my own House?" He asks, teasing.

"You bet," Taehyung brags, grinning. "I'm gonna crush those Slytherin scumbags and yell out, 'this one's for you, Jimin!'"

"Don't," Jimin laughs.
"They'll all end up hating me," Jimin snorts, hands falling to rest over Taehyung's shoulders. He grins, biting his lip. "What if I join the team again, though?"

Taehyung looks startled and seems to genuinely think about it before stating bluntly, "Then I'll let you win."
Jimin makes a noise of amazement, an impressed 'whoah,' even as his eyes soften fondly. "You'd throw a match for me?"

"I'd do anything for you," Taehyung says cutely, leaning in for another kiss, mouth pouty and a smile in his eyes. "Would bludger my own teammates for you."
A startled, squawking laugh escapes Jimin as that. His eyebrows shoot up in delight as he falls against Taehyung's chest with a laugh. "God, please don't go slamming bludgers into your teammates; I think that could get you suspended."

Taehyung catches him easily, grinning wide.
- - - - - -

"Have at least some pride, Park," comes an exasperated drawl from the back, as Jimin affectionately smoothes his hands down the front of Taehyung's clothes.

It's Hufflepuffs vs. Slytherins today & absolutely no one is surprised to see Jimin siding with the former
Smiling, Jimin pays no heed to the Slytherin seeker, instead bringing a hand up to the nape of Taehyung's neck to draw him in, lightly brushing their mouths together.

"For good luck," he murmurs sweetly, their eyes never breaking contact.

Someone from the team pretends to gag.
"Go out there and win," Jimin says, eyes twinkling. "Last chance; they say I might be added to the team by next week. No chance of you winning against us once that happens."

Taehyung snorts and leans down a bit, stealing another kiss. He's grown a little taller in recent days.
Where Jimin used to be a little taller last year, Taehyung seems to have outgrown him over the summer and this past first month of the semester. The difference is minimal, only a centimetre, but it makes Jimin's heart feel a little funny on the inside when he notices it.
Sometimes, Jimin finds himself worrying that Taehyung will someday grow too tall. Most days though, Jimin believes in himself, convinces himself that his growth spurt will soon follow.

There's no way Jimin wasn't going to be the taller of the two. None.
It's a thought that crosses his mind again, just briefly, when Taehyung has to lean down, but then all his thoughts vanish when Taehyung's mouth eases over his, parts Jimin's lips with his own and brings a hand down to rest along the small of Jimin's back.

"Fuck, not again."
Jimin recognizes Yoongi's tired voice, a beater from the Slytherin team. It makes Jimin giggle into the kiss, and he lifts both his arms, looping them around Taehyung's neck in a grossly overt display of affection.

Taehyung does nothing to relieve the other players' disgust.
Instead, gripping onto Jimin's waist firmly, Taehyung lowers the former into a cinematic dip, both of them laughing into their kiss as their noses bump together clumsily.

"I literally just ate," Hoseok complains, another player from Taehyung's team. "Knock it off with the gay."
- - - -

"You were great, baby," Jimin mumbles, fingers lightly carding through Taehyung's unruly hair.

They're at their favourite hideaway, some forty minute walk away from the school walls and into the woods. It's always peaceful here, in the clearing.
The spring that ebs & flows over the pebbles nearby fills the air with a quiet bubbling noise, punctuated by soft splashes where the current speeds up against the rocks.

Taehyung's head is a warm, familiar weight over Jimin's lap, his eyes slid shut as Jimin toys with his hair.
"We lost though," Taehyung mumbles sleepily, as Jimin drags a finger down, tapping over the mole at the end of Taehyung's nose; his favourite.

"That's okay; there's always next time," Jimin says gently. "For what it's worth, I think you did great. You looked really cool to me."
"You always say that," Taehyung says, pouting faintly as he opens one eye & looks up at Jimin.

From down here, Jimin obscures the setting sun enough that it looks like he has the glow of a halo around him. He looks angelic, if Taehyung might say so himself (he won't—not aloud).
"Say what?" Jimin asks, lifting a brow.

"That you think I look cool," Taehyung says, shifting a little.

"'Cause you do," Jimin says defensively, scrunching up his nose a little.

"But you /always/ say that," Taehyung huffs. "How do I know you aren't just being biased?"
"So what if I am being biased?" Jimin asks, clicking his tongue. "Does how I view you not matter to you?"

"That's not it," Taehyung says, pouting. "But I got hit in the balls with a bludger; how could you still find that cool? You're just saying it 'cause you're too nice."
Jimin sputters a little, indignant. For a moment, he looks like he might laugh despite looking affronted. "Okay, so? You were cool the whole time aside from when you took a bludger to your nuts; so what? Why? Can't I say my boyfriend is cool in my eyes?"

Taehyung snorts loudly.
"If you say it like that, I feel like you're just messing with me," Taehyung says, rolling his eyes as he grins & reaches up, playfully & affectionately pinching Jimin's cheek.

"Am not," Jimin grumbles,grinning anyway as his hands come down, squishing both of Taehyung's cheeks.
"Are too," Taehyung says, voice muffled. He reaches up and grabs Jimin by the arms, yanks him down until Jimin's squeaking and falling forward, Taehyung wrestling him down to the grass with a laugh.

They're a giggling mess by the time the sun has set, the sky a faded purple.
Later, when they're lying down on the grass, side by side with their pinkies intertwined, Jimin steals a glance at Taehyung and smiles to himself.

The younger has dozed off already, tired after his game. Turning to his side, Jimin shifts until he's able to look at him properly.
He knows Taehyung isn't listening, knows he won't hear it when Jimin softly says, "I'm so happy, Taehyung." He says it anyway, rests his head against the other's shoulder.
Jimin's messenger bag works as a makeshift pillow, Taehyung's hand-me-down invisibility cloak as a blanket.
The cloak is heavy, velvety and familiar. It looks a little ridiculous like this though, half spread out over them. Where the fabric bunches up, it's opaque, and where the inner material rests over their legs, they're left with invisible shins and ankles. But it keeps them warm.
Closing his eyes as well, Jimin thinks back to the first time Taehyung had shown him the cloak. It was towards the end of their first year, and Jimin had screamed aloud when Taehyung snuck up behind him one night after classes, head floating seemingly in mid-air.
After the initial fright, the cloak had become a nifty way of escaping the grounds after curfew. It meant unsupervised time together, hidden from plain sight. It meant spontaneous trips to Hogsmeade while huddled together under the fabric, tripping over their feet in their haste.
After they'd started dating last year, they used the cloak more often for spontaneous dates and secret trips. They'd found this little clearing in the woods and christened it Their Spot.

They'd had their first kiss right here, where they were now lying down in the grass.
Their first, "proper" kiss, as Jimin liked to call it (not the flustered, brief peck at the Yule Ball) came on the last day of school, right before the summer break.

It was after three months of nervous hand-holding, & two more of quick, occasional pecks on the lips.
They'd been talking, Jimin can't remember what they were talking about. They'd been playing with each others fingers, reluctant to leave the next day, unwilling to go back to their respective homes for the summer.

It was unexpected, and yet not, when Jimin had leaned in first.
It was a chaste kiss at first, as if to convey an innocent, 'I'll miss you.'

But then Taehyung had pulled him down, kissed him back with an eagerness that left Jimin's heart racing and his toes curling as they kissed and kissed and kissed until their lips had swelled.
It was terrible, having a kiss as wonderful as that, only to be deprived of it for the next two months.

So, when the next semester had finally rolled around, it took them no time in upping their game. Soon, everywhere was free real estate, so to speak.
With Taehyung's cloak as their shield, they made up for lost time wherever they could.

They kissed in the library, behind the forbidden books section, with Taehyung sitting on a desk & Jimin's hand in his hair, the cloak concealing everything but the heel of Jimin's left shoe.
They kissed in the forbidden forest and during a class trip to Hogsmeade for the autumn festival. They kissed outside the common rooms after curfew and they kissed in the abandoned stairwells, in empty classrooms and luxurious, secret rooms.
They kissed everywhere and anywhere, until their lips were numb, heavy with the attention and slick with spit.

Jimin glances up at Taehyung again, a small smile on his lips as he reminisces. Pushing himself up a bit, he presses a kiss to the underside of Taehyung's jaw softly.
And like this, with fond memories and the hope of more good to come, the day comes to a close with the setting sun. The sky fades from fiery orange to lilac to midnight blue, the stars coming out to play hide and seek amongst the clouds.

It's perfect, Jimin thinks.
Maybe things were a little too perfect.

The next morning, on what ought to be a peaceful Sunday, they wake up to complete and utter chaos.

"I don't feel so good," Jimin breathes. He looks as sickly, pale and nauseated as he feels. He's been breaking out into cold sweats, running fevers and feeling faint. He keeps telling Taehyung it's alright, it'll pass, but truth be told—
Jimin feels a little worried himself. He's always been healthy as a child and as a teen. He's got amazing stamina and a great immune system, hardly ever comes down with the flu or a cold; even Taehyung's got a greater propensity for illnesses than Jimin's ever had in his life.
But Jimin isn't the type to voice his worries, isn't one to draw unwarranted concern towards himself.

He definitely wasn't going to say anything about it now, not when the school is blanketed with anxious trepidation and the looming fear of the unknown.
'He' was back.

Jimin doesn't know all too much about dark wizards and evil spirits, but he knows enough about 'Him'. He knows of the terrors linked to the man— the creature— and the lives lost under his control.

There was a wizard once, eons ago. Jimin remembers.
He remembers books on 'He Who Must Not Be Named', on Death Eaters & killer curses.

It was all so long ago, people seem to have forgotten, seem to have interpreted it all as folk tale.

But there have been rumours, tales of copycat wizards trying to repeat what had been done.
There have been accounts of sporadic sightings of ritualistic killings and mysterious deaths, of dark magic befalling wizards and muggles alike.

Jimin remembers a time, when he was only three years of age, surrounded by panic and urgency as a plague overtook multiple cities.
Unexplainable illnesses, countless natural disasters— there have been people who say that all of it is because of 'Him'.

'He' is another dark wizard, rumoured to be even more powerful than the last, more wicked than the Tom Riddle of History books and forbidden scrolls.
Where Riddle (who went by the name of 'Voldemort') had found a way to split his soul to attain immortality, 'He' is rumoured to have perfected the dark art of creating Horcruxes. 'He' is said to be so formidable, so vile, cruel & dangerous, that even his name remains lost.
'He' had been unheard of for years now; many wizards even attempted to dismiss his existence as a myth.

That is until a few days ago, when two students are found dead in the Forbidden Forest, unrecognizable and tainted with black magic.
Classes had been cancelled for three days, out of respect for the lives lost.

Today, Jimin finds himself wishing they'd been cancelled for the entire week.

Normally excelling in Potions, today Jimin can't seem to remember anything. Even the simplest of spells escape him.
His limbs feel heavy, mind and tongue like cotton wool, unable to form coherent thoughts or words. He feels ill, but he says nothing of it; not when the air is this suffocating & their Professors look hardened, fear rendering their expressions tense.

"J'min," Taehyung calls out.
It snaps Jimin out of his train of thoughts, and he looks up, a little short on air. He feels dizzy.

"Are you okay?" Taehyung asks, for what may be the hundreth time this past week.

Jimin smiles faintly. "Mm? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just a little under the weather, that's all."
"I really think you should see the nurse," Taehyung murmurs, frowning faintly as he brings a hand up to press the backs of his fingers to Jimin's forehead. "You're burning up."

"Maybe it's just the atmosphere," Jimin says dismissively. "I heard a lot of people have been ill."
"That's worse!" Taehyung gawks at him, indignant. He swallows hard, eyes sharp & scared. "What if you end up like those— like those kids?!"

"I won't," Jimin mumbles, pouting faintly. "Promise. Tell you what; if I feel worse, or if anything changes, I'll go. I'll see the nurse.'
"I don't believe you," Taehyung mumbles. He looks like he's about to sulk, so Jimin holds his hand, holds on tight, and squeezes like it's the last time.

It isn't though, Taehyung makes sure of it when he carries a faint Jimin to the nurse's room the following weekend.
- - -

"It's dark magic," comes the sombre diagnosis.

It must be in the air, because apparently Jimin is the 6th case this past week.

Taehyung is promised that Jimin will be just fine though; all he needs is bed rest & a cleanse.He doesn't know what they mean by 'a cleanse'.
It's a slow healing, but Jimin comes around. It takes him 5 times as long as anyone else to get better; he loses out on the days, on most of the semester & the exams. He loses out on time with Taehyung, on his friends & on the last of the warm sunlight before the frost sets in.
When Jimin is well enough to leave the nursing quarters & return to his daily routine, it's already nearing the end of the year. He spent his birthday in bed with Taehyung by his side and all of his favourite treats from Hogsmeade, courtesy of Taehyung and his invisibility cloak.
And things are better. Aside from the two lives lost, things seem to be returning to a state of normalcy. Classes resume and the out-of-grounds trips are allowed again, in the presence of a Professor or a grounds-keeper, of course. People almost forget; Jimin almost forgets.
That is until the last couple of days of the year roll around and Taehyung wakes up one day, almost unrecognizable.
- - - - -

There's this prophecy, one that's been told over and over again, passed down Taehyung's ancestry by word of mouth and Latin scriptures.

It speaks of a boy, destined to destroy evil reincarnated, of a boy whose soul is linked to the darkest of wizards.
When he comes of age– and in the wizarding world, that's the delicate age of only fifteen– he'll be put to the test. Borne of fire and black magic, the boy, a product of dark wizardry, will find in himself that which he thought he would fear the most.
A child, born out of sacrifice, given as a collateral to a barren couple, will be called back to the one who brought him forth.

It is prophesied, that only this child, a direct product of 'His' blood and 'His' words, will be able conjure enough power to destroy him.
[sixteen years ago:

A barren couple kneel before 'Him'. 'He' is powerful, terrifying, and the woman in the couple shrinks down, hides beneath her hooded cloak as she trembles. The couple has heard of black magic, of dark wizards capable of putting life inside an empty womb.
The incantations and spells come at a price, though. The bubbling potion that promises fertility, laced with a few drops of 'His' blood, asks for only one form of payment – the child's sworn devotion once he reaches adulthood.
The couple, aged & eager for a child, childless despite years and years of trying, assent. It's a steep price, but their pride will not allow them to let their pureblood lineage end with them.

And so, nine months later, when the first snow weighs heavy on the earth, it happens.
The cold frost comes with the wailing cry of a cursed newborn, his fate already determined for him.

The child's destiny is laid out for him, his soul & blood forever intertwined with 'His'. It will always be his calling, his nature, but everyone forgets the power of free will.
Should the child grow up well, if he finds in himself a reason to live for and strive towards, he may come to a fork in the road.

The easy route takes him to 'His' allegiance, submits him to 'Him', but the difficult road will be the only way out. The child, should he choose to—
will be the only one able to destroy 'Him'.

No one counts on Taehyung finding a reason to strive towards, though.

No one counts on Taehyung finding Jimin.]
[Present Day]

"Taehyung?" Jimin asks, cautious. He feels worried and a little scared, if he's being honest.

Taehyung hasn't been himself at all the entire day. Glassy eyed and lost in distant thoughts, as though caught in-between varying planes of life, Taehyung stays silent.
"Taehyung," Jimin tries again, brows coming together as he reaches out and gently shakes the younger by the shoulder. "Is everything alright?"

The contact seems to finally draw Taehyung's attention towards Jimin, and he looks over. His gaze is slow, sluggish, confused.
It's almost like he doesn't recognize Jimin. The usual warmth in his eyes is gone; instead, his brown eyes seem cold, distant. He looks at Jimin like he's never seen him before & Jimin flinches a little, retracting his hand with wide eyes.

This isn't the Taehyung he knows.
2 days later, it's as if nothing had happened.

On the first day of the new year, Jimin finds himself stumbling forward as Taehyung runs up to him, tackling him in a tight hug.

"J'min," Taehyung says, pouting, "Didn't you hear me calling you?"
Jimin doesn't know what to think.
Jimin turns to look at him in disbelief, eyes studying Taehyung's face for any signs of jest. He isn't smiling back, and Taehyung's own smile wavers a little.

"Is everything alright now?" Jimin asks, unable to keep himself from sounding skeptical.

Taehyung looks a little confused, slightly puzzled, but the ghost of a polite smile lingers at the corners of his mouth. "What do you mean?"

Jimin stares at him in disbelief. Was Taehyung really going to pretend that he ignored Jimin for two days straight?
Taehyung hadn't even looked at Jimin for the last two days, let alone spoken to him. It was almost as though he was in a trance, going through the motions of the day, looking straight through Jimin instead of at him.

But Taehyung looks so genuinely puzzled, so honestly unsure.
Jimin begins to doubt himself; had he imagined it all? Maybe he was still ill, or still recovering. He slowly shakes his head and manages a small smile.

"Ah, nothing," Jimin murmurs. "Just thought that maybe you—"

"I what?" Taehyung asks, hesitant.

"I— nothing. It's nothing."
- - -

It starts with the dreams.

Vague, elusive dreams where Taehyung feels himself being chased down into the unknown. Abstract dreams where Taehyung can't put a finger on where he is and what's happening, besides the chilling fear that grips at his heart, squeezing hard
What starts off as an abstract thread of dreams solidifies into something more tangible; sometimes, he hears a voice speaking to him. It tells him to come home, invites him to succumb to the darkness that seems to bleed out of him in every one of these dreams.
And Taehyung is terrified sometimes, when he wakes up, because the darkness in his dreams feels more inviting than the outside world. What used to scare him at first, now feels like a blanket of comfort, and he feels himself slipping.
He wants to spend more time asleep, craves the respite from daylight hours so that he can welcome that same eerie darkness again, so that he can lose himself to it and be wrapped up in its vice like grip. Soon, the dreams become regular, and the voices grow louder.
The voices that once only occupied his dreams now haunt his waking hours, like intrusive thoughts that wrap around his mind and sink into his veins, leaving him feeling heavy and lethargic.

He wants to sleep, can hardly keep himself awake anymore on most days.
The worst of it comes in the middle of another Quidditch match, some months later.

It's Hufflepuff vs Slytherin again & Jimin's on the other side of the sky this time, Seeker & captain of the team. It's an important match, one that will decide which team makes it to the finals.
Taehyung blinks, hard, & shakes his head a little, swaying on his broom. Lately, he's been struggling to focus on anything, whether it's Quidditch or classes, Jimin or his friends. He honestly cannot recall most of this semester, feeling like it's gone by in a daze.
Shaking his head firmly, he blinks again, trying to focus. His hands wrap around the broomstick, holding on tightly. He can hear his pulse along his eardrums, drowning out the sound of the announcer and the crowds.

He doesn't even hear the starting whistle.
The match begins and Taehyung realizes belatedly, only when a bludger whizzes past him, narrowly avoiding his head. Instead, it grazes the very tip of his ear and ruffles his hair and the crowd startles audibly as Taehyung comes back to his senses, jostled and flustered.
Jimin tenses, worried eyes looking out for Taehyung from where he's flown down for the Golden Snitch. Their eyes meet for a brief moment and Taehyung flashes him a small, reassuring smile, mouthing an, 'I'm fine'.

And he is, for the first half of the game.
It's a tense game, and out of the corner of his eye, Taehyung sees Jimin come close to the Golden Snitch more than twice. The team is rooting on Jimin for the win, Hufflepuff's overall score leading by a solid fifty points.

Taehyung's focus had returned for much of the game.
But then the intrusive thoughts are back, serpentine voices flooding the spaces within his skull until his ears are ringing, throat tight and eyelids heavy. He feels like his head is submerged underwater, held down by firm hands that refuse to let him breathe.
His hands slacken over the broom's handle and he stumbles in his place, coming to a sudden halt mid-air. There's a noise of confusion, Jimin's alarmed yell, and then Taehyung hears his broom snap, bludger crashing into the wood and splitting it, just as the voices overtake him.
His mind shuts down before he even falls, sleep and darkness enveloping his body, mind and soul. His hands slip away from the handle, body swaying dangerously, before he falls down, down, down from high up in the sky, and falls unconscious before he hits the ground, out cold.
- - -
The dreams are different now. Without interruptions, they continue to evolve and deepen; it's like being trapped inside of a maze that has no way out. Taehyung remains comatose for a week, but his mind keeps playing tricks on him. He feels as though he's awake, struggling
to find a way out of one of Hogwart's many secret passageways. One such passageway leads to a hidden chamber, locked away behind an ornate, wrought iron & silver door. It beckons him, calls out to him, the eyes on the snake carvings on the door seemingly glowing in the dark.
His body seems to be moving on its own, hands reaching out to press against the door, fingers dragging over the serpentine ridges. He's spellbound, captivated and drawn to whatever is on the other side of the doorway. Distant, muffled voices call out to him. He feels desperate.
His fingers claw against the door, blunt nails catching against the carvings & embossed iron, his sense of urgency growing, building up until it's spilling out and swallowing him whole.

He doesn't know what he's chasing after, doesn't know what he wants, but it feels like home.
He feels like he's lost a part of himself and it's trapped behind this door, held back by the snakes that guard the entrance and glare down at him.

He falls to his knees, wide, beautiful eyes a haunted mix of soulless and pleading.
It's quiet, too quiet. The silence is overwhelming to a point that it feels almost deafening. Intangible though it may be, the quietude weighs heavy on him, settles into his bones and pulls at his heartstrings until he can't breathe, suffocated with longing and sadness.
A single tear clings to his bottom lashes. A drop of water— blood?— drips from a place he cannot see. It falls, and the sound echoes, reverberates against the walls before the quiet settles again, blanketing everything Nothing exists beyond him & the door & what lies beyond it.
The voices behind the door start up again, growing louder, more frantic, like they're begging him to come in. Taehyung shakes his head, breath catching against a sob that makes his lungs feel tight.

They hiss at him, serpentine whispers trying to seduce him, as his head spins.
He opens his mouth to speak, but he doesn't recognize his own voice, doesn't recognize the word he speaks. It sounds foreboding, like a lost tongue, a forbidden language that should have been forgotten centuries ago. A lock clicks open somewhere & the snakes along the door move.
They begin to move down, slithering their way through the carvings, silver, metallic bodies winding past the columns and the bars as another lock clicks open and then another and then another.

Taehyung stares, eyes wide & cheeks damp, holding his breath in trepidation, & then—
And then he wakes up.

Jimin is there, staring at him with wide, fearful eyes. He's standing, clutching at his own robes, hands shaking, and Taehyung stares right back at him, heart racing.

'What is it?' His eyes seem to ask Jimin.
Voice trembling a little, Jimin takes a wary step back, whispering, "You spoke Parseltongue."

Confusion shrouds Taehyung's eyes. He doesn't even know Parseltongue, let alone recall ever speaking it.

"Just now," Jimin breathes. "Before you—"

"Oh, heavens, he's awake!"
They look up as the nurse hurries over, obvious relief over her features.

"Oh, dear, how are you feeling?" She asks, fussing over him immediately. "You took quite the fall off of your broom there, love. Hit your head pretty hard; how are you feeling? Can you hear me alright?"
Taehyung's eyelids flutter a little, confused fear overriding any relief he feels at finally waking up.

Jimin stares at him like he's afraid of him, like he's a stranger, and Taehyung feels his heart sink.
- - -

Things don't go back to normal after that, not quite.

Jimin and Taehyung still find each other, still see each other before and during classes, but they don't go to their special hideouts anymore. They don't sneak out of the common rooms in the middle of the night.
Jimin can't quite explain it, but something about the new Taehyung, something about the hushed Parseltongue and distant eyes instill a deep-rooted fear inside of him, borne from a place of strange familiarity and terror.
It's almost like they're connected together, like their souls thread the way to the same source, but something about that is crushingly terrifying. Jimin almost feels like he knows something he shouldn't know.
He feels vulnerable, like he's standing at the edge of a cliff with the sharp end of a sword at his throat, and the handle of it in Taehyung's grasp.

He's not sure why it is, but he feels as though Taehyung's got Jimin's life in the palm of his hand.
And Jimin isn't sure he trusts him anymore with it when the Taehyung he's been watching over the last five months is completely unrecognizable to the Taehyung he used to know.
iii. Year 6
They don't speak over the summer.

When the first day of the new semester comes around, Jimin is already busy joining extra classes, volunteering to tutor & signing up to help Professors out.

Taehyung hardly sees him the first week back in school & it weighs heavy on him.
Taehyung stops him one day after a mutual class, hand grabbing at Jimin's arm as the other tries to sidle past.

"Jimin." His voice is quiet, pleading. He sounds hurt & confused as to why Jimin's been avoiding him, feels scared & confused about the changes he's going through.
Jimin hesitates a little before looking up at Taehyung. The latter's grown over the summer and for the first time in months, Jimin is really looking at him, and his breath catches in his throat.

Taehyung is no longer subtly advantaged in height.
Jimin's eyes have to raise their gaze a little higher now to make eye contact, and it makes Jimin's heart twist painfully.

"I miss you," Taehyung breathes, swallowing thickly.

Jimin tries to read the younger's eyes, studying his expression.
It's almost as if the events of months prior had never taken place.

For the first time in a long time, Taehyung's eyes look familiar again. They look warm & gentle, & Jimin feels the fear that had been steadily building up inside of him shrink a little.

"Really?" He whispers
"More than anything," Taehyung murmurs.

They're blocking the doorway and someone shoves past, pushing at Jimin so that he stumbles forward & falls against Taehyung's chest.

It says something about the type of fear Taehyung's strange moment of possession had put in Jimin, that
Jimin almost feels a little pleasantly surprised at the steady heartbeats that knock against the palm of his hand. Taehyung's heart matches his own, their rhythms in sync, & Jimin swallows dryly.

After what feels like forever, Jimin finally lets it sink in how much he's missed
this boy.

It makes him feel simultaneously, overwhelmingly sad and elated at the same time. This Taehyung looks and feels and sounds like the Taehyung he'd fallen for years ago.
- - -
"I'm sorry," Jimin says later, under the shadow of the birch tree.

They haven't visited Their Spot in so long; it looks different. The plants are overgrown, a few trees here & there drooping towards the earth from the weight of their leaves.

"For...disappearing on you."
"I thought you hated me all of a sudden," Taehyung confesses, voice small. His fingers curl into the blades of grass & tug lightly, feeling the soil relax underneath.

Jimin looks up, guilt flickering in his eyes, before he looks away again, apologetic. "I could never hate you."
"I just," Jimin starts, unsure and a little embarrassed now because saying it out loud sounds ridiculous, but, "I just felt...scared."

"Of what?" Taehyung asks, biting his lower lip.

"Of you," Jimin admits, avoiding the younger's gaze.
"I can't explain it," Jimin murmurs, lifting a hand up to his chest. His fingers curl into the fabric of his white shirt, twisting & tugging as his hand forms a fist over his heart. "I just felt...frightened. Like something bad was gonna happen."

"Because of me?" Taehyung asks.
Jimin shakes his head a little. "I don't know," he admits.

"I'd never hurt you," Taehyung says softly, but he almost sounds a little unsure of himself. He honestly doesn't trust himself either these days.

"I know," Jimin says, though, and Taehyung winces.
Taehyung stares at Jimin from beneath his lashes, head lowered and mind preoccupied. His heart feels heavy; he wants to talk to someone, to tell someone what's been going on, but he's almost afraid no one will want to listen, including Jimin.

"I'm scared too," he blurts out.
Jimin finally looks up at him at that, a little surprised, before his gaze softens with shame and understanding. "Yeah," he murmurs. "I'm sorry I didn't— I should have made sure you were alright, after...everything."

Taehyung sucks in a deep breath and gnaws at his bottom lip.
"I've—" Taehyung starts and then stops, searching for words. He swallows and looks down at his hands.

"I feel different sometimes," he confesses.

"Different?" Jimin asks, brows coming together. He knows; he's seen Taehyung change overnight, become unrecognizable.

"Like I'm," Taehyung confesses. "Like I' I'm being controlled by something...someone else."

His voice grows smaller & smaller; he adds on, quietly, "I'm not crazy. I just—"

"I know you aren't, Tete," Jimin says softly & —God, he hasn't called him that in ages.
And for the first time in months, Jimin looks at Taehyung—really, truly looks at him, sees the vulnerability & the fear in his eyes, framed by the pretty lashes Jimin loves.

"Tell me everything," Jimin says suddenly, voice sober & quiet. He sits up straighter and turns to him.
And Taehyung does.
He tells him everything, from the dreams to the voices. He tells him about the gaps in his memory, about falling asleep in one place & waking up in another. He tells Jimin about how he feels like he's living someone else's life, body on auto-pilot & mind numb.
He tells him about these past few weeks, about the the haunting dreams and the snakes who speak to him in Parseltongue. He tells him about the days he feels lost, confused, scared of himself, about the hidden door somewhere in Hogwart's underground, forbidden chambers.
"No one at home seems to...I don't know," Taehyung mutters, frowning faintly as he shakes his head. "I brought it up last week. No one...seemed surprised? Or worried?"

"To be fair, I've never seen a concerned Slytherin," Jimin jokes, in an attempt to lighten the air.
"You're a concerned Slytherin," Taehyung says, smiling faintly.

"That, I am," Jimin says, chuckling softly.

Taehyung's smile is already fading though as he looks away, jaw tense. "I feel like something's coming for me; I just don't know what it is."
Biting his lower lip, Jimin hesitates a little before he speaks up. "That day when you woke up and start speaking didn't...sound like yourself," he says slowly.

"What d'you mean?" Taehyung asks, glancing up at Jimin again.

"I don't know," Jimin mutters.
"It just...didn't sound like you," Jimin says, struggling to explain what he'd witnessed that night. "You sounded like...someone else. Someone...familiar, I can't put a finger on it, but it wasn't you. I know you, Taehyung; that wasn't you."

Taehyung presses his lips together.
"What else?" Taehyung asks quietly.

Jimin gnaws along the inside of his cheek. "You really don't remember anything, do you?"

Shaking his head a little, Taehyung sighs. "Not really."

"You were crying," Jimin says softly. "You looked like you were in pain, & spoke."
" wasn't you," Jimin finishes, frowning faintly.

The air around them feels heavy, stagnant and cold despite it being early September. Taehyung feels a bit of a chill run through his veins and up his spine, drawing uncomfortable goosebumps along his skin.
"Do you remember," Jimin starts, "when it was your birthday last year? That's around when you started acting..."

"What?" Taehyung presses, brows pulled together.

"Just...weird," Jimin says, shaking his head. "You were totally out of it for a couple of days."
"It looked like you didn't even know who I was," Jimin says quietly. "It was so...eerie; you just stared right through me, as if I wasn't there at all."

"You weren't talking to me or anything, and suddenly," Jimin continues, breathing out disbelieving chuckle. "You were fine."
"I don't remember that," Taehyung mumbles.

"I know that now," Jimin says softly. "At the time, I thought..."


"I just thought you were...messing with me, I don't know; I thought you didn't like me anymore and you were just.."

"I wouldn't do that."

"No. You wouldn't."
"You know I'm here, right? Whatever it is; I'm sorry, I...pulled away, but I'm gonna be here now. For you. For both of us," Jimin says softly.

When Taehyung smiles, it's the lightest he's felt in months, a burden lifting off of his shoulders.
- - -
For a while, they're able to forget. They focus on each other, on rebuilding what had become strained over the summer months.

Taehyung's dreams lessen in frequency & Jimin's never been better; his freakish bout of illness from a year ago seems to have no lasting effects.
He turns sixteen, and then so does Taehyung. Things go well, smooth sailing and effortless. Jimin opts for extra N.E.W.T-level classes, having excelled in the previous year's O.W.L's.

The workload increases appropriately, with added homework and tests and assignments.
Taehyung excels in sports & DADA, is as gifted as ever in Herbology, & they settle down. They find their niches. The rules begin to slacken & the school lifts some of its protective bans from the previous years.

Cherry blossom season rolls around & students are able to go out.
Some days, Taehyung wakes up, covered in sweat and nursing an aching heart. He dreams of faces he can't put a name on, of serpentine voices and strange incantations, but he doesn't find himself sleep-walking again.
-- -- -- --

Taehyung smiles softly, staring openly at Jimin as he sits across from him, chin resting atop a pile of stacked books meant for studying.

It's distracting, but Jimin tries not to look swayed by it, despite the bright pink burning at the tips of his ears.
"You're cute when you're being nerdy," Taehyung says fondly, a hint of playful affection lacing his voice.

That makes Jimin glance up finally, snorting softly. He grins, biting his bottom lip. "Yeah? You like nerds, Tae?"

"God, yeah," Taehyung says, sighing wistfully.
"Talk nerdy to me," Taehyung coos, lips pushing out into a cheeky pout as he reaches across the table to lightly tickle along the underside of Jimin's chin, making the laughter laugh and pull away.

"Lacewing flies, leeches, fluxweed, & knotgrass—" Jimin starts, grinning slowly.
He wiggles his eyebrows seductively, leaning across the table as he continues, voice dropping a sexy octave or two. "—powdered horn of a Bicorn, skin of a Boomslang and—"

"Okay, no," Taehyung cuts in, guffawing. "Sorry, that's too sexy for me. I can't hear anymore of it."
Jimin throws his head back at that and laughs, tossing his quill harmlessly in Taehyung's direction, the latter catching it easily with a smile.

"Oh? Polyjuice Potion gets you all hot and bothered, huh?" Jimin teases, grinning cheekily.

"You have no idea," Taehyung pouts.
-- -- -- --

And then, it begins again.
-- -- -- --

"Taehyung, wake up!"

He startles awake. The house is bathed in darkness and an ominous sense of foreboding. The chill is almost palpable despite it being August, and Taehyung's sleepy disorientation is shaken off when urgent hands pull him up roughly.
Perspiration lines his brows, satin pyjama shirt clinging to his chest along the cold sweat.

"Mother," he breathes, brows coming up in confusion as his mother hurriedly yanks him up & shoves him towards the closets.

"Take what you need and go," she whispers, urgent & scared.
It's almost like she's scared— scared of the walls listening in on her, scared of the creaking floor boards betraying her treason.


Taehyung is confused, fear gripping at his bones and his heart as she grabs what she can find & shoves them at him. His wand. His robes.
"Can't explain; you need to leave, Taehyung," she says quietly, voice strained. "Now."

He stares at her, perplexed and worried and unsure until she turns around and looks at him.

"He's here," she whispers. "And He'll come for you if you don't leave right now."
iv. Year 7
Hogwarts was meant to be safe.

That much, Taehyung had believed, when he'd left his home in the middle of the night with nowhere else to go.

Hogwarts was meant to be one of the most heavily guarded places in the wizarding world.
He hasn't heard from his family since then. The nightmares had returned, words spoken in parseltongue teasing at his subconscious mind and etching fear deep into his bones.

'He' was rumoured to have returned, taking with him the lives of cattle and livestock, muggles & wizards.
Unexplainable deaths and illnesses, rumours of Death Eaters escaping from Azkaban— it was the way things were seventeen years ago. History had a tendency to repeat itself, but nobody had counted on it being so soon.
-- -- --

"I've been reading up," Jimin says one day, sounding a little strained. "About 'Him'."

Classes had been cancelled again, for the fifth time this month. Another wizard had been found dead, alongside the grounds-keeper.

A palpable sort of unrest blanketed the school.
Taehyung looks up, tired. He's been feeling irritable lately, not like himself. He feels swings in his moods, violent mood swings and a lack of self-control.

The flames in the fireplace crackle quietly a few feet away. Jimin pulls his knees up to his chest and looks away.
"They say He's back for a reason, you know," Jimin says quietly. He's been looking a little paler lately as well.

Taehyung hums softly.

"There's this...rumour?" Jimin continues, frowning faintly as he tries to find the words. "Of some...His...His heir, I don't know."
"His heir?" Taehyung echoes. His voice sounds hollow, empty.

Jimin stays quiet for a long time, hesitant, before he asks, voice barely above a whisper, "You've been having those dreams again, haven't you?"
Taehyung blinks and looks away. He frowns faintly.

"You have, haven't you?" Jimin asks again, swallowing thickly.

"Why? Do you think that has anything to do with it?" Taehyung murmurs.
"You understand Parseltongue," Jimin says softly, matter-of-factly. "Only a few people have been known to speak it."

"Are you saying that you think I'm the..." Taehyung drifts off, frowning faintly.

"The heir?" Jimin speaks up. He bites his lip. "I hope you aren't, Taehyung."
"I really hope you aren't."

Taehyung feels his chest tighten as he looks towards the fireplace, again, staring straight through the dying embers.
(will be continuing this soon! thank you to those still reading; please let me know what you think!
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