Pairing: Minseok/Sehun, Wendy/Seulgi, Taehyung/Sooyoung, hinted!Jongin/Taemin, hinted!Jimin/Jungkook, ninja!Baekhyun/Chanyeol
Warnings: mild bullying, violence, minor age gap
Disclaimer: HP world belongs to J.K.Rowling and Korean idols belong to themselves, I just own my fantasy.
Notes: crossposted here. See end of the fic for notes.
Summary: Sehun is a Slytherin senior with a lot of problems. The new Muggle Studies substitute teacher who just happens to be his first love is only one of them.
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.
Sehun waltzes outside the train with the grace of a stone gargoyle, his eyes throwing darts at everyone who dares to cross his path. His head is still pounding with the familiar rhythm of Fall Out Boys and Nightwish songs, with just a dash of Avenged Sevenfold, when he slips his faithful iPod in the hidden pocket of the wizard robe he changed into a few minute before. He’s still groggy from the three hours nap he’s taken in the train, mind hazy and thoughts slowly swirling inside his head, but he’s still coherent enough to hide the electronic device, not wanting anyone to see it. That would irremediably ruin his Slytherin Muggle-Hater Pureblood reputation. It’s not like the iPod is working, anyway. It started lagging as soon as the train crossed Hogwarts’ borders. It’s a pity, because now Sehun has only his own, unsure voice to hum dark songs and fill the silence of the long nights in the dungeons.
A few short kids, First Years - wearing their robes proudly like only freshmen would, their necks bare of any color, at least until the Sorting - trot between his legs and he smacks his lips at them. They stop, frozen by his cold stare of disapproval, eyes immediately caught by the shiny Prefect batch and even more by the shinier Oh household ring at his middle finger. An ancient, arrogant family. Very powerful. They must come from wizard households to be able to recognize his family crest.
Just as they tremble under his gaze - maybe they think Sehun will devour them like tiny appetizers before the banquet - Wendy crashes into him from behind. Unseen, her hand comes to rest comfortably at the small of Sehun’s back, a little gesture of friendship that no one else will ever notice. Her familiar weight draped on his back is enough to distract him from the new students and they can finally breathe again.
“What are you even doing still here? We’re going to be late if you don’t move your puny ass.” She turns to smile at the kids with her Head Girl face. “Are you First Years? Then you must go to the boats, follow Mr. Shin there.”
Her Head Girl batch seems to comfort them, but Sehun’s hungover face is still scary, so they gladly take her suggestion. Sehun swears he can keep them whispering his name in awe and maybe a little fear as they disappear down the clearing and towards the shore, where the boats are waiting for them. He quickly hexes his and Wendy’s chests to follow them with a Locomotor and they start to float in the air, heavy and uncoordinated.
Before he can greet her, Wendy links their arms together and starts dragging him towards the carriages. “So, how did my favorite housemate’s summer go?”
Her voice is too loud for Sehun’s delicate ears – he doesn’t deal well with noise when he’s still this grumpy from a sudden awakening, but that’s how Wendy is. She doesn’t slow down to Sehun’s pace, just pulls him until he’s following hers. That’s why, instead of complaining, he stops to kiss her cheek. Sehun has known Wendy long enough to learn the little tricks that will make her smile soften and her eyes brighten, turning her voice to warm honey just for Sehun's ears. It works every time.
“My summer sucked,” he says to answer her question. “My parents made me go to places and know people. Yesterday I got drunk with Zitao and Jongin. My head hurts.”
He pronounces the words as he’s pushing them out with great effort, one by one, his voice still rough from sleep.
“Sounds like you had a great time,” she answers with a short laugh, and Sehun doesn’t bother with a reply, opening the door of a carriage instead. They crash inside and Sehun slams the door right in Ren’s hopeful face before he can get in with them. “You must do something about him. His little crush on you is starting to become painful to watch.”
Wendy laughs and pats her knees, and Sehun lets his head fall in her lap. Her hands are cold, but not in an unpleasant way. She soothes the headache that’s been tormenting him since when he said his goodbyes to his two best friends. This year, his last year at Hogwarts, they won’t be there with him.
“Maybe you should do something about him, Sehunnie. After all, the only reason why Ren and everyone else thinks I’m interested in boys is because I dated you for two years.”
Sehun snorts and closes his eyes, letting Wendy’s hands lull him into a peaceful slumber.
Sometimes he wish he could’ve dated Wendy, who’s perfect and strong and talented and now also the best Head Girl Slytherin has ever seen in decades. The truth was that they were both scared, of so many things, what with their parents breathing on their neck and the whole school gossiping about their close friendship. Deciding to go out together officially didn’t change the nature of their friendship made of silent fleeting touches and secrets whispered in the night, of Firewhiskey shared around the blue and green fires of the Slytherin Common Room. Zitao and Jongin, and a few years ago also Baekhyun and even Kris sometimes, joined them.
They went their separate ways during the winter of their sixth year, Wendy’s choice. But Sehun doesn’t miss being her boyfriend when he can have her as a friend, her frozen fingertips drawing stars on his temple and her long hair tickling his nose.
The Sorting is boring, as usual. They have a few more brats sitting at their table and watching him and Wendy like they’re seeing ghosts. “Not ghosts, superstars!” says Wendy, when he shares the thought with her. “We’re the superstars this year, Sehunnie!” Last year for them and first year for the new students. An end and a beginning. “Whatever, I just want them to stop staring at me like that.”
They don't stop, not until the Bloody Baron makes his appearance, scaring the blood out of them. Yerim, happy to be in her second year and not a freshman anymore, laughs when one little girl with tiny pigtails, who sits straight like a princess and has lovely table manners, almost faints as the old ghost passes through her to float near Sehun and greet him.
They make polite conversation, at least until Krystal, Ravenclaw seventh year, Prefect, leaves her table to come and greet Wendy, to congratulate her on the promotion to Head Girl. Krystal also nods towards Sehun, and he waves back. He likes her, she’s one of the few students in his year who deserves his respect, though he can’t really call her a friend like Wendy does.
“Something happened?” he asks out of boredom when Krystal leaves with a final smile and an elegant swish of brown locks. Wendy shakes his head. “Krystal’s sister is taking a maternity leave. Looks like we’ll be short of a Muggle Studies professor.”
He snorts. “I feel extremely sorry for half the male population of Hogwarts,” he comments, referring to all those students who chose Muggle Studies just to ogle over pretty Professor Jessica.
Wendy lightly clinks her glass against his, chuckling. “And I’ll join you in your mourning. I only wish we had something better than pumpkin juice to drink.”
They finish their dinner in silence and then Sehun slips away to reach the dungeons while his friend begins to shout indications to the overexcited freshmen with the help of the other Prefects. Sehun is technically a Prefect too, but he firmly believes that five people will be able to deal with a handful of First Years, even without his help.
Sehun’s room is dark and empty, just like Wendy’s. They are the only two Slytherin students in their year, and maybe that’s why he feels a tiny sting of loneliness. All their older friends graduated while they’re still stuck at Hogwarts. Zitao and Jongin at least used to camp in his room when they were bored, always managing to transform the intimidating bed in a fort of emerald pillows. There’s no one now, and Sehun is too proud to go to the other rooms and hang with some of the lowerclassmen.
“You look quite depressed.” Wendy leans on the doorframe and stares. There’s a bottle of Ogden's Old in her right hand, and she Levitates it towards Sehun as she crosses the room in three steps with her long, long legs before she lets herself fall on the bed . She bounces a little when she lands.
“Because my life is quite depressing. Drinking whiskey with my former girlfriend because I don’t have any other friends here in school. My mom didn’t send me at all those parties to develop such poor social skills.”
“My mom raised me to be a perfect housewife, and the other day she complained that my grades are too high and that no man will ever want a smart girl, so I should stop putting an effort in school.”
“You win,” he says, and pours some whiskey in a flute, offering it to her.
They drink in silence.
“It was different with them here,” he mutters, between a sip and another.
“Only because you’re lame and a loser. So gloomy. They were a living and walking party.”
Being a Slytherin is all about being choked by expectations and prejudices. Even the atmosphere is suffocating and claustrophobic. It’s not because they’re underground, no, Hufflepuff students don’t have windows either, but at least they don’t live in the dungeons, where everything is so cold, humid and dark.
Sehun’s seventh year will be utterly miserable, but the worst is awaiting him after the school ends, when he’ll officially become a pawn in the hands of his parents, a mere political commodity. It’s his role as the only heir of the glorious Oh family.
It’s probably the alcohol that speaks for him, hazing his mind and his common sense like a too warm hug. His numb tongue moves against the roof of his mouth as he takes one of Wendy’s hands in his own, finding it fresh and comforting, an anchor in the sea of his helplessness.
“Wendy,” he says, and it sounds like a prayer, like when he was afraid of the dark and he called his mom to be comforted at night. She never came, but Wendy would’ve come, Wendy will make, one day, a beautiful mother. “Wendy, do you want to marry me when the school ends?”
Only when little, pretty fingers come to rest on his cheek, following the line of his jaw, that he realizes how much of a mistake it was. She sighs and he wants to run away.
“Two years ago I would’ve said yes, Sehun. Because that would be the most convenient thing, for us both. We only love each other like brothers, but we could learn to live together and be happy, we could produce an heir and make our families proud.” She looks like a woman now, not like Sehun’s pretty Wendy who waved at him the first day of school seven years ago, after the Sorting, when they found out they were the only ones. We’ll have to stick together, she had said, and she’s always been there for Sehun when he needed her the most.
“But I can’t, Sehunnie. Talking with my mother this summer about the choice of my future husband, how pure his blood will have to be, that was the last straw for me. This year is going to be the year. I’m going to do it. Talk to her, become her friend…”
Her, Kang Seulgi. Sehun knows what Wendy’s parents - her whole family - would say if they just knew what kind of person Seulgi is.
“Becoming friend with a Muggle-born,” he chooses his words carefully, but Wendy’s eyes sharpen at the word, “is really worth the life you’re living now?”
“Oh, please Oh Sehun. Now don’t tell me you really believe all that racist bullshit crap the kids in our house go around spluttering like idiots, don’t you? Do you know why I had to let Sooyoung sleep in my room for years? Because the other girls locked her out of theirs. Because her blood is not pure. She’s lucky she’s a Prefect now and she doesn’t have to deal with all that bullshit anymore.”
He doesn’t answer. Kids are kids. They get out of their homes for the first time, their heads clogged with all the things their parents have said and they slam against the wall of reality, again and again. At home, they’re taught that they’re the best, la crème de la crème, that everyone should bow at their passage. But Hogwarts is not about the purity of blood. It has never been, ever since the first time Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin argued about it and the latter chose to leave the school leaving his house orphan of his guidance. Maybe, if he had stayed, things would’ve been easier. But he didn’t, and Slytherin students were left alone to deal with the rest of the world, to learn that everything they were taught to be true had no value between these walls. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t, but it always makes them stronger. Sooyoung’s first years were a living hell, but she learned how to defend herself and gained the respect of the rest of the House. The fact that she chose to let her friends call her Sooyoung and not Joy – the name her witch mother has chosen for her when she was born – is proof enough of how much their little girl has grown. Now she’s strong enough not to be ashamed of her origins, and the rest of the House respects it too.
“I’m not telling you I believe it, but your parents do. They will never accept someone like your Seulgi, you know it better than me.”
Wendy sighs, a strand of runaway hair falling on her forehead in a tired surrender. “I never took you for that type of person, Sehun. You usually stay out of these ideological wars. I’ve never even heard you call someone Mudblood before, and that must be a record for a Slytherin.”
“Don’t you dare talk to me, you filthy Mudblood.”
The whiskey suddenly tastes sour on Sehun’s tongue. She’s never heard it, but he’s done it, only once. It’ll probably be the most shameful memory of his school years.
“You don’t even know if she’ll want to talk with you,” he changes the topic, before Wendy can notice the shadow of regret in his eyes. “Kang Seulgi, I mean. I’m going to remind you that we are Slytherin, thus evil. She’d probably pour holy water on herself if you only if you even only tried to greet her on the hallways.”
“That only means I’ll have to be very persuasive.”
“Oh, that is something you’re very good at,” he says, but the words come out slurred and slow. She takes the bottle out of his hands, but it’s already empty.
“Sehun, you drank everything, you ass!”
He snickers, pulling on her hair. “Aren’t you thanking me? I spared you a pretty heavy hangover tomorrow morning.”
“Well, I’m not going to kick your ass until you get up tomorrow. You drag your sorry self to class by yourself, that will teach you to share, next time.”
He’s already dozing off when he feels her lips on his temple, a delicate kiss.
“Sehunnie, I don’t know who broke your heart so badly that you can’t even dream to fall in love again. But remember, if you let your parents rule your life now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your days.”
She’s gone in a moment, and Sehun rolls down on his stomach and tries to sleep.
He looks at the hand hanging in front of his face, waiting to be taken. Then his father leaves the Headmaster’s office and Sehun’s heart misses a beat. He can’t let his father down, he can’t.
“Don’t you dare talk to me, you filthy Mudblood.”
The following morning, Sehun wakes up feeling like someone just dragged him to hell and back just in time for breakfast. He’s retching in the bathroom for the third time when Sooyoung arrives with coffee, courtesy of Wendy. She just leaves the cup on the sink - she’s not brave enough to talk to him before he’s shot some caffeine in his system. He sees the back of her cape disappearing behind the door as she leaves, but at least the hot nectar of life is on his desk.
He practically gulps his coffee on his way to Potions and still manages to be late for class, but professor Kangin doesn’t even bother with him. He’s a Slytherin, after all.
However, he does stop him before he can sit with Wendy.
“Just a moment, Mr. Oh. I am afraid you’ll be forced to switch seats and pair with Mr. Yoo for the rest of this class. We’re doing team works and the Headmaster encouraged me to promote the union and harmony between the Houses.” From the tone he used he could’ve as well been talking about disgusting leeches and the new tax on brooms.
Sehun doesn’t like Youngjae. They have never really talked in the six years they’ve both been Hogwarts students, except for the customary Gryffindor-Slytherin skirmishes in the hallways when there weren’t any professors in sight. Sehun’s fondest memory of the boy is Baekhyun Levitating him on one of the chandeliers of the fourth floor three years ago, a sweet revenge for when Youngjae had tripped Baekhyun’s young brother, Taehyung, in the Great Hall, in front of everyone else. They only found Youngjae the morning later, still up there. His wand was lying on the floor and he had no way to get down the chandelier without risking to break a few bones in the process. Needless to say, he had never tried to mess with Baekhyun, or Taehyung, from that day onwards.
In Sehun’s humble opinion, Youngjae could’ve been a Slytherin. He’s mean enough to belong in the dungeons with the other snakes. Unfortunately, he’s also just a tiny bit dumb, and dumb calls dumb so he obviously ended up in Gryffindor. That and, being Half-blood, his life in Slytherin wouldn’t have been too pleasant. Not everyone is as strong as Sooyoung, after all.
What matters is that, after six years, Youngjae is still an ass, a dumbass, thinks Sehun, as he moves his bag in the seat near his new desk buddy. He steals a look at Wendy, who’s beaming in joy at the girl next to her, and he understands why when he sees who her partner is. He waves at Wendy and she answers cutely, before turning back to talk to Seulgi.
Youngjae has already spread his materials on the desk, and he warmly welcomes Sehun. “Oh, look, the Prince of Slytherin deigned us of his mighty presence. Such honor, should we all bow to His Majesty?”
Sehun doesn’t waste his breath to answer. Instead, he opens the book and flip to the page of the potion they’re trying to make today. The ingredients are written on the blackboard, but he double-checks anyway, just to make sure.
“It’s useless to pretend that you’re paying attention. We all know that professor Kim will make you pass anyway, Oh. Or it’s just an excuse to force yourself out of a conversation with a lowly commoner like me? Because that’s what you Slytherins usually do.”
What Youngjae is doing, Sehun thinks, is completely understandable. Now that between the older students of the school there are only two Slytherins, the power balance has shifted and they’re in a clear inferiority. He’s in clear inferiority, because Wendy is Head Girl and no one in their clear state of mind would ever mess with her. She’s also friendly and smiling and easy going, while Sehun is a dark, quiet little thing whose family owns half of the country.
It’s the first time he finds himself involved personally in this kind of petty fights. In the past, his Slytherin seniors used to handle these things for him, but now that he’s in last year it seems he can’t escape the responsibility to defend Slytherin’s honor anymore.
He blinks stupidly at Youngjae. “Do you want to fail this class?”
He only realizes it was probably the wrong answer when he sees Jongdae's eyes darken and almost hears his teeth violently clashing behind closed, thin lips. He closes his mouth, regretting the decision of getting up for Advanced Potions this morning.
Sehun doesn't really know how to talk with someone who's not in the same House as him. It would’ve probably been different if he had bothered to make friends outside his House, of course, but he never felt the need to meet and talk to new people. His little knit group in Slytherin was more than enough for him, but as time passed and his friends graduated he never felt the need to make new ones, doing what his mother calls cultivating your social life. Maybe, if he did, now he wouldn’t be alone to deal with this unnecessary hostility. It’s not like he hates Youngjae, even if he does think that the kid is probably dumber than Godric Gryffindor himself. Sehun simply wants to be left alone.
Professor Kim - Kangin, as the Slytherin students have learnt to call the Head Professor of their House - brings the order back in the class, and Sehun and Youngjae start working, at the same potion but not together. They are methodical and they try to stay of each other’s personal space. Their potion is not as good as it could’ve been if Sehun had been working alone, but it’s still good enough to get them a good grade. Its with relief that they hear the professor announce they’re dismissed.
Sehun takes his bag and tries to reach Wendy, to ask her if she wants to get lunch with him or if she’s already made plans with her new friend. He’s abruptly stopped by a forceful shove at the center of his back. He turns, only to see his former Potions partner staring at him maliciously. It’s supposed to look threatening, but Sehun surpasses the other boy with his whole head, it’s like staring at a midget from a titan’s point of view.
“Don’t you think you’re better than us just because your parents can use money to wipe their ass.”
Sehun’s never thought it, but if Youngjae is happy to think it… It could’ve ended there, but then Youngjae has to open his big, idiotic mouth, one time too many. “You Slytherin are the trash of Hogwarts, you’ve always been, and it’s time you realize it.”
“Trash?” he chuckles. “You’re accusing me to be trash?”
It's like Youngjae has just throw a coin in the air and everyone is watching it as it flips mid-air, waiting to see where how it will land. And Sehun may hold absolutely no interest in winning this fight, but there’s something, a sense of belonging that he feels towards his house. Years spent joggling around Baekhyun-hyung and Kris-hyung, well respected seniors that would’ve never let some Gryffindor punk talk about their House, their glorious Slytherin House, in such a degrading way. Years spent reading dusty books while Jongin and Zitao fought his battles for him. Years spent teaching Taehyung and Sooyoung, sometimes even Jimin, how to protect themselves from surprise attacks in the alleys, for when the hostility between Slytherin and Gryffindor boils so much it can’t be subdued by rules anymore and it explodes in impromptu duels in the gardens near the lake. Slytherin may be the den of the snakes, but Sehun is one of them and he won’t stay quiet while stupid Yoo Youngjae dirties the legacy of Salazar.
Wendy flashes him a desperate glare and he can feel her mouthing no, no, no at him, Seulgi’s arm still linked to hers, both of them watching the scene unfolding in front of their eyes. The whole class is watching closely. But it’s too late, and Sehun can’t take it back now that he’s already saying it.
“Look back into your own House, Youngjae, and ask yourself what trash really is. Someone like you shouldn’t even dream to talk to someone like me.”
The class stills, almost as if a Silencing Charm has been casted over the students. It’s the first time they actually see Oh Sehun reacting to something said against him, breaking the spell of the mysterious, tenebrous ice prince he’s built in the last six years. It’s the first time and no one knows what to say.
Sehun wants to bite his lips, wants to blush, because this isn’t what he wanted to say. He wanted to ask Youngjae why is he picking on Slytherin when he and Wendy have done nothing against him. Why is it always their fault for everything? Why can’t they be friends with everyone else? But the coin has long stopped flipping, only to land on the wrong side. At the corner of his eyes, he sees Seulgi leaving Wendy’s arm, reaching her other Gryffindor friends behind Youngjae until the entire class is on one side and Sehun and Wendy on the other.
Kangin chooses that moment to come back. “Why are you all still here? You should clear out before the Third Years begin.” His piercing eyes scan the situation. “I hope no one is fighting, because I wouldn’t allow a fight on my class. I must beg all of you to leave this place if you want to behave like kids, and not like the adults you should be.”
Sehun nods and retrieves his bag. Wendy is trembling, imperceptibly, and Youngjae looks more surprised than angry. Murmuring a quick apology, he leaves before anyone else. Maybe if he goes back to his room and starts to sleep, he’ll wake up tomorrow and today will have been just a dream.
He crashes against someone just outside the room and they both stagger and gasp in surprise.
Keeping his head low, hair swept messily over his eyes, he apologizes and tries to leave the room because he’s going to cry and he can’t do it here. No one ever has to see him crying.
A hand grabs his wrist and pulls, spinning him backwards to stop his great escape, but the thing that really halts him is the voice. He thought he had forgotten that voice, after all this time, but his brain had just stored it away for a moment like these.
“You haven’t changed, Oh Sehun.”
Oh, the memories, they come flooding his heart like a calamity. That day, too, he was going to cry.
“Do you need some help, kid?”
Minseok, pretty, so pretty, Head Boy badge on his vest, offers him a hand. His eyes are big and shiny and trustworthy, his smile is kind. He doesn’t even know who Sehun is, even if Sehun has done nothing but stare longingly at him the whole past year, since when Minseok helped him get rid of Peeves at last Halloween party. He doesn’t know, but he still looks like he could comfort Sehun and teach him that there’s another way outside the cage that his parents have built for him.
Sehun stares at the hand hanging in front of his face, waiting to be taken. Then his father leaves the Headmaster’s office and Sehun’s heart misses a beat. He can’t let his father down, he can’t. He can’t be seen talking with Kim Minseok, because the older boy is a Muggle-born and Sehun is a Pure-blood and his father would kill him. He still bears the signs of the last beating on his body.
He raises his head, as proudly as a lost kid can, and he hopes this will be enough to make his father proud of him.
“Don’t you dare talk to me, you filthy Mudblood.”
Minseok looks down at him and doesn’t answer. Minseok looks down at him and pities him, because Sehun looks like a frightened kid on the verge of tears.
“Next time we meet, I hope you’ll be free to be a different person.”
He wonders if the sky is pale and clear, just like three years ago, one of those few rare days when dawn is pink and poetic, and not grey and faded out like it usually is around Hogwarts.
Oh Sehun’s dream picks the thread from where it had been left last time, suddenly and quietly, at the beginning of his seventh year, and no one, not even Sehun himself, sees it coming.
Kim Minseok looks down at him, and there’s not a Head Boy badge on his vest, but his eyes are just as big and pretty, his face just as kind even if he’s not smiling, but frowning, and Sehun feels hot and cold and breathless all at once. Minseok still looks like he did in the past and Sehun still wants to be comforted by him. But, like in the past, he knows he’s not definitely allowed to.
“Don’t talk to me.”
Wendy doesn’t leave, but she does move her books on the other side of their favorite table with such vehemence that she cuts herself with the edge of a page and almost knocks an entire vial of ink over her Arithmancy notes. Sehun doesn’t say anything, he just helps her picking up her stuff, parchments and quilts and a stack of Ice Mice. She forcefully stares at her book as he flops down next to her. They have a History of Magic quiz next week and he doesn’t want to fall behind with his studies, so he flips a book open and starts to read.
He can feel Wendy flashing silent anger and cold stares at him, but he doesn’t say anything. She said not to talk to her, after all.
“Well, aren’t going to say anything?”
“But you said…”
“You could start with an apology, for example. Something simple like, sorry Wendy if I fucking turned our entire year against us. Sorry if I ruined your only chance to score something with your crush. Sorry if I was a total ass.”
She knock with the tip of her quilt on the edge of the desk. Madam Pince turns towards them like a sparrow ready to pounce on eventual disturbers. She only stops when she realizes it’s Wendy and flashes her a warm smile. The girl nods back and when the tone of her voice is so much lower, almost a whisper. “Sorry Wendy? Is that all you’ve got?”
He speaks over her, hoping to interrupt the tirade. “I got a punishment,” he says, and she snaps her eyes open in surprise. “Looks like the new substitute teacher in Muggle Studies was around the corner and he heard what I said. I got three weeks of social services and I’ll have to attend Muggle Studies class to learn from my mistakes. That’s it.”
That’s not simply it. There’s so much more, but Sehun wouldn’t know how to explain it to Wendy. He can still feel the implacable weight of Kim Minseok’s eyes on his face. Of all the places in the world, he would’ve never thought that he’d meet his first crush again in Hogwarts, where everything has begun.
Wendy snaps her eyes open in surprise. “Wait, from the beginning again, please? You’re taking Muggle Studies? With the new professor? And what about Youngjae? Isn’t he going to get detention?”
“Too long, just pay attention the first time! Yes and yes. About Yoo, I just think he’s going to get separate detention because we- Oh.”
A delicate cough interrupts him and he turns to see Kang Seulgi staring at them and fidgeting.
“Oh, well, I think I should go. See you later Wendy.”
“Wait, you haven’t told me anything about the new professor! Sehun!”
She tries to stop him but he’s already standing and bowing slightly to the Gryffindor girl, “Kang.”
He runs away before the poor girl can properly answer and he forgets his book behind in his hasty retreat. His stomach growls loudly, but he doesn’t want to set foot in the Great Hall for today. Some of his Housemates, people with whom he’s never talked before outside his occasional Prefect duties, have already begun approaching him with pats on his back and enthusiastic cheers because he finally put the Gryffindors back where they belong. He doesn’t want to cause another commotion.
In the end, he finds himself sitting on the cornice of one of the boys’ bathroom near the Astronomy Tower, a smoke in his hands and wind in his hair. It’s getting too long, he muses, as he tries to move the fringe out of his eyes and his long fingers get caught in the mess.
Wendy is a wonderful friend, but she’s not to be trusted with scissors. That was Tao’s duty as second best friend.
He wonders how Taozi is doing. He’d text his friend with the phone that he and Jongin bought this summer, when they Apparated themselves in New York, on the other side of the world, in a street full of Muggles. He remembers the struggle to find a Gringott US branch to change their Galleons into American dollars, and Zitao coming to rescue them with the flying motorbike that they weren’t even supposed to ride but they had ridden anyway, all the three of them. He’d text them, but Hogwarts is isolated by a power field and his phone can only buzz in relief when he turns it off.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
He almost falls down the edge window from the startle. Kim Minseok stares at him from the door, a sullen expression on his face. He’s wearing a robe this time and if it wasn’t for the lack of House colors he could easily pass for a student. But he’s not. He’s here as a teacher.
“Sitting on the edge of windows is dangerous. If something happens to you, the school will be held responsible. And you’re also smoking, which is prohibited in the school boundaries.”
Sehun shrugs, but climbs down the window and into the toilets waiting room. “It’s just a smoke,” he says, and the mirror in front of him gives back the image of a pale face with lifeless, cold eyes. Oh, now he gets where all that cold prince thing they say about him comes from.
“Twenty points from Slytherin. And I’ll have to speak with the Headmaster about revoking your Prefect status.”
“Do it,” he says, simply. His bag lies abandoned on one of the sinks and a sweet pumpkin pastry rolls out of it as he grabs the strap. “If that’s all, Professor, I’ll be seeing you in class.”
“Aren’t you supposed to protest?” asks Minseok, bewildered. Sehun turns towards him and they’re close, very close. He realizes, with a pang of surprise, that he’s towering over Minseok, making him flustered. He takes a step backwards to give the teacher space to breathe and think.
“Am I really supposed to care?” he asks. “I didn’t volunteer for this position and the night patrol is kind of a…” pain in the ass, “hassle. Please inform the Headmaster of your wish to strip me of my batch.”
He ignores Minseok’s calls of “Oh Sehun, come back here!” and leaves for the dungeons wondering what else the teacher would’ve wished to tell him, and if it was really a coincidence that, in the whole school, he had stepped in the exact toilet that Sehun had chosen as his nest.
Sehun ignores Wendy and everyone else for the entire day, only showing his face in the Common Room when it’s time to go to sleep. He finds his best friend sleeping on one of the velvet couches in front of the fireplace, her long, dark hair all splayed out on the emerald fabric. Sooyoung is playing wizard’s chess with Taehyung next to her, but her head perks up when she sees Sehun.
“Ssssh,” he mouths, putting a finger to his mouth to silence her. “I’m going to sleep. You should go too. Tell her I was too tired to talk, okay?”
She nods, unsure. “She was very worried,” she hazards, but Sehun pats her head and ruffles her hair affectionately. Sooyoung has been running around Wendy like a puppy for four years now, and she always used to be so afraid of Sehun, because she’s Half-blood and Sehun’s family has quite the reputation. The Ohs believe in the purity of blood before anything else, Sehun knows, but at the same time he can’t understand how someone could not like Sooyoung. Sweet, smart Sooyoung, who’s now speaking to him and smiling at him through her ruffled bangs, like an echo of the beautiful woman she’ll become in a few years.
“I’ll talk to her, tomorrow. I promise.”
Her face lights up at his words. “Please do, she misses you. Can I… Can I ask you a question? Did you really say it? That Half-bloods are trash?”
She’s asking, but there’s not an ounce of belief in her eyes. Sehun has never treated her differently in the last four years, even if he was grumpy and uninterested in her most of the time.
“I didn’t exactly say that, but I guess it was implied in my words.”
“But why? I mean…”
“Not everyone is perfect, Joy.” He uses her other name, the name that her mom, a witch, has chosen for her, instead of the name that her Muggle father has given her. “We get angry, we make mistakes. I’m very sorry. Just because I was angry at Yoo Youngjae I ended up hurting a lot of other people.”
“He called us trash first,” exclaims Taehyung. He hasn’t raised his eyes from the poor rests of his Bishop lying on the chessboard since the whole exchange has begun, but he was listening. He watches Joy, a serious expression in his usually mischievous eyes. “He said Slytherin is trash. Sehun was just defending us, all of us. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything else.”
Sehun sends a grateful glance at Taehyung for explaining. He likes the kid. They’re friends – not in the way he and Baekhyun were friends, nor in the same way Taehyung, Sooyoung and Jimin are friends – but Sehun likes him. When Baekhyun graduated, he made Sehun promise he would keep an eye on his little brother, but sometimes Sehun has the faint suspicion his friend asked the same thing to Taehyung. Keep an eye on Sehun, make sure he is alright. That sounds an awful lot like Baekhyun in his head, and it’s nice to know that, even if he’s alone, he’ll never really be alone. He has Wendy, he has Taehyung, he has Sooyoung with him. He has the rest of the House. Slytherins take care of their own, even when they’re as strange and unfriendly as Sehun is.
He’s already on top of the stairs when Sooyoung calls to him again, her voice clear and thin over the constant angry sounds of the lake shaken by the wind outside the wall of the castle.
“Sehun, why are you like this only with us? Everyone thinks you’re arrogant and cold, and now half the school thinks you hate Muggle-borns too… But you’re not like that, you apologize and you’re kind and you always take care of your friends. Why are you always playing the part of the heartless guy?”
He doesn’t honestly know what to answer, but Wendy’s light trashing on the couch spares him the trouble. He’s in his bed before she can be fully awake, and he seals his worries inside his room with him with a hefty Colloportus.
Kim Minseok’s accusing eyes haunt his mind even as he falls asleep.
He wakes up earlier the next morning, running away from a night of light, restless sleep. After efficiently avoiding both Wendy and her little messenger Sooyoung, Sehun finds himself skipping breakfast and crashing in the Muggle Studies classroom with the only comfort of a giant sized coffee extorted from a rowdy house-elf. The room is still empty and a cup of coffee alone is not enough to tame the grumpy beast that growls inside of Sehun's chest whenever he wakes up before noon. His physician calls it low blood pressure, but he still has to convince Sehun’s friends that he's not a vampire, always awake at night but ready to drop dead at the first rays of sun.
He closes his eyes only for a few seconds, but when he opens them again the first bell is ringing, meaning that at least twenty minutes have passed. The classroom is still empty, except for the teacher, who’s sitting on the desk and staring straight at Sehun while he sucks his pumpkin juice from the strap like a little kid.
“Good morning,” he's greeted softly.
“Good morning,” he answers, despite the knot constricting his throat.
His hand goes to the coffee, but the cup is cold and the liquid inside even colder and unsatisfying.
He's already resigning himself to thirty minutes of awkward, heavy silence when Minseok speaks again, and Sehun snorts because he should've expected the other boy to try and do some small talk even with a lost case like Sehun.
“You're here early.”
He only nods because that’s not even a real question.
“Did you eat your breakfast?”
“Did you only drank that coffee?”
“You should eat more.”
“You're skin and bones.”
Quirk of eyebrows.
“And your tie is crooked. Put more attention in the way you dress.”
He's ready for another patronizing nod, but Minseok crosses the room and begins to fix Sehun's tie himself. His fingers fumble a little, but they're cold. Sehun has always liked people with cold hands. He usually finds them soothing. Now he only feels dizzy.
“You should pay attention too,” he croaks, and his voice is too squeaky and his mouth too dry. He moisten his lips, feeling Minseok's eyes on his tongue as it darts outside. “A leather jacket is not the most suitable choice of clothes for a teacher. Some students might find it... distracting.”
Minseok's eyes narrow at the verbal jab and he abruptly steps away from Sehun, just as the door opens to reveal a sleepy Jung Ilhoon and Krystal's best friend from Ravenclaw, Choi Jinri. The two send curious glances to the new teacher, and shamelessly gape at Sehun's presence.
Being the last year, only a couple of students attend Muggle Studies. As they wait for them, Minseok questions Jinri and Ilhoon about what they did with Professor Jessica the previous years. Finally, a lanky Hufflepuff named Hoseok, who plays for the Quidditch team of his house and two girls, Gryffindor, Gong Minzy and Bae Suzy, join the rest of the class.
One Ravenclaw, one Hufflepuff, three Gryffindors and Oh Sehun, the fidgeting target of all their confused gazes. Zitao would laugh himself to death if he were to know.
Minseok is a good teacher, despite his initial nervousness and the leather jacket. It’s his first day and he’s only four years older than them, but he’s calm and collected. He doesn’t rush through explanations and he’s always up for a good laugh. His voice is too low, he doesn’t sound accustomed to talking for so long. He looks at Sehun, sometimes, as if to make sure he’s not having trouble with the subject.
The main point of today’s class is internet connection and, through Minseok’s specific request, they’ve gained the privilege of a functioning LAN. Minseok is giving instructions on how to make a Google search on some old computers.
Sehun has hacked into the system, downloaded a software to boost the speed of his browser and updated his personal blog by the time Minseok decides to pay him a visit. “Is everything alright, Mr. Oh?” he asks. The hair at the base of Sehun’s nape shake with goose bumps. Minseok is so close to his ear. So close that Sehun forgets to close the open tabs.
“You’re better than I thought. Did your parents make you take some extra classes?”
He snorts. Sehun’s parents hate the Muggle world. They’d choke on their own blood before letting their only son play with a laptop, or own a cellphone. He simply shrugs and Minseok lets the topic fall, not without another penetrant glance.
Ilhoon claps his hands excitedly when Minseok leaves the room. “Damn, he’s hot. Well, Professor Jessica was hotter, but he’s not that bad. And it wasn’t even boring! I liked that Booble thing.”
Suzy sighs. “Yah, Ilhoonie, why do you always have to put boobs every-fucking-where?”
“Maybe it’s because you’re not showing him yours,” Minzy winks, and even Hoseok cracks a laugh.
They look like a knit group. They must have become one, after three years of bonding over Muggle thingy gadgets.
Jinri turns towards Sehun as the others debate whether they should go to the library to study together and wait until Madam Pince throws them out or skip directly towards the little beach near the lake, where they’ll never get anything done. She looks unsure, because Jinri is terribly polite and kind even towards Slytherin assholes, but at the same time Hoseok is Youngjae’s friend and Ilhoon, Suzy and Minzy are in his same House, Gryffindor. And Sehun has said some rash words just yesterday.
“Sehun, do you want to…”
“Don’t worry,” he cuts her short. “I’m fine.”
Her face is a bit disappointed, but it also betrays the relief that he didn’t accept. Sehun is a pariah in the school right now, and even if she offered out of kindness that doesn’t mean she wants to be associated with him.
“Leave the prince alone, Jinri-yah,” comments Hoseok before leaving the classroom. “What is he even doing here?”
“You should be going,” insists Sehun, “they’re going to leave you behind.”
She scampers away with one last, fleeting glance at him.
Sehun seeks solace from the gossipers of the school, the angry seeking-revenge Gryffindors and from his dear friend Wendy in the bathroom of the Astronomy Tower, once again. It’s not like he has a soft spot for the Astronomy Tower, really, but no one goes there during the day and the bathroom is always a safe haven. Also, the view is really good. If he squints a bit, he can also see the rest of his Muggle Studies class having a picnic near the freshmen’s dock.
Of course he doesn’t want to be there. Sehun likes the bathroom. It’s clean and there aren’t any people, which makes it the most suited habitat for him.
A jet of water falls right on Sehun’s cigarette.
“What the… That wasn’t necessary.”
“You’re here again.” Minseok steps inside the bathroom. “Do you live here, Oh Sehun? Don’t you have your own dorms if you’re so keen on avoiding the Great Hall?”
“It’s not like you can force me out of the bathroom. I’m not doing anything illegal,” he pauses, as Minseok looks pointedly at the wet smoke on his hands, “at the moment.”
“I thought you guys were going to go to the lake.”
“They clearly didn’t want to include me.”
There’s really nothing else to say.
Avoiding Wendy is only effective for three days and a half. When he comes back from eating dinner inside Greenhouse Eight, Sehun follows Sooyoung's amused laugh until he finds a whole flock of curious young boys peeking inside his room. Taehyung sends him an apologetic look, mouthing a quick, “Even if I had tried, I couldn’t have stopped her,” before he steps aside to make Sehun see what’s left of his door.
His room is open. The heavy bronze door, completely unchanged, lies innocently on the wall. Sehun remembers closing it with magic, this morning when he got out. But his spell was, apparently, completely useless against the brute force of a furious Head Girl.
She’s drinking red wine from a crystal flute, her long legs crossed on the bed and wrapped in lacy thighs and hair falling in soft waves over her shoulders. She gestures for him to come in, and he only stops to send furious glares to the boys still standing in the corridor in the hope to see a glimpse of her legs.
“I wasn’t expecting guests,” he starts, as he Levitates the door back where it belongs.
To a total stranger, she’d seem lovely and composed, but as soon as Sehun gets close enough the flute, with all the red wine inside, flies at his head. Typical.
He ducks. She starts to shout. Sehun hates to see Wendy angry, especially if it’s his own fault – and it is his own fault. He’s been avoiding her since their last conversation in the library and she is, apparently, quite upset. He wishes he could Disapparate away, but it’s impossible inside the school.
Then she starts to cry.
It’ll be a long night.
“Why are you crying, silly?” he asks her later, when her throat is too dry and swollen for her to be able to scream any more like a vicious harpy. Her eyes are all swollen and red too, her nose is blotched, her hair a mess.
A morbid thought hits Sehun, the heavy awareness that Wendy is her best friend as much as he’s her best friend too. Sure, she has friends in the other Houses, but it’s different. They only see her nice side. The calm, collected smiles and her good grades and the Head Girl badge. No one has seen her this distressed, not even the other Slytherin students. Not even Sooyoung, Sehun bets. Wendy allows herself to lower her guard only with him and Sehun has neglected her so much in the last few days.
“I thought you were avoiding me because you thought I was angry for the thing with Yoo Youngjae during Potions last week,” she sobs against his neck. He pats her head awkwardly, wondering if there’s a safe way to make her stop, to salvage this situation. He’s never been good at dealing with emotions, not even his own, let alone Wendy’s.
“I wasn’t avoiding you,” he assures her, but she pinches his side viciously in retaliation. “Ok, maybe I was. It wasn’t only that. Something else happened.”
“I’m sorry. I should’ve said something to Youngjae before you got that carried away. It was my job as a Head Girl…”
“I shouldn’t have reacted that way either case, so it’s my fault entirely. I’m afraid I ruined your chances with Kang Seulgi, though, and for that you can have my most sincere apologies, my lady.” He kisses her hand, showing that all those galateo lessons his mother forced him to attend weren’t entirely wasted on him. She sniffles and lies her head down in his lap, just like he did a few days ago.
“Wait, what about the other thing? You said it wasn’t only about me, there was something else.”
He thinks about head Boy Kim Minseok and the crush he’s had on him for all his fourth year. He thinks about Professor Kim and he wishes he could say that crush was over when Minseok graduated, three years ago. “That, Wendy, is a secret.”
She doesn’t seem entirely convinced, but Sehun pats the pillow next to him, forcing her to lie down. “For now,” she argues.
“So, rumors are that you’ve been forced to attend Muggle Studies because the new substitute teacher found you badmouthing poor baby Muggle-borns. Rumors also are that your father smiled, actually smiled, when they told him, can you believe it? Finally his son has started putting Muggle-borns back where they belong, in the dirt. Next time you see him, he’ll probably take you to hunt the Muggles trekking on the moors near your Oh Manor.”
Zitao is as obnoxious as ever, and maybe even more bulky. There’s a bad gush on his eyebrow and a burn on his left side that goes from the tip of his fingers to the edge of his jaw. He looks pretty hot like this, not that Sehun is ever telling him.
“Where’s Jongin?” he asks, hoping to distract obnoxious best friend #1 by asking about obnoxious best friend #2. He receives a shrug. Zitao’s Curse Breaker training must be hard, but Jongin’s parents want him to become the next Minister of Magic or something equally powerful and he’s not allowed any breaks. “He’s stopped answering my owls and I haven’t seen him since the last time we all met up together. Why, do you miss him?” His voice gets all high and falsetto, seeping a saccharine sweetness, “Did our baby Sehunnie miss his big brothers?”
“Shut up,” he says, lamely.
Zitao’s pat on his back almost sends him flying.
“Why are you even wearing a leather jacket, you jackass?” he asks, and Zitao spins on himself like a peacock, showing the precious, expensive dragon leather jacket. It makes Sehun think of Minseok, and it also reminds him the true reason why he called Zitao asking to meet him at Hogsmeade during the first trip of the year.
“Do you like it? It’s a special preview from Key’s new store in Diagon Alley. It pays to be friend with a celebrity,” he smirks.
“Fantastic. There’s something I have to tell you. It’s important,” he pleads, before Zitao can drag him at Zonko’s. He takes a drag of his cigarette, tasting tobacco and dark mint on the roof of his mouth, blowing out the smoke in one single puff. “The new Muggle Studies teacher, the one who gave me detention in form of classes, you know? He’s Kim Minseok.”
“Kim Minseok? The Kim Minseok?” Zitao’s eyes widen comically. “The one you crushed on like, a gazillion years ago? Mr. Perfect Head Boy Kim Minseok? That Kim Minseok?”
“Keep your voice down!” he snaps. “Yes, that Kim Minseok. Are you happy? Does the thought of my sufferings make you happier?”
Zitao starts laughing and one of his immense hands falls on Sehun’s shoulder and almost sends him flying. Sehun starts coughing immediately, choking on the cigarette, but Zitao doesn’t move a finger to help him. “Immensely.” He says in between hiccups and loud barks that make his stomach hurt after a while, as he struggles to take his breath. “Oh god, isn’t this a big cosmic joke?”
Sehun doesn’t find it that funny, but he must admits it really feels like a big cosmic joke.
The first time Sehun realized he was in love with Kim Minseok, he was a kid in his fourth year at Hogwarts. It was easy, a flick of a wand, Minseok chasing Peeves away after the poltergeist had tried to make Sehun tumble down the stairs. Sehun had just felt warmth, everywhere, spreading from his chest to his limbs with the increasingly fast beats of his confused heart. Minseok was Head Boy, he had been Prefect the previous years, and Sehun had already seen him around. But he had never really seen him. Like every teenage crush, it exploded quickly and brightly like a volcano, burning everything around him, Sehun included. Because it took him only a few days to muster the courage to ask Kris about Minseok, and to consequentially find out that Minseok was, unfortunately, a Muggle-born. So close, but at the same time barely out of Sehun’s reach.
When the first waves of anger, and self-loathing and, last but not least, burning desire dissipated, Sehun’s first love didn’t die. Its ashes lingered around, poisoning Sehun’s every breathe, taking the taste out of his meals. There was something masochistic and extremely cathartic in loving a Muggle-born, someone that his father greatly despised and wanted gone from the school, gone from the society, gone from the surface of the earth. It was a secret that could be cherished and murmured in the solitude of Sehun’s single room and the vastness of his giant bed, something meant only for him. Like the bruises left by his father when he didn’t behave, when he wasn’t as enthusiastic as his cousins when talking about Muggle Restrictions Laws and noblesse privileges. Minseok was for Sehun just another secret, but sweeter and prettier. At fifteen years, he was old enough to know that the short Head Boy who made his blood rush to his face and his head spin just by leaning down the counter of the library to pass Sehun a book, wasn’t something meant for him.
Nice things were never meant for Sehun. Like chocolate, or videogames, or blue jeans and phones, all the things that he and Jongin dreamed about in their room, talking about freedom in hushed whispers while Zitao chased Howlers around. Sehun was painfully aware that Kim Minseok, with his clean lineaments and his good boy face, would’ve never been an option for him.
His father wouldn’t have forgiven a friendship between them, let alone a… Sehun couldn’t even say the word relationship in his mind at that time, so caught in the novelty of the perfection of his first love, oh the sensations, such new and strong and fresh and beautiful sensations, that the possibility of them taking a real form didn’t even flash into his mind.
But then the incident, when he called Minseok a Mudblood in front of the Headmaster and his whole family. The shame. If his love had first been an eruption, after that moment Sehun buried his feelings in the deepest recess of his chest, concealing the embers inside his heart like a cold, sleeping mountain.
He remembers grey days, meeting Minseok in the hallways and feeling afraid to catch his eyes, even if Minseok never acknowledged what had happened that day in front of Sehun.
He remembers the warmth and the weight of Zitao and Jongin’s hands on his shoulder. It wasn’t only them. Everyone in their close group of friends had realized something was off with Sehun. Baekhyun had laughed about it and offered him chocolate, real Muggle chocolate that the boy ordered at Hogsmeade through Muggle mail post service, like a thief in the night, from a famous Italian patisserie. Kris had shrugged in his stupid Kris-way, like he couldn’t even believe he was hanging out with such losers and said that Sehun needed to grow some balls and just confess so that he could be turned down because that was the only way to get over it. And then, scrunching his big, Slytherin nose, so similar to the one of Salazar Slytherin’s bust, “But a Gryffindor, Sehunnie, really? Even a Hufflepuff would’ve been better at this point.” Old rivalries never die, and his Quidditch team had just been crashed by Lu Han’s.
Zitao and Jongin were the ones who held his hand through the different stages of heartbreak, until it became something normal. Like all first love delusions are, Sehun’s heartbreak was a catastrophe, the end of the world, an undeletable stain on his soul. It didn’t go away with their help, but they managed to make it better, turning Sehun’s bleeding wound into a scar, a reminder that itches now and then.
Now, in the present, Zitao laughs and Sehun finds in himself the strength to smile, because this is what he needs. This is only natural. Zitao teasing him, the light slur on his tone because he starts to laugh anticipating Sehun’s reaction even before he’s finished talking. It’s only been a week, but he’s missed his best friends so much. There are voids in his life that Wendy can’t fill. He needs Zitao and Jongin’s camaraderie and crude jokes to feel complete.
Like three years ago, Zitao laughs of his feelings and that, somehow, makes things okay.
Only it doesn’t, because Zitao is going to leave in a few minutes and Sehun is going to see Minseok again tomorrow, and he doesn’t know if he can do this without some sort of backup.
Zitao walks him to the school gates, as the sunset dyes the entire Forbidden Forest red, like freshly spilled blood.
“Actually, I have a favor to ask from you too.”
Zitao usually doesn’t ask. He does whatever he wants and other people have to pick up the pieces he leaves behind in his loud vehemence. Other people, not Sehun. Sehun hates picking up things from the ground, what if it’s dirty?
“Earth calls Sehun, don’t space out on me! So, is it alright? I’ll be leaving her at your place. Slytherin dorms are a much safer place for my little princess than my own home. My mom mistook her for a rat the other day and she nearly had the Manor demolished trying to catch her. I have training, I can’t stay home to protect her from the wrath of my progenitors.”
“Her who?” asks a dumbfounded Sehun, to which Zitao answers with the proudest smile.
“But my baby princess obviously, my little Candy.”
Wendy comes back from Hogsmeade with cheeks reddened by the wind and glowing eyes, so happy Sehun doesn’t even need to wonder who she was with. She finds Sehun nestled on the couch of the Common Room with a small dog with ribbons on its fur sitting on his knees. Sehun absently picks at the tiny pink nose and the corners of his mouth tug upwards when Candy squeals in disdain.
“Look at this baby, long time no see princess.”
Candy recognizes her voice and whimpers, asking for snuggles. “I can’t believe Zitao let you have his precious dog. I thought he loved her more than he loved his own face.” She slumps against Sehun and tickles Candy’s belly, receiving a sneeze of delight. “He must be really worried for you.”
“He just asked me to keep her because his mother doesn’t like her.”
“Sure. If that’s what helps you sleep at night. You’re not going to tell me why you’re so depressed that even your best friend thought it was time for an emergency intervention?”
“Nope,” he says, and raises Candy until the little dog is in front of his face, just in time to receive a lick on his nose.
Strange as it is, having Candy by his side is helpful for Sehun. It’s just like having a tiny bit of Tao living with him again. Strangely affectionate, prissy, spoiled and cuddly, just like its own master.
He lets the poodle climb on his collarbones. “Let’s get along well, Candy.”