(Chapter 2 of Y1 of the Requiem at Twilight series)
Chapter Two: Flying High
The ground had warmed enough for flying lessons to begin. The flying instructor had explained that should anyone fall, he did not want them to feel as if they were smacking into cement because of the cold ground. He did not explain why he would not stop said student from hitting the ground upon falling.
Flying lessons, while mandatory in other schools around the world was, apparently, not so important in Korea (or, Asia, Kyuhyun assumed). The lessons themselves were optional and, when he showed up, there was only 23 other First Years in attendance. He hoped that did not foreshadow the future of the class in relation to those who were attending. They were gathered in the large fields behind the campus, hidden behind the large width of the residence building. Even farther beyond the fields were the familiar, wooden structures of a Quidditch pitch.
Indeed, he questioned why he was there, and then turned to the witch beside him who gripped her broom in her hands and smiled excitedly. Although he would have much preferred to be alone, Kim Taeyeon had rarely left his side during classes and meals. The only time he did not see the witch was whenever he was in his dorm. He tried to avoid her, tried to hide from her and on more than one occasion, pretended he did not hear her call his name or tug on his sleeve to grab his attention. After the first week of classes, he had given up and relented to her constant presence.
He glanced at her again. She was bouncing on the balls of her feet as the instructor began outlining the basic safety rules to flying. She was energy and life incarnate and, as much as he liked his peace and solitude, he couldn’t help but find comfort in her constant chatter whenever they were together. He rarely spoke and she was rarely silent and it oddly reminded him of his sister.
A stab of pain hit him in the vicinity of his heart. His older sister. He wished he had left on better terms with her. Damn it, he wished he had said goodbye before boarding the plane. They had been so close growing up and while he was at school, she had been his hero, someone he aspired to be, someone to make proud of him. Then she finished school, became an adult and everything changed. It had been at least two years since he had last had a good conversation with his sister. No, that wasn’t true. They had one conversation a few months before he left and it had felt good, it had felt like they were the closest of siblings again.
“I said mount your brooms!” The instructor barked.
Kyuhyun felt a nudge and he glared at the witch at his side who was already straddling the broom.
“Kyuhyun! Pay attention,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
Kyuhyun barely resisted the urge to roll his own eyes as he mounted his broom. The instructor called out more instructions of how to kick off and for them to do so and try maneuvering about. Kyuhyun watched as the other students struggled to get off the ground. He was surprised to find Taeyeon lifting off without any difficulty at all. When the instructor looked at him and looked ready to yell some more, Kyuhyun kicked off the ground, hovering several feet above the other students just to save his ears from a lecture.
The instructor’s eyes widened in surprise. Kyuhyun realized then his misstep. How many times now had he been told how odd it was that he could wield magic? He should have played dumb, pretended he didn’t know how to fly. He immediately lowered to the same height as most of the other students, but the instructor’s gaze rested on him, considering, before turning his attention to the other students, barking out more orders.
“Oh, I wish he’d let us fly around higher,” Taeyeon sighed as she released one hand from the broom to play with the chain of her necklace, “This is so restricting.”
Kyuhyun turned his attention to the witch. He knew how to fly because he had been raised outside of Asia. What was her reason for being able to fly so easily? Despite wanting to keep his distance from everyone, his curiosity reared its head and demanded attention.
“Is it?” He asked casually,
“I understand the precautions, but if we don’t get to go higher than at least a metre tomorrow, I’ll bash him over the head with a broom,” Taeyeon muttered as she returned her hand to the broom, slowly maneuvering around Kyuhyun.
“Taeyeon,” Kyuhyun ventured tentatively as the instructor paid more attention to the students having problems levitating. “You never used magic until you came here, correct?”
“Yup,” she piped as she tested immediate stops with the broom,
“And, aside from our classes, did you know anything about magic prior to coming to Asadal?” Kyuhyun asked,
“Nothing whatsoever,” Taeyeon said, “I went to muggle schools until last year. I fast-tracked through high school so I was able to graduate a year early.” She stopped right beside Kyuhyun and looked at him directly, “Why?”
“How do you know how to fly a broomstick?” Kyuhyun asked bluntly,
Taeyeon glanced at the other students. Once she was assured that no one was paying them any heed, she answered quietly, “My father used to play for the national Korean Quidditch team.”
Kyuhyun raised a brow, was about to question why she had lowered her voice before deciding otherwise. He knew what it was like to hide an association with a well-known person. He had done it often enough with his relationship with his sister. He hadn’t want others to know their connection, didn’t want to be defined by the fact he was related to her. He gave a small nod, understanding completely with why Taeyeon had chosen to hide her Quidditch connection.
“I guess there’s really no point in trying to hide it,” she murmured as if answering his thoughts, “People will find out eventually, especially once I get on the team and the season starts. My dad would move mountains to make each and every one of my games.”
Kyuhyun cocked his head, “You’re pretty sure about yourself getting on the team,” he said, “Are you that good or is everyone else that bad?”
A flash of fiery temper went through her eyes before she swallowed whatever retort had come to mind. She began slowly flying around him again, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to come to tryouts and find out for yourself.”
Kyuhyun released the broom handle to cross his arms, “I am not trying out for the team.”
She halted and rolled her eyes, “I wasn’t going to suggest you do. I’m going and I want you there to support me.”
“You can tryout and, if you’re so positive you’ll make the team, then you hardly need the support,” Kyuhyun drawled,
“A friend would come and support me,” Taeyeon stated,
“I never said I was your friend,” Kyuhyun reminded, “You declared that all on your own.”
Kyuhyun kept his expression schooled while inside he was rolling his eyes. The witch had come into his life, bombarding on his space and demanding friendship. He had relented simply because it had been easier than resisting and dodging her attention.
Taeyeon gave a curt nod as she dismounted, jumping the two feet to the ground. Snatching her broom from the air, she threw him a calm glance,
“I’ll see you later then. I need to grab my gear before tryouts,” Taeyeon said as she turned to leave,
“You don’t need to give me an update on everything you do or plan to do,” Kyuhyun replied.
He saw the set of her small shoulders stiffen, her slender fingers grip the broomstick tighter. If she had been facing him, Kyuhyun was almost positive that sparks would be in her gaze, dark and dangerous. He had seen the fire in her eyes before, when she was frustrated or angry. Every time, she would calm herself and the flames of temper would disappear from her eyes. He knew that as her back was turned to him, she was putting a leash on her hidden temper, refusing to give in and actually get angry.
Slowly, her frame relaxed even as her hand remained tight around the wooden handle. She walked away without another word. She spoke to the instructor briefly before heading back towards the residence.
Kyuhyun didn’t understand why she kept expecting things from him, reminding him that ‘a friend would do this’ and ‘a friend would do that’. For two weeks he had remained silent, simply going along with whatever idea came to her head, but all he wanted to say was that he wasn’t her friend. Finally, he had said it. And for some reason his stomach began to turn.
As the witch got smaller in the distance, he pushed away the sick feeling he had growing in his stomach, realizing belatedly that it was guilt that nagged. She had been the pushy one. She had been the one to assume all kinds of things. He was just setting her straight. It wasn’t his fault she had gotten hurt; she had set herself up for it by expecting so much from him. So, why did he feel guilty anyway?
His gaze shifted from her to the instructor who was barking more orders. He would concentrate on the lesson at hand and then move on with his life.
Even though it was already mid-March, the weather was still cold and flying around, the wind whipping against any exposed skin, made it even colder. Taeyeon pulled on the dark chocolate-coloured, leather flying gloves her dad had sent her the previous week. She had woken up to find her beloved eagle owl tapping at the window with its beak. When she had opened the package, she had felt they were both a gift and a curse. Her dad had given her the gloves because she had wanted it, because it meant he believed she'd use them. Also, it made her wonder what would happen if she didn't make the team, if the gloves remained in her dresser drawer.
With her broom idle on the ground, she ran her hand through her short locks, pulling them back into a tie as best she could, knowing how her hair could impede her vision while she was flying. She glanced at the other fliers. There were easily more at the tryouts than at the flying lessons. As her gaze briefly passed over them, she knew that most were from the older years. She grabbed the chain around her neck and played with it thoughtfully. She couldn't be too arrogant against the other fliers; it would lead to her failure.
They were all gathered close to the centre of the pitch, some people in pairs or groups, talking and showing off their gear, brooms or jerseys. She turned her attention away from them, squatting down to tighten her boots and shin pads. Her pants were black and formed to her hips and legs. She wore a loose, white, long-sleeved shirt, the front had an ironed-on image of the national team's logo - a red and blue taegeuk with wings like a Snitch. On the back were ironed-on, black prints: the surname "Kim" in roman letters and the number "9".
"Whoa! You have a Kim Daejin shirt!" One of the other fliers ran up to her, "They only made five of these... and the sleeve is signed!"
Taeyeon smiled silently.
"Is it true that the ink is magical? It'll never fade?" The flier asked, bouncing up and down excitedly,
"It hasn't so far," Taeyeon replied, trying to think of a way to draw attention away from her jersey.
"That's so awesome! How did you get one?" The other inquired,
Taeyeon blinked before busying herself with her shin pads again even though she had just adjusted them; "Oh, you know... how the other four got theirs."
"Stop bothering her, can't you tell she doesn't want to talk about her shirt?" A familiar voice drawled.
Taeyeon froze and she slowly glanced up, up, up until she found herself looking at the under-side of Cho Kyuhyun's profile. She stood up just as the other flier was opening his mouth to retort. Kyuhyun raised a single brow, his expression bored, his eyes dangerous. The flier closed his mouth. He cleared his throat, muttered "cool shirt" and walked away.
Taeyeon turned her attention completely to Kyuhyun. A hundred sentences went through her head. Eventually, Taeyeon settled for silence. She folded her arms and, although her body was angled towards him, her face stared past him.
"You're not a pushy person. Indeed, you're more shy than anything," Kyuhyun stated, his tone flat, as he stared at her even as she refused to look at him, "Your temper, however, is probably similar to a firestorm, yet you keep it all in, hold it all in. I would question why you do not act as you truly are, and yet, I can sympathize."
Taeyeon jolted slightly, surprised. Her wide gaze swung towards him, "You can?"
Kyuhyun wrapped his arms about his torso, "Indeed, but after a while, I hope you learn not to care what other people think and simply live your life as yourself."
"Is that what happened to you? You stopped caring what other people thought about you?" Taeyeon asked quietly,
Kyuhyun blinked, stared silently for a few seconds. Eventually, he said softly, "I found it easier to live like this than any other way."
Taeyeon stared, not knowing what surprised her more: hearing for the first time actual emotion in the wizard's voice or having him read her so well. The emotion in his voice was subtle, barely a trace, but it had been there. To have been understood, and so correctly, was startling and had never happened before in her life.
"Why are you here, Kyuhyun?" She asked quietly, her voice more tentative and docile than Kyuhyun had ever heard since he had met her,
"Because my friend asked me to come and I had said no," Kyuhyun answered, his voice plain once more,
"You were right, I was too pushy," Taeyeon admitted,
"And I'm a jerk," Kyuhyun countered, "Or, so I've been told. However, I believe friendship is about accepting a person, faults and all... well, that's another thing I've been told?"
Taeyeon offered a hesitant, small smile, "I wouldn't know much about friendship."
Kyuhyun raised a brow, silently questioning her statement. He might have thought she was being modest, but the way her eyes seemed to look so sad, he knew she was being completely honest. Before he could decide whether or not to asked her more, she turned her head the other way,
“That must be the team!” Taeyeon whispered excitedly.
Kyuhyun followed her gaze and saw the four men entering the pitch from the doors which led from the change rooms. Dressed in their school jerseys and gear, their brooms were in their hands as they approached the center of the pitch. A hush went out amongst those wishing to try out. At the forefront strode two fliers. One had a larger build, his muscles evident beneath his gear, his head shaved close to the skull. The other was most familiar.
“Sungmin,” Kyuhyun murmured,
Taeyeon glanced at him, “Who?”
“The guy in the front, with the half-head of hair? That’s my roommate,” Kyuhyun explained quietly, “I’m guessing there are three opening spots.”
Taeyeon’s eyes swept over the fliers, “No, there’s only two.”
“I may not be trying out, Taeyeon, but I know how many players there are on a Quidditch team,” Kyuhyun drawled,
“I know, but there are only two opening spots,” Taeyeon insisted.
The players stopped before them, standing side-by-side as they regarded the fliers before them. Kyuhyun caught the startled expression on Sungmin’s face when their gazes locked for a heartbeat. The third year regained his composure fast, turning his attention elsewhere.
The other player who had walked up beside him, was the one to speak, “I see some familiar faces today and some new ones,” he spoke, his voice booming without the use of magic; “For those who don’t know me, I’m Kim Youngwoon, but I’m called Kangin because I’m that awesome as a player.”
He grinned as the others laughed and one of the other players elbowed him playfully.
“I was captain of the Quidditch team during my second and third years. This will be my fourth year at Asadal and, thus, my last,” he explained, “As such, I decided it my duty as the captain to ensure the future success of this team even after I have graduated. I have passed on the captaincy to Lee Sungmin for this year so that I can help and guide him in the role before I graduate. The captain before me gave me this courtesy and I found it helped greatly in forming me into the best captain in Asadal University history.”
The other players groaned, rolling their eyes even as they grinned back and forth. Youngwoon, or Kangin, then stepped back slightly, deferring to Sungmin.
“As Kangin has just said, I’m Lee Sungmin and I’ll be your captain this year,” he said, “This year, we’re looking for two new players for the team. The spots we have open are Chaser and Beater. So, if you’re not up for either of these positions, I suggest you not waste your time or ours and leave right now.”
Sungmin waited as half of the players grumbled, picking up their brooms and leaving the pitch. Once he was sure no one else would leave, he continued,
“I know some of you may be wondering why there are only two spots open when there are only four of us present. Our Seeker is in the infirmary right now, but he’ll be back for the first practice at the end of the week,” Sungmin explained, “Now, those trying out for Chasers gather on that end of the pitch and Beaters on the other. Our very own Chasers and Beaters will be assessing each candidate and I will be going between both groups to assess for myself. If you have any questions, just ask.”
As the fliers began to split up as deligated, Kyuhyun began heading to one end with Taeyeon, “A Beater?”
“I can play any position, but I’d rather be a Beater,” Taeyeon explained,
“Really?” Kyuhyun glanced at her petite frame skeptically,
Taeyeon narrowed her gaze, “Yes, really. Then, my opponent isn’t a person, it’s just the Bludgers.”
Both First Years stopped and turned back to where the voice had come from. Sungmin came sprinting up to them, his broom in hand. Close-up, Kyuhyun was able to look at the Quidditch jersey. It was jet-black with a red and blue band around each bicep. Over the heart was what Kyuhyun guessed was the Asadal crest: a taegeuk with a dragon curved around the top and a fish curved around the bottom; behind the dragon were five sunbeams and below the fish were eight stars. Sungmin’s Quidditch pants were black and his gloves and pads were the same jet-black.
“What was all that junk you said about Quidditch?” Sungmin asked when he reached them, continuing to walk with them towards the Beaters’ end.
“I still stand behind what I said,” Kyuhyun replied, folding his arms about his torso,
“What did you say about Quidditch?” Taeyeon questioned, narrowing a glare at the other First Year,
Kyuhyun glanced at Taeyeon before looking straight ahead of them, “Nothing you need to hear.”
From the corner of his eye, he saw Taeyeon begin to chew on her lip in what he assumed was an attempt to leash in her temper. He knew he had deliberately provoked her temper and, indeed, he was waiting for the day when she finally let it loose on him. Before they reached the other fliers, Kyuhyun wondered if her little head would explode from the effort of bottling her anger.
Kyuhyun sighed, knowing he drew Sungmin’s curious stare, “You’re allowed to get angry at me, Taeyeon.”
Taeyeon glanced at the other people around them, specifically Sungmin who had walked with them. Finally, she shook her head causing wisps of her hair to fall from its tie, “No… later, perhaps.”
Sungmin, who was trying to figure out the dynamics between the two First Years and, also, the meaning behind their relationship, had been silence since he first asked his question. He was completely perplexed. Kyuhyun, who was a complete hermit whenever in their dorms and even refused to meet their other dorm mates, was talking to the witch and with a sense of familiarity – slightly, but it was still there.
“So, you’re trying out for Beater?” Sungmin asked,
Kyuhyun finally looked at the older man, “No, she is. I’m here for… moral support,” he replied, the words odd yet right on his lips.
Sungmin blinked. Now, he was really confused. However, before he could question the other man, they had reached the other Beater candidates and he could no longer show partiality. He quickened his pace to go ahead of them to address the candidates as a whole. He walked over to Kangin who was conversing with another teammate. The other teammate had short, black hair and a boyish face that belied the strength that was evident in his lean muscles.
“This is Junsu,” Sungmin introduced, “He is the Beater on our team. He and Kangin will be assessing your flying and skills today. I’ll be mostly on the other side watching the fliers with our other Chaser, so you need to make a good impression on these guys, because they’ll be helping me decide who will be picked as our second Beater.”
Sungmin nodded to both Junsu and Kangin to take over. As he turned to leave, he glanced at Kyuhyun. Almost immediately, Kyuhyun looked over at him. The younger man raised a brow in askance, but Sungmin merely mounted his broom and flew off to the other side of the pitch.
“The first hour, half of you will be flying for me,” Kangin stated, “And the other half will be hitting with Junsu. After the first hour, we’ll switch. Then, during the third hour, we’ll let loose the Bludgers and see what you guys can do when you’re putting both skills together.
“When you’re flying for me, I’m looking for quick reflexes, stick-handling and speed,” Kangin explained, “These are all important skills for, not just any Quidditch player, but a Beater. Some people think that Beaters don’t need these skills because they’re not racing around the pitch, but that’s not true.”
At a nod from Kangin to Junsu, the other player took up the talk.
“For me, you’ll be on the ground. I want to see your strength: how hard you can hit and how far you can hit. I’m also looking for a few more things, but I’ll keep those as my little secrets,” Junsu winked.
His voice was soft and had a husky, almost raspy quality. Kyuhyun caught many witches watching the Beater; enraptured. He fought the urge to roll his eyes.
“You need to be able to impress both of us,” Junsu continued, “There are a lot of you applying for one spot on the team and there’s only one team in this school. You need to push yourself to be the best, because anything less than that will not make the team.”
The fliers began to split up, either going towards Kangin or Junsu. Both players began to take names. After Junsu had taken Taeyeon’s name, he looked expectantly at Kyuhyun, almost immediately giving him a curious gaze,
“Name?” Junsu asked,
“I’m not trying out,” Kyuhyun replied, “I’m here for her.”
“That explains the lack of broom,” Junsu mused. He glanced at Taeyeon, “Kim Taeyeon, what’s your friend’s name?”
“It’s Kyuhyun,” Taeyeon answered, “But he’s not trying out.”
“I know, but considering he didn’t want to volunteer that information himself,” Junsu shrugged. He looked back at Kyuhyun, regarding him thoughtfully. Finally, he nodded, “Cho Kyuhyun-sshi?” Kyuhyun nodded reluctantly, “Nice to meet you; I’m one of your dorm mates.”
Junsu walked off before Kyuhyun could reply, “Okay, first one up!”
Taeyeon looked at Kyuhyun as she fixed her hair, “You haven’t even met your dorm mates?”
“Sungmin is one of them,” Kyuhyun answered,
“Oh, you really don’t like people,” Taeyeon stated, her voice lightly teasing.
Kyuhyun shrugged as Taeyeon lined up for her trial.
“Okay, brats! Listen up and listen good!” A tall, lanky man walked into the rock and wood lecture hall, his black and red, silk robes billowing around him as he quickly descended the stairs to the bottom and front of the room. “I haven’t been here for the first two weeks of school, but I’m here now. You can think Charms isn’t a difficult class or that it sounds like a class only for witches, however, you’ll soon learn that you are sorely wrong.”
He spun quickly at the front to face them. He pushed his long bangs from his eyes as his narrowed gaze swept over the class.
“You will learn one charm a week and at the end of every week, you will each be tested on this charm,” the man – the professor, Kyuhyun concluded – stated, his tone firm and matter-of-factly, “If you do not past the end-of-week test, then you will not be able to be tested on the next charm until you have passed another test the following Friday. If you do not past the end-of-week test, I suggest you don’t waste my time and stay out of my classroom until you’ve learned the charm.”
Immediately, students began scribing the professor’s outline of their semester. Kyuhyun merely blinked; could they not just remember it?
“At the end of each month, you will be assessed on all the charms you have learned that month – regardless of whether or not you have passed the Friday tests,” the professor continued, “Obviously, if you cannot take a test on a charm, you will not know how well you can perform the charm prior to these monthly assessments. You must be able to perform all of the charms on these assessments, at least adequately. If you fail at one charm, you fail the entire assessment. Should you be stupid enough to fail the month assessment, you will write an essay noting how you failed, why you failed and what you will do to rectify the problem.”
There was a collective, horrified gasp. Kyuhyun stifled a yawn which earned him an elbow-jab to his ribs from Taeyeon.
“It is now the third week of classes. That means you should be able to perform at least two charms,” the professor stated, “Chapters one and two should be completed by now which means that on Friday, you all will be tested on chapters one through three. And, if it hasn’t sunk into your brains yet, even if you do not pass the test on Friday, next Friday is the monthly assessment.”
“Seonsaeng-nim, you weren’t here for the first two weeks,” a student stated,
“Yeah! How were we supposed to know we were to read the first two chapters?” Another questioned
He rolled his eyes, “Do none of you know anything about self-study? Just because I wasn’t here, did not mean it was a time to play. If you chose to take the time to be idle instead of keeping up with your studies – regardless if I was present to teach the class – it is not my problem if you fail the test on Friday.”
Standing akimbo, he looked at the students again. He sighed heavily, raising a hand to the bridge of his nose and pinching it in exasperation.
“Very well, pay attention because I will only do this once. After wards, I will not do this ever again,” he stated. He lowered his hand from his nose only to impatiently snap his fingers, a wand instantly appearing in his fingers, “Chapter one is ‘nox’. It’s easier to get rid of light than create it.” He waved his wand, “Nox.”
The classroom was doused into darkness, the windows having been closed against the cold weather.
“Chapter two is ‘lumos’. Creating light. It seems like an insignificant charm, but it is perhaps the most useful charm in all of magic,” the professor said; “Lumos.”
The classroom was lit up once more. It was then that Kyuhyun realized that the lecture hall had electrical lights rather than the more gothic uses of candles that his school in Canada had. He knew there were only candles and such in the dorm room; he hadn’t thought to notice the classrooms, too.
“Now, if you missed my demonstration, it’s not my fault. I warned you and I stick to my word: I will not repeat it,” the professor stated, “Now, open your texts to chapter three. I want you all to read the chapter and take notes. We will begin to practice the next charm tomorrow."
"Why can't we start today?" A student called out,
The professor sighed heavily, raising his wand. He absent-mindedly flicked his wand, "Nox."
Two lights at the front of the class exploded, glass raining to the ground beside the professor. As the torrent of glass finished, Kyuhyun slowly straightened after having huddled over Taeyeon. As she straightened, she looked at Kyuhyun who was watching the professor peculiarly.
“That is why none of you will be touching your wands in my class until you've read the chapter, understand correct procedure and know what can go wrong when using charms," the professor said, "The wrong hand motion, the wrong incantation - anything can cause this," he gestured to the glass now sprinkled on the floor, "to happen. Reparo."
The glass rushed up to the ceiling, sealing together to fix the lights.
"Now, open your texts to chapter three," the professor repeated, his wand disappearing with a wave of his hand.
Soft thuds echoed in the room as each student opened up their books to the designated chapter. Kyuhyun opened his text, but barely read the words as he subtly watched the professor who walked to the desk at the front of the lecture hall. The professor sat in his chair, raised his feet to the desk and crossed his ankles, taking on a posture of complete relaxation as he leaned back in his chair, lacing his fingers behind his head. This professor was, by far, the most curious that Kyuhyun ever had.
"Ow," He hissed quietly as he turned his attention to the annoying witch beside him who had been jabbing him in the ribs with her elbow again, "What are you doing?"
"You knew what was going to happen before he cast the spell," Taeyeon said, "You covered me, even though I wasn't close to getting hurt, but you still protected me because you knew something would happen. You never study, yet you seem to know a lot about what we're learning and, when we first met, you never answered my question about early acceptance."
"So?" Kyuhyun pretended to read the chapter, even going so far as to turn a page,
"Either you were raised by traditionalists or you weren't raised here," Taeyeon said as she pulled out her brush and ink stone,
"Traditionalists? How about I was raised by a wizarding family?" Kyuhyun replied,
Taeyeon opened up scrolls to take her notes. She paused at his question and blinked, "Not if you were raised here, Kyuhyun. If you were raised here, that wouldn't be an answer."
"There are some things I don't like people knowing about me," Kyuhyun said quietly, "They'll start... expecting things of me."
"United States?" Taeyeon guessed,
"Canada," Kyuhyun corrected,
"Very well," Taeyeon mused.
They fell into silence as Taeyeon began to take notes and Kyuhyun pretended to read while, in truth, he was watching the professor, trying to read the older man, figure the man out. Taeyeon paused in her notes, brushing her hair from her face, not realizing she brushed a stroke of black ink across her forehead. She turned slightly in her chair to look at Kyuhyun. She sat in silence, watching him until he finally looked at her. Albeit, he looked slightly annoyed, but he looked over nonetheless.
"You already know this charm, don't you?" Taeyeon glared at him,
"Levitation? It's the first charm I learned," Kyuhyun answered,
Taeyeon sighed, "If I could read minds, I'd read yours."
Kyuhyun regarded her, a slightly bemused look on his face. He looked back at his book and pretended to read. Taeyeon quietly huffed, nudging him once more before returning to her notes.
"Just because I didn't mention it at the beginning of class, doesn't mean I can't change my mind," the professor stated as the class came to a close. He sat against the front of his desk, arms folded about his torso, "One three-foot scroll on the levitation charm due on Friday. You'll receive the test on Friday after you hand over the scroll."
"But that's the day after tomorrow!" Another kid cried out,
"Then, I suggest you don't procrastinate too much," he replied.
The students began to pack up their belongings and move away from their desks to the door.
"Oh, oh... I forgot one more minor detail," He said absent-mindedly, causing the students to stop and turn back to look at the professor; "If any of you decide to shout out again in my class, then you'll see what can really go wrong with a charm."
There was silence in the lecture hall, not a single student moved even a centimetre. The professor's tone had gone from serious to deadly. His dark eyes stared at them darkly, his lips quirked in a smirk that blended amusement with threat.
Five heartbeats passed before he said quietly, "Go," the single word a deadly promise.
The students scrambled out until the professor was alone with just two students: a witch and a wizard. The witch was tugging at the wizard's arm convincing him to move faster.
"I think I did good for a first impression," the professor stated, his tone suddenly lighter but still tinged with amusement as he pushed away from the desk.
"Seonsaeng-nim... you didn't even introduce yourself," Taeyeon said,
The professor blinked before chuckling softly, "Indeed, I did not."
Taeyeon glared at the professor with a peculiar flame in her eyes that Kyuhyun was beginning to recognize as her temper. She put her hands on her hips, "Seonsaeng-nim, common courtesy insists - no, demands, that you introduce yourself to your students. If not in the beginning, then soon after the first meeting."
The professor rolled his eyes, turning his dark gaze on Kyuhyun, "Is she always like this?"
Kyuhyun kept his expression schooled when Taeyeon turned her fiery gaze on him, silently daring him. "In the past two and a half weeks, yes," he held up his hand in defense as she raised a hand to smack his arm, "Our first meeting, what did you say?"
Taeyeon grumbled as she looked back at the professor expectantly, "Seonsaeng-nim?"
"You may call me Kim Seonsaeng-nim," the professor sighed,
Taeyeon sighed heavily, rolling her eyes, "Kim Heechul, Charms Professor."
The professor scowled, "You already knew?"
"The headmaster told me on my first day who all my professors were," Taeyeon said smugly,
"Oh, you're good," Kim Seonsaeng-nim shook his head. His gaze moved back towards the other wizard, "Cho-sshi, you should keep her around; she's smart."
Kyuhyun's eyes widened, finally expression a hint of emotion before his brows lowered, eyes narrowing; "How did you know who I am?"
"I read minds," Kim Seonsaeng-nim replied.
Both Kyuhyun and Taeyeon raised a brow at him.
"It was the first Charms class of the year and, while all other students were panicking, you sat there nonchalantly. While all other students were busily taking notes, you merely read your text -or, at least, pretended to read. You turned the page -once. In one hour, you turned the page once," the professor recalled, "Most importantly, you went to shield Kim-sshi before I even wrongly cast 'nox'. That means, not only do you know the charm, but you realized immediately that my wand motion was wrong. No normal witch or wizard would know act like that during their first Charms class. Ergo, you must be transfer student Cho Kyuhyun."
"So... you don't read minds?" Taeyeon asked, eyeing the professor suspiciously,
Kim Seonsaen-nim chuckled softly as he ran long, slender fingers through his long fringe, brushing it back over his head, "No, not at all. I'm just very good at details. Well, that and I have a best friend with a big mouth."
Kyuhyun stared at the Charms professor before slinging his bag on his back and folding his arms over his chest; "Park Seonsaeng-nim, History of Magic?" He guessed. Before more could be said, Kyuhyun gave the professor curt nod, slid past Taeyeon, walked up the steps and left the lecture hall.
Kyuhyun heard the patter of footsteps rushing towards him. He slowed down to the pace he knew suited his witch companion.
"The professor was completely surprised! Speechless! He doesn't seem like the type to be surprised," Taeyeon said once she had caught up to Kyuhyun, "I guess you guessed right. How did you know who he was talking about?"
Kyuhyun shrugged, "There's only been one other professor who's gone out of their way to talk to me."
Taeyeon gave him a side-long glance. For a moment, Kyuhyun was sure she was going to say something. Eventually, she shrugged and then told him about the day's menu for lunch.
On Friday, during lunch, Kyuhyun sat on the ground at a small table on his own. Chopsticks in hand, he quietly ate his meal amongst the loud student population. At the beginning of March, people had tried to sit with him or invite him to their tables, but he had merely cast them a look of disdain. Taeyeon had joined him, but he knew he couldn't fight her presence. It quickly became a well-known fact that Kyuhyun sat with no one during meals with the small exception of Taeyeon.
And, so, he sat alone in the vast cafeteria with its low tables and floor mats. The walls were almost completely wood and hanji, wooden beems interspersed, supporting the ceiling. However, despite the old-fashioned decor, Kyuhyun couldn't help but notice the electrical lights. He began to notice that even though the school buildings and rooms seemed to be in the traditional sense, there were touches of modern everywhere from electrical lights to electricity in general. Then there was his entire dorm room which was equipped like any other place in Korea aside from the doors which were wood and hanji.
He was half-way through his meal before a witch ran up to his table and plopped down on the floor right beside him, her broom beside her.
"Yes?" He said as he picked up his bowl of rice,
"Come out to the pitch with me," Taeyeon said as she leaned over and picked at some of his food with her fingers,
Kyuhyun hit her wandering hand with his chopsticks, "Get your own food. Why should I go to the pitch with you?"
"Aside from the fact that I asked you to?" Taeyeon prompted. At his nod, she added, "I want to go fly around and I have a feeling you're the best person to critique my flying."
"And why do you believe that?" Kyuhyun asked as he had to hit her hand again,
"Because you were the only other person who was comfortable on a broom during the flying lessons this week. And, I have a feeling that you've been flying for years, especially considering where you grew up," Taeyeon explained,
"And why do you need me to critique your flying?" Kyuhyun asked as he used his chopsticks to move a plate of food away from her,
"Because I am the new Beater," Taeyeon said and she grinned when Kyuhyun looked at her,
"Congratulations," Kyuhyun gave her a small nod as he pushed the plate of food back towards her, "You can have some food."
"Even though you said that with no emotion, I know you and I know you truly meant to congratulate me. So I will accept your food and say thank you," Taeyeon smiled, "Now, finish your food and come with me to the pitch."
"I know you must be elated after passing the Charms test before lunch, however, I should remind you that we still have class after this time for eating comes to a close," Kyuhyun drawled,
"I know, I know, but I also know that you don't need to go to those classes, that you find the classes quite boring - well, most of them - and I can catch up easily enough the next time we study together," Taeyeon said, "So, there's no consequence if we skip a few classes to go down to the pitch."
"You are suggesting that we skip the rest of today's classes and go down to fly around the pitch instead?" Kyuhyun inquired,
"Yes," Taeyeon answered,
Kyuhyun remained silent as he finished his bowl of rice. Then, he carefully placed his chopsticks on his tray and gracefully stood up as he picked up his tray in one hand and his bag in the other. He used one hand to sling the strap of his bag over his shoulder. He glanced down at the witch still picking at his food,
"Are we going to the pitch?" Kyuhyun asked,
Taeyeon jumped to her feet, grabbing her broom as she went.
After Kyuhyun put away his tray, they headed out towards the back fields behind the residence building.
"So, why didn't you try out for the team?" Taeyeon inquired as they trudged through the large expanse of grass towards the Quidditch Pitch.
"Why should I have?" Kyuhyun countered,
"You could have easily gotten onto the team," Taeyeon said, "If you've been flying for years - as I suspect and you have yet to deny - and most likely one of the better fliers out of all those people who were in the pitch a few days ago. Of course, aside from myself."
Kyuhyun was silent a moment, contemplating what to tell the witch. One of the perks of moving and going to a school where no one knew him was that no one knew him, no one knew what he had done, who he was or who his family was. He didn't want to make friends, didn't want people to know him. However, the little witch walking beside him had forced her way into his life and he was finding himself more and more reluctant to shove her out of it.
"The way you flew during the try-out. You were clearly the best out of the Beater candidates," Kyuhyun recalled, "Your steering is completely controlled and your reflexes are impecable. When you were on the ground, you were able to hit the Bludgers hard and far. Also, I'm not completely positive, but I'm sure you aim when you hit."
"My aim is approximately 75% accurate," Taeyeon confirmed,
"Your father taught you, didn't he?" Kyuhyun asked,
"That he did," Taeyeon said, her voice growing soft; "I'm an only child and, when my dad would come home from his games, he'd give me a play-by-play on what happened during the matches. During the off-season, he would spend all of his time with me, especially when I didn't have school. By the time I could steadily walk on my own, he had me on a training broom."
"You never complained? Never wanted... dolls and stuffed toys?" Kyuhyun inquired,
Taeyeon looked at him as they continued walking. Once she was sure he had asked sincerely instead of mockingly, she nodded as if to assure herself and, then, answered, "At first, when I began primary school. I realized the girls were always talking about the new dolls their mothers bought them and I had more in common with the boys who watched Quidditch games on the wiz-vision."
Her gaze dropped to the grass, trusting Kyuhyun to guide her correctly. She began passing her broom from one hand to the other; "And, I know how it sounds. It sounds as if my dad was trying to turn me into the son he never had, but that's not how it is. Quidditch is all he knows, it's his passion and he wanted to share that with me." She laughed softly, "He tried to give me dolls once."
"Your words suggest it didn't work," Kyuhyun stated,
"I turned them into a miniature Quidditch team," Taeyeon confessed. She sighed softly before nudging him with her elbow, "We were talking about you and Quidditch, not me and Quidditch."
"Quidditch, do you enjoy it?" Kyuhyun asked,
"Of course," Taeyeon answered,
"Even if you're competing?" Kyuhyun prompted,
"Even better," Taeyeon replied,
"I hate competing in Quidditch," Kyuhyun explained, "You grew up with Quidditch as a sport and I grew up with it because of school. However, it's a past time, a hobby. I like the analytics, the mathematics of game play and I like flying because it gives a sense of freedom. I don't want to ruin any of that by doing it competitively."
"That... makes sense," Taeyeon said. She paused and added, "Thank you for telling me. Now, I won't bug you about Quidditch."
"Good, because if you want me to critique your flying, I'm not going to be nice," Kyuhyun warned,
"You? Nice? Never would have assumed such a thing," Taeyeon laughed softly.
They continued on towards the Quidditch Pitch.
I believe I have made a friend.
Whether that good or bad, that remains to be seen.
I must be more vigilant now.
Take care, my dear friend.
We must speak in the flames soon.
Putting his quill in its place, Kyuhyun stood from his desk, folding his letter as he walked towards the window. Opening the window, he whistled and allowed the wind to carry his tune. It wasn't long before a dark shadow rose up before the moon, growing larger as it approached.
"I have got to learn how you do that."
Kyuhyun's heart nearly jumped out of his ribcage, having never heard the room's door open. He waited a five-count and for his heart to slow down to a normal pace before he turned slightly to face the door and his roommate.
"I've been training Sam for years," Kyuhyun said just as the crow landed on the sill, getting close enough to rub its head against Kyuhyun's arm. He turned back towards the bird, handing it the letter, "He knows me and I know him," Kyuhyun said as he brushed a finger over the sleek, soft feathers on its black head, "He's always there for me, even when it feels no one else is..."
Sungmin remained silent, barely breathed as he stood just inside the door, his shoulder against the wall and his fists shoved in his pockets. He wondered if the younger man was even aware of what he had just said, just revealed. He watched as Kyuhyun smiled at the bird with a gentle affection that caused his heart to turn over. The younger man was becoming more intriguing with each day that passed and just as irritating. He was a recluse in their dormitory and, yet, he had gone to the Quidditch try-outs to support his friend.
That situation still confused Sungmin. Who was his friend? Was there something more than just friendship between them? He shook his head to clear his thoughts, not wanting to have animosity against his new team member.
"Hey Kyuhyun," he said slowly as the crow lifted off the window sill.
"Hmm?" He closed the window and turned back, walking towards his desk,
"The guys want to meet you," Sungmin said, "Well... guy. The other one is in the infirmiry."
"Sungmin," he sighed, "I told you before -"
"You don't get a choice anymore," Junsu burst into the room, pushing past Sungmin to get at Kyuhyun.
"What?" Kyuhyun asked, his tone going up an octave when Junsu bent over and picked him up, slinging him over his shoulder, "What are you doing?" Kyuhyun tried to wriggle out of the older man's strong hold as he was being carried out of the room, "Sungmin! Help me!"
Sungmin felt a protective urge rise within him. He shoved it down before laughing, his fox-like eyes dancing with amusement, "Me? Against a Beater? Sorry, Kyuhyun, no can do."
"How much trouble would I get in if I used magic against him?" Kyuhyun questioned just before Junsu threw him down on one of the couches,
"A lot," Sungmin replied,
Kyuhyun sighed as he pushed back his hair by running his hand through it, "I thought as much."
Junsu plopped down on another couch. He propped an elbow on the armrest, rested his chin in his hand and stared intently at the younger man, "Okay, Cho Kyuhyun - talk."
Kyuhyun blinked before raising a single brow, "Talk?" He glanced at Sungmin who stood in the doorway to their room,
Sungmin shrugged and smiled at him.
Ignoring the way his pulse jumped as if he had been scared again, Kyuhyun looked back at the other man, "I'm not going to be able to go to sleep until we talk, am I?"
"Not even a single wink," Junsu confirmed, his husky voice warm with amusement,
Kyuhyun sighed heavily. Next year, he was definitely going to request a single dorm. "Fine, what do you want to talk about?"
"You and Kim Taeyeon, is she your girlfriend?" Junsu grinned,
Kyuhyun rolled his eyes.
It was going to be a long night.
(Next, Chapter 3: Stressed)
A/N: As always and from this point on, any familiar terms or spells belong to JK Rowling and these stories are in no way affiliated with the HP Franchise. I just play in the world she created.