of prefects and captainsOf prefects and captains
A/N: Set in the same universe as the actual Harry Potter books, around the same time as the epilogue
When not one, but two prefect badges arrive at the mansion in the summer, Irene’s parents couldn’t be more proud. That night, she stares blankly at the badge on her desk while her twin brother, Suho, spends at least twenty minutes polishing it. The excitement and the inevitable dread fills her for the remainder of the summer holiday, for she’s going to be an authority figure not just among her Hufflepuff housemates, but also the whole school.
The extra responsibilities come upon her as soon as she boards the Hogwarts Express in September. After attending a meeting in a special carriage with all the other prefects and the Head Students, she patrols the narrow train corridor, squeezing her thin frame between the wandering students and the Honeydukes Express trolley. She encounters a first year named Yeri, whose eyes are b with tears, crying about her lost pet toad. Irene enlists her brother’s help in search of the toad and later finds it in one of the compartments, which is occupied by Joy and her entourage. The Slytherin girl snickers openly at them when she notices the prefect badges on their robes. Suho’s ears turn dangerously red at the taunt, so Irene retrieves the toad quickly and retreats.
After the Welcoming Feast in the Great Hall, they lead the newly-sorted, wide-eyed first years to the dormitories inside the Hufflepuff Common Room in the basement. She lies awake that night, feeling her dread start to dissipate and let the satisfaction of actually doing something useful for the school fill her with pride. She’s certain that her fifth year in Hogwarts is going to be an excellent year for her.
Right now it’s been a little over a week since the school officially started, and she has decided that her least favorite thing about being a prefect is night patrol duty, which she has to do every few nights. Always has been wary of the dark, she walks slowly with one hand tracing the wall, the other one holding out her lit wand. The figures in the portraits and paintings speak softly among themselves, while the torches on the wall cast an eerie glow over them. She tries to ignore the unsettling feeling in her chest that tells her somehow she’s not supposed to be out here past curfew, and the way Filch sometimes glares at her before noticing her prefect badge certainly isn’t helping.
On her third time patrolling, she doesn’t make a run straight back to the basement for once. For the first time, she’s going to use the special prefect’s bathroom on the fifth floor. It’s shared with all the prefects, as well as the Head Boy, Head Girl, and the Quidditch captains so they have worked out a schedule. Starting from tonight until Friday, it’s her turn to relish the privilege that’s granted upon her along with all her duties.
“Treacle tart,” she whispers the password quietly in the dark corridor. She hears a quiet snap before the door creaks open. Stepping inside quickly, she stops right by the entrance, in awe of the sight. It is a spacious chamber, with white marble floor and striking illustrations of mermaids on the glass stained windows which, like all the portraits and paintings in Hogwarts, are enchanted to be able to animate to a certain extent. They sit on the rocks above the water, running their human fingers through their long tresses and staring at her with those lifeless eyes through the thin haze. She nearly steps back in slight horror when she hears something splashing from the swimming-pool like tub, with its hundreds of bejeweled golden taps surrounding it.
“Is someone there?” Irene asks in surprise, her senses heighten in an alarmed state. She turns to see a figure in one corner of the large tub, which is filled with water and bubbles all over its surface. The fragrance of lavender fills the damp and hot air of the bathroom as she recognizes a fellow student in the midst of a bubble bath. There’s no mistaken those eyes and that golden blonde hair, which made its debut appearance at King’s Cross Station last week.
“Um…hi?” Seulgi’s voice echoes in the large bathroom, and she raises a hand from under the water to wave at her awkwardly. “Are you…gonna join me in here?” She tilts her head slightly. It is an innocent inquiry, Irene’s pretty sure of it, but the way Seulgi’s wet blonde hair is sticking to her bare shoulders and the very fact that she must not be wearing anything underneath all that bubbles is making Irene very, very nervous. I hate puberty, she whines internally.
So she does what she should’ve done earlier: run straight back to the basement. Privilege be damned.
Divination class has always been some sort of a joke to Irene, and possibly to most of the students in this school. The heavily incensed classroom always makes her feel sleepy, and Professor Trelawney’s ‘prophecies’ about everything (mostly bogus predictions about the students’ deaths) are getting more and more absurd. This time, she predicts Irene and Suho will “meet their demise at the same time in the hands of a Mountain Troll”. Irene thinks this one is actually not so bad compared to the professor’s previous prophecy about them last year, which said that her brother would eventually “murder her and use her corpse as a gift to the fallen Dark Lord”. If she hadn’t dropped Ancient Runes already, she would certainly have dropped this elective class.
As she exits the classroom with a horde of other fifth year students, she feels her stomach rumble. She groans, lamenting over the fact that she purposely skipped breakfast this morning. Apparently when you walk in on someone taking a bath, you will feel the swelling urge to avoid running into them forever. Or maybe the embarrassment is still in its acute phase and she’s just being dramatic.
She begins to walk down the circular stairs to get to her next class, only to jump in surprise when she sees a group of fourth years going up the stairs, heading up to Divination classroom. When she spots Wendy, with whom she’s quite familiar because of a mutual friend that they share, she pulls the younger girl aside by the collar of her robe, much to her bewilderment. “Does Kang Seulgi take Divination?” Irene asks her pressingly, eyes worriedly watching the comings of the fourth year students.
“Uh, no,” Wendy answers quickly. She eyes the older girl worriedly. “What’s wrong? Did something happen to her?”
The prefect sighs in relief and starts ranting about her unfortunate encounter with Seulgi that occurred the night before. The Ravenclaw student listens to her frantic ramblings patiently before cutting her off when her face and ears start getting violently red. “Why are you telling me this?” she asks as she puts a comforting hand on Irene’s shoulder.
Irene points an accusing finger at Wendy’s chest, “Well, I know you’re one of her closest friends, and I wanna know why she was in the prefect’s bathroom.” Right now she fully realizes she should’ve questioned the blonde about it last night and cut some points from Gryffindor for breaking curfew instead of running away wordlessly, but it’s all too late now.
“She said she’s the new Gryffindor Quidditch Captain as of, uh, a couple of days ago?” Wendy answers. “I didn’t think Weasley would give up the position to a fourth year, honestly, but I guess you can’t deny her talent when it comes to strategy.”
Irene doesn’t understand the hierarchy in Hogwarts Quidditch teams or if such thing exists, so she just shakes her head in disbelief. “Roxanne Weasley stepped down? Did she not tell the new captain about the schedule?” she grumbles. “Whatever, please just tell Seulgi that her turn is next Saturday, Sunday, and Mon—”
“Wait, why don’t you just tell her yourself? Send her a letter or something.”
Irene huffs impatiently, “I’m beyond embarrassed, okay? I walked in on her taking a bath, we don’t even—”
Irene’s eyes widen as she freezes in surprise as Seulgi’s voice and footsteps can be heard going up the circular stairs. In a frighteningly fast reflex, Irene runs straight up to hide behind the classroom door before Seulgi can catch a glimpse of her. The fourth years that are already inside the classroom are all looking at her curiously (Professor Trelawney is asleep on her desk). She only smiles nervously at them and puts an index finger over her lips.
“Phew, I thought your class has started already,” Irene hears Seulgi’s voice just a couple of feet from where she’s standing right now, and her heart starts thumping harder in her chest. “Listen, can I borrow your Potions essay?”
Irene hears Wendy let out a sigh. “But it’s due tomorrow. There’s still time, you know I can just help you with it, right? Better than cheating off my homework all the time, you won’t learn anything,” she scolds her gently.
“I know, but I have to arrange practice schedules with the team later and there’s also an assessment so it’ll probably last till midnight so please? Pretty please? I’ll let you try my new broom in return, how does that sound?”
Wendy doesn’t say anything for a few seconds, so Irene assumes she’s considering it. Then she hears the sound of a bag being opened. “Deal,” Wendy says finally. “I’ll see you at lunch in a couple of hours, yeah?”
“Yes!” Seulgi rejoices in delight. “Thank you, Wendy. Thanks a lot. You’re a lifesaver.”
“Just remember to keep it to yourself, alright? I don’t want the others to cheat off my essay,” Wendy warns her. “By the way, you know Irene, right?” The prefect nearly gasps in surprise at Wendy’s sudden question, and clamps a hand over before she can let out a noise.
Seulgi clears before answering, “Yeah, that pretty girl in Hufflepuff, right? Fifth year? We never really talk, but—why?”
Irene’s mind goes blank all of a sudden from the casual compliment and she nearly misses the words that are coming from Wendy’s mouth, “—to know your turn to use the prefect’s bathroom comes next Saturday and Sunday,” she hears Wendy say. “And also Monday, I think. I don’t know. You should know these things.”
“I know, I know, I talked to Roxanne this morning,” Seulgi says. “Now, can you also tell Irene that I’m really so—”
“I’m not an owl!”
The strong wind blows their hair as they’re standing face to face right by the Great Lake. The prefect and the captain are basically shoved towards each other right now, pushed into their impending awkward introduction
“Hi,” the blonde girl greets her as she extends a hand towards her. “I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced before, I’m Seulgi.” she says, almost mechanically, but with a genuine smile on her face that reaches her eyes. Still, the prefect almost feels like fleeing from the scene like she did the night before when she was faced with the same girl unexpectedly. This isn’t what she expected when Chang, her friend – one of the new Ravenclaw prefects, her and Wendy’s mutual friend – dragged her outside after lunch to the castle grounds near the lake where students sometimes gather to study or just hang out. At the sight of a certain blonde girl sitting on the grass, dangling her legs over the water next to Wendy, she nearly her heels to make a run for it but Chang pulled her by the elbow just in time. So now, Irene and Seulgi are carrying out their awkward introduction, with the two excited Ravenclaw girls monitoring them.
“I’m Irene,” she takes the extended hand and shakes it. Seulgi’s hand feels warm and slightly calloused. Their eyes meet hesitantly, the incident still fresh on their minds, but neither seems willing to acknowledge it verbally in the presence of each other.
“Wendy told me about, uh, you two, so I think it’s the perfect time for both of you to get properly acquainted,” Chang explains with a glint of mirth in her eyes, and Irene has to restrain herself from hitting her, and Wendy, and Seulgi too, for good measure.
Actually, perhaps she should hit Seulgi the hardest, since she started all of this.
The newly acquainted students nod shyly at each other, silently acknowledging the incident. Irene’s gaze lingers on Seulgi’s faint smile and rosy cheeks. Her blonde hair is in a state of disarray, probably from flying, if the broomstick that’s lying near her feet is any indication.
They all sit down and mingle under the sun, bearing the gusts of wind that come and go. Irene discusses her Arithmancy homework with Chang and the other fifth years who share the same class, while next to her Seulgi is shamelessly copying off Wendy’s Potions essay onto her own parchment. The owner of said essay is flying above the Great Lake in a rapid zig-zag motion on Seulgi’s broomstick, one that Irene recognizes as the latest model because her brother just got the same one.
Every now and then Irene would discreetly glance at the girl next to her, just out of curiosity. Seulgi is silently jotting down words on her parchment with legs stretched out on the grass. Her eyebrows are knotted in concentration when she pauses every now and then, and Irene notices that she’s actually trying to understand what she’s writing, and not just blindly copying everything. She decides to warm up to the girl, “I can actually help you with that, you know,” she offers shyly, gesturing to Seulgi’s homework.
Seulgi looks up from her parchment in surprise and their eyes meet again. “Thanks,” she smiles, and her eyes curves into crescent shapes. “But I need to finish this really quickly, I have to go in a bit to book the pitch for team assessment tonight.”
“Ah,” Irene glances at Seulgi’s captain badge on her uniform, glinting under the sun. “Well, my offer still stands anytime you ask.”
Seulgi looks at her and grins. “Thanks, you’re really nice.” She turns her attention back to her homework. Irene becomes more aware of the lingering fragrance of lavender that assaults her nose with every breath she takes. She looks down at her own parchment to hide the blush that’s creeping across her cheeks, pushing aside the persistent flashes of memory in her head. She has a feeling this isn’t going to be the last time she rubs shoulders with the other girl, and somehow she wants it to be true.
“—so I followed her and guess where she ended up? The bathroom on first floor!”
“But that’s Myrtle’s bathroom,” Irene puts down her mug. “Please don’t tell me Joy was trying to open the Chamber of Secrets.”
“She was just hissing in gibberish,” Seulgi laughs, hands cradling a Chocolate Frog. “There hasn’t been any more Parselmouth here since Professor Potter and Ron Weasley left school, I think.”
Outside the warm cozy pub, the snow has piled up, the air has gotten a lot colder, and Christmas holidays are just around the corner. Wendy chose this day for all of them to have a little get-together (somehow, in just a few weeks some of Irene’s friends and Seulgi’s friends have mingled and it amuses everyone to no end) at the Three Broomsticks during the last Hogmeade Weekend before the break. Punctual as always, Irene was the first to arrive. She was awkwardly sitting alone with a mug of Butterbeer in her hands, until Seulgi entered the place with a bag of sweets from Honeydukes in her arm.
Despite how they were introduced to each other, Irene and Seulgi have eased themselves into being friends with each other quite naturally. The younger girl is just warm and friendly with a touch of slight awkwardness that Irene finds very adorable and down-to-earth, despite the certain glamour that she possesses by having the position of a Seeker in the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Although listening to the anecdotes of her explorations inside and outside the castle past curfew gives the prefect a headache sometimes (seriously, how do these kids sneak out so easily?) she always enjoys watching her talk so animatedly.
“Wait, when was this? When you caught her in that bathroom?” Irene asks, watching the other girl struggle with the Frog, which now has jumped out of her grasp and is hopping on the table.
“When she was a first year…so, two years ago. Ah, dammit,” Seulgi sighs as she watches the Frog finally leaps off the table.
Irene glares at the collectible card from the Chocolate Frog package on the table, which just happens to be a Harry Potter card. “Professor Potter is such a bad influence.”
“I’m gonna tell him you said that the next time he gives a lecture,” Seulgi grins at her. “You should try sneaking out at night, it’s fun. Even Wendy joins me sometimes.”
“You’re a bad influence, and I do wander around inside the castle every few nights. Prefect, remember?” Irene knocks on her badge on her collar twice with her index finger. “I’m out to catch students like you who just can’t stay perfectly still in the dorms at night.”
Seulgi’s smile grows wider. “You know, aside from that one time in the bathroom, you never actually caught me.” It’s true, Irene admits it internally without hesitation. Every now and then, she would see shadows moving along the dark corridors during her night patrol. She’d chase those shadows everytime, secretly hoping to catch her friend in the act, only to catch some random students instead, occasionally one of the Potters or Weasleys. She’s starting to suspect if Seulgi is using the Cloak of Invisibility, although it seems highly unlikely.
“I won’t be so forgiving the next time I catch you,” Irene threatens her playfully, further emphasizing her point by gently kicking Seulgi’s foot under the table.
Seulgi raises her eyebrows in surprise before returning the kick. The game of innocent footsie continues even after their friends arrive and fill the table. If they notice the perpetual goofy grins that are plastered on Irene and Seulgi’s faces and the constant kicking that’s been happening under their table, they don’t say anything.
Gryffindor 70 – Hufflepuff 20
The wind blows the cold January air harshly against her face, and she blinks away some dusts out of her eyes for the nth time and loses sight of her in the pitch, again.
Never has a Quidditch match made Irene feel a little conflicted like this. She’s sitting in the Hufflepuff stand with her housemates, with yellow and black facepaint across her cheeks (Suho’s insistence), wearing a yellow knitted sweater (a Christmas gift from a certain friend in Gryffindor, which arrived with several packs of Chocolate Frogs), waving a little Hufflepuff flag in her hand, yet her eyes keep looking out for the opposing team’s Seeker, who also happens to be the same person who sent her the sweater.
When she’s not watching Seulgi, she’s watching her own team’s Seeker whose ears get dangerously red by the minute in frustration. Both Seulgi and Suho have been circling the pitch, him flying a little higher than her, looking for the Golden Snitch in order to gain 150 points and most likely end the match victoriously. An hour and a half into the game, there has been no sighting of it and the spectators are starting to grow anxious.
Gryffindor 90 – Hufflepuff 20
The crowds, save for the Hufflepuff students and the school staff, are singing the modified, praising version of “Weasley Is Our King”, changing it to “Weasley Is Our Queen” for the Gryffindor Keeper, who blocks nearly every Quaffle thrown by the Hufflepuff Chasers. Things are not looking good for the Hufflepuff team, and Irene can sense their morale going down with every Quaffle that goes through their goal posts. Even the players now are anxiously watching both Seekers, looking for signs that might indicate one of them has spotted the Snitch.
Gryffindor 110 – Hufflepuff 30
Just when Irene starts humming the tune of “Weasley Is Our King” (it’s really catchy, props to Draco Malfoy), a flash of red robe and golden blonde hair is suddenly speeding so fast in the air and the spectators roar in excitement. Seulgi’s sudden acceleration is a dead giveaway that she’s finally seen the Golden Snitch and is in pursuit. Irene finally sees a glimpse of the small, winged golden ball, glinting under the sun when it goes up right above the Hufflepuff stand. Suho follows suit but he can’t quite catch up with Seulgi despite having the same world-class broomstick, as he’s not quite as fearless as her (or just plain death-seeking, according to Irene) when it comes to sharp turns and dangerous maneuvers mid-air.
Speeding against the piercing cold wind, Seulgi takes a brief look behind her to see Suho tailing her, but not quite close enough to interfere. She boldly lifts her body off the broom slightly, risking her balance, and lets go of one hand to reach out for the Snitch. Just when it’s within reach and she’s about to curl her fingers around it, a Bludger comes her way and hit her hard in the shoulder, throwing her off balance.
“No!” Irene shouts, a little louder than intended, but nobody hears her as everyone is just as noisily bewildered. Seulgi falls off her broom all the way down to the ground – not fast enough to fatally injure any player, the Charms professor has something to do with it – and lands on the grass with a painful thud. Horrified, Irene snatches a pair of binoculars from a student without thinking and runs to the edge of the stand to get a better look. She gazes through the binoculars to see Seulgi lying flat on her back on the ground, with one arm raised weakly and holding the Golden Snitch in her hand.
“—sorry, I’m really sorry.”
“It’s okay,” a sniff. “I understand.”
The classroom door flies open with a harsh bang against the wall and someone bumps into Irene, who’s just about to approach the door after hearing hushed voices from behind it, readying herself to catch the students who are breaking the curfew. She grabs the person who just bumped into her by the shoulder and raises her lit wand to their face. To her surprise, it’s Yeri, the first year student who cried after losing her toad in the train – apparently a rule breaker now in just a few months.
“You shouldn’t be here right now. Ten points from Slytherin,” Irene tries to sound firm but now she notices the younger girl’s eyes are red and teary – just like how they looked when they first met – and now she feels a bit awful. Whatever conversation that went down in that classroom seemed to have made her cry. “You can come out now,” Irene orders sternly into the dark classroom. “Before I assign you and your friend to detention.”
A figure steps out slowly into the faint light coming from the prefect’s wand, and Irene nearly drops it in surprise. Seulgi stands before her, wearing a shoulder sling and pajamas from the Hospital Wing. Irene notices how she limps slightly in her steps towards her and she feels awful again. “I’ll just take her to her dorm,” Seulgi offers her an apologetic smile, and then turns to Yeri, who shakes her head earnestly.
“No, it’s okay. I can go back by myself,” Yeri says before running towards the the direction of the grand staircase.
“Hey!” Irene calls out to the running girl, but she disappears really quickly. She turns to Seulgi again, “Uh, what happened in here?”
“She sneaked into the Hospital Wing to put flowers beside my bed,” Seulgi scratches the back of her neck. “But I was still awake, so I was taking her back to her dorm but then she, uh, made a confession…so, yeah,” her voice trails off as she grins sheepishly.
Irene feels her stomach lurch and something claw and scratch furiously inside her chest. It’s too sudden and intense and she doesn’t even know why it’s there. “And what did you say to her?” she asks, keeping her voice controlled. “Besides telling her that she’s too young and irresponsible? She can’t even keep a toad.”
“I told her I like someone else,” Seulgi says, and shifts her gaze to Irene’s wand. “Uh…can you lower your wand a bit? I’m defenseless, I left my wand on the bed.”
“Oh, sorry!” Irene quickly lowers it, she didn’t realize she has been pointing it at Seulgi’s chest in quite an aggressive stance. Seulgi only chuckles at her antics. Irene looks up at her shyly, not daring to ask if she was being honest about liking someone else, let alone asking her who is it that she likes. Should she ask? Would it be weird? And why does she feel such an unsettling weight in her chest and her stomach at the thought of Seulgi liking someone else?
Irene clears , and clears her mind from her train of thoughts. “Congrats, Captain,” she smiles up the injured girl. “How’s your shoulder? Wendy and I were gonna see you but Madam Pomfrey seemed a bit upset at the amount of people there.”
“Yeah they kinda moved the celebration in the Hospital Wing because of me. Madam Pomfrey was not happy,” Seulgi laughs taps her injured shoulder gently with her hand. “It’s messed up but it’s better now, she’s done her best. Aren’t you gonna take points?”
“You finally caught me, it’s past curfew,” Seulgi says, looking quite amused. “Ten points from Gryffindor?”
That snaps Irene out of—whatever state she’s in right now. “Right,” she looks up at Seulgi and stands a little straighter, trying to fix a glare at the taller girl but she just ends up blinking rapidly in nervousness. What is wrong with me? “T-ten points…from Gryffindor.”
Seulgi snickers at how half-hearted it was, and Irene just wants the darkness to swallow her whole. If she goes into the Great Hall right now and checks the ruby stones that represent Gryffindor’s House Points in one of the hourglasses, she’s pretty sure the ten points didn’t actually get taken. Although she can’t possibly be sure, since she doesn’t know how many house points Gryffindor has.
Looking up at the way Seulgi grins at her, she starts to realize that although she’s not the one who just got caught, she’s the one who truly feels in trouble here.
It’s near midnight and Irene sits alone on the couch, staring into the fireplace in her respite. Everybody is asleep inside the dorm rooms, and the only thing she can hear is the crackling noises from the fire that casts a warm, faint orange glow over the earthy-colored wall of the cozy Hufflepuff Common Room. Eventually, she lets out a long sigh and leans back against the couch, staring up at the low ceilings as she starts to play out her encounter with Seulgi tonight in her mind.
Their walk to the Hospital Wing half an hour ago was oddly quiet and thick with unspoken tension when she tucked the other girl into the hospital bed. Irene buries her face into a small pillow in embarrassment when she remembers the sudden whirl of emotions that she felt after Seulgi told her that Yeri had confessed to her, and when she said she liked someone else. Her own creeping suspicion that she might be developing a crush on Seulgi keeps getting stronger the more she mulls over it and truthfully, she’s not quite sure yet what she’s supposed to do about it.
Her peers started going on dates and making out with their classmates in every corner of the castle sometime around last year, and much like what just happened to Seulgi, she too had quite a few admirers who went forward to her with gifts and whatnot. She actually went out with a couple of them last year, just to see what a date would feel like. In the end, though, she didn’t quite get any satisfaction from these dates. For her it was just like any other friendships: pleasant, but not quite like what she had heard from her friends about getting their hands sweaty from feeling nervous, heartbeats getting faster, and—
“Intruder! Beware of intruder!”
The shout breaks away her train of thoughts and she instantly reaches for her wand. Her eyes search around the room before she sees The Fat Friar floating near the passage in a hectic circular motion. “What’s going on?” She demands, her frantic eyes following his movements.
“There’s a student from another house right outside trying to get in,” the jolly Hufflepuff ghost informs her, he stops his movement and hovers right in front of her. “I think she’s injured.”
“Wait, injured? Is that—” she stops mid-sentence and rushes through the transparent ghost to the passageway, crawling fast through it and when she gets outside the common room, she sees whom the ghost was warning her about. Seulgi is there, right by the entrance of the common room, drenched from head to toe. She’s standing near the stack of barrels that serve as a security mechanism against intruders by dousing them in vinegar. It’s certainly not the first time Irene witnesses this kind of incident, but the sight of her friend standing there looking helplessly dripping wet, face down and eyes still shut in the aftershock, is enough to stun her to silence. Mostly because it slightly reminds her of the bathroom incident.
After what feels like an hour of Irene staring at Seulgi and Seulgi staring at her wet feet, the younger girl slowly raises her head and chuckles as she wipes the vinegar off her face. “You guys play dirty.”
Irene lets out a tiny gasp, feeling slightly offended at the accusation. “Excuse me, we are Hufflepuff. It’s not a prank, just a safety precaution.” This time, she doesn’t forget to act like a prefect, and questions her with a glare “What are you still doing out here? I thought I made it clear you shouldn’t leave your bed.”
Seulgi raises her eyebrows and grins, seemingly impressed with her. “Ugh, so grumpy. I came all the way here to return this but now I guess I’m just gonna keep it.” She shows what she’s holding in her hand to the other girl.
“Lumos,” Irene lights up her wand and takes a look at what the other girl is holding. When she recognizes what it is, her free hand starts to frantically searches the collar area of her own robe and realizes what’s missing. “My badge!” she reaches out to grab the prefect badge but Seulgi quickly retracts her hand and hides it behind her back. “Gimme that!” Irene glares at her again.
Ignoring the shorter girl’s request, Seulgi goes from hiding her hand behind her back to raising her hand high above her head, and Irene gets humiliated by failing to take it from her even when she jumps so desperately trying to reach for it. “Seulgi,” she whines. “I told you to give me that.”
“I’m giving it to you if you say ‘gimme that’ to me six times, fast,” the younger girl says in between laughter.
“What is that supposed to even mean?!” Irene whines again, stomping her foot impatiently, not even caring how childish she must look right now. She fails to see the hilarity in saying ‘gimme that’ exactly six times in rapid succession, and concludes that it must be one of the Muggle-borns’ inside jokes again. Oh how she wishes she didn’t come from an old, powerful, pure-blooded family sometimes.
The blonde eventually takes pity on her and lowers her hand. Irene snatches the badge from her quickly before she gets humiliated further and puts it on her robe, grumbling all the while. When she looks up again, she realizes how physically close they have gotten during their little struggle with the badge, and Irene can almost count Seulgi’s eyelashes. Her eyes trail across the taller girl’s face, still dripping wet with strands of hair sticking all over it. She lets herself get lost in those dark orbs that are staring right back at hers. Fearing the gaze might somehow see right through her and uncovers those emotions she wants to figure out so desperately, she breaks the eye contact and takes a step back, almost slipping on the wet floor. Seulgi blinks at her, seemingly snapped out of her own trance.
Irene breaks the awkward silence first after taking one deep breath, trying to calm her thumping heartbeat. “You should go,” she says quietly, not quite meeting her eyes. “Take a bath, get a fresh change of clothes, go wake Madam Pomfrey if you need help.” She gestures at Seulgi’s shoulder sling.
“It’s okay. Wendy taught me a few spells, I can just dry myself later,” Seulgi shrugs with one good shoulder, suddenly looking very interested in one of the barrels next to Irene and shifting her weight to the other foot awkwardly in her place.
The prefect steals a glance through her eyelashes. “Thanks for bringing my badge back. I didn’t realize I dropped it.”
“Yeah, I found it beside the bed. I think it came off when you were tucking me in…,” Seulgi’s voice trails off, and she meets her gaze again hesitantly. “I guess I’d better go now. Filch gets a little more intense past midnight.”
“Okay,” Irene smiles at her, easing herself into a comfortable atmosphere again. “Be careful. Try not to get caught.”
“I won’t,” Seulgi returns the smile. “I probably won’t be awake early enough for breakfast, so I’ll see you outside at the usual time? Or the Great Hall, if it’s still too cold.”
“Sure. Good night, Seulgi.”
“Good night, Irene.”
Seulgi limps away from her in the dark until she’s out of her sight. This time, Irene truly wants the darkness to swallow her whole because she’s pretty sure she’s the worst prefect ever in the history of Hogwarts, and also because there is no doubt now that she does have a little crush on her friend.
Irene cringes at her classmates in Potions class, who are murmuring excitedly about the potion brewing inside a golden cauldron right in front of them right now; Amortentia, the strongest love potion in the whole world. She thinks these fifth years are getting really hormonal already without love potions brewing anywhere near them, and makes a mental note to suggest the other prefects to patrol near the potions basement more often to prevent students from stealing ingredients to create dangerous and questionable potions.
What she admittedly finds interesting about Amortentia, though, is how the potion smells different to every person that smells it. Supposedly, the aroma reminds each person of the things that they find most attractive, even if they don’t acknowledge or are unaware of their fondness for their object of their affection themselves. Still, she hates it because she thinks it’s so pathetic that anyone would need a love potion to win a person’s heart. It doesn’t even create love, but only a shadow of it, a powerful obsession.
She hates it even more when she inhales the spiraling steam of the pale blue liquid and smells the crisp outdoor air, the wooden smell of a broomstick handle, and lavender.
Spring is around the corner, the snow on the ground is thinning down further, the air has gotten less cold, and the school grounds are filled with students again after most of them migrated to the Great Hall to study or do homework in the past few weeks due to the low temperature outside.
Sitting on a mat over the thin layer of snow, Irene has been alternating between finishing up her ‘dream diary’ for Divination class, practicing Vanishing Spell on a slug (courtesy of Seulgi, animals just naturally come to her for some reason) for Transfiguration class, and whining about the increasing amount of homework in her grueling fifth year to anyone who would listen (also Seulgi). Beside her, Chang has managed to make one slug and one mouse disappear, and Wendy has finished her History of Magic essay and her Ancient Runes homework already in one sitting.
For about half an hour now, Wendy has been patiently trying to help Seulgi with her Ancient Runes homework, only to struggle with Seulgi’s short attention span and her general unwillingness to learn about the subject. Why Seulgi chose this elective class, Irene can’t even begin to comprehend. At least Divination is a joke and students can pass the exams just by spewing bizarre lies. That’s all Professor Trelawney does during classes anyway.
Eventually, Seulgi gives up and asks for Wendy’s homework, which sparks an argument between the two. Even Wendy’s patience has its limit, as she retreats to sit down under a nearby tree, fuming and hugging her homework protectively in her arms. Seulgi drops her quill in frustration. After foolishly getting her friend angry, it’s quite useless to even attempt to finish translating these Ancient Runes by herself. So she turns to Irene, who is in the verge of crying out in frustration because the slug still refuses to disappear. “Hey, tomorrow is Hogmeade Weekend,” Seulgi says casually.
“Evanesco. Evanesco. Ugh. Yes, what about it?” Irene pouts, and eventually puts down her wand after trying and failing for what feels like the fiftieth time. “Don’t try to talk me into entering Shrieking Shack again.”
“No, not that,” Seulgi says, and clears . “I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out at Madam Puddifoot’s tomorrow.”
Irene looks up from her slug. “The tea shop? But we always meet up at the Three Broomsticks.” She glances at their little group of friends, who are also talking among themselves, oblivious to their conversation. Wendy is still taking deep breaths under the tree to calm herself.
Seulgi lowers her voice. “Yeah, but I mean—” she pushes some strands of hair out of her face nervously. “I mean, just us.”
Irene gapes at her for a second. “Oh,” she croaks out. “Oh, just us.” Us. Just us. Me. And Seulgi. Just me and Seulgi. Just me and Seul—
Seulgi starts stammering, “Yeah, but it’s okay if you don’t want to. We can just—”
“But I’d love to,” Irene cuts her off quickly, putting a hand over Seulgi’s arm. “Just us, then.”
Seulgi only nods at her and quickly look down at her parchment again, turning away slightly from her, but not before Irene catches the blush on her face. She appears to be writing on her parchment, but Irene’s pretty sure she’s not actually writing anything because Seulgi makes it clear that she knows next to nothing about Ancient Runes. Irene’s just about to offer her help (she hopes she still remembers the basics) when Wendy pipes up, “What were you guys whispering about?”
Seulgi responds before Irene can say anything, “I’ll tell you if you show me that,” she points at Wendy’s homework, safely tucked under her arms. Wendy chuckles before sticking her tongue out in response, to which Seulgi replies with a rude gesture with her finger and a playful grin. Just when Irene thinks everything is all fine and dandy again, they both promptly pick up their wands and a duel breaks out – a friendly one, she assumes – which creates a commotion when the other students gather to cheer for them, and the way Joy roars Seulgi’s name in support is utterly horrifying. At one point, Seulgi manages to cast a hex at Wendy which causes the latter’s front teeth to grow larger at a grotesque, alarming rate, so she is looking more and more like a beaver as they grow longer, past and towards her chin, all the way down along the length of her neck. Chang finally puts a stop to the duel by disarming both participants and takes thirty points each from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw because, unlike Irene, she is a perfectly capable prefect with a spine.
Irene just can’t feel guilty about anything right now, because Seulgi actually asked her out and nothing else seems to matter to her, except for the current state of Wendy’s teeth, which is actually worrying. She and Chang the poor girl to the Hospital Wing, maybe Madam Pomfrey can fix them. Also, she feels like she should assign Seulgi to detention for this incident. Maybe. She doesn’t voice out this thought to Chang, nor does she actually do it herself when she meets up with Seulgi again in the library that night to help her finish her History of Magic essay, and eventually forgets it.
When Irene wakes up to chocolates, flowers, and cards from a number of admirers on a Saturday morning, she thinks she suddenly understands Seulgi’s proposal to spend time together, just the two of them.
But when she sorts out the gifts addressed to her in the common room, she doesn’t find anything from her. No chocolates, no flowers, not even a card from her. She sighs in disappointment, maybe it’s not going to be a date after all. Maybe Seulgi just forgot that today was going to be Valentine’s Day, just like she did. After all, Irene never bothered caring about this day before so why should she care now?
She starts to get dressed quickly, picking the yellow sweater from Seulgi as her outfit for the date (or not-date, whatever). When she walks across the common room, she sees boys and girls drowning themselves in the gifts they received, and more owls are coming through the circular windows, delivering the gifts and love letters. She nearly scoffs at the whole thing, but then she remembers that just five minutes ago she actually sulked over the fact that Seulgi didn’t get her anything for Valentine’s Day. She mentally facepalms, feeling utterly pathetic.
To her surprise, Seulgi is standing right there in front of her when she exits the common room. Slightly hiding her face behind a bouquet of white and pink lilies, she fidgets in her place when she notices Irene walking towards her in awe. The younger girl lowers the bouquet to reveals her sheepish smile, and Irene starts to feel a little dizzy.
“Um, hi,” she waves the bouquet awkwardly. “My owl hasn’t returned, I sent a letter to my brother a couple of days ago, maybe she got lost, I don’t know, she’s pretty old. So uh, here I am.” She shoves the flowers towards the other girl.
Irene feels her face grow warm in surprise and embarrassment because some students are openly giggling at them right now. She eyes the pink and white lilies. “Are those for me?”
“Of course they are,” Seulgi hands her the flowers and her face breaks into a grin. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Irene says quietly, taking the flowers shyly from her. Her face grows hot in an instant and she stares at her feet awkwardly for a moment, trying to regain her composure. When she looks up again, Seulgi is still staring at her with that dazzling smile of hers. “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything.”
Seulgi shrugs, still with that grin on her face. “It’s okay! I know you’re usually not into this kind of thing.” It wasn’t an accusation or a jibe, it was just an honest observation, and for the love of Merlin, Irene is willing to indulge this girl in all the crap that Valentine’s Day entails, because she deserves it.
They rush breakfast – like every Valentine’s Day, it’s really annoying when the owls keep dropping countless presents for students on their heads or into their food – and make their way to Hogsmeade soon after. Their walk is filled with shy glances and accidental brushing of their hands, but Seulgi always has a way to make sure they talk comfortably. Irene only listens and occasionally hums in response while Seulgi is telling her the latest anecdote of successfully entering the Ravenclaw Common Room to apologize to Wendy last night after finishing the essay. Apparently, Seulgi is very good at the riddles.
The weather is still cold but Irene is sweating inside her yellow sweater. She gets even more light-headed when they finally arrive at Madam Puddington’s. The bright pink door and window frames assault her eyesight, and a bell over the door announces their arrival in a tuneful tinkle. Inside the place, she eyes the small, round tables that were decorated with lacy napkins and notices the golden cherubs that were hovering above the tables that are occupied by couples, most of which are students. Some of them are kissing right now and Irene sweats some more out of nervousness.
They are seated in one corner, right below a golden cherub that greets them by throwing confetti all over their table. This continues even after they order their coffee and tea, and Irene grumbles in slight annoyance everytime she has to pick up the confetti that lands inside her tea, while Seulgi just stares at her with that wide grin on her face, not even caring that her coffee is ruined.
“How is your hair still blonde?” Irene asks in their conversation, eyeing Seulgi’s golden blonde hair that is put into a messy ponytail right now. “When I saw you looking like this last September, I thought maybe Wendy or someone else tampered with it or something.”
Seulgi touches her ponytail lightly. “Do you like it? I initially wanted to color it red because you know, Ginny Weasley…,” she trails off and blushes. Irene finds Seulgi’s admiration for the former professional Quidditch player absolutely adorable, and it’s hard not to smile at it.
“What kind of Transfiguration spells have you been using?” just as Irene asks this, she gasps because something else crosses her mind. “Are you actually a Metamorphmagus?”
Seulgi bursts out laughing, and the couple right next to their table – that has been kissing for a couple of minutes now – pull themselves apart from each other to glare at her. “No, no,” Seulgi’s laughter eventually dies down. “It’s not magic, just regular hair coloring. Muggle thing, you know.”
“Oh,” Irene blushes in embarrassment. “I should’ve known.”
“Although, it would be fun if I really was a Metamorphmagus. I’d like to try having short, spiky purple hair or something,” Seulgi leans back comfortably in her seat just as the cherub starts throwing the confetti again. “This place isn’t that bad right? Definitely smells better than Three Broomsticks.”
Irene glances around her and finds that more couples have started holding hands and each other’s faces. Feeling self conscious, she tries to block them from her peripheral vision. “Despite the tacky and frilly decoration, it’s actually quite nice. I’ve never been here before.”
“When I was a second year, I hid in here when I thought Professor Trelawney saw me down the street,” Seulgi gestures to the window. “But then I realized she probably wouldn’t recognize me as a second year, nor would she care.”
Irene’s eyes narrow. “But only third year students and above are allowed in Hogsmeade weekend trips. How did you even—,” she stops mid-sentence and puts up her hands in surrender. “You know what, I don’t even wanna know how you always manage to sneak out everywhere. With the all Potters and Weasleys in your house, I guess the possibilities are endless.”
“We have our methods,” Seulgi winks at her. “And yeah, I don’t wanna burden you with the knowledge. You’re a prefect.”
Irene shifts uneasily in her seat. “Is this a date?”
Seulgi raises her eyebrows. “Of course this is a date. Uh, I thought I was being clear when I gave you the flowers?”
The sight of the other couples – nearly every couple in the place now – holding hands and kissing are now assaulting her again and she feels trickles of sweat starting to form on her temples out of the pressure. Questions start swirling in her mind, and for a moment she feels like she’s sitting at one of her final exams. Does Seulgi even notice what’s going on around them right now? Should she initiate it? Would it be appropriate? Are they even at that point yet? She guesses she can at least start with holding her hand. Yes, that would be sensible.
Just as she’s going to slightly lift her hand from the table to reach out for Seulgi’s, she feels her own hand being held down gently by the other girl, who’s now staring right into her eyes – how did her face get so close? “Don’t be so stressed, it’s just me,” Seulgi tells her quietly.
Irene blinks heatedly. Her sight gets slightly hazy as she feels an odd sense of warmth from their hands swarming her whole body. “You’re really hard to read, sometimes,” she says frankly. And I’m very easy to read, apparently.
“Do you want to head back to the library with me later? I need help with my Transfiguration essay. Wendy is still a little mad at me for what I did to her teeth,” Seulgi asks as her face gets closer, and Irene squirms in her seat, but holds herself in place. There’s just no way she can back down now. Not after the way everything seems to have spiraled down into madness eversince she walked in on the other girl in the prefect’s bathroom months ago. She needs to get some of that control back now.
“If I said yes,” Irene voices out, looking at the other girl through her eyelashes after glancing briefly at her surroundings one last time. “Would you kiss me?”
Seulgi’s face breaks into a grin. “I thought you’d never ask,” she says as she leans in to capture Irene’s lips with her own. Instead of feeling in control, Irene ends up losing herself deeper into the kiss as the golden cherub above showers them with generous amount of confetti. If she could, she would drown this horribly decorated place with its horrible tasting tea in confetti by kissing Seulgi while running her hand through her blonde locks for hours. Responsibilities be damned.
A/N: I actually started writing an early version of this right after I posted that tattoo fic but real life kinda got crazy a little bit. Also, this is my other hp au (kinda) if you haven’t read it. Sorry I didn’t get to feature much of Joy and Yeri in this one. Probably for some other story, idk lol
Thanks for reading :)