brown sugar and syrup || jihoon
✿ pairing: lee jihoon x reader insert
✿ genre: sweet fluff, hogwarts au
✿ word count: 3,900+
✿ notes: it’s here ! happy birthday to seventeen’s musical genius and resident tsundere, lee jihoon ! i can’t even put into words how much i love this man & his music !! so i couldn’t Not post something on the world’s most important annual holiday, so pls accept this super soft hogwarts!au ! tagging: @iluvwoozi + @lunarjihoon, some quality jihoon stans ! i hope everyone enjoys!!
“How many times do I need to tell you this before you get it through your– thick head?” You yelp on the word “thick” when Jihoon tightens the bandages around your hand with more force than necessary and gives you a look of barely suppressed annoyance — and seeing this, you bow your head in guilt to gaze at the red bleeding through the gauze on your palm. “You can’t just play hero and act like you won’t get hurt. Imagine how much worse it could’ve been if I wasn't—”
“—If you weren’t there,” you finish almost childishly with a poor impression of Jihoon’s typical sour facial expression, lips pouting as you rest your chin on your good hand and recite his almost daily scolding by heart. He merely rolls his eyes and twists the cap back on the bottle of rubbing alcohol before stowing it away in his bag. “I know, I know. But what did you expect me to do? Sit there and watch as they beat him up? He’s a good kid, Ji, he doesn’t deserve that.”
Jihoon grimaces past a swallow of pumpkin juice before slumping back so that he can gaze at the sky enchanted onto the ceiling of the Great Hall — before breakfast even ended you’d gotten yourself into more trouble; it must be a new record for you. “You know,” he begins with a sigh, glancing around at the sea of black and yellow at the long table you’re both seated at. “For a Hufflepuff, you sure do get into a lot of fights.”
You only grin — a bubbly, toothy smile that catches him off guard and has him coughing and sputtering on his drink, much to your amusement. “That’s because I know I’ve got you to protect me,” you hum easily through bites of toast. “I’m not really all that scared of other Slytherins when I have you, Ji.”
The pureblood flushes a deep crimson, hiding it behind his textbooks as he sorts through the materials he’d need for classes today. “Y-You can’t… just say things like that, Y/N…” he grunts under his breath, shooting the giggling Hufflepuff boy beside him what he hopes to be a threatening glare; but the boy (who he believes is named Seokmin?) is left unfazed and goes back to shoving forkfuls of waffles in his face.
Over the past three months since you and notorious Slytherin grump Lee Jihoon became joined at the hip, the other students at Hogwarts have gradually cottoned on to his soft spot for you — before the two of you were friends, no one would’ve believed that Jihoon couldn’t care less about things like blood status or which house you’re in, but there’s not a soul in Hogwarts that’s fooled anymore. Your fellow Hufflepuffs despised him at first, but after witnessing the scene of little Lee Jihoon decking a six foot Ravenclaw senior in the mouth for calling you a Mudblood, they have grown accustomed to his presence at your table and even enjoy it, and they do not hesitate to poke fun or tease him over his concern for your well being. He claims to dislike the attention, even now, so he tends to maintain his angry facade around them but even then, they only laugh and brush him off like a child throwing a temper tantrum, not fooled for a moment.
The very thought of it makes him glower.
He’s drawn out of his little daze when you gasp — loud enough to be heard over the hum of morning chatter in the hall, and Jihoon snaps at attention in an instant, peering around the vicinity wearily before realizing that there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary occurring. So when he goes to scold you for startling him, he’s taken aback when you reach out to clutch his hands in concern. “What are you—? Y-Y/N—”
Either ignoring his flustered state or oblivious to it, you tenderly hold his palms in your own and examine the state of his fingers; there are blisters and welts growing over his bloody knuckles, and you bite down on your lip wearily. “Ji, your hands! Why didn’t you bandage them up?” you exclaim in exasperation, eyes wide with worry.
He swallows his embarrassment and tries to gently tug his hands from yours, failing miserably every time. “Well it’s… not exactly easy to bind your own hands,” he mutters tightly, unable to meet your gaze.
“Then why didn’t you ask me?”
It’s a simple question, but it somehow makes him nervous in the worst of ways. Not wanting to attract attention and seem weak is one thing — but it feels like something more than that. The idea of you, the epitome of kindness and everything sweet and gentle, worrying and fretting over him makes him feel sick to his stomach; and yet the image of you focusing so intently on his wounds as you try to bind them with tender fingers has an odd fluttery sensation bouncing about in his chest.
But he fights that feeling down — squashes it as much as he can even if it’s just for a moment. Clearing his throat, he straightens out and directs his attention to the mail owls flying low over the tables, then huffs decidedly. “Because it’s not that big of a deal,” he mumbles under his breath.
Suddenly, Jihoon feels the touch of skin and bandages on his face when you clutch his cheeks and forcefully make him look at you, an atypically irate frown on your lips. “Of course it is,” you grumble. How the tables have turned; typically, and even just minutes ago, it would be Jihoon doing the scolding, but here you are, looking more serious than you ever have. “You should take better care of yourself, Jihoon, don’t just worry about me all the time.”
The lack of his nickname has him bowing his head in shame, oblivious to the burning of his cheeks and looking up at you impassively. “Sorry,” he mutters halfheartedly, averting his eyes to the wood of the tabletop — because when did your concern for him become so important to him? What happened to give-no-shits Lee Jihoon, who couldn’t care less about what anyone thought of him?
But here he is, feeling guilty that he ever made you worry.
The simple word brings a sunny smile to your lips, and it’s as if the encounter never occurred as you begin shoveling the morsels from your plate into your mouth. “Good,” he hears through mouthfuls of scrambled eggs. “Now, we’ve gotta hurry because I have Potions with Gryffindor and Junhui’s probably gonna end up shrinking my seat again—” You pale at the thought and spontaneously shove your books back into your bag, lurching out of your seat before Jihoon can even breathe, let alone speak.
He’s about to tell you not to run so fast, but you catch him off guard when you reach for his hand for the second time. His startled “what are you doing?” is ignored as you bring his bruised knuckles to your lips (much to his horror; his jaw almost touches the ground) and place the gentlest of kisses across his skin before dropping it as if it’d never happened.
When he gazes at you dazedly with eyes glazed over in bewilderment, the shock not yet caught up to him, you only smile despite your pink-dusted cheeks and say, “Witches have magic kisses, you know. Heal up, okay?”
And the realization doesn’t settle in until you’ve darted out of the Great Hall, the tingling sensation of your lips on his skin making him shrink lower in the bench with a boiling face and hands clapped over his eyes.
You never thought things could change so quickly — that in one fell swoop everything could be different than they were yesterday. But they can, and you learn that for the first time during your dreaded Potions class with Gryffindor. Long before the teacher makes his entrance, the other students are mingling with their fellow housemates before they’d inevitably be separated to take their assigned seats (“best to form bonds with the other houses, yes?” Slughorn would say with a light nod).
You’ve meticulously arranged your books and tools to your satisfaction on the left side of the table (careful not to intrude on Junhui’s space), as a means to distract yourself from the thoughts bouncing around in your head; for whenever you’re not kept busy, you find yourself shamefully reflecting back on what you’d foolishly done just minutes before.
You kissed him. On the hand, yes, but you — you kissed him?
What on this good earth ever possessed me to do that? you warble inwardly, scrunched up eyes barely peeking past fingers as you squirm uncomfortably on your stool. He’s probably grossed out, oh God— oh… what if he hates me?
“Who could ever hate a sweet Hufflepuff like you?”
You can’t even bring yourself to be annoyed at Junhui’s comment; mainly because you are perfectly aware of his humor, judging by the easy tilt of his lips, but also because you’re now beyond embarrassed. Blinking, you turn to him with red cheeks and whisper, “Did I say that aloud?”
“Nope,” he says with a twirl of the wand between his fingers, popping the ‘p.’ “I read your thoughts.” The beat of silence between you has him twirling on his stool and beaming at you, ignoring the bewildered finger you hold up in question. “But you didn’t answer me. What kind of evil spell did you put on someone to make them hate you?”
Your groan is muffled into the thick fabric of your robes as you place them fretfully over your mouth, eyes wide in worry. “I, um… Jun… you know Lee Jihoon, right?”
He tilts his head. “'Course. The grouchy Slytherin who follows you around, right? Still think that’s a bit worrying, by the way.”
This earns him an admonishing frown to which he puts his hands up in defense, and it makes you release a sigh of complete and utter defeat into the tabletop through roughly bitten lips. Slughorn ambles into the room and begins laying his things out while absently greeting his students, commenting on the state of the weather and remarking on his craving for Pumpkin Pasties. “He… uh…” You lick your lips. “Let’s say I did something to make him super weird with me. You don’t… think he’d hate me for it, do you?”
Instead of being of any comfort like he normally would, Junhui merely smiles gently, shakes his head and chuckles while pulling a quill from the depths of his robes to prepare for the lesson. “Oh, Y/N. I don’t know him that well, but I don’t think there’s anything you could do to make that guy hate you. It doesn’t take a genius to see that.”
You spend the first few minutes of the lesson feeling like there’s something obvious you’re missing.
You had heard of Amortentia a handful of times in your life, but knew nothing of it other than the fact that it’s supposedly the most powerful love potion in existence. So when Slughorn brings forth a small cauldron full of a smoking liquid that radiates one of the most lovely smells and makes your knees go weak, there is no one in the room left untouched by their effects, countless pairs of glassy eyes gazing at the cauldron and murmuring on its scents. A Gryffindor girl with silky black hair sitting in front of you comments to her seatmate that it smells like honey, peppermint and cinnamon — and it has your brows furrowing, because that’s far from what you’re smelling.
It’s an odd jumble of many different little things that don’t quite make sense, but stir a cozy warmth around your heart. Among them you can make out brown sugar, maple syrup, a peculiarly familiar smell of laundry soap, rubbing alcohol, and — and gauze? You never thought gauze had a scent, but now that it’s here, it feels like there’s nothing else it could be.
“Amortentia is a very delicate and wondrous thing, but very dangerous if used recklessly,” Slughorn recites like he’s said the words a thousand times before. “It gives off the scent of things that attract you; that is why it smells different to each of you.”
Chatter of understanding ripples through the small swarm of students, and at this, you swallow the lump of dread that’s developed in your throat. You suddenly want to hide your face in your cauldron and never come out again. No way. This is a joke, right?
“Jun,” you croak, tugging on his robes. “Jun, this — what do you smell?”
“It’s a secret,” he says without missing a beat.
An uncharacteristic scowl finds your lips, and you huff as Slughorn begins listing the supplies you’ll need to prepare a small draft of the potion. The thought of being up close and personal with these cozy but confusing smells isn’t all that appealing, but you don’t have much choice in the matter, so the remainder of the hour is spent standing over a hot cauldron with frizzy hair and a tingling nose.
Much to your own surprise, you don’t hesitate to go and seek Jihoon out after Potions draws to a close — he has a free period after Charms, and more often than not, it’s spent in the library snoozing off between the shelves. Your feet find his usual haunt easily and without a thought to it, and you almost feel relieved at the sight of his yawning face in the section far off in the back of the library. “Jihoon!” you blurt far too loudly, startling him so much that he knocks over a stack of thick volumes on the table.
Wide-eyed, he scrambles upright in his seat, the ends of his brows meeting in bewilderment at the sight of you. “Y/N, What are you doing? Don’t you have History of M—”
Your tongue is tied, on the brink of just spilling everything you’d just discovered, but you fight down any more loud word vomits and sit down across from him. The throbbing of your heart doesn’t slow at all, and you find yourself fiddling with the ends of your sleeves, for once entirely uncertain of what to say. “I just got back from Potions,” you begin slowly.
Jihoon raises an eyebrow and leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees. “Yeah? I know. You’re supposed to be in History of Magic right now. Not that I really care because he probably won’t notice you’re gone anyway, but why are you here?”
The warm, amber light that radiates off of the mahogany wood bathes Jihoon in gold, and you don’t think you’ve ever wanted anything more than to kiss him. You’ve always known that he was handsome — everyone did, even outside of his own House. But you’ve never truly thought the words to yourself, never truly recognized the urge to card your hands through his hair or rest your head in the crook of his neck. Up until about twenty minutes ago, that is. It’s like the love potion dropped a brick of realization on your head, and now he’s suddenly all you can think about.
You want to hold his hand and clean his wounds without feeling like you’re crossing some kind of line. But first and foremost, you just want to be with him.
Honest to god, it feels like you may cry when you catch a whiff of the Muggle laundry soap you’d bought him for Christmas, the maple syrup he’d had on his pancakes at breakfast. Any tears that may be close to breaking the surface are kept bottled up well, but Jihoon still notices the strain in your expression.
“Hey, are you alright?” he murmurs wearily, sliding his chair forward an inch to frown into your face.
“I just got back from Potions,” you repeat with a little more strength, one long breath leaving your lips. “And we made Amortentia. You know, the—”
“The love potion…” Jihoon’s lips part in the smallest of puzzled ‘o’s, both in concern for your condition and confusion at your words. “I know. You smell what attracts you, right?”
You bob your head sharply multiple times, jumping like a spooked horse when someone briskly paces by the section of the library you’re in. “Yeah. And, um…”
How exactly do you tell someone that you’d smelled them in a love potion? “Hey, so, it smelled just like you in Potions class today. Looks like I’m in love with you.” The very thought of it makes you want to curl in on yourself.
Your silence and hesitance is clearly beginning to frustrate Jihoon, and he sits up to rake a hand through his unruly hair, eyes searching for any sign of an explanation in your face. “Yeah, and?” he prompts briskly. “Did you figure out who you have a crush on, or something? That’s great.” Half of the sharpness in his tone is due to the possibility alone that it may not be him, and the other half is due to the image of you and some Hufflepuff swinging hands down the corridors, your smile so wide and beautiful and not induced by him.
There’s an ache blooming in your temples, and you reach up to massage the area with careful fingers. “It’s… kind of, actually. Yeah, I did.” The words begin to come out with such ease that is startles you. God, just do it. Hike up your skirt and say it. Get it over with. “So… you know that laundry soap I brought you from London? The, ah… the Muggle kind.”
Why the hell is she talking about laundry soap?
A moment of suspicious staring and subconscious pouting has the realization crashing down on his shoulders like an anvil. Does… do you mean— “I remember.” The possible implications of what you’re saying makes him feel like breaking into a festive dance, and it takes everything in him not to leap to his feet.
“I smelled that. In the potion.” You’re having an incredibly difficult time looking him in the face, face bright red, hands a knot behind your back, and if it isn’t the most adorable thing he’s ever seen, he doesn’t know what is. “And, um, maple syrup, which I know you love because you use half a bottle every morning. And the brown sugar I spilled in your bag last month. And — and… yeah.” Your rambling stops, because you’re certain he gets the point by now. Eyes downcast, you wait with your heart hammering for what he’ll say.
But he doesn’t say anything.
The library has never been so quiet in all your years at Hogwarts, so you peek up at him through your hair, only to practically choke on your own breath at the smile on his lips. It’s small, but the most genuine one you’ve seen on him. That and the blush on his cheeks tells you that maybe you didn’t just make an utter fool out of yourself in front of the object of your affections.
“I didn’t just make everything really weird, did I?” you ask weakly.
“A little,” he admits only to snort at your horrified gape, and the look of relief on your face when he chuckles is so comically precious that he has to stop himself from reaching for you right then and there. And part of him wonders what to do next.
“Would… would it be okay if I kissed you?”
You’re even redder than Gryffindor’s colors, and you wonder if Junhui charmed a frog into your throat to humiliate you in front of the person you care for most —because all your years of words are failing you out of the blue and you find that you can do nothing other than nod timidly.
You reflect that it’s almost not even worth it (though, who are you kidding? You’d think about this every damn day for the next five years.) when he swallows and hesitantly scoots his chair closer to you with a screech on the floorboards. It’s without a doubt the most awkward moment of your life when he bites the bullet, mutters a screw it and places his lips on yours. Too hard. And you’re so distracted with panicking over what to do and oh my god he’s so close that you don’t realize your first kiss isn’t nearly as magical as you thought it would be.
As the moment of hesitance, passes, you think you may be getting used to this kissing thing that you once dry heaved at that (you never understood why Hansol and Seungkwan never seemed to get enough of sucking face until now). But that’s when your teeth bump against his with a painful clack and the two of you lunge apart like you’d been electrocuted.
Scratch the library’s so-called quiet moment from earlier — this is a thousand times more silent, and you can practically hear Jihoon’s breaths from where he sits in poorly disguised embarrassment, hands balled in his lap and shoulders stiff. Your lips are buzzing with a foreign tingly sensation that you had only vaguely felt whenever he went to tap you on the head for getting yourself into trouble, whenever he bound your injuries from magic mishaps or scuffles with other students. You start wondering how you could’ve been so stupid.
It’s so clear and so obvious to you now, but it had taken the world’s most powerful love potion for you to see it. Whenever you got Jihoon to laugh or smile, your heart seemed to soar higher than the clouds themselves, but you had always chalked it up to pride at getting his reserved exterior to crack. You always found yourself wanting to hold his hand or fiddle with his hair, but you ignored anything that would potentially push him away from you.
But hocus-fucking-pocus, here you are now, kissing him between two shelves containing books about charming slugs to do Irish jigs.
“Um…” Jihoon clears his throat and you’re praying to Merlin that he won’t mention your lack of experience until the moment he continues. As it turns out, he seems just as flustered and awkward as you feel, because his stammered words come out as, “Do eat want to you— hngssssdoyouwanttoeat. Do… you want to eat?”
You agree far too quickly, eager to escape your building embarrassment, and without another word on it, you take off down the halls toward the kitchen with a much lighter load on your shoulders. And in spite of your anticipation of what he’d say next, you know that you can’t expect him to burst into a song detailing his mutual affections for you, but you still worry that he might’ve somehow miraculously forgotten everything that had just happened because he doesn’t breathe a word of it.
So, while it’s difficult, you lock any concerns away and occupy yourself with recalling stories you’d heard around the castle with a mouthful of mashed potatoes as Jihoon nods along quietly, just as it always has been. It makes a pit of shame develop on your gut, until you feel it.
It’s a slight and timid touch at first, but it can’t be mistaken as an accident when Jihoon hesitantly nudges his fingers to fit through yours. You damn well nearly choke on your pudding and stare at him with eyes the size of dinner plates, until he manages a little smile that washes away all of your worries.
Throughout the rest of the day, Jihoon walks you to your classes like he always has, but he doesn’t let go of your hand once.