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Year 4: Finding Out
"Professor!" Raoul exclaimed as he enter the classroom and immediately began to make his way towards the office.
Prof. Khan rushed out of said office with wide eyes. "What is it? What's wrong?"
Raoul paused, taking note of the professor's stance and flushed. Alarming a former auror wasn't the best thing to do. "Ah, there's no trouble. I wanted to talk to you."
Prof. Khan stared at Raoul for a time, lasting long enough that Raoul felt the urge to shift but forced himself not do. The professor eventually sighed.
"You are almost missing curfew, Mr. de Chagny. Since it's not an emergency, what do you want to talk about that couldn't wait until tomorrow, or better yet, the weekend?"
Raoul's cheeks got redder, along with the rest of his face. He was starting to rethink him believing that this might be a good idea. The professor wait for him to answer, but when he didn't, Prof. Khan looked away with a put upon sigh.
"Come on." Prof. Khan stated, gesturing for Raoul to follow him, which he did back into his office. He had him sit down in one of the chairs in front of the desk while he took a seat on top of the edge of the desk in front of him. Prof. Khan stared him down. "Now what is it?"
Raoul shifted in his sit, not knowing how to start what will probably be an awkward conversation.
Why did he think this was a good idea?
"Um," Raoul started but hesitated. At least the professor didn't seem to be getting impatient, if anything, he seemed to grow concern, his eyebrows furrowing downwards and his frown deepening. Raoul cleared his throat, best get on with it lest Prof. Khan started to think there was something wrong with him.
Raoul took a deep, slow breath and before he could change his mind he blurted out, "How do you know if you're in love?"
Prof. Khan wasn't drinking anything, but the choked sound he made as he jerked back sounded as if he had been. He stuttered and coughed, trying to get the air back in his lungs, all of which, made Raoul watch in horror that he was the reason the professor was reacting that way. He stood up to help, but Prof. Khan raised his hand in a stopping motion. The professor shook his head as he gained his breath back slowly and Raoul reluctantly sat down.
He was really regretting coming to see the DADA professor.
Once Prof. Khan got his breath back, he glanced at Raoul in surprise.
"That's the reason you wanted to see me? And this couldn't wait until a better time?"
Raoul shook his head. "I've been having trouble sleeping lately so it doesn't affect towards time."
Prof. Khan snorted. "Well, what about the rest of us?"
Raoul hesitated and the professor waved his hand indifferently. "Never mind. You want to know how you know if you fell in love?"
Raoul nodded slowly, the heat in his face cooler, but he was sure he was as red as before.
"First I got to ask. Why are you asking me? Shouldn't you be asking your house head first?"
Raoul looked at him in horror. "You want me to ask Professor Giry?!"
Prof. Khan shrugged, crossing his arms over his chest. "She is happily married while I'm not even in a relationship."
"No! I can't ask Professor Giry! It'll be too embarrassing, plus she scares me." Raoul admitted.
Prof. Khan raised an eyebrow. "And I look like a friendly lion?"
"Well…no, but she intimidates me more." Raoul answered honestly.
Prof. Khan nodded with a small grin on his lips. "I suppose that is wise and for the best. Even Carlotta is wary around her."
"Professor Giudicelli?" Raoul thought about the Slytherin house head.
"Yep." Prof. Khan confirmed, his grin widening. He shook his head. "Anyway, you don't want to talk about this to Professor Giry. How exactly do you think I could help?"
Raoul squinted at him. "You've never been in love?"
Prof. Khan gained a red tinge on his cheeks and cleared his throat. "I didn't say that, but I'm certainly not young. It's different."
Raoul observed the professor for a moment, taking in his flushed cheeks and how he wasn't meeting Raoul's eyes anymore.
"You in love with someone." Raoul declared.
Prof. Khan jerked again and scowled. "I am not!"
Raoul grinned widely. "Wow! You are! Who is it?! Are they an auror or are they here? Ooh, is it another professor?"
"Mr. de Chagny!" Prof. Khan cut in with a fierce scowl. "That is highly inappropriate and unless you want me to kick you out this moment you will cease asking me these questions!"
Raoul slumped in his chair in defeat, his large grin turning into a large pout as he was rejected answers. Prof. Khan raised a hand and pinched the bridge of his nose in an obvious effort to calm down. With his eyes closed, he took a number of deep breaths before he was able to open them. He regard Raoul sternly.
"You came to ask me to help you, not to find out about my love life. The questions towards me will stop, is that clear?"
"Yes, professor." Raoul agreed reluctantly.
Prof. Khan nodded, satisfied and leaned back with cross arms. "Why do you think you're in love?"
Bring the topic focus to Raoul, he felt the heat come back to his cheeks and scratched one of them self-consciously.
"Because I think about her all the time when we are not together and when we are, my heart beats fast and I get all nervous for no reason. It's harder to talk to her because of it but I don't think she notices, which makes me happy and sad. I also picture what it would be like to hold her hand, or kiss her. I think she's beautiful and way too good for anyone let alone me." Raoul paused, having realized that he's rambled a little bit.
He glanced up and saw Prof. Khan nodding.
"Alright." Prof. Khan began. "Sounds like you got a healthy crush going on at the very least. You think she doesn't feel the same?"
Raoul shrugged. "How can I know? We've been friends ever since we met but neither of us dated before and we don't exactly talk about crushes with each other. I don't want to make things awkward if I do something."
"Being friends first can sometimes make things complicated or easier." Prof. Khan informed thoughtfully. "You don't want to risk the friendship if they turn you down, but you will never know if you don't try."
"Exactly." Raoul agreed disheartened.
Prof. Khan shrugged. "I'm not in a good position to give advice, but I believe it's always harder being in a state of 'what if?' than confessing and being rejected."
Raoul sighed, that was what his parents had said. He had hoped that he would hear a different answer from the professor. He stood up.
"Thank you professor." Raoul thanked and Prof. Khan nodded his goodbye.
Raoul headed towards the office door but paused in the entryway. Something the professor had said stuck in his mind. He turned his head towards Prof. Khan who had also stood up.
Prof. Khan hummed as he made his way around his desk and lifted some papers.
"The person you're in love with? Are they your friend?"
Prof. Khan glanced up with surprised eyes but gave him a sad grin.
"Yes, they are my dearest friend." He answered. He lost his sad grin and shooed Raoul away. "Leave before curfew gets announced."
"Yes, professor." Raoul settled and walked out of the office.
Christine tried to calm her pounding heart as it felt like it was about to pop out of her chest. She took a deep breath and let out it slowly. While it didn't help a whole lot, she was able to enter Prof. Destler's hut. She clenched the small box she had to her chest and made her way towards his office. She figured that he should be in, but sometimes the professor was called away to help with a creature problem.
Since Prof. Destler didn't immediately step out of his office to greet whoever was there, she guessed it was one of those times.
As she got closer, the office door did open and Prof. Khan stepped out. She stopped in surprise and the professor caught sight of her.
"Ah, Miss Daae." Prof. Khan greeted. "Here to see Professor Destler?"
Christine nodded shyly, she wasn't as scared of the professor as she had been in her younger years, but he was still slightly intimidating as a man who was an ex auror.
"He's out at the moment, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind it if you waited for him in his office." Prof. Khan suggested.
Christine nodded again, not sure how to respond other than that. The professor seemed to sense her awkwardness.
"See you in class, Miss Daae." Prof. Khan concluded and moved pass her, leaving the hut.
Christine stayed in the hallway, forgetting her ability to move for a second. She shook it off and got moving. She entered the office and it was like it usually was. Nothing out of the ordinary so Prof. Khan had probably been delivering something for Prof. Destler to look at.
Then she noticed the small box of chocolate, sitting innocently on the professor's desk. She frowned, she knew that Prof. Destler was popular but it was strange that he would receive chocolates, he had told her that he discouraged his students from getting him anything but apparently he has accepted someone's.
Christine was startled by the sound of the hut door opening and closing. The sound of thick boots echoed down the hallway and she knew who it was. The door to the office opened and Christine turned to it with a smile.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Professor Destler."
Prof. Destler blinked at noticing her presence and grinned. "Happy Valentine's Day to you Miss Daae."
Then his golden eyes located the box she was holding in her hands. "Are you not a little old now to be giving gifts to your professors?"
Christine grinned and held out the small box of candies to him, which he took. "It's considered a tradition now. I was doing it before I was your student, it would be a shame to stop because I am one."
"You do not have a partner which you can give this to instead?" Prof. Destler questioned teasingly, making his way to his desk. Christine felt the heat come to her cheeks and he must have noticed because he gave a sound of surprise. "Miss Daae? Do you—?"
"No!" Christine protested and realized a moment later that it had been too defensive and loud. She glanced up and saw Prof. Destler grinning warmly.
"Ah, perhaps not yet then." Prof. Destler agreed easily, though Christine knew that he didn't believe her in the slightest.
"Well…" Christine began, trying to find a different topic. She remembered the chocolate on the desk. She pointed at it. "At least this year, I'm not the only one who gave you something!"
Prof. Destler frowned and glanced at where she was pointing. His eyes widened.
"What is this?" Prof. Destler questioned softly as if to himself. He picked up the box and examined it carefully. "No one has given me anything today, Miss Daae. I have also only been gone for an hour. They must have come in during that short gap."
Prof. Destler tilted his head towards her. "Did you see anyone leaving here when you came?"
Christine was about to answer in a negative but then remembered that someone did. It wasn't a student but…
"Yes, Professor Khan was leaving when I came." Christine informed him.
"Nadir?" Prof. Destler whispered in shock, glancing down at the box of chocolate in his hand in a new light.
Christine watched as the skin not hidden by the mask turned a shade of red and the professor's hands fumbled with the box as if it was a fragile item made of glass. She blinked as she watched.
Oh my gosh! She thought, her eyes widening. Professor Destler is—
"Miss Daae." Prof. Destler cut through her thoughts and she saw him frowning at her in concern. "Are you alright? You look shocked."
"Ah! Of course, professor! Don't mind me!" Christine hurried to say. As she spoke, all the times the two professors interacted were racing through her mind. How could she not have noticed before?! She cleared her throat, trying to focus on speaking. "I came by to drop off your gift. I have to go."
"Of course." Prof. Destler agreed easily, however, he appeared confused at the turn of events. "I will see you another time."
Christine nodded and made her way to the office door. Right as she got to the entrance, she turned around and saw Prof. Destler still holding onto the box of chocolate that were from Prof. Khan. His skin was pink but there was also a delighted grin on his lips and happy spark in his eye as he looked at it.
Christine also gained a grin and left the room.
She needed to do some investigating then she'll have to see what she could do.
But first, she needed to recruit Meg and Raoul's help.