Where do butterflies go at sunset? Do fireflies shine in daylight? Do they kiss the flowers and the night like the spring kisses the sky, or the rain kisses the earth--endlessly, endlessly, endlessly.
Jimin flutters around a rose bush, humming to himself as he flits from one flower to the other, his hands powdered in pollen, lips sticky with nectar from the dandelions. His wings are wide and silky and dark, with electric blue streaks inside the black dotted rim and it's his pride and joy. Where he comes from, the prettier your wings, the higher the status, and he, well he is considered a Prince.
He spends his days in a world of wonder, in every single color the world has the time to imagine, and that's a lot of colors. Jimin grins and pops a finger in his mouth, coming to rest on a petal, velvet-soft beneath his feet. They say spring is the best of all seasons (Jimin wouldn't know, this is his first one, and probably his last--pretty things never do live long) and so far, he has to agree. Spring is pretty, pretty, pretty, but, Jimin thinks as he spreads his wings and takes to the skies again, he's still the prettiest.
And all is right with the world.
He finds a thin branch and settles down, dangling his feet over the edge, swinging them in tandem with the wind, his wings swaying behind him, and he contents himself with licking the pollen from his hands, humming to himself, always humming, because the song of the flowers needs to be heard, needs to be learned and passed on so the world doesn't forget. It's one of the duties of the butterflies--not only to make sure that the flowers grow, but to sing them to sleep and wake them in the morning. It's not a bad life to live, especially not so close to the backyard of a darling old women, who treats her flowers like her children. Her flowers bloom the brightest and sing the sweetest songs, and of course, taste like little droplets of heaven.
Jimin smacks his lips, dizzy and full and sleepy. His wings flutter with a swish of the wind and he turns, perking up at the light buzzing behind him. Maybe Taehyung's come for a visit, but being the bumblebee that he is, he's always got something to do, always busy, he is. But sometimes, they have races to see who can collect the most pollen, or drink the most nectar and Jimin hasn't beaten Taehyung once but it doesn't matter. Taehyung is his best friend, and that's what best friends do.
It isn't Taehyung though, yellow and black stripes, no tiny little sting in the back that he's constantly checking on because flowers forbid it gets caught on something. That would be deadly. Jimin watches out for him too, taking care to fly half a wing-beat behind Taehyung just to make sure. He doesn't know what he'd do without Taehyung.
It's someone he hasn't met before, and around these parts, that's pretty rare. He's not a bumblebee, or a humming bird, but his wings are buzzing fast enough to blur, and his hair and eyes are dark, dark, dark as night, but just like the night, they're pretty and deep and kind of endless. Jimin dips off the branch to greet him with a smile.
"Hey there, haven't seen you around here. I'm Jimin."
"Oh! Hi--Jungkook," he says, looking startled but pleasantly so.
Jimin flits around Jungkook, sizing him up and Jungkook spins around to follow his gaze. Jimin laughs.
"I've never seen anyone like you before," and flies right up close to Jungkook's face, trying to figure out just what he is.
"Firefly," Jungkook says, inching back with a light buzz and Jimin hums.
"Firefly? What do you do?"
Jungkook's eyes go wide at the question, "We... light up."
"What do you mean that's it?" Jungkook's wings zing and zimmer and he frowns. Jimin flaps back up to his branch with another laugh.
"Sorry, sorry--I just meant, usually we have jobs and stuff, right? Bees have to collect honey. Hummingbirds like nectar. Butterflies sing to the flowers. That kind of thing."
Jungkook zips up to the branch and settles down, and only then does Jimin get a good look at his wings, shiny and dark as his hair, the sunlight filtering through the leaves refracting off them in deep violets and greens and blues. Jimin lets out a breath of admiration and his eyes go soft, reaching out a hand to stroke them.
Jungkook watches him with guarded eyes, but smiles nonetheless. "We light up the night."
Jimin draws back and quirks his head, "The night's kind of big. How do you light that up?"
Jungkook sighs but his gaze holds and he says, "Well, when it's dark out, even the smallest light makes a difference."
Jimin smiles. "I like that. It's pretty."
Jungkook blushes, his wings whizz up again and he pulls off the branch, "C'mon, lets to go the lake and wait for the sun to set. I'll show you."
"The lake?" Jimin joins Jungkook but glances back at the large garden beyond the fence. The old woman is going to set out sugar water for the butterflies soon and he doesn't want to miss that. Jungkook flies forward and tugs on his hand.
"There are flowers by the lake too, c'mon!"
Jimin lets himself be pulled along, liking the feeling of Jungkook's hand in his, liking the soft warmth of the little firefly, because compared to Jimin, Jungkook's wings are small as pebbles to stones.
They willy away the day by the lake and Jimin has never made such fast friends as he has with Jungkook (well, Taehyung, but that was because they'd almost got caught in a butterfly net in the park and Taehyung saved Jimin's ass by scaring the little girl away), and even though Jungkook is hard to figure out, curious and playful sometimes, soft and reserved at others, pulling away at the oddest moments, Jimin figures that Jungkook considers him a friend too. And as the sun slips into the horizon, the lake water swelling up to greet it, drinking up all its light, the sky blooming in flowered clouds, Jimin finds a good seat on a long blade of grass, feet swinging, swinging, as Jungkook twirls in the air and laughs.
And then, just as the sun disappears beneath the water, Jungkook begins to glow, his whole body lighting up in a golden light, as if he's stolen drops of sunlight and swallowed them like nectar. Sun-nectar. Jimin forgets that breathing is a thing; he forgets that the world is a thing for watching Jungkook glow and spin and laugh.
"Pretty impressive, right?" he asks, landing back down next to Jimin, still glowing, the light pulsing from him like those things humans call heartbeats.
"Pretty might be the biggest understatement of a lifetime," Jimin says, breathless as breath can be without itself and Jungkook blushes again.
"Well, then what would you call it?"
Jimin smiles and reaches out to flick at the hard shell of Jungkook's wings, wondering if he touched Jungkook now, would his fingers glow when he pulls away?
Jungkook looks down at his own hands, the light around him dimming and brightening and dimming again.
"Not... not as pretty as you."
Jimin lets his own wings flutter open and shut again, "My wings are only ever pretty when it's nice out, but you..." Jimin turns to look at Jungkook again, "you really do light up the night." And at his words, as if by some strange magic, other fireflies start appearing out of the tall grasses, dipping and swaying towards the surface of the water. Voices call out to Jungkook and he grins, calling back before extending his hands towards Jimin.
"Come dance with us!"
"Dance?" Jimin asks even as he rises up into the air with the rest of them, finding himself engulfed by their soft, golden light, being pulled by a wave of stolen sunlight right over the waters of the lake, where the fireflies begin to dip and dance, laughing and twirling and spinning.
"You asked us what we do," Jungkook says, spinning out himself, smiling like Jimin has never seen anyone smile before, "I forgot to tell you--we dance!"
Jimin laughs too. It's impossible not to when surrounded by the laughter of a hundred dancing fireflies.
"Good thing I sing then," he says, and so he begins to sing, the song of the dandelions, the ballad of roses, the whispering lullabies of the moon frolics, and the fireflies swell around him, falling into the notes as naturally as leaves fall into the arms of the wind. Jimin closes his eyes and lets Jungkook guide him through the steps of the dance of the fireflies and he has never been so happy.
Spring passes in a blur of song-filled days and dance-filled nights, and tiny little lights that steal the sunshine from the skies. Jimin teaches Jungkook the songs of the flowers and they catch Taehyung when he's not so busy, getting giddy and drunk off the freshest honey that honey could be. Spring passes into a crisp, dallying fall and one day, Jimin finds Jungkook perched on the edge of a lily petal, his wings stationary. Jimin lands next to him and gives him a nudge.
"Don't like the cold?"
"No, it's not that."
Jimin frowns; that's not the voice he's used to hearing. And even though he's no butterfly, Jungkook's voice is pretty good, great even. A little more practice and he'd be able to sing the flowers to sleep no problem.
"Then what is it?" Jimin laughs and takes to the air once more, making spirals of Jungkook.
"There's something I gotta show you tonight."
"Another secret of the fireflies?" Jimin asks, finally landing in front of Jungkook again.
Jungkook looks up and there's something in those endlessly dark eyes of his that Jimin can't really make out, but it leaves him feeling happy and sad all at the same time. Like he's being hollowed out, light enough to float right up into the sky and keep on floating.
The sun sets as it does, earlier now than before, and Jungkook leads Jimin, not to the lake, but to a glade in the small forest right by the lake. From here, they can see a patch of sky, just a little patch, though there's still enough light in the yawning sky for Jimin to see and Jungkook's faint glow is getting brighter and brighter. Brighter than Jimin's ever seen before.
Jimin laughs, 'That's amazing! Is that what you wanted to show me?"
Jungkook laughs a laugh that sounds almost like a cry and nods.
Jimin's smile fades as Jungkook floats backwards towards the glade and Jimin looks around. Empty shells of something are dotted across the grass, shells that glimmer in purples, and greens, and blues. And Jimin almost drops out of the air.
"I'm not really good at goodbyes," Jungkook says, twisting his fingers as his glow flickers and shines.
Jimin shakes his head, "No, no, no, it's too soon! It's--"
Jungkook smiles, "You always said that the prettiest things never do live long, and that the first flowers to get picked in the garden are the most beautiful."
"I take that back! I'm supposed to be the prettiest--you can't just--"
"It's okay, it's okay," Jungkook says, reaching over to cup Jimin's cheeks, pressing their foreheads together so that for just that one moment, his light engulfs everything around them, shining, shining, shining so that the world falls away and it's just the two of them, and the light. The bright, bright light. Warm and soft and loving.
"It's not okay," Jimin says, feeling something wet sting at his cheeks. Butterflies don't cry. That's not what they do.
"You know they say that when a firefly dies, they rise up and become a star in the sky. And then when a star falls, a new firefly is born. So all you have to do is watch the sky and when a star falls, you'll know that it's me."
"But what if it's not you? What if it's someone else?"
Jungkook shakes his head--flicker, flash, flicker, flash, "It will be me, because I'll come find you. Just you wait, I'll be born again and I'll find you and we can dance like we used to."
"Promise." Flicker. Flash. Flicker.
Jimin feels Jungkook's hands slip from his skin and he almost reaches out. He almost grabs Jungkook, even as he drifts towards the ground, towards the soft, lush bed of grass made up for fireflies that sleep forever.
"Thank you for teaching me how to sing," Jungkook says. Flicker. Flash.
Jimin wipes at his eyes, "Thanks for teaching me how to dance."
"Can do me one last favor?" Jungkook asks.
Jimin nods and nods and nods.
"Sing me a song."
And Jimin takes a breath and sings the song of the morning glory. Jungkook smiles and lands in the grass.
Jimin sings until the morning, but it's nothing even close to glorious.
So, do fireflies shine in the daylight? Of course they do, you just can't see them because they're hiding with the light of the stars.
And where do butterflies go at sunset? Why, to the grave of the fireflies of course, waiting for them to fall.
And do they kiss the flowers and night like the spring kisses the sky, or the rain kisses the earth?
They do--they do--endlessly, endlessly, endlessly.