It's raining again on a Tuesday morning.
Not that Yoongi hates Tuesdays enough to send bolts of thunder crashing to the waters and to damp soil and charge the entire place. He doesn't. He's just bored, and whenever he finds himself without anything to do – because he's just finished taming a storm in far away Sao Paolo, and he's almost done with that little assignment somewhere in the Pacific where he has to stop a low-pressure area from forming just over the ocean – he finds himself playing with old friends, creatures that won't ever tell him off for his strange ideas. So he looks up to the sky one more time, pausing only to clench and unclench his fists. He rubs his thumb against his index finger until a spark of yellow buzzes between them, then releases it into the air with a soft exhale. Commence the chorus of thunder, then the thick sheet of black cracks with bolts of lightning slipping between the clouds. It makes him snort, smile, laugh a little. And it makes him hyperaware of Hoseok sneaking up on him, enough that he manages to foil Hoseok's plans and stop Hoseok from pinching him as he steps to his side.
"I hate it when you're in your zone. I just can't have fun," Hoseok grumbles, but slings an arm on Yoongi's shoulder, anyway. He pulls Yoongi close, enough for Yoongi to feel the burn where their bodies meet. Hoseok has always been too hot to touch. He's not the sun god for nothing. "Gonna win kai bai bo next time," he promises, "then I'll have free reign over the weather for the next few weeks. And I'll be able to scare away your rain clouds and–"
"Not a chance. You suck at kai bai bo." Yoongi holds up a v-sign when Hoseok snarls at him. "And I'm not a rain god. At least get that right."
"You're the god of all things sad. There, corrected. Happy now?" Hoseok scrunches up his face in one of those looks that makes him look more like a tiny sun-dried tomato than an actual sun god, but pops a question not too long after, anyway. "Cool lightning formation, though. It looks like a fucking web of lights in the sky. Is that what you've been practicing when you were away?"
Yoongi takes a deep breath. Up in the sky, lightning crawls across the black canvas again and teases light from between thick clouds. He can easily say, yes, I've been 'honing my craft', redirecting storms to oblivion while living amongst normal humans, but that wouldn't do his entire summer justice. He didn't just divert storms to a place where no one would get harmed; he swallowed them up and contained them inside him. He didn't just 'live among normal people'; he met people, became friends with quite a lot, held onto only one. So in lieu of a proper answer, he sets off explosions in the sky and makes the rain stop in the same way that Seokjin did the day they bumped into each other in little Sokcho-si months ago, miles away from Seoul.
"Yeah," he whispers, then shoots one last ball of light to the sky. The shadows on Hoseok's features lift. "I guess you can say that."
Mid-July of 2014, half past eight in the evening. Yoongi and Namjoon had just returned to Korea from their mission in Acapulco after coaxing a storm to quiet down into gusting winds instead of trudging along Mexico as the destructive force that it was supposed to be. Hoseok was still busy with cleaning up the remains of the storm, but for the most part things were now pretty sunny in Acapulco. Hoseok had called Yoongi earlier, saying that he'd try to make it to Whiskey and Walnuts Thursday, but he made no promises. "And tell Namjoon no, I can't and won't bring him a little palm tree. I control the sun, not time and space. I can't carry that back to Korea. They won't even let me take the whole thing on a plane."
"You're a god. You can summon… I dunno, sunlight to carry you from one place to another."
"Tried it. Not good. Ended up with sunburns," Hoseok grumbled. "And no, I don't like teleporters, geez. They make me nauseous. I'd rather take a longass flight–"
"Tell him to burn it down and make it rise back from the ashes," Namjoon chimed.
"It's a fucking palm tree, not a phoenix!" Hoseok growled right back. A huff, then, "Okay. Tell him–"
"You two talk. I'm outta here," Yoongi had grumbled, then handed the landline to Namjoon but not without getting tangled up in the cable for a second. He made his way to the kitchen, then, hoping to find some dried snacks in the cupboard after having to eat food that was too spicy for his liking in Acapulco. Minutes after, he was walking back into the room with news heavier than the two bags of chips he had in his arms. "We have to reschedule whiskey night. Jimin called for a meeting. Said it was emergency and... to hold off on potential love confessions in the rain because Taehyung's heartstrings are in a knot? Don't tell me you worked with him to pull off a confession in the rain–"
"I may or may not have borrowed your powers for a bit? Whoops?" Namjoon grinned. He reached out, grabbing one of the bags of chips, and pressed a v-sign to his cheek. He looked like a kid who'd just outsmarted his dad. It was ridiculous. "Aaand we better get going! Jimin's gonna kill us if we're late!"
That's stupid, Yoongi would say, but he didn't have time to argue anymore. Heck, his body was still sort of adjusting to the timezone; he didn't have an ounce of energy to spare.
Fast forward a few minutes after and they were nodding to the guards at the gates, then slipping past the big doors as they made their way to Jimin's lair. The path was fairly straightforward – Jimin didn't like having many paths to confuse him, but loved the feeling of comfort that secrecy gave. The solution: multiple levels of security checks before they gained access to the main room where Jimin was trying to untangle the mess of knots in Taehyung's loom.
"Hey, wind god, care to help?" Taehyung said as a greeting, waving overhead as he beamed at the two. "I could use some winds here. That will make untying these things easier..."
Jimin rolled his eyes but waved at Yoongi and Namjoon, anyway, gesturing for them to move closer. To Taehyung, he said with a tight smile, "Hey, rascal. Care to not get your strings in knots next time?"
"Wha–? This is the first time–"
"There didn't have to be a first time," Jimin muttered through gritted teeth. Yoongi nodded in agreement, then settled on the bean bags on the floor. Jimin had kept it from when Jeongguk accidentally set his couch on fire; the giant bean bag was his peace offering. The note on the card had said, 'Sorry. Try not to use combustible things next time.' It felt nothing like an apology, save for the three little hearts doodled below his sign off. "On that note, here's another first: we'll have to send you two to separate missions."
Yoongi furrowed his eyebrows. "But isn't that against the rules?"
"I am the rule, and I can bend it as I wish," Jimin muttered, lips curling up into a thin, thin smile at the corners as he finished. His lips quivered, though, and if anything ever gave Jimin away and let his fellow deities see through the thick walls he'd put up around himself, it was the movement of his lips. He could easily mask emotions in his eyes, but his lips were always a dead giveaway. Still, Yoongi shook his head, bit the inside of his cheek, waited with baited breath as Jimin continued, "Besides, we don't have much time. I know this sounds crazy but there's another storm forming in Mexico. Normally, we'd just let it happen since it's part of The Plan, but the humans haven't even recovered yet. So I'll need one of you to do two things: slow down the storm so Hoseok-hyung can finish clean ups and let people breath a little, or try to make the pressure vanish into thin air altogether. I know you were able to do that before in–in–"
"Texas, a few years back." Yoongi leaned back against his arms and breathed out in a loud sigh. "But we were a team then. Hobi was even with us that time."
Jimin rubbed the underside of his nose. "I know. I'll figure something out, show you a final plan tomorrow. Or later, if I get ideas as we talk." Locking his arms in front of him, he continued, "And I'll need one of you to hop from the Philippines to Taiwan to Korea. It's not a fully-formed storm yet, at least that what it says in The Plan, but there should be a typhoon forming over the islands in... forty-eight hours, give or take. It won't make landfall in the Philippines, according to The Plan, but it will make landfall in Taiwan. It won't be enough to make the storm die down so easily, though."
Yoongi gulped hard. He'd only dealt with something like the storm Jimin was describing twice in his lifetime, and the first time it happened he and Namjoon actually had to bargain with Jeongguk to make sure that there wouldn't be too many casualties. He had his healing function zapped that time – it was the best he could offer Jeongguk who found the concept of living long interesting – and his hair wouldn't stand properly for days. Namjoon had the worst coughs and colds. Hoseok had managed to restore warmth in the entire country but lost his glow as soon as the night fell. Big sacrifices for big rewards. The Mexicans became even more vigilant when it came to preparing for storms and rains, and never forgot to thank the Invisible Force Up There for keeping most of the nation alive. Benevolessence – tons and tons of benevolessence, that was the best thing that they got out of the successful mission. It was enough to keep The Tree of Life healthy for decades. It was enough to sustain all the gods for years, as well.
Yoongi laughed to himself. Jimin had just been appointed as Destiny that time, and yet he already managed to save a country. So Yoongi shouldn't worry; they were in good hands. If there was anyone who could unknot the most mind-boggling of strings and weave something good out of them, it was Jimin.
"I'll take the Philippine assignment," Yoongi said even before Namjoon could utter a thing. Looking over his shoulder, at the shadowy figure a few feet away, he said, "Should I think of something to offer as early as now? My body for the safety of three countries?"
"I'll do it pro-bono, geez," Jeongguk muttered, rolling his eyes. He joined the others near Taehyung's loom and held a hand up when Taehyung began to tug too hard on one of the strings. "If you don't want to make me happy with love dying then stop forcing the knot to come off. Just let it untie itself naturally."
Namjoon scoffed. A few feet away, Yoongi saw Jimin shiver. It was as good as saying, You can't just sit there and wait for things to unfold. You can't just let bad things happen when you know you can do something to make things right. You can't.
The following day, Yoongi woke up to the sound of someone knocking at their window. It was one of Jimin's teleporters; this one was Jongin. Or was it Taemin? He couldn't tell through the haze of his fatigue. Still, he nodded and got up, told the teleporter to wait for him for five minutes; just need to brush my teeth. Five feet away, Namjoon's bed was already empty, the sheets left in a mess. So he propped up the pillows and smoothed his hand over the blankets before disappearing behind the door of their shared bathroom, freshening up, preparing for another mission. Ready to make sparks fly.
"Good news, and bad news," Jimin said on the phone, voice cracking at the static. Yoongi shivered, but compared to the biting cold that whipped against his face earlier, this was nothing. He'd experienced worse. And he could always thaw himself with a bit of electricity here and there. The only condition was that Jimin shouldn't find out. "Good news: the storm's not headed towards the Philippines anymore. The winds pushed the storm further north so that's at least one country off your list. Bad news is, the winds have gotten stronger and the storm's now expected to hit Taiwan in the next twelve hours. Or less, actually, because it just keeps picking up pace." A deep, shaky breath, then, "Korea's next in the line up."
"That sounds very ominous."
"I say 'exciting'," Jimin replied, humming. Yoongi caught the light faults in his voice, though. They sounded like the beginnings of thunder crackling high up in the skies, at least until Jimin hummed in the sweet little voice of his that Yoongi had only known to be an indicator of bad things to come. "So, yeah, I know you're somewhere in the Visayas islands now but you'll have to retrace your steps juuust a bit. Go back to Taiwan, please?"
Yoongi huffed. Traveling via a teleporter wasn't foreign to him anymore but with whipping winds assaulting them left and right, the concept of a 'nice and safe trip' was as good as gone. Granted, deities like him wouldn't ever die even if Jeongguk snarled at them every breathing moment, but they still felt pain like any ordinary human would. And right now, the winds blowing against his face felt like taking a thousand slaps from a panicking Hoseok, or an overexcited Namjoon who wouldn't stop talking about their mission in Acapulco.
If Namjoon were around, Yoongi wouldn't have a hard time boosting himself higher up the skies to check if there was any way they could make the storm 'short-circuit'; Namjoon would be able to give him gentle boosts. He wouldn't have to worry about violent winds raining on his parade; Namjoon had complete control over them the same way that he could mask his emotions with a well-practiced smile. Namjoon was and had always been his partner in all the missions – whether real or plain pranks on Hoseok. It wasn't that he didn't know how to function outside of their tandem; it was just so natural for him to look to his side and to expect Namjoon to be there, shooting him a knowing look and mouthing at him, I know it's pretty fucking crazy but hey, at least we're doing this together.
"Fine, fine. But you're giving me extra vacation time. No missions the entire spring, you hear that?" He took a deep, shaky breath, then swallowed hard as he felt the knot in his chest come off. Looking over his shoulder, he told Taemin, "Kid, we're going to Taiwan."
"So soon? I thought–" There was a flash of something in Jongin's eyes for a few seconds, but soon he was looking in the direction of the vast darkness ahead and the long miles of seas in front of them. He seemed to be more afraid of the concept of running on water in the storm than actually being beaten up by whips of winds as they ran alongside the tempest. It was almost ridiculous, but maybe Jongin just enjoyed the high speeds, the rush, feeling cool winds wrap around his limbs and keep him going. So maybe part of the redirection was their doing – rapid movement produced strong winds, after all – but Jimin sounded as if he was genuinely surprised at the development.
It could mean anything, but years of knowing Jimin had taught Yoongi this – that if it was Yoongi and Jongin's doing then Jimin would be calling them out on it already, and that for all of Jimin's careful planning, for all of the checking and double-checking that the entire team had done the night before The Big Day, this scenario never showed up in The Plan. "How badly will it impact Taiwan, though? Right now, I'm thinking the winds are pushing the storm north and not northeast so Taiwan shouldn't be hit too badly? If then, I'll go straight to Korea and get started on setting up my lightning pillars. Then it will be easier to trap the storm in the lightning cage and offer it to the Tree of Life as peace offering and–"
"I don't know, hyung. I don't know." Jimin breathed out against the receiver, peppering the silence between them with static. Yoongi shut his eyes tight as he braced himself for the impact of the sound, but it never came. All he got was Jimin making strange, gurgling noises into the receiver. "Weird thing is, there's someone out there building walls around destruction points. I don't know who or what, but whatever that creature is doing, it's just making the pressure in the storm bounce off those 'walls' instead of stopping it. It's making the storm eat itself so it can just... fade."
"Storms don't just fade into thin air. You take 'em to the mountains and tame them there, otherwise they'll just keep wreaking havoc everywhere." Yoongi scoffed. "That's just stupid."
"That's what's happening right now."
"And that's the very thing I have to stop," Yoongi grumbled. To Jongin, he said, "Pitstop in Taiwan, then we go back to Korea, down south." He adjusted his hat, then tightened the band at the back. He had never lost a cap in any of his missions, but it was always good to double-check. He wasn't willing to take chances, unlike that creature who was meddling with their business right now.
"We start with Busan."
Three pillars should do it – those were the words running through his mind as Jongin sped along the coastline of Taiwan, slowing down only when Yoongi murmured, "Hang on, just gotta drop this here," or when the scars on their cheeks burned more than expected as the wind blew harshly in their direction. He would have added two more lightning pillars for insurance, just in case, but hesitation had never done him any good. It only slowed him down, and he couldn't afford that since he was up against a category five typhoon. He didn't have time to question old practice or a plan whose loopholes he had already patched up at least a hundred times the night before. He didn't have time to second-guess himself.
"So, for Korea," Jongin began, sniffling as he shivered. "Are you going with just one pillar per city along the coast, or–"
Yoongi tightened his hold on Jongin's shirt and looked around, craning his neck as he did so. He couldn't see a clump of black clouds anywhere near, could only hear thunder all around him and the crashing of waves – that was his doing, not the storm's. These were friends he knew like the back of his hand. These were under his control. "I'm thinking two for each, since the gaps are really big," he answered after a while, then took a deep breath as they dipped just a bit closer to the surface of the sea. "Maybe we can drop more in Jeju. Surround the whole thing with pillars, just in case."
"We have to rescue those two first," Jongin grumbled, then made a dive for the fishermen floating in the sea. Yoongi could make out the pained expression in the men's features and the way they still tried to turn over their boat that had already capsized. Emotions – emotions ruined people and got in the way of success. Jongin's sympathy would delay them from making it to Korea in time. He could leave Jongin now, try to hop on a rain cloud and ask it to take him to Busan, but teleportation or lightning-fast running was far more convenient. He could plant pillars around cities without having to think of whether he was going to crash his rain cloud into a building; worse, a human. He would be able to do his job better with Jongin around.
He laughed to himself. Namjoon was a far more decent partner, but he'd take what he could get. Extending one hand in the direction of the fishermen, then, he charged the air with electricity until the two were being lifted off the cool waters, until he could grab one of them by the shirt and Jongin could pull the other close to him by the waist.
Jongin scoffed when one of the fishermen gurgled. They would forget who saved them in a few seconds, but they would never be able to forget making it through a category five storm. And, fingers crossed, they wouldn't forget to offer benevolessence for the 'miracle' that happened. "Quick tour of Jeju?"
Yoongi nodded. "After we drop off the kids, honey," he muttered, but looked up to the skies and tried to look for cracks of light in the clouds. He smiled to himself when he heard thunder roar. "After that, it's showtime."
The rest of the trip was smooth-sailing. Busan's coastline had been blessedly free of people who might need saving, so securing pillars to cushion the force of the storm with was easy. Ulsan, Pohang, Daebaek, and Donghae were quick side-missions, as well, with Jongin speeding along the coastline without a funny jerk in his limbs anymore. He was fast getting rid of the baggage of doubt pulling him down, in the same way that Yoongi was kicking worry and fear off of his ankles where they clung to him in thick whips of wind. They were light, limitless. They could do anything they set their eyes on.
They stayed closer to the surface of the water as soon as they hit Gangneung, the tips of their toes touching the cool waters from time to time. It made Yoongi shiver a little, but soon he was feeling short jolts of power coursing through his veins. For a lightning god like him, it was good; for a teleporter like Jongin... Yoongi wasn't sure. His first thought was 'risky'; his second, 'what the hell, kid, don't you know shit about being electrocuted?'
"Hey, don't fall asleep now," he murmured in Jongin's ear. He twisted his knuckles in Jongin's stomach when Jongin didn't reply, but Jongin still wouldn't budge. He could feel water rising to his ankles now, and if Jongin wouldn't stop playing tricks with him then he was sure as hell they would be combing through the sea and sending water crashing into the nearby shores of Gangneung and Sokcho. The complete opposite of their mission. Yoongi knew better than to enrage Jimin and set him aflame. "Jongin, what the fu– Hey, kid, we're gonna fucking crash into the sea–"
Then everything stopped. The winds that were whipping against their limbs earlier, the waves crashing against each other, humans running to safety in neighboring Gangneung – everything hung suspended, as if someone had put a stopper to time and was counting down the seconds until he thought it was good to have the world spinning again. But Time had never messed with them during missions like this. Gods were supposed to help each other, not get in each other's way. And Yoongi could still hear the winds whistling, could hear the thunder roaring up above him, could still hear the heavy thumping in his chest, but as far as movement was concerned everything around them stilled. Raindrops peppered the skies with little glimmers, and wisps of winds looked like washes of color against the sky. It was as if there was an invisible force holding them up, gripping them by the back of their shirt and pulling them up from where their feet had already tainted the sea. It couldn't have been Jongin – Jongin had just sagged in his arms, shoulders falling forward and hair sticking to his face, covering the red marks that had stung him in their journey. Jongin had lost all his speed and consciousness already. Yoongi was sure as hell it wasn't him, either. Maybe it was Jimin saving them at the right time, but if it was indeed Destiny at work then Yoongi would feel strings wrapping around his wrists instead of warm fingers curling on his skin.
"Holy shit–" Yoongi jerked back, but was quick to scoop Jongin back in his arms as soon as he'd recovered. Blinking twice, he studied the man beside him from head to toe and wondered, how the hell is this guy standing still in the middle of the sea? "Holy fucking shit–"
The man turned to him with a small, tight-lipped smile. Yoongi wanted to say more, wanted to ask what the man was doing here, in the middle of the action, where in the world he came from, why hadn't the man just tossed him and Jongin to the closest shores so they could get back to work, but soon the man was pressing a finger to his lips, saying, "Hush," in a voice so soft, he could have just been breathing. Then the man looked up, facing the skies overhead and clasped his hands together, close to his chest, murmuring a chant under his breath.
Yoongi lifted his arms up as a last ditch effort at wrapping up his mission, like a dying wish, and heaved a sigh as he saw little crackles of lightning erupt from his fingertips. Beside him, the man reached out to wrap his slender fingers around his wrist again, and yellow light bloomed at the pads of his fingers, painting the skies even more with blinding light. It was a different surge of energy – it didn't feel like he was out of control even if he was releasing one spear of light after another into the sky, but he could see the crackles of lightning falling to the deep pools of the sea as lightning lit up the dark skies above them.
In the blink of an eye, thunder roared all around them and rain began to pour, but the winds died down.
In the blink of an eye, lightning crawled across the skies in a thick web, dissolving the dark rain clouds and washing them out in light.
In the blink of an eye, Yoongi felt all the biting cold that was once draped over his shoulder lift, replaced instead with a sizzle of heat, a warm hand on the slope of his neck, and an equally warm smile stretched across the man's pink lips.
With a deep breath, he released one last lightning bolt to the sky, setting it off in a parade of lights. They glimmered in the man's eyes.
"Oh. Hey. Uh." Yoongi rubbed the underside of his nose, then dropped his hand to his side when he felt a gust of wind tickling his belly and the man's curious gaze dragging south to where his shirt was riding up. "You're... still here."
The man chuckled. "Nowhere to go at 3 a.m., really," he muttered, but for the most part his voice sounded like bright laughter at such an early hour. Which was unfair, Yoongi mused as he cleared his throat, because he sounded like a frog who chugged down glass shard everyday for shits and giggles for at least a month. He had tried to rectify it for years, but in the end he settled with sounding like he'd never had the chance to get enough sleep his entire life in lieu of having to sound upbeat and overenthusiastic all the time. The latter made his cheeks hurt; the former was partly true, except gods like him didn't need sleep to function. They didn't even need to take breaks to still be able to pull off the unimaginable. "Pretty risky to be traveling in such a bad weather. I wouldn't risk it."
Yoongi snorted. "And yet you took the risk of standing in the middle of the sea at the height of the storm."
"You weren't supposed to remember."
"You weren't supposed to be there."
The man huffed. "I don't even know why I'm arguing with you. You weren't even supposed to see me there."
Yoongi laughed a little and dug his hands in his pockets. You were standing in the middle of a hugeass body of water; it's impossible not to see you, he was tempted to say, but he didn't trust his words at three in the morning. He and the man were tired, drained, short on sleep and, possibly, coffee. And he had always been kind to people who hadn't had their morning cup yet. A few feet away, the man scrunched his nose, but the small smile on his lips remained. Yoongi's day was off to a good start. "That makes two of us, then."
The real start of his day wasn't until five, six in the morning, though, upon arriving at Sokcho-si's fish market. The last time Yoongi was here, the locals sold nothing but dried seafood and their raw tuna, hwaleo hoe, but now there was a vast assortment of treats – grilled squid, different twigim that was reminiscent of what he and Namjoon would eat back in Seoul whenever hunger hit them at eleven in the evening, fried chicken that was at least thrice the size of chicken in Seoul. Odeng broth that kids carried around in trays and served to people whose homes had been hit by the terrible storm.
"You'd think they'd just hide in their houses after the storm, right? But no. They're all here, helping their fellow locals," the man said, voice thinning to a low hum as he ended. He took a sip of the broth, then a deep breath before turning to Yoongi with a small smile. "Makes you feel really accomplished, having saved these people, doesn't it? Fighting weather crimes and all–"
"It's a storm, not a weather crime. Those are two different things," Yoongi groaned.
"Ah, guardian of perfection. Never thought I'd see one of those in this lifetime." The man laughed. "I mean, I know they exist but I never thought I'd run into one in the middle of a storm."
And what are you, a guardian of disruption? Yoongi narrowed his eyes. "Wrong again. A lightning god." He shook his head. "Don't your kind do research on these things?"
The man cocked an eyebrow at him but didn't stop sipping the broth just yet. His cheeks were flushed, dusted with a bright red, but his eyes were calm. He could be dying to curl up in a corner in embarrassment and Yoongi wouldn't be able to tell. And Yoongi had spent years trying to read humans and other creatures just so he would know if he had to bargain with Jimin on whom to save during disasters, whom to give a bit of hope to in times of great need. So maybe the man wasn't a disruption god; maybe he was one of those deities that sailed right in the middle, a breed of two roles. A rare balance of conflicting powers. Maybe this man really wasn't supposed to be standing in the middle of the sea then but chose to be there because he wanted to. Because he felt he needed to do something to save the world. "Seriously, what kind of... I dunno, creature? What kind of creature are you?"
Maybe a cross between human and rabbit, a voice at the back of his mind whispered as he watched the man chew on the grilled squid they had bought earlier. The kind lady even gave them some seaweed soup because, "We're all going through a really tough time now," she had said. "So I'm trying to make things a bit better the best way I know how. Little acts of kindness, right?"
The man had promised tamer waves in the weeks to come; Yoongi had promised better weather in the succeeding days. Any longer than that, he'd have to pay for with more than an ounce of his power. And he needed that power to keep people safe, to remind humans that storms were there to wash sins away and not to destroy.
"It's... hard to explain," the man began. He shifted closer until the sides of their thighs touched. The puffs of breath leaving the man's lips were cold, chilling, but his limbs were warm. Not the prickling kind, but it was enough to thaw out Yoongi's numbing fingers, his toes that were tingling at each brush of the cool winds against his skin. "I watch over limits, but I am the limit. I guard boundaries, but I'm... I'm that. I'm that... wall you try to break down when you desperately need to reach another part of somewhere." The man scratched the back of his head, then turned to Yoongi with soft laughter. "It's a complete mindfuck, but the only thing you have to know is this–"
"That you had to stand in the middle of the sea to both regulate the approaching storm and to push it back," Yoongi rushed. "Watching and being. Guarding and doing."
"In modern language, I'm what kids would call a 'cockblocker'," the man murmured, laughing. He kicked his feet off the sand, wiggling his toes, and heaved a sigh. "Well, I guess it's better to cockblock natural disasters than to just let them fuck with an entire nation, right?"
"The next time I hear kids talk about cockblocking again," Yoongi began, pausing only to swallow the food he'd been chewing. "I'll think of you."
"'Next time', huh?" said the man, eyes crinkling at the corners. They looked like stormy skies lit up with lightning, set aglow by fibers of light. They looked familiar, like an old friend Yoongi hadn't seen in a while. They looked like home. "I look forward to that, then."
"You alright, hyung? Did you forget something?" Jongin asked just before they stepped out into the main street. When he didn't get a response, he pinched Yoongi in his side and repeated, "I thought you double-checked everything we packed before leaving–"
Yoongi risked one last look over his shoulder before facing front, meeting Jongin in the eye. He had never been a fan of lying, had always appreciated honesty and transparency. But he also liked seeing the confident look in Jongin's features. It lent him… an odd sort of comfort, like a quilt draped over his shoulder at the height of a storm. So he answered, "Nah, I'm good. Everything's in place." Never mind that the man's name – "Kim Seokjin. Or just Jin. Or cockblocker. You know how to summon me." – and voice were ringing in his ears like peals of thunder and crackles of lightning – those weren't important anymore. They had to get back to Seoul for celebratory barbecue with Hoseok and the rest of the group. They had an hour of travel ahead of them – Jongin could go faster, but Yoongi didn't want to take risks. He had a life outside of the storm that he, along with the man he bumped into smack in the middle of the sea, had just tamed in little Sokcho-si. He was a city guy. Big bodies of water made him sick. He didn't even know how to swim.
"Aren't you supposed to be in your... vacation house somewhere in the Bahamas or something? Or Acapulco, your favorite place in the world?" Jimin asked, peering from behind the envelope he had in his hands before continuing, "Why are you still here? I thought you wanted a break?"
He did. He needed a break. He wanted to have time to recharge, recalibrate, and maybe finish one of games Namjoon got him for Christmas. He needed time alone because spending too much time amongst humans sometimes tipped him off, made him more aware of his feelings than most gods were. And that was never good. But after meeting someone who could stop his powers cold, after meeting Seokjin who could neutralize his abilities and keep him dangling by a sliver of electricity but, at the same time, strengthen them at will– He didn't know how he could sit still without knowing what else Seokjin could do. Never in his life had he met a creature who could tame other gods without harming them. Seokjin was, well, one of a kind. And Yoongi was damn relieved he was.
He'll be the end of me, he remembered muttering to himself when Seokjin gripped him by the wrist tightly even before he could attempt to sprinkle the skies with lightning. "The kid asked for it! I'm just being nice!" he had reasoned, but Seokjin only tightened his hold on him all the more and shoved a piece of dried fish between Yoongi's lips. "Hey, this is good–"
"Nah, I'll just get bored," he reasoned after a while, then leaned in to snatch the envelope from Jimin. He should know better than to lie to a god, but it wasn't as if there wasn't an ounce of truth to it. If he got bored, he would look for interesting things to do like unraveling patterns on storm surges across the globe or digging up information on a certain Kim Seokjin. He would hop from one country to another, hoping to catch a glimpse of that bright-eyed boy he had bumped into days back. And he would keep thinking about the creature day and night until he figured out a way to bypass the man's ability cancel him out. It would involve a lot of risks, possibly more than country hopping and taming storms so he could save humans.
So working himself to the bone was the better option. Accepting missions from Jimin was safe. Trying to rouse a sleeping Jongin had its fair share of risks, but he was certain nothing, no one could be as damn dangerous as Seokjin. He would bet his life on that. He would put his heart on the line.