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Impractical Magic

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  Jimin stares at his laptop blankly.

  Witchcraft.

  That’s all the prompt he’d been given for his Creative Writing assignment. His weird-ass professor had passed out a baseball cap filled with different writing prompts, and the entire class had taken turns drawing one from the hat. The catch is that whatever their prompt is has to have some truth to it.

  Jimin had drawn “Witchcraft”, and it would have been perfectly fine if he’d have been able to write something just from his imagination. Instead, he sits in front of his computer, scrolling through page after page of witchcraft and magic sites, trying to figure out what’s real and what’s nonsense.

  Jimin believes in magic. He grew up tagging along with his mother whenever she’d go to get her fortune read or her energy cleansed. His mother is an avid fan of the occult and magic, and to Jimin, it’s a normal part of his life. He believes in ghosts and spirits and the Law of Attraction. He’s even seen an old witch perform an exorcism once. It was fucking terrifying.

  The thing is that Jimin personally knows nothing about magic beyond what he’s seen from his mother’s go-to psychics and fortune tellers. Unfortunately, they’re all still back in Busan, so Jimin can’t ask his mother to take him to them.

  He leans back in his leather swivel chair with a sigh. The story is worth 40% of his final grade, and although he could just make shit up, his professor has an unnerving knowledge of…well, basically everything. Jimin wonders if the woman is a witch herself. There’s no way someone can know so much about everything. He fears she would know he’s making stuff up and dock his grade for it. He could just pick a few things from one of the many websites he’s looked through and hope it’s real, but that’s no fun. Jimin likes writing, and he wants to do a good job, with actual in-depth research.

  Jimin is rubbing his temples tiredly when the doorknob of the apartment jiggles, and a moment later, Taehyung, arms laden with books, pushes his way through the door.

  “Chim!” He chirps happily when he sees Jimin sitting at his small desk.

  “Hey, Tae,” Jimin waves half-heartedly at him, and his roommate frowns at him, immediately noting his mood.

  “What’s wrong?”

  Jimin sighs and begins spinning in slow circles on his chair. “I have to write a paper about witchcraft, and it has to have some truth to it. I can’t really find anything reliable online, so I don’t know what to do.”

  Taehyung purses his lips in thought and deposits his books on the kitchen table. “Can you call your mom? Maybe she’ll have an idea.”

  Jimin shrugs while be continues spinning. “I’ll probably end up doing that. It’s just all of her magic friends live in Busan, and she might not know anyone out here.”

  Taehyung hums and opens the fridge to grab a soda. He suddenly gasps and spins around to face Jimin, snapping his fingers as a big smile crosses his face. “I got it!”

  Jimin stops spinning and perks up. “What?”

  “If I remember correctly, Jungkook’s second cousin or something is a witch,” Taehyung tells him excitedly, and Jimin’s mouth pops open.

  “Really? Do you think he could arrange a meeting? I just need to sit down and ask a few questions, or maybe shadow her for a day.”

  “Him,” Taehyung corrects, and Jimin’s eyebrows shoot up. “And I’ll ask Kookie when I see him tonight.”

  Jimin grins and claps his hands, hoping Jungkook will be able to help him out.

 

 

 

  Jimin stands before a small, plain looking house. It’s white in color, the paint peeling and faded, with a cute sky blue front door. The grass is long and dark green, and ivy creeps up the sides of the house and tangles around the lattice arching over the door. There’s an ancient oak tree casting a shadow across a portion of the yard, leaves swaying in the breeze.

  Glancing down at the piece of paper in his hand where Jungkook had scribbled his cousin’s address, Jimin double checks once more;

 

11 Cherry Bell Lane

 

  Yep, it’s the correct house. Jimin tucks the paper into his back pocket and unlatches the white gate of the picket fence surrounding the house, feeling a little nervous. Jimin makes his way up the path and steps up to the blue front door, lifting his hand to knock three times.

  It’s silent for a few moments, and Jimin knocks again, frowning. Jungkook had said his cousin was expecting him.

  He hears clattering from inside and a muffled curse right at the same time that he knocks again. “I’m coming, give me a second!” A voice yells from within, and Jimin’s hand falls to his side.

  A moment later, there’s the sound of what sounds like multiple locks unlatching, and the door swings open with force. Jungkook’s cousin stands before him, looking at Jimin with narrowed eyes. Jimin is about to say hello, but the other man speaks first.

  “Are you the chicken guy?”

  Jimin blinks at him. “What?”

  “The chicken delivery guy,” he prompts, looking a little annoyed, and Jimin shakes his head slowly.

  “Uh, no. I’m Jungkook’s friend…he said you were expecting me…?”

  The man stares at him blankly for a second until his eyebrows shoot up and he glances down at his wrist watch. “Shit. Was that today?”

  Jimin doesn’t know what to do. This is not what he was expecting; the man standing before him is young and beautiful, probably only a few years older than Jimin himself. He’s wearing a rumpled “ACDC” t-shirt and ripped jeans. His hair is raven black and messy, as if he’d just woken up, sticking up in places like a little duck. His skin is ivory in color and beyond smooth, and his eyes are droopy with sleep while he regards Jimin suspiciously. He’s really cute in a grumpy cat sort of way, and Jimin is thrown for a loop.

  “Um, yeah,” Jimin says lamely, and holds out his hand. “I’m Park Jimin.”

  The young man takes his hand in his larger, paler one after a moment. His fingers are long and elegant, and his grip firm and warm. “Min Yoongi.”

  Jimin stands there awkwardly for a second until Yoongi steps aside. “Come in, I guess.”

  Jimin gives him a little bow and steps inside, looking around; the inside of Yoongi’s house isn’t anything special. There’s a living room to his right and a kitchen to his left, and across from him is a short hall that Jimin assumes leads to a bedroom or two and a bathroom.

  The interior walls are painted a light grey color, and the couch and love seat in front of the TV are dark maroon. In one corner of the living room is a black grand piano next to a window, which is framed by royal blue curtains. They are pulled aside to reveal some potted herbs on the windowsill to soak up the sunlight. The hardwood floors are dark and shiny, and Jimin quickly toes off his shoes so he doesn’t track anything onto it.

  The house is so unlike what Jimin was expecting. Whenever he’d gone with his mother to visit her fortune tellers, their houses had been darkened, curtains drawn to cast the mood. Candles of all colors and every size were placed on every surface, flickering ominously, and the thick smell of incense permeated the air and made Jimin cough. They’d sit on plush floor cushions around a small table covered in a black cloth across from the witch. There’d be a deck of ancient tarot cards and a beautiful, ornate crystal ball on the table, illuminated by black candles. The witch would wear flowing black robes and bright satin scarves tied around her head, rings on every hooked finger, looking mysterious in the low candlelight. She’d take Jimin’s mother’s hand in her own and trace along the lines of her palm, whispering her fortune in a hushed, reverent voice. The very energy of the house was prickly, ominous, a heaviness that settled over Jimin and made his body thrum.

  Yoongi’s house is just that; a house. There’s no candles in sight, nor the smell of incense, nor is there any strange, magical energy lingering in the air. It’s clean and neat and a little cozy, and perfectly normal.

  “Make yourself at home,” Yoongi says, and Jimin jumps a little, remembering Yoongi’s presence. He tugs the messenger bag hanging from his shoulder a little tighter, shuffling towards the living room Yoongi had nodded to.

  “Do want anything to drink?” Yoongi calls from the kitchen as Jimin sits down gingerly on the red couch. “I’m making tea.”

  “Uh, sure. Tea sounds good,” Jimin responds, rubbing at the soft velvet of the couch.

  He sits awkwardly for a few moments, not sure what to do with his body. Does he lean back into the couch? Would that be weird? Would he look too comfortable after being here only a few minutes? Would it be weird if he didn’t look relaxed?

  He’s still debating to himself when Yoongi walks out of the kitchen, two steaming mugs in his hands. He holds one out to Jimin, who takes it with a stiff little bow. “Thank you.”

  Yoongi smiles in acknowledgment and sinks into the red love seat across from Jimin with a sigh. Jimin glances down at the tea in the black Star Wars mug.

  “Is this magic tea?” He asks in a hushed voice, looking back up at Yoongi with wide eyes.

  Yoongi snorts and settles more comfortably into the seat. “It’s green tea from Walmart.”

  “Oh,” Jimin frowns.

  The women his mother had visited always served them magic tea. Sometimes it was to promote energy, or for good luck, or for sweet dreams. He always felt special drinking it.

  “So,” Yoongi begins, and Jimin looks back up at him. “What can I help you with? Jungkook said it was something to do with an assignment?”

  “Yeah, it’s for a creative writing paper. I picked the prompt ‘witchcraft’, but it has to have some elements of truth to it.”

  “So do you need me to answer questions or something? ” Yoongi asks, scratching at his cute nose. “I’m not sure I’m the best suited for this.”

  “Whatever you can do helps,” Jimin quickly assures him. He opens the flap of his messenger bag and pulls out a notebook and pen. “Can we start with a couple of questions?”

  Yoongi shrugs and takes a sip of his tea. Jimin takes it as a cue to continue. “Okay, so first of all, how long have you been practicing magic?” Jimin asks, reading the first question off the list he’d written down.

  Yoongi purses his lips in thought, and Jimin notices how pink and plush they are. “Uh, thirteen years?”

  Jimin is impressed, but he doesn’t say so. He just nods and writes down his answer. “How did you first get started?”

  “My mom. All the women on my mom’s side were witches. A couple of the men, too.”

  “So, you’re a hereditary witch?” Jimin looks at Yoongi in interest. Yoongi shrugs again.

  “I guess.”

  “Are you part of a coven?”

  Yoongi wrinkles his nose. “No way.”

  “O…kay,” Jimin says slowly. “So then you’re a solitary witch?”

  “Yep,” Yoongi says, popping the ‘P’, and Jimin shouldn’t find it as charming as he does.

  “What’s the most potent magical potion you’ve ever brewed?”

  Yoongi snorts a little at the word ‘brewed’. “Um…one time I made an energy potion for an acquaintance.”

  Jimin leans forward in interest. “What was in it, if I can ask?”

  Yoongi smacks his lips and narrows his eyes, as if he’s having a hard time remembering, and Jimin tries not to stare at his plump pink mouth. “Uh, it was dark roast black coffee mixed with half a Red Bull. I threw in some cloves for flavor.”

  Jimin stares at him for a second. “Coffee…and Red Bull.” Yoongi nods and takes another sip of his tea. “That’s a magic potion?”

  Yoongi quirks a brow at him. “It worked, didn’t it? He was bouncing off the walls for a week.”

  Jimin doesn’t have a response to that. He goes onto the next question. “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for the sake of your craft?”

  “Digging up a dead body to harvest its toes,” Yoongi says easily.

  Jimin blinks at him. “What.”

  Yoongi stares back. “What.

  “Uh…” Jimin isn’t sure he really wants to know, so he just keeps going. “Do you have a familiar?”

  Yoongi glances around at that question. “Yeah, actually. Michelle Pfeiffer. She’s around here somewhere.”

  Jimin can’t help the giggle that escapes him. “You named your familiar Michelle Pfeiffer?”

  Yoongi gives him a small smile, and Jimin feels his heart rate speed up a little at the sight of it. Yoongi’s wristwatch beeps just then, and he glances down at it before scowling.

  “Damn. I forgot I have to go do a house cleansing in a little bit.”

  “Oh. Okay,” Jimin tries not to let his disappointment show. He wants to ask Yoongi if he can come along, but he doesn’t want to intrude. He doesn’t know if his presence will mess up Yoongi’s magic.

  Yoongi stands up and looks at his watch again. “If you don’t have anything to do after this, you can come. If you want.”

  Jimin jumps to his feet with a gasp. “Really? I can?”

  Yoongi chuckles at him and moves to walk around him, reaching out to ruffle Jimin’s wheat blonde hair as he passes. Jimin ducks his head, feeling his cheeks heat up. “Just let me get my supplies. I’ll be out in a minute.”

  Yoongi disappears down the hall, and Jimin hoists his messenger bag up his shoulder while he waits, sliding his shoes back on. He pulls out his phone to check if he has any texts form Taehyung, humming under his breath.

  There’s a clattering behind him, and when Jimin turns around, there’s the ugliest squirrel he’s ever seen in his life sitting on the kitchen counter, staring at him. A fucking squirrel. When it notices Jimin looking at it, it pulls back its upper lip and hisses at him, and Jimin shrieks as he stumbles back.

  Yoongi comes out of the hall with a plastic grocery back in hand just then. He sighs in exasperation when his eyes land on the rabid creature growling at Jimin. “I see you’ve met Michelle.”

  Jimin turns to gape at him. He shakily points at the squirrel. “That’s Michelle Pfeiffer?”

  Yoongi laughs a little and reaches out a hand to stroke the squirrel. It—Michelle—is the most terrifying thing Jimin has ever seen; she’s about the size of a large burrito and has sharp, nasty little claws. One of her evil, beady eyes is blinded from a vicious looking scar. Her tail is a nub. An actual, literal nub. It looks like it was gnawed off by something—probably a dog.

  “Is she…rabid?” Jimin asks nervously, looking at Yoongi, who shrugs.

  “Probably.”

  Jesus Christ. What has he gotten himself into?

  Yoongi moves around Jimin to open up the fridge, reaching in and grabbing something. He pulls out a bowl of what looks like uncooked chicken. It’s red and raw and still a little bloody, and Jimin’s stomach churns. When Yoongi pulls off the plastic wrap and sets the bowl on the counter in front of Michelle, Jimin almost yelps.

  “What are you doing?” He squeaks, and Yoongi quirks an amused brow at him.

  “She only eats raw meat.”

  Jimin feels a little faint. He wonders if his grade is worth this.

  When Michelle grabs a hunk of bloody chicken in her clawed hands and begins chomping on it, Jimin turns away and groans nauseously. Yoongi chuckles and pats Jimin gently on the back. “You get used to it,” he says kindly. Jimin highly doubts that.

  They get going after that. Jimin waits while Yoongi locks his house up behind them, then they begin the short walk to the nearest bus stop.

  “How do you know Jungkook?” Yoongi asks curiously while they walk next to each other.

  “He’s dating Taehyung, my best friend,” Jimin replies, struggling to keep up with the strides of Yoongi’s longer legs. They’re the same height, but where Jimin’s legs are muscular and powerful, Yoongi’s are lean and long.

  “Ah, that’s right,” Yoongi nods. “He’s the spaz, right?”

  Jimin looks at Yoongi and giggles. “Did Kook say that?”

  “No, Jungkook’s mom did,” Yoongi says. “My aunt. She loves Taehyung, though. Just thinks he’s a spaz.”

  Jimin laughs harder, his hand coming up to cover his mouth delicately as peels of giggles escape him. “She’s not wrong.” 

  When Jimin glances over to see Yoongi staring at him strangely, he frowns in concern. “What is it?”

  Yoongi seems to shake himself, picking up his pace a little more. “Nothing,” he grunts, and Jimin hurries to catch up with him.

  They arrive at the bus stop right as the bus is pulling up. They take seats next to each other near the back, and Jimin tries to take a subtle peek inside Yoongi’s plastic grocery bag.

  “So, what’s a house cleansing?” He asks curiously after trying and failing to see inside.

  “I guess they think they have an angry spirit haunting their house or something,” Yoongi says, sounding bored. “I don’t feel like doing it, but people pay more for house visits, so who am I to say no?”

  Jimin doesn’t know how to respond, so he doesn’t say anything. Then his forehead creases and he looks at Yoongi when he realizes something. “Weren’t you waiting for a chicken delivery?”

  Yoongi goes still. “Shit.”

  Jimin tries not to laugh.

  They spend the ten minute bus ride talking. Jimin learns that Yoongi is an only child, that he’s played the piano since he was two, and that he found Michelle Pfeiffer stuck in a sewage drain, tail gnawed off and eye scratched out, and took her home. Yoongi learns that Jimin has danced all his life and wants to be a writer, that he has one younger brother, and that he’s been friends with Taehyung since they were four.

  Once they arrive at their stop and get off the bus, Yoongi leads Jimin down a side street of a fancy neighborhood. They stop outside a glistening white, three-story house, and Jimin blanches up at it.

  “This is it?” He asks in awe, and Yoongi smiles but doesn’t respond. He leads Jimin up the walkway and to the front door, turning the knob and swinging the door open.

  “I told them not to be here while I’m cleansing the house,” Yoongi says, noticing Jimin’s surprised expression. “I had them leave the door unlocked.”

  Jimin follows Yoongi inside and tries not to gape at the huge upper-class interior. Yoongi walks into the large, clean kitchen and drops his plastic bag onto the dining table carelessly. He walks over to the double-doored stainless steel fridge and plucks a can of soda out of it, holding it out to Jimin. “Want one?”

  Jimin shakes his head quickly. “No thanks.”

  Yoongi pops the tab open and takes a swig, and Jimin tries not to stare at the way his long, pale throat curves back to drink, looking soft and smooth, Adam’s apple bobbing.

  Once he’s drained half the can, Yoongi sets it on the counter and grabs the plastic bag he brought with him, and Jimin watches as he turns it upside down and upends it, wincing when all his supplies come tumbling out and clattering none-to-gently onto the table.

  Jimin takes in an array of the strangest combination of things he’s ever seen; there’s a half burned bundle of sage, over a dozen McDonald’s salt packets, a half melted, yellow taper candle, a pair of dice, a crusty looking composition notebook, a few weird charm-necklace things, a single used chopstick, a hunk of hard bread, a bottle of tobacco sauce, and even a pair of AA batteries.

  “Batteries?” Jimin stares at them on the table, and Yoongi follows his gaze absently. His eyebrows shoot up and he scoops the batteries into his palm.

  “Oh shit. I knew I put these somewhere.” Then he tucks them into his back jeans pocket and pats them contentedly. Jimin opens his mouth to say something, but nothing comes out, not really sure what Yoongi’s goal here is.

  Yoongi reaches out and snatches up one of the charm necklaces, and before Jimin can process what he’s doing, Yoongi is slipping it over Jimin’s head and around neck, where it comes to rest right over his heart.

  Jimin looks down at it and pales, the blood rushing from his body. “Is that…a toe?”

  Yoongi nods his head in affirmation, and Jimin feels dizzy. He slumps into one of the kitchen chairs and fans his face, pointedly not looking down at the grey, shriveled up thing hanging from a length of leather around his neck. The toenail is still attached, for fuck’s sake. “Why did you put it on me?”

  “It’s for protection,” Yoongi says, smiling at Jimin’s reaction in amusement. “Angry spirits can be assholes.”

  “So, it’s like…some sort of ancient tradition or something? An enchanted toe to protect from malevolent spirits?” Jimin asks, a little weakly.

  Yoongi shrugs. “It’s not enchanted or anything. I think spirits just think it’s gross, so they generally stay away from it.”

  Dear God.

  Is this what Yoongi had meant when he’d dug up a body for its toes? Jimin was really hoping that had been a joke.

  Jimin focuses on taking deep, calming breaths, trying to ignore the toe dangling around his neck. Yoongi reaches out and pats Jimin’s blonde hair comfortingly, and he feels himself relax a tiny bit, trying not to lean into the touch. “I know it’s weird at first, but you’ll get used to it.”

  The way Yoongi says it makes it seem like there will be more chances for Jimin to become accustomed to Yoongi’s oddness, and he’s not sure if that horrifies him or excites him.

  Yoongi suddenly grumbles and glares up at the ceiling, and a confused Jimin follows his gaze.

  “What?” He asks, not seeing anything other than the vaulted ceiling of the kitchen.

  “The bastard’s upstairs,” Yoongi huffs in annoyance, and Jimin’s eyes widen.

  “Wait, do you mean the angry spirit? You can sense it?”

  Yoongi give shim a confused look, as if the thought of anyone not being able to sense spirits is unheard of. “Of course.”

  “Right…” Jimin doesn’t really know what else to say. Thankfully, Yoongi plows ahead.

  He grabs the composition notebook off the table, a crappy, wrinkled thing that looks about ten years old. It’s been dog-eared about a hundred times over, looks like it’s been dropped in the garbage, rained on, and then run over by a car. There is what looks suspiciously like ranch dressing crusted onto the front cover, and Jimin wonders how it’s survived this long.

  “What is that?”

  Yoongi blinks up and him and then back down at the notebook. “It’s my Book of Shadows.”

  Jimin gapes. “But…but aren’t Books of Shadows supposed to be like…huge and ancient and leather-bound and…”

  “Not pieces of shit?” Yoongi finishes for him, looking amused with a twinkle in his eye. Jimin ducks his head in reprimand, but Yoongi just chuckles good-naturedly and flicks Jimin’s forehead gently. “They usually are, but I don’t really give a shit about all that. It’s functional and it works, and that’s good enough for me.”

  Jimin can’t really argue with that, so he stays silent. He stands up and peers over Yoongi's shoulder when the witch flicks the notebook open. He’s not sure if it’s written in a different language or if Yoongi’s handwriting is just god awful, because he can’t decipher anything.

  “What’s that?” He asks, pointing to a long list of mysterious looking writing. Yoongi narrows his eyes and peers close. Jimin almost snorts. Yoongi can’t even read his own handwriting.

  “Oh, it’s a grocery list,” Yoongi finally nods, his finger brushing over the date written in the corner. "From…2009. Apparently I needed a lot of spaghetti sauce.”

  At this point, Jimin is so lost. Yoongi is easily the strangest person he’s ever met. “Spaghetti sauce?”

  “Mmmm. Pixies love spaghetti sauce. I remember I had an infestation of them that year and had to buy their allegiance before they ate through the bathroom plumbing.”

  “…right.” Jimin feels like he’s in the Twilight Zone.

  Yoongi doesn’t seem to notice though, turning a couple of pages of the notebook. A pink rectangle of paper flutters out and Jimin grabs it before it can fall to the floor. He looks down at it and feels his eyebrows furrow.

  “A coupon for 20% off of a woman’s bikini wax?”

  Yoongi’s eyebrows shoot up and he takes the coupon from Jimin’s hand, looking interested. “Huh. Look at that. Cool.”

  Jimin just stands there as Yoongi turns a few pages and slides out another slip of paper, yellow this time. “Oh look. Here’s another coupon for diaper cream. Buy one get one 50% off.”

  Yoongi turns some more pages and pulls out another rectangle. “This one is for a free tube of toothpaste,” he says with interest, holding it out for Jimin to see. Jimin just stares down at it blankly, before Yoongi pulls it back and flips it over, looking for the expiration date. “I wonder if this one is still good…” he mutters to himself, looking deep in thought.

  And to think, Jimin’s morning started out so normal. He’s going to have to have a serious talk with Jungkook after this.

  “Why do you have all these coupons in your Book of Shadows?” Jimin asks, watching Yoongi continue to flip through the ratty, worn pages. The black-haired witch quirks a brow at him.

  “Why not?”

  Jimin doesn’t have a response to that. He’s become strangely speechless since meeting Yoongi. “What are you even looking for?” He says instead.

  At that, Yoongi pauses, and a look of intense confusion take up his pretty face. He stares down at the notebook and frowns. “You know…I don’t actually remember.”

  Jimin wants to face-palm.

  Yoongi shrugs noncommittally and carelessly tosses the Book of Shadows back on the table. It makes a loud ‘slap’ when it hits the wood, and Jimin winces. Yoongi plucks the bundle of sage off the table and hands it to Jimin, who takes it with wide eyes.

  “Do you think you can follow me around with that?”

  Jimin sucks in a breath and he feels fear shoot through him. “B-but the spirit—"

  Jimin falls silent when Yoongi reaches out to soothingly brush some of Jimin’s honey-colored hair away from his forehead, and he shivers at the touch. “It’s okay,” Yoongi says softly, looking Jimin in the eyes. “I won’t let anything hurt you.”

  Jimin’s heart picks up a rapid pace in his chest and his breath catches in his throat. It’s like Yoongi is staring straight into his soul. His stomach swoops and he feels a little faint at the intensity of the witch’s dark eyes.

  “Okay,” he all but whispers. The brilliant gummy smile Yoongi gives him almost stops his heart altogether. His face lights up and his eyes disappear and his pink lips stretch wide, and Jimin thinks he’ll do anything to see that smile.

  “Great,” Yoongi smiles at him, and Jimin can only gulp in response. Yoongi then proceeds to grab the packets of fast food salt and begin shoving them in all his available pockets. Jimin doesn’t even bother to ask what he’s doing.

  “Salt has protective and purifying properties,” Yoongi explains anyway, searching for a lighter amongst his pile of junk. He finds it and lights the sage in Jimin’s hand, and the pungent smoke immediately billows up and makes Jimin cough. He then hands Jimin the half burned candlestick, who takes it without question. He has no idea what it’s for, and he honestly doesn’t have it in him to ask. Jimin thinks maybe he’s becoming immune to Yoongi’s oddness. “I’ll be drawing the angry spirit out and warding the house towards any others who try to come in.”

  Jimin knows vaguely what he’s talking about. The time he’d witnessed the exorcism, he’d watched the witch walk the entire perimeter of the house, tossing salt as she went and uttering long beautiful spell rhymes. They’d flowed like water from her mouth, smooth and pleasing to the ear. She’d been eloquent and precise and dignified.

  Yoongi turns around, rips open a packet of salt, dumps it into his hand, and flings it with bodily force into the corner of the kitchen. “Leave, you piece of shit,” he commands loudly, and Jimin almost chokes on his own tongue.

  Yoongi begins walking, flinging salt as he goes, and Jimin has no choice but to follow after him with the burning sage and candlestick.

  “Fuck off, you fucker,” Yoongi mutters under his breath, throwing salt into each corner of the house, and Jimin almost wants to laugh. This is so weird.

  They make their way through the first floor of the house, Yoongi cursing the spirit out and scattering salt, and Jimin trying not to laugh behind him.

  The further up the stairs they get though, the weirder Jimin feels. The air seems to be sort of constricted, tight, and a shiver of unease tickles down his spine. He presses a little closer behind Yoongi, hoping that his nasty toe necklace protects him.

  When Yoongi stops outside a closed bedroom door, Jimin almost bumps into him. “He’s in there,” Yoongi announces, and Jimin’s body fills with fear. As if sensing it, Yoongi reaches out a hand behind him, his palm peppered with salt, and gently squeezes Jimin’s delicate wrist. He feels instantly better, and he wonders if maybe Yoongi is casting some sort of spell over him.

  “You can stay out here, if you want,” Yoongi tells him quietly, looking at him in soft concern, and Jimin gulps. It’s too late, unfortunately. His curiosity is piqued and he’s already too deeply invested. He shakes his head, and Yoongi watches him for a second longer before nodding.

  He holds out his hand, and Jimin stares at it blankly. “The candle,” Yoongi prompts gently, and Jimin mechanically deposits the melted taper candle in his palm.

  “What is it?” Jimin asks in a whisper. Yoongi twirls the yellow candle in his long fingers.

  “My wand,” he says, and Jimin blinks at him.

  “Your magic wand is a half melted candlestick?”

  “That, or the chopstick that was with my other stuff. It just depended on what I grabbed first. Once I used a carrot stick.”

  Somehow, that doesn’t even surprise him. Yoongi is probably the worst witch he’s ever met. And Jimin is completely charmed by him.

  “Ready?” Yoongi asks, and Jimin takes a deep, steadying breath, a cold sweat breaking out on the back of his neck. He nods shakily, and Yoongi flashes him a reassuring smile, glancing down at the charm around his neck. “Believe in the toe, Jiminie.”

  Jimin doesn’t have a chance to blush at the nickname before Yoongi is swinging the door open.

  Immediately, Jimin is cold. Freezing. He gasps in shock at the icy air that envelopes him, and he automatically moves closer to Yoongi, the smoking sage clasped tight in his hands.

  Yoongi is pointing his candle-wand at something on the other side of the bedroom, flinging another handful of salt in the same direction. “Get out of here, cocksucker!” Yoongi yells.

  There’s a strange inhaling sound, as if the air is being sucked inwards, and Jimin shivers, goosebumps breaking out across his entire body, an awful foreboding settling in his bones. Something shimmers in front of them, a weird flicker of the air, and Jimin sucks in a breath of fear.

  “I don’t think so, asshole,” Yoongi growls, and then he does some sort of complicated waving with his candle-wand. There’s a sinister sucking sound, and then the air seems to burst. Jimin doesn’t know how else to describe it. The air around them shatters like invisible glass, and he crouches behind Yoongi with a gasp.

  Then, just like that, it’s gone. The air temperature returns to normal, the strange tightness in the atmosphere lets up, and the goosebumps on Jimin’s skin fade.

  Yoongi lets out a long sigh and his shoulders slump as the tension leaves them. He sticks the candle in his back pocket and turns around to face Jimin. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Yoongi asks in concern, his hands fluttering over Jimin’s body but never touching.

  Jimin takes a deep, shaky breath and forces his tense body to relax a little. The sage in his hands has burned out and is now a black husk. He looks up at Yoongi’s worried face, and a breathless giggle escapes him.

  “Holy shit. Is this how every day is for you?”

  Yoongi looks relieved at his reaction. He flashes that beautiful gummy smile at Jimin, who melts a little inside. “This was a slow day, actually.”

  “Oh my god,” Jimin laughs with an awed shake of his head.

  Jimin and Yoongi make their way back downstairs, Yoongi patiently answering the barrage of Jimin’s amazed questions.

  “So, could you actually see it?”

  Yoongi nods, grabbing his soda from before and sliding into the seat next to Jimin at the table. “Sort of like a smoky outline. Usually the stronger and angrier the spirit is, the more clearly I can see them.”

  Jimin listens in silent awe, accepting the soda Yoongi slides towards him. He takes a sip and is swallowing when he realizes Yoongi lips have been on this. His lips. They’re practically kissing right now! Okay, not really, but the thought does bring forth a curious image;

  Him and Yoongi. Kissing.

  And he’s not bothered by it. Far from it.

  Jimin blushes and ducks his head before Yoongi can see his cheeks turning pink.

  “So…um, now what?” He asks, trying to distract himself from his thoughts. Yoongi leans back in his chair and lets out a tired sigh.

  “Now, I’m exhausted. Magic always takes it out of me. I’m gonna go home and sleep for a good two days.”

  Jimin smiles to himself and fiddles with Yoongi’s supplies on the table. He turns the stained, slightly gnawed on chopstick—Yoongi’s other wand—in his fingers absently.

  It’s silent for a few moments, but it’s comfortable. Jimin can see Yoongi’s cat eyes drooping, and he almost coos at how cute it is. “Should we head back now?” Jimin asks, and Yoongi blinks awake.

  “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. Once I fall asleep it’s hard to wake me up, and I’m sure the owners don’t want to come home to a witch dead asleep at their table.”

  Jimin giggles and stands up, helping Yoongi scoop his magic junk back into the plastic grocery bag. Then they’re walking back down the street towards the bus stop, and Yoongi is becoming so tired that he keeps tripping on his own feet. By the time they ride the bus back to Yoongi’s house, Jimin is supporting most of his weight, thankful that years of dancing have made him strong.

  Jimin fishes Yoongi’s house keys out of his pocket and unlocks the door. Jimin guides Yoongi down the hall to what he assumes is his bedroom, and gently sets him down on the king sized bed. Yoongi looks so small and pale amidst the deep blue velvet of his bedspread. Yoongi hums in thanks when Jimin takes off his leather combat boots and sets them aside, pulling the covers back and guiding Yoongi inside.

  “You don’t have to do this, Jiminie,” Yoongi tries to protest, his voice growing heavy with sleep. Jimin waves him off and pulls the blankets up around him.

  “Don’t mention it, hyung,” he replies, feeling warm when Yoongi smiles at the honorific. Jimin almost turns into a puddle then and there when Yoongi curls up into a little ball and sandwiches his hands between his drawn up knees, letting out a content sigh.

  “I’ll let myself out,” Jimin says softly, and is turning away when a hand reaches out and grabs his wrist. He turns to see Yoongi blinking up at him with sleepy eyes.

  “I have a bunch of spells and stuff to catch up with on Friday,” Yoongi tells him. “You can come and watch. If you want. For research purposes.”

  Jimin’s chest blooms with warmth. “Yeah, okay. Sounds good.”

  Yoongi smiles happily and snuggles into his pillow. “Good,” he murmurs, and then he’s asleep. Jimin smiles and leaves Yoongi to his slumber.

  It’s evening out now, and Yoongi’s house is mostly dark. Somehow, Jimin finds his way to the door and slides his shoes on, bag over his shoulder. There’s a hissing sound from somewhere above him, and Jimin glances up to see Michelle Pfeiffer watching him with one beady eye from atop the fridge. He shivers under the evil look in her gaze and quickly makes his escape.

  On his whole way to the bus stop, Jimin has a soft smile on his face. He’s sitting on the bus, gazing out the window, when he realizes he hadn’t made a single note all day.

  He also realizes with a groan that he still has the toe hanging around his neck.

 

 

 

 

  “Hey, Kook,” Jimin greets when he gets home from classes the next day to see Taehyung and Jungkook cuddled up on the couch.

  “Chim Chim!” Jungkook chirps, smiling up at Jimin sweetly. “How did it go with Yoongi hyung?”

  Jimin settles down into the love seat across from the couch and regards Jungkook quietly. “It went good,” he says, and Jungkook grins. He goes back to nuzzling into Taehyung neck, the two of them giggling together. Jimin quirks a brow and laces his fingers together in his lap.

  “Hey, Kook?” Jungkook looks back at him in question. “Was there a little something you left out about Yoongi hyung?”

  Jungkook frowns at him in confusion for a moment, before his eyes widen in realization and he smiles sheepishly. “Ah. Yeah. Hyung is a little…eccentric.”

  “How eccentric?” Taehyung pipes up curiously.

  “He has a rabid pet squirrel that has one eye and only eats raw meat,” Jimin says, and both of their mouths drop open.

  “What?!” Taehyung yells.

  “You got to meet Michelle Pfeiffer?!” Jungkook exclaims at the same time, looking shell-shocked. At Jimin’s confused look, he shakes his head in awe. “That thing never, ever shows itself to anyone but Yoongi. I’ve been trying to catch a peek of it for years, hyung, years, and you just waltz in and she comes right out to say hi?”

  “She hissed at me,” Jimin waves his hands wildly. “I could see the evil hatred in her eye. Single, Kook. Only one eye.”

  “Wah,” Jungkook breathes, dropping back against the couch limply. “You’re so lucky.”

  Jimin shakes his head frantically, trying to get Jungkook to understand. “No, I’m not. That thing was terrifying. If Yoongi hadn’t come out of his room she might have jumped on me and mauled my face off.”

  Taehyung snickers. “Death by squirrel.” Jimin lobs a pillow at him.

  Jimin sinks back into the chair with a sigh and pulls out his phone when Taehyung and Jungkook resume their gross couple stuff.

  “Hey, hyung, is that a toe around your neck?”