Jeongguk thinks that he has life pretty much figured out. Never mind that he's only at the tender young age of 22.
After high school, he’s hauled ass all the way from his hometown of Busan to Seoul, the big capital of grey skyscrapers and fast paced commuters. Jeongguk managed to get into a good university, found an affordable living space off campus with a roommate who is the social butterfly complementary to himself, and also has a respectable part time job with the campus student body as the Tech Guy the library.
All in all, even though he's sleeping barely enough hours in a week, stretched thin between coursework and the demandingly odd hours of his job, he feels like, hey, he's here in the city, where dreams are made of. Jeon jeongguk thinks he gets it.
Until one day he really doesn't.
Logically, he knows. Some things just aren't possible, not without defying the laws of physics, or space time, or common fucking sense.
He tries blinking, slowly to make sure it's real. Because there is no fucking way he just saw a guy literally walk out into the hallway he's facing, through the library’s thick, soundproof, very solid, concrete wall.
Said guy is smaller in stature than him, swamped in the huge striped sweater. His hair is a dark chocolate, cute button nose and thick pink lips. He's carrying some books and a backpack, one hand, fingers adorned with metal, thumbing through his phone, looking completely normal, unlike he's just materialised from thin air and-
The guy looks up, eyes darting around before they make contact with Jeongguk.
Fuck. In his shock, Jeongguk has totally forgotten that he's been staring, still is, stupidly at the stranger. Who seems increasingly panicked the longer Jeongguk stood there.
“Uhm,” he licks at his bottom lip, shuffling awkwardly towards Jeongguk, “please tell me you're new to the class, or like, didn't see anything weird? Have spontaneous amnesia?”
Jeongguk gapes at him. He's really pretty, his mind unhelpfully suggests. “Uh-uhm,” he stops the words dude you just walked through a wall right before they leave his mouth, because that sounds really, really stupid, Jeongguk. Even for you.
The boy huffs, sounding every bit as frustrated as he looks. He puts his phone away, scratching the back of his head for a few seconds before turning back towards Jeongguk.
“What are you doing here anyways? This is a restricted area.”
At that, Jeongguk clicks his jaw shut. He's right. Nobody is supposed to be back here. There is some semi permanently undone renovation work in this part of their university’s massive central library. His work station is the tech help desk situated nearby, and he knows well enough that the area is closed off to students and teachers alike. For safety reasons.
And yet, today he's just so happened to decide that he'd wander a bit further behind the ‘no entry’ sign, to the very back where he can lean against an old empty book shelf for some quiet escape. Because if one more technologically challenged student asks him another basic question, like hey how do I get the internet to work on my surface pro, he's gonna commit to jumping off the 3rd floor window.
“Why are you back here then?” Instead of answering, he deflects, and almost sings internally when he sees the guy start fidgeting, pulling at his sleeves until they cover his fingers.
He could use this. They're both offenders now so he couldn't report Jeongguk for trespassing. And while he's sure that the staff probably won't fire him, he’d rather not take any chances.
Jeongguk deliberately clears his throat, carefully watching the boy’s face, “I didn't see anything. I was just hanging out back here,” he shoots the boy a wide eyed look, “like you were.”
The boy narrows his eyes at him, thinking so loudly Jeongguk could practically hear him. A few tense seconds pass which Jeongguk spent unapologetically scrutinizing the stranger’s pretty, pretty features. He’s just about to start offering favors to keep his mouth shut when Stranger responds.
“Okay,” he sounds uncertain, voice small as he flicks his eyes back towards the blank wall for a split second, “okay, fine. Let’s say I believe you. And let’s say that,” he stares straight at Jeongguk at this point, his tone firming up, “neither of us saw each other here, right?”
“Right.” Jeongguk answers quickly, shoving his hands into his pockets and straightening up, “so, uh, yeah, i’ll just, see you around.”
Cute Stranger smiles at him tightly, then turns to leave through the rows of book shelves, disappearing down the deserted hallway leading beyond the ‘no entry’ sign.
Jeongguk sighs, relaxing his shoulders. He turns towards the wall skeptically, reaching out to brush one palm down the smooth plaster surface. It doesn’t give. Solid under his fingers, just like a wall is supposed to be.
Maybe, he should stop playing Overwatch 10 hours in one sitting. It’s fucking with his head.
“Fuck,” Jeongguk yelps, then more uncertainly, “uhm, fuck?”
The last thing he remembers was finally accepting the prodding of the universe, determined to ruin him over due to the accumulation of all the bad decisions he’s ever made in his short twenty-two years of existence. The most recent one being pulling two consecutive all-nighters to finish a graded essay, while replacing the blood in his veins with red bull.
Long story short, on his way to turn in the physical paper, a dizzying spell overcame him and made his foot slip on the long flight of descending stairs leading to his faculty. Shamefully, his final thoughts while plummeting were that he loved his family, and that he would bequeath his Overwatch profile to Taehyung. Only Taehyung was worthy.
But instead of cracking his skull open, he’s suddenly staring at the rough concrete floor, two inches in front of his face. His phone is lying on the ground, screen cracked. But he’s not. All his limbs are floating, what the actual fuck-
“Hey are you okay?!”
Suddenly, Jeongguk’s big nose meets the floor unceremoniously. “Ow, Jesus,” he pushes himself onto his hands, blinking away the impact. The voice calls from behind him again and he looks back, up the flight of stairs, and gulps. He was one hundred percent sure that a moment ago, he’d been 2 metres up at the top of those steps.
The figure talking to him comes closer during his daze, until he’s right next to Jeongguk, bent over and shielding the afternoon sun from his eyes.
“Hey, hey, are you okay? Can you hear me?” His voice is melodious, albeit tinged with worry, but also very familiar.
Once the haze clears from his head, Jeongguk takes a good look and is shocked to recognize that face. Same round eyes, cute nose and pouty lips. It’s the stranger from the library. The one who walked through a wall. Frantically, he reaches out a hand to grab at the guy’s arm, the solid muscle under his sleeve bringing him grounding relief. He’s not crazy. The guy is real.
“Did you knock your head or something?” He hears the stranger muttering under his breath, “I was sure I was in time.”
“You,” Jeongguk squeaks, causing the guy to flinch, “you’re the dude from the library.”
“What did you do? How did you do that,” Jeongguk cuts in, cleared mind going a mile a minute, because no way he was hallucinating this time. The last time he could blame his eyes, but this time, he physically felt it. How his foot had slipped, and yet he’d landed perfectly safely at the bottom of the stairs, without a single scratch on him.
“Wow I really think you might’ve hurt your head.”
Jeongguk calls bullshit. Pretty Stranger won’t even look him in the eye.
“What are you?” His grip on the boy’s bicep tightens, half afraid that he could just disappear into thin air, and then Jeongguk would be crazy.
“I’m Park Jimin, fourth year pharmacology student,” he says, “and as a pseudo med student, I think you’re very in need of lots of fluids and rest-”
“I saw you, that day in the back of the library,” Jeongguk insists, sitting up fully to pin Park Jimin, fourth year pharmacology student with a look full of intent. If there’s anything Jeon Jeongguk is, it’s persistent. “I was alone in that hallway the entire time. Alone. And then I look up and you just. You just fucking, you walked through the wall, man. In front of me.”
Jimin stares at him blankly, before chuckling, one small hand covering his mouth, his head thrown back. Jeongguk feels him tense under his grip regardless.
“Dude, were you high or something?”
“No, stop it.”
“Deflecting. Changing the subject. I was perfectly fine then, better than I am today. And I know I couldn’t have made it down that fall a while ago. You did something. I was-I was, I don’t know, I was like, flying or some shit. What did you do?”
Jeongguk watches the range of emotions on Jimin’s face. This time, he doesn’t seem to be hiding anything while he thinks, brows pinching together and lips pushing into a subtle pout.
Then he sighs, shoulders slacking. “What’s your name?”
“Jeon Jeongguk,” he replies, mimicking Jimin earlier, “second year fine arts major.”
“Well then, Jeon Jeongguk, second year fine arts major,” Jimin moves from his squatting position to sitting on the ground next to Jeongguk, “you told me you didn’t see anything the other day. Why did you lie?”
“What am I supposed to do? Tell the truth? Do you know how crazy that sounds? People walking through walls like ghosts, floating in the air, are you a ghost?”
At that, Jimin throws his entire body into laughter, the sound of it tinkling. Jeongguk finds the corners of his mouth turning up too. It’s infectious. And endearing. He should be more worried that Jimin might in fact be a ghost, but here he is.
“No, Jeongguk-ssi, I am not a ghost.” Jimin smiles at him, then purses his lips in thought, “what should I do, Yoongi hyung?”
“It’s up to you, Jimin-ah,” comes a voice from behind Jimin. Attached to it is a cat, its fur black as midnight, eyes a piercing green, and it’s talking.
“The fuck-what the fuck!!” He finally relinquishes his hold on Jimin’s arm, flinching away and falling back onto his palms.
“You were careless,” the feline continues, unfazed, “twice.”
“I couldn’t have let him fall to his death!” Jimin brings his knees up to lean his chin on, arms wrapping around them. “He doesn't deserve that. He’s young and he's really cute.”
Yoongi yawns, back stretching into an elegant curve with his claws out, then turns to pin Jeongguk with a cold look.
Jeongguk looks away, coughing awkwardly, “I'm right here.”
“Jeongguk-ssi,” Jimin addresses him finally, “you seem like a nice guy, like you won't run for the hills. You're still here, so I guess that counts for something.”
Jimin studies him a bit more and reluctantly, Jeongguk feels the crawl of heat up his neck. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe he really is knocked out at the foot of the stairs, having a fever dream, and he's gonna fail his graded essay.
“I'm a witch.”
He's definitely bleeding out from his cracked skull, because did this stranger really just say what he thinks he said?
Jimin nods his head. “Yoongi-hyung is my familiar.”
“Like a pointy hat wearing, cauldron stirring, broom flying, black cat owning witch.”
“Those are very specific stereotypes, you watch too much Harry Potter. And Yoongi hyung just so happens to be a black cat, it's easiest to blend in,” Jimin frowns, even though he's clearly amused.
“Okay? You're not even gonna fight it, kid?” The cat seems to be smiling at him. How do cats smile? Jeongguk shudders slightly.
“The alternative is that I'm crazy,” he deadpans drily, “and I'm not.”
There it is again, Jimin giggling.
“So are you gonna tell me what you did back there?” He juts his chin out in the direction of the stairs as they both get to their feet.
“Oh right, yeah,” Jimin stretches, arms reaching up above his head and spine curving, almost just like Yoongi before, a cat, “you were correct. It was a levitation spell. I saw you practically falling asleep on your feet and got so shocked when you were heading straight for the stairs. I'm still right, you know. You need water, not caffeine, and solid hours of sleep.”
Jeongguk feels his cheeks heat up in embarrassment, looking down and chewing on his bottom lip. How lame can he get.
“Thanks, for saving my ass,” he mumbles, bowing lower for good measure.
“You're so cute,” Jimin says, pushing at his shoulder to get him to stand upright, “what kind of coincidence is it that we met again, huh?”
Off to the side, Yoongi has curled up under the shade of a tree, watching them lazily.
It is a grand coincidence. Jeongguk shrugs away the feeling.
“I have a friend who would say that it's ‘fate’,” Jeongguk grins at the air quotes Jimin forms with his small hands, “but only because he's really into divination arts. And a helpless romantic.”
“Say what now?”
Jimin waves him off. “Were you headed somewhere? You seemed like you were rushing.”
“Oh shit,” Jeongguk grabs at his messenger bag, checking the time on his sadly cracked phone screen, “shit I gotta go hand this in. Uhm,” he looks up to see Jimin tapping at his own phone. Suddenly he's hit with this strange feeling in his chest.
He's so curious. How could he not be?
“Jimin-ssi, I wanna thank you for you know, saving me,” he rubs the back of his neck awkwardly. He's really not the best at this. That's why he only ever gets any when Taehyung is his wing man. “Maybe I could buy you dinner or coffee?”
“Oh you don't really have to, it's fine, you'd have done the same for me.”
Jeongguk gives him a dead inside look. Yoongi laughs.
“Ah, okay,” Jeongguk watches in fascination as Jimin’s cheeks turn pink, “here, call your phone with mine. Text me a time and place later.”
The chorus of some Justin Bieber pop song rings from Jeongguk’s phone and he steadfastly avoids eye contact with Jimin, who doesn't even try hiding his giggles.
“I like his music too,” Jimin provides sweetly, to save Jeongguk’s embarrassing ass. He turns around towards the stairs and waves back, “see you around, Jeongguk-ssi!”
Unknowingly, Jeongguk raises his hand to respond, smiling awkwardly. He manages to hand in his paper on time, huffing and puffing while he drops it into the pigeon hole to get stamped with a time. He spends the entire night after that musing about this new acquaintance.
A witch. A really cute one too. How about that.
“So,” Jimin starts, once both of their coffees have arrived, “you look like you have ulterior motives for this coffee date.”
Jeongguk chokes a little on his americano, thankfully nothing leaves his mouth. They're tucked in a warm corner of a cafe outside of campus, to avoid the masses of students who treat the campus cafe like a second home. After fighting a little bit at the counter, Jeongguk successfully manages to pay for Jimin’s coffee. He orders a slice of cake too, when Jimin isn't looking. Jimin seems to him like someone with a sweet tooth.
“No ulterior motives, just wanted to thank you for the other day,” Jeongguk mutters, avoiding eye contact.
“Mhm,” Jimin hums, stirring his iced mocha languidly, “Jeonggukie, you look like you're about to burst with questions, no offence.”
Jeongguk huffs. While texting throughout the past week, Jimin has moved on from polite speech to familiar, but still demanding that Jeongguk call him hyung.
“Ggukie, just ask your questions!”
“Okay,” Jeongguk took a deep breath. It's now or never, and he's been thinking about it nonstop since he last saw Jimin. “What were you doing that day in the back of the library? Did you really go through a wall?” It sounds so stupid out in the open, Jeongguk mentally smacks himself.
Jimin’s first reaction is to finally burst out laughing as if he's been holding it in for hours. Jeongguk pushes his tongue into his cheek, but is unable to stay annoyed. It seems that Jimin has that effect on him.
“That must've really spooked you. I'm sorry. I was leaving class.”
“Through the wall?”
“Yeah. In Harry Potter they run into a wall at the station, remember? It's sort of the same. The wall at the back of the library is enchanted. Only students and teachers taking that class can see the entrance. So, to you normal folk, it's a solid wall.”
“Entrance to what?”
Jimin hums, sipping at his drink. Jeongguk notices how his hands look kinda small wrapped around his mug. Jimin is by no means a petite person in stature, but compared to Jeongguk’s own broader frame, he's small. And cute when he's wearing huge, long sleeved shirts.
“Something like, witchcraft 101?” Jimin says after a while, “students like me are mandated to take these courses to adapt and apply our skills based on our majors. So for example, how I can adapt my knowledge in developing new drugs. Eventually anyways.”
“You're gonna use magic in making medicine.”
“That's the idea, yes. People have been doing it for ages, Jeonggukie!” Jimin giggles at the look on Jeongguk’s face just then at his revelation. “Just because you don't see us, doesn't mean we’re not living life just like you. You and me, we don't look that much different.”
“You're definitely shorter, hyung,” Jeongguk blurts, delighted when Jimin reaches over to shove at his chest.
“Shut up, you brat.”
“I'm assuming that you keep everything hush-hush? Like I can't tell anyone about what you are?”
“You can tell whoever you want, Jeonggukie,” Jimin says, “whether they’ll believe you is another thing. Besides, we have methods to deal with accidental discoveries.”
“You mean like, like what happened with me?”
“Mm,” Jimin avoids eye contact here, pursing his lips, “yeah. Yoongi hyung is helping me prepare a spell right now actually, in case one day you decide it was a mistake to have met me.” He follows up with light laughter, but Jeongguk can tell he's not joking around.
The frown that pinches at Jeongguk’s brow is ferocious, his lips twisting. “I will never regret meeting you, hyung.”
Jimin meets his gaze wide eyed, lips a little ‘o’.
“Magic or not,” Jeongguk continues, trying his damnest to fight the blush climbing up his cheeks.
Jimin becomes a fixture in Jeongguk’s life. Since finding out the truth behind the ‘no entry’ sign, he's taken to watching the people who come and go in that hallway. Every time a student or staff would disappear into it, he’d wonder.
Beyond those walls, there is a whole community. Witches doing...witchy things. Making potions, polishing their wands? Do they race on broomsticks?
Jimin almost topples over laughing at that, clutching at his sides, out of breath.
“Jeonggukie,” he struggles to inhale, “Jeonggukie, no. Potions is a mandatory class, yes, but it's like the average science lab. Wands are more customary nowadays too. Mostly presented to teens as a coming of age gift.”
“How am I supposed to know that!”
“I'm sorry for laughing, but you're just so cute,” Jimin says, leaning his chin into one hand propped atop of the tech help desk. He's moved his studying over here to keep Jeongguk company.
“Can you show me?”
“You want to see my magic wand?”
Jimin smacks his hands over his mouth right after. But it's too late. One of Jeongguk’s co-workers has already shot them a disconcerting look. Jeongguk wants to die.
“I'm sorry, I'm sorry,” Jimin is still giggling behind his hands, “it’s really not that cool, but if you do want to see it, i keep it at where I work.”
Jeongguk perks up at that. This is new information. There's so much more he wants to know, and a good place to start is with Jimin’s life, “where do you work?”
A few blocks down from Jeongguk’s apartment is a quaint florist’s. It's stuck between two tall office buildings, a little sanctuary-esque setup. How Jeongguk has never noticed it is astounding. He almost always uses this street to head into town.
“It’s enchanted,” Jimin explains as they duck into the store front. He reaches up to point out these symbols, brushed onto slips of paper and tied together with sprigs of dried herbs, stuck to the corners of the walls, one right above the front door. “These are talismans that cast a field around the shop, to turn away normal folk who have no need to come in. So unless someone is really in need, they'd just pass us by as if we don't exist.”
Jeongguk is half listening, half looking around in wonder. The inside of the store is filled with sunlight, a large part of the walls being mostly glass. Everywhere he turns he sees potted plants, greens and bursts of colorful flowers, most of which he cannot name. The air is a mixture of scents, some floral and some earthy, an underlying fresh dewy fragrance.
“You're only seeing and entering it now because I invited you and hence you need to be here,” Jimin moves towards a counter and drops his things under it, “welcome to Jin’s apothecary and florists!”
“Jimin is that you?”
A tall, broad shouldered man ducks out from a back room, his hair a soft pink, eyes round, thick lips and just about the most attractive person Jeongguk has ever seen. And Jeongguk lives with Kim Taehyung, face connoisseur.
“Do we have a customer?”
“No, hyung, this is Jeongguk, the guy I told you about who almost fell to his death,” Jimin smiles, “Jeongguk, this is Seokjin hyung, he owns this store.”
“So he's a…” Jeongguk trails off, looking between Seokjin and Jimin.
“A witch? Yeah, he is.”
Seokjin comes closer and Jeongguk feels the need to square his own shoulders. This level of beauty always makes him nervous.
“Jin hyung provides the local community with the plants and herbs used in everyday magic,” Jimin says while watching Seokjin eye Jeongguk from head to toe.
“He's a lot cuter than you mentioned, Jiminie,” Seokjin comments while he shakes Jeongguk's hand firmly, “a lot cuter.”
“Jin hyung, please stop.”
“Any friend of Jiminnie’s is a friend of mine,” he hasn't let go of Jeongguk’s hand, instead clasping onto it with both of his own, “now, Jeongguk ssi, let me read your fortune.”
“Hyung! You're freaking him out,” Jimin goes to pull Jeongguk’s hand free, clutching it safely behind him, acting as a shield, “come on, let’s go.”
He tugs on Jeongguk’s hand, leading him into the back room where Seokjin had emerged from before. Jeongguk is surprised to see that there is a significant work space in place of what he’d imagined was a dingy closet of sorts. A long bench sits in the middle of the room, above it hangs a wooden shelf from the ceiling, held up by thick chains, housing rows of jars, potted plants and dried alike. On the bench there are several mortars, some look like it’s mid work in progress.
Jeongguk tries to take it in, the clash between something old and magical like the smell, spicy and sweet in the air, and the mundane, like the laptop placed right next to a pot of bright blue flowers, where he assumed Seokjin had been sitting prior, opened to someone’s Instagram page full of cat photos.
“Here's my wand,” Jimin’s voice brings him out of his musings. In his hand is a simple wooden stick, like those teaching tools in highschool, the surface of it smooth and a dark mahogany color. “Every witch is given one when you turn fifteen, the age of maturity. The material varies, and are often reminiscent of your roots.”
“Where are you from, hyung?”
“I'm from Busan,” Jimin replies, a fondness in his tone, “mine is made from oak taken from the forests near my ancestors’ first settlement, sprinkled with sand and sea salt from the ocean, mimicking moondust.”
“That sounds pretty, I don't know what it means, but it does,” Jeongguk rubs at the back of his neck. Somehow all of this feels strangely intimate to him.
“Thank you, Jeonggukie,” Jimin smiles, putting his wand away, “we don't use our wands much anymore. Traditionally, they were used in just about anything. Today, an incantation works fine.”
“Jimin hyung,” Jimin hums, looking up at him, “thanks for showing me all this. You didn't have to, like you said, you could've just dealt with me, accidental discovery style.”
Jimin watches him quietly.
“Thanks. Your world is amazing, so magical, I'm really happy,” Jeongguk turns to meet Jimin’s gaze, and is stunned into momentary silence. Jimin is standing there across from him, smiling until his eyes are crescents, cheeks dusted pink and teeth on show, “r-really happy to, be part of your world.”
His traitorous heart starts racing. Jeon Jeongguk really thought he'd figured out the whole life thing, but at 22 years old, he's thinking he's bitten off more than he could chew.
Befriending Jimin automatically leads Jeongguk to widening his own circle of magical folk acquaintances. Since that first time, he's been back to hang out at Jin’s shop multiple times, always tagging along behind Jimin.
“Unless you're with me, or with Jin hyung, you probably will never be able to step in here.” Jimin tells him one day while he’s just sitting around, watching Jimin flit about the store watering plants and trimming weeds.
He had his doubts, but true to his word, every other time he set out to head to Jin’s store on his own, he never makes it. Somehow he'd always detour or change his mind once he's close enough.
Seokjin has immediately warmed up to him, and more than once, has tried to get Jeongguk alone to read his fortune. Every time, he's saved by Jimin, who pulls him away and shoots Seokjin a squinty eyed glare.
“Hyung, why won't you just let him do it, I don't mind,” Jeongguk asks one afternoon, while watching Jimin mix a stack of leaves and twigs, tying them together with thin string.
Jimin twists his lips, thinking about how to answer Jeongguk’s query. “It's unorthodox,” he finally says, and at Jeongguk’s increasingly skeptical look, he continues, “don't get me wrong, Jin hyung is obsessed with that sort of magic, and he's maybe the best at divination arts I know, but that's the thing. He could be right about a lot, and I just don't think, you know, I don't think people should have to know about certain things beforehand. When the time is right, you'll know them.”
At this point, Jeongguk’s brows are way high in his fringe.
“You're scared of knowing your future?”
“I'm worried, about you obsessing over things you may not be able to control,” Jimin retorts, putting away the little stacks of herbs into a sheet of brown wrapping paper.
Jeongguk snorts, “like what? Failing a paper this semester?”
“Jeonggukie,” Jimin purses his lips into a line, “it's up to you whether you want to let Jin hyung do that for you, but I've given you fair warning.”
Jeongguk watches him work silently for a few moments. Spring has transitioned into early summer, and recently Jeongguk has been struggling a bit with his study load. He's juggling between classes and tutorials, time at the studio to work on exam pieces for a mini exhibition, his job and studying for a written paper. It's wearing him down.
“Here,” Jeongguk looks up to see Jimin with his hand outstretched. Within his palm sits a little pouch, the one he was working on just moments ago.
“What is it?” He takes it and examines it. It's small, an innocuous maroon color, the opening tied together with the same thin string.
“A lucky charm,” Jimin says with a small smile, “cinchona, daisy, and white heather. For good luck and protection. You look like you could use some.”
“You made this, for me?”
“Yeah,” and Jimin wouldn't even look at him. Jeogguk’s heart is beating so loudly.
“Thank you, Jiminie hyung,” he closes his hand around the charm, looking down to hide the smile tugging at his lips.
Jeongguk aces his exams.
To celebrate, Seokjin proposes they all go out for barbecue and drinks. Jeongguk is surprised to say the least, but grateful.
He's taken to a hole in the wall bbq restaurant that Seokjin swears by, plate piled with meat and glass never empty.
A man around Jimin’s height makes an appearance half an hour after they've started cooking the meat, sliding into the booth next to Seokjin. He has triangle shaped eyes and pitch black hair, something very familiar clawing at the back of Jeongguk’s memory.
“Why are you so late, Yoongi,” Seokjin reprimands, flipping the meat expertly while shooting him a stern look.
“Jimin’s pet cat?”
Jimin almost knocks over the soju bottle in his haste to whip around at Jeongguk, mouth agape. “Hyung’s not-”
“I'm his familiar, kid,” Yoongi drawls, completely relaxed into his seat, “not anyone’s pet.” He turns to acknowledge Seokjin, “and I'm late because I know you’d have the meat already cooked around now.”
Once again, Jeongguk feels the flush around his neck and ears, but startles when Jimin pats his thigh comfortingly.
“Yoongi hyung is nice, don't worry about it, Gguk.”
“Yeah,” Yoongi cuts in, his glass of soju poised at his lips, “I'm nice.”
As the night progresses so does the bottles of alcohol. Jeongguk eases up to Yoongi, laughs at Seokjin’s absurd dad jokes, and basks in the warmth of Jimin at his side. It's nice. It’s been nearly four months since he’s been introduced to Jimin’s world, since he’s met Jimin.
Two whole months since Jeongguk’s mind has been playing games with him, every time he’s at the receiving end of Jimin’s smile, his fleeting touches, his thoughtful reminders.
“Jeonggukie,” Jimin says once the bill has been paid and they're stepping out into the hot summer night, “come for a walk with me?”
“Sure,” he's agreed before he can give it any more thought, and is rewarded with Jimin's smile, his face flushed red from the alcohol, a little wobbly on his feet.
They bid goodnight to the others, and start towards the direction of the Han river. The whole way, Jimin wouldn't stop talking, telling him about his coursework, the annoying TA, some standout customers at the florist’s the past week, his parents and his brother back in Busan.
Once they're properly seated on a bench overlooking the river, Jimin calms down, going into a little quiet stupor that has Jeongguk almost worried.
“I miss them.”
Jeongguk waits patiently, fiddling with his hands.
“I come from a long line of witches hailing from the oceans of Busan. We’re seaside witches, and draw power from the waves, the magic of mother moon.”
The silence wears on. Jeongguk’s not sure how to respond. Sure he misses home too, but he's almost certain it's not in the same way Jimin misses his. “Do you think about moving home, hyung?”
Jimin chuckles, it sounds airy but also loaded.
“Seoul is so alive, don't you feel? Tall buildings filled with people, rushing and rushing. But sometimes I miss the calm of the sea. My family home is by the ocean, sort of secluded, away from the city. During summer nights in my youth, my brother and I would be out there, digging our feet in the wet sand, feeling the tide pull us in, the gentle lull of the waves.”
He tilts his head skywards, Jeongguk follows his gaze. The sky is cloudy, too bright, only a glimmer of stars and a peek of the moon.
“It's a full moon tonight.”
Jeongguk turns back towards Jimin to find that his eyes are closed. Under the artificial polluted lights of the big city, Jimin looks beautiful, ethereal.
“I left home to achieve my dreams. I have no regrets,” Jimin turns to meet Jeongguk’s gaze then, “your Busan accent makes me feel a little bit better too.”
“Ah,” Jeongguk ducks his head, “is it that obvious?”
Jimin laughs, full bodied and delightful, crumpling into Jeongguk’s side.
And Jeongguk, watching Jimin settle down with a fond smile, he feels the gut wrenching sensation of falling, deeper and deeper still.
“You like him.”
Jeongguk’s response is a groan, face first into his pillow.
“Oh my god, you do! Jeon Jeongguk who has done nothing but one night stands and casual flings! Who thinks romance is dead!”
“Shut up, Tae.”
Jeongguk had returned from that night out with Jimin in a certain mood. His roommate had been busy cramming for his own exams to join in, but Jeongguk was secretly glad. They’d have needed to hide the whole magic folk thing, and Jeongguk isn't sure if the night would’ve been successful. Plus Taehyung has a really big mouth.
But here he is, books shoved aside in favour of prodding Jeongguk about his feelings. Taehyung is a romantic, who believes in the grandeur of falling in love everlasting.
So far, Jeongguk has been able to keep Jimin’s witch status out of any conversations with Taehyung. What came out of his retelling of the evening sounded extremely concise.
“Dude, level with me, you went out for food and drinks, then break off from the large group and went on a date by the river, then talk about your feelings? You better ask this guy out soon.”
“I can't do that,” Jeongguk’s voice is muffled. It's getting harder to breathe. “I don't even know if he's into guys,” that’s a lie. Jeongguk already knows this. But he’s not going to let Taehyung have any advantage in this argument. “Or have a significant other, o-or even likes me, at all.”
“And you will never know, Gguk, unless you man the fuck up!”
Man up. Man the fuck up.
He falls asleep that night and dreams. Always good dreams, ever since Jimin had given him another tiny pouch, filled with lavender and morning glory seeds, placed under his pillow.
“A dreamcatcher, for preventing the nightmares,” Jimin had told him, “for only the sweetest dreams. Sleep well, Jeonggukie.”
“I hate it when he does that. Always scaring off potential dates.”
Jeongguk had been busy trying to beat his own high score on candy crush all afternoon. It’s a slow day at his work. Summer holidays mean very few students are willing to leave the comfort of their homes to trek to the library.
“Yeah. Mind you, Jeon Jeonggukie, I happen to get a lot of people pining for my affections.”
I know, Jeongguk thinks regretfully, I'm one of those foolish people.
“But Joonie hyung always shows up, with his tattooed skin and warding spells, and freaking everyone out before I even give them a chance.”
Jeongguk really wants to ask. But asking questions has been all that he's doing since he met Jimin. He remembers seeing this ‘Joonie hyung’ though, that one time he met Jimin at the gates when he was leaving the library. A tall guy, tan, with ink running up all the way from the collar of his smart casual shirt to under his chin. Jeongguk was scared, he's not gonna lie, but he's not about to tell Jimin that either. It went beyond his appearance. The guy exuded this. Aura. It made Jeongguk’s instincts scream at him to keep his distance.
“What is he, your guardian?” Jeongguk laughs, and expects Jimin to chime in, but it doesn't come.
“Sort of,” Jimin says, typing another reply onto his kakaotalk chat, from what Jeongguk can discern looking at his phone at an angle, “he's been looking out for me since I moved to Seoul. Our families are close.”
He sends a couple more replies in silence while Jeongguk packs up his things. His shift was done for the day. He was already thinking of either asking Jimin out for bingsu or just finding out where Taehyung is for the rest of the day.
“Hey, you wanna come meet hyung?”
Jimin is looking at him, head slightly tilted, eyes questioning. Meet ‘Joonie hyung’? Jeongguk gulps. He’s not really sure.
“I don’t know,” he says, scratching at the base of his neck, “I don’t want to butt in if you guys are hanging out or anything.”
Frankly, he can’t shake off the feeling of this hyung’s aura. It made his skin crawl.
“It’ll be fine,” Jimin chuckles, a playful, knowing smile on his lips, “come on, I’ll make sure he plays nice.”
Jeongguk groans, shifting the weight of his backpack around on his shoulders. He fidgets until Jimin cracks, laughing at his plight.
“You'll be okay, Jeonggukie! It isn't like you want to date me.”
Jeongguk clams up. He turns abruptly towards Jimin, and then quickly in the other direction.
“Uh, yeah.” Luckily for him, Jimin is already heading towards the library’s automatic doors, calling back at him to hurry up.
True to his word, Namjoon isn’t as scary once in close proximity. The little tattoo studio he owns is unlike Seokjin’s shop. This one is open to normal folk like Jeongguk himself, tucked away inside the corner of a shopping mall. It’s cosy, and clean. There are Ryan plush toys littered on the couch in the waiting area.
Namjoon himself is a bit of a tall, friendly giant. He pulls Jimin into a tight hug once they meet and then goes about introducing himself to Jeongguk. Try as he might, Jeongguk still feels a lingering crawl under his skin, which vanishes when he reaches out to grip Namjoon’s hand in a firm handshake.
“Feeling better, kid?” Namjoon chuckles, definitely noticing the relaxed slacking in Jeongguk’s shoulders at that moment, “I’m sorry, I specialise in this kind of magic.” He waves a hand around in the air, “in ink. I have a couple of them on myself that is sort of like a stranger danger charm, just to put some people on edge before I get to fully meet them.”
“It’s very inconvenient, hyung,” Jimin pouts next to them, “I can’t even get Hoseok hyung to come out with me because of that one time we bumped into you in the streets. He’s so spooked.”
“I’m sorry, really! Bring him around next time so we can clear the air.”
Jeongguk is dying to ask who Hoseok is. But he bites his tongue, swallowing back the question and instead blurts out, “you’re like a, tattoo witch?”
“Yeah,” Namjoon says, laughing a little, “really, I’m just a tattoo artist. It’s my job.”
“Joonie hyung doesn’t really do the whole witch in everyday life thing,” Jimin says, “it’s sort of a niche market for magic folk to come to him asking for spells to be inked permanently onto themselves.”
As he’s speaking, he’s pulling up the bottom of his shirt, revealing to Jeongguk more skin than he’s ever seen from Jimin and he’s trying keep his jaw from unhinging at the sight. Jimin is toned, golden skin smooth up his torso, his nipple pebbled in the cold air conditioned room. There, along his right ribs, is a strip of ink. A swirl of peonies, petals bleeding into each other, a phrase of unintelligible words written underneath.
Jimin has a tattoo. Jeongguk struggles with the urge to run his fingers across it.
“Hyung did this for me when I first came to Seoul. It hurt like a bitch.”
“Magic is magic, but the needle is inevitable,” Namjoon holds out both hands defensively.
“What does it say?”
“It’s an incantation,” Jimin replies, rolling his shirt back down, “a protection spell. A good luck charm.”
Jeongguk nods along dumbly, still trying to move on from seeing Jimin’s torso. His mouth is dry, a rapid thirst overcoming him. “Does it work?”
“Well,” Jimin looks away momentarily before turning his gaze back on Jeongguk, from underneath the splay of his lashes, “I met you, and I consider that pretty good luck.”
“A-and Jin hyung, and Hoseok hyung!”
Namjoon is looking between the two of them, an amused smile forming on his lips. “Wow.”
Jeongguk doesn’t hear it, nor does he hear Jimin’s furious protests, his tiny hands smacking against Namjoon’s exposed arms.
“I'm done with you, hyung,” Jimin complains, huffing exaggeratedly while typing at his phone, “I'm going to Jin hyung’s now, he says hi by the way.”
Jeongguk watches him stomp away in mock anger, mouth still hanging open, when Namjoon clears his throat.
“You seem like a good kid,” he says, an air of wisdom taking to his tone, “so I'll only say this once, and I'll say it now. Jimin is like blood to me, and there is no stronger bond in our world than blood.”
“You've literally just met me, and you’re threatening me already,” Jeongguk shrugs. How could Namjoon speak to him like he sees right through Jeongguk’s flimsy facade, like he knows all of Jeongguk’s nightly dreams and secret desires.
“Aside from being a witch, I'm very good at reading people, Jeongguk,” Namjoon smirks, watching as Jeongguk starts fidgeting, “I’m kidding, Jimin has told me a lot about you. It might take him a while to figure some things out, my advice here is that maybe you have to make the first move.”
“I literally don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jeongguk lies smoothly, shoving his hands into his jeans pocket, “Jimin hyung is just a really unique friend.”
Namjoon laughs, punching at Jeongguk’s chest lightly. “You’ll break his heart if he hears you say that.”
“There's an app for it, here, hold my stuff while I look.”
“There's an app? For spells?”
“Yeah. Look, it's a simple summoning circle, I'm sure I bookmarked it,” Jimin thumbs through his phone, and it looks exceedingly normal the way he's doing it, “ahah! Here it is. Summoning circle for lost items. Small to medium sized...within the last two weeks. What's the color of your hoodie?”
“Blue.” Jungkook blurts out, mesmerised by the way Jimin is clicking on drop down boxes and typing in simple keywords like hoodie and blue and XXL.
“Blue, here we go.” Jimin pulls up the circle on his phone, a semi intricate design woven in thin neat lines, and with his other hand, he waves across the top of his screen, muttering a few foreign words under his breath. Then his screen goes into a loading page, a cycling series of dots appearing in the centre.
The page loads. Jeongguk is still staring. It's a plain white page with generic black font.
“You left it at someone’s house, a...Kim Yugyeom?” He looks up, eyes wide, curious.
“Yugyeomie’s?” Jeongguk tilts his head, chewing on one side of his bottom lip, thinking. Ah. Last Tuesday. He dropped by Yugyeom’s apartment for some impromptu gaming party with his housemates.
“A friend of yours?”
“Yeah, he’s a good friend from dance. I went over to his place to hang out last week. Must’ve left it there. I’ll swing by and grab it later. Thanks, Jimin hyung. Magic technology.”
“You’re welcome,” Jeongguk watches as Jimin’s lips push into a pout. He probably doesn’t even know he’s doing it.
It’s cute. He’s so cute.
“Jimin hyung, do you wanna go to a movie tomorrow?”
Both Jimin and himself are surprised at the outburst, but it’s too late. The question is out there and Jeongguk feels his palms start to sweat, trying his hardest not to wipe them on his jeans.
“I mean, like, go watch the new spiderman movie, if you want-”
“Yes,” Jimin cuts him off, causing Jeongguk to finally gather enough courage to look back at him, “I love spiderman.” Jimin’s cheeks are doing the thing, the thing where they flush pink really obviously and Jeongguk wants to coo at him.
“Me too,” Jeongguk says on an exhale, shocked to find that he’s out of breath.
They leave the movie in high spirits. Jeongguk wouldn’t stop talking about it, all the way while Jimin insisted on walking him back to his apartment. Jimin chimes in periodically, but for the past ten minutes, Jeongguk finds it harder and harder to focus on anything other than the strange vibe radiating from Jimin by his side.
Finally, they reach Jeongguk’s building. Jeongguk was never very good at this part, swiping under his nose and shuffling awkwardly.
He hears Taehyung in the back of his head. Man the fuck up.
And he’s just about to do none of that, ready to bid Jimin a good night and be on his way when Jimin places both his hands on Jeongguk’s shoulders, tilting his chin up and kisses him.
After a moment of electrifying shock, Jeongguk kisses back, surging forward fervently, moving his lips against Jimin’s, slowly dragging out these delightful, tiny sounds from him. It’s good, better than all of his fantasies and idle musings, Jimin’s lips are plush, his skin feverish and his kisses sweet. A little gasp grants Jeongguk entrance, licking into Jimin’s mouth and pressing their tongues together, quickly turning their kisses dirty. His hands move from their previous position holding around Jimin's ribs, down to feel out the circumference of his small waist, and in a surge of courage, lower still, slipping both hands into Jimin’s back pockets.
It's exhilarating, finally kissing Jimin, hungrily swallowing the increasingly desperate sounds from Jimin's lips. Jeongguk wants to kiss him for a long, long time.
But Jimin jerks backwards suddenly, as if he’d been burnt. One hand comes up to cover his mouth, almost as if wiping the kiss away and Jeongguk has never been so confused. He searches Jimin’s eyes, panic filling his lungs, afraid of what he might find there - disgust, anger, regret, but Jimin turns away quickly, leaving him standing at the entrance of his building with a hushed, “sorry.”
Sorry. He thinks it was a mistake. Jeongguk’s gut churns and his vision blurs.
That night, Jeongguk dreams of the ocean, looming but calm, with the moon high in the pitch black night.
There are no nightmares. Instead, it leaves him with a heavy emptiness.
Jimin is avoiding him. It drives Jeongguk nearly out of his mind how many times he catches himself thinking about Jimin. The sound of his tinkling laughter, his playful pout, his gentle magic. Jeongguk clutches the little pouch of flowers that Jimin had given him, the first ever one. Jimin had told him that the charms were temporary, unlike the ink in his skin. Even so, Jeongguk holds onto it, hoping that it would help calm his frantic heart.
He couldn’t figure out what he had done wrong. But if Jeon Jeongguk was anything, he was not a quitter. The only place that he would meet Jimin was in the library, when Jimin came to visit during his shifts, and then they would hang out at Seokjin’s shop. None of their classes coincided, and he simply knew that Jimin was working some sort of magic to make sure they he never catches him outside of classes.
It was quickly wearing him out. Every attempt he had made to approach the enchanted shopfront has failed. Jeongguk had tried for an entire week, always finding himself back at home, at a park, an arcade, anywhere instead of inside Seokjin’s quaint little store, with the scent of dew and dried herbs and fresh petals and Jimin, fuck, hyung why are you running from me.
Jeongguk wipes furiously at his eyes, dabs away the frustrated tears on the sleeve of his shirt. Once his vision clears, he finds himself facing the familiar welcome sign on Seokjin’s glass door.
He takes a long, shuddering breath, pushing open the door and stepping inside.
Seokjin looks up from arranging a bouquet of flowers, as surprised as Jeongguk felt.
“Jeonggukie,” he straightens up, putting down the clippers in his hand, “you're here.”
He must've seen how red rimmed Jeongguk’s eyes were, or how his big nose is crimson and runny, walking over to pull him swiftly into a hug.
“Is he here, hyung?” Jeongguk mumbles against Seokjin’s neck, basking in the comfort he always felt radiating from the subtle magic Seokjin wears in his scent, lily of the valley and fig.
“No, he's not working today,” Seokjin hushes him, but doesn’t give away much more. Jeongguk knows that Seokjin isn’t the type to snitch, but he’s also certain that Jimin spent most of his time, working or not, at Seokjin’s shop.
“You want to tell me what’s up?”
Seokjin sits him down in the back room, fingers wrapped around cups of earl grey. The question is loaded. He obviously already knows what’s up. Seokjin is baiting him to speak his side of the story.
So Jeongguk tells him. About asking Jimin out, about the movie date, about Jimin kissing him. Retelling the events made him even more puzzled, in his mind, breaking down Jimin’s actions and expressions frame by frame that night.
Jimin had seemed so happy. All the signs pointed to Jimin reciprocating his affections. Jimin was always the braver one, taking the step Jeongguk didn’t dare to himself and kissed him. He’d been overjoyed, ecstatic.
“Hyung, what did Jimin hyung tell you,” Jeongguk asks, chewing on his bottom lip. It’s a nervous tick that Jimin had once tried to tell him to quit.
Seokjin stares at him quietly, fingers drumming on the wooden surface of their bench. He seems to make a decision once the rhythmic knocking stops.
“Jeonggukie, how about I read your fortune now?” He perks up with a light, disarming smile.
Jeongguk shrugs. He recalls Jimin’s warning against fortune telling all those months ago, but right now, if there was anything Seokjin could tell him from his fortune, he would take it.
“Good, go on and finish your tea,” Jeongguk does so obediently, “hand me your cup.” He takes Jeongguk’s cup and swirls the remaining liquid at the bottom quickly, before tipping the cup over the saucer. A few seconds later, he tips the cup back upright and starts reading.
The whole process is lost to Jeongguk. He has questions, as usual, but isn’t feeling up to asking them. Quietly, he waits for Seokjin to do his thing.
“Hmm,” periodically, Seokjin would look up at Jeongguk, meeting his eyes before flitting back to the leaves clumped together like dark islands around the surface of the cup. It makes Jeongguk a bit nervous. He slips his hands under his thighs to sit on them.
“You’re thinking about Jimin,” Seokjin concludes finally, twisting the delicate china in his hands clockwise and anticlockwise a few more times, “and I’m thinking about Jimin, so this reading is probably about Jimin.”
Hearing that only causes Jeongguk’s heart to stutter, anxious but also excited.
“You were able to come in here today,” he starts off, “that’s because you really needed something here. Be it to see Jimin, or to seek help, but here we are. Jeonggukie, your meeting with Jimin was coincidence, and coincidences do repeat, as Jimin chooses to believe. But in my art, it’s a little bit closer to what we would call ‘fate’.”
He pauses to peer down at the cup again, “in your immediate future, regarding matters of the heart, you have a choice. What you decide will directly impact the outcome. Do you want to know what that is?”
“Jin hyung, stop fucking with me,” Jeongguk almost whines, certain that Seokjin was playing up the mysterious tea leaves reading psychic role. He’s seen Seokjin do readings before, always off handed and light, always spot on. This is bullshit.
At that outburst, Seokjin laughs, lifting the heavy veil on the atmosphere. “I’m sorry, Ggukie, I thought it would help cheer up your mood,” he pushes the cup aside, resting his chin in one palm and studies Jeongguk’s face, “do you really like him, Jeongguk?”
“Yes,” the word forces itself out of Jeongguk’s mouth without his permission, shocking him, “I like him a lot. But I’m scared he thinks that the kiss was a mistake, that I was a mistake.” He continues to pour, lips forming words and pushing up his throat rapidly, “I’m so scared that he hates me now, that he never wants to see me again. He’s brought so much wonder, he makes me so happy just talking to him--god,” Jeongguk smacks both his hands over his mouth, eyes a bit wild when he meets Seokjin’s, “what the fuck is happening to me?”
Seokjin chuckles, seeming a bit apologetic despite himself. “I’m sorry, Jeonggukie. That was a blend of truth serum in the tea. It needed a little bit of time to settle in you before it worked. But I really did read your fortune, everything I said still stands.”
Jeongguk looks at him incredulously, hands still clamped around his mouth.
“It’s only good for one question,” Seokjin continues, “you’re okay now. I just really needed to know, before I tell you Jimin’s side of the story,” he ends sheepishly.
Jeongguk pulls his hands away, skeptical, but prods when he feels in complete control of himself, “tell me, hyung.”
Seokjin gave up the address to Jimin's apartment after that, making Jeongguk swear that he would make things right between them.
“Jiminnie really likes you,” Seokjin had started off, “has for a long time. Honestly, watching the two of you dance around each other was torture, even Yoongi agreed. It came to a point where Jimin was absolutely convinced you would never make the first move, and he started doubting all of the times you unconsciously flirted with him.”
“You’re just like him, both so stubborn and scared,” Seokjin cut him off mid-protest, “now here is your choice. A week ago, Jimin came to me for advice on brewing.”
Hibiscus, periwinkle, jasmine, all used for their similar qualities, Seokjin’s words echoes in his head as he waited, watching the subway signs pass by carefully. Love and lust. Jimin made himself a love potion.
It sounds so ridiculous, like something out of a crappy teen tv show. A love potion? Seokjin had told him that there were differing formulas for these sorts of magic, ranging from a simple boost in appeal or self confidence, to the darker sorcery of mind and body control. Generally, the practice is frowned upon today, and lawmaking has long since outright banned the use of magic that severely manipulates the heart.
Even so, Jimin had done it, had fed into his desire.
Jimin and Yoongi’s apartment sat on the fringe of a suburb, not too far from the station Jeongguk got off on. He raps his knuckles on the door, half expecting nobody to answer when the door swings open, revealing Jimin on the other side.
“Hyung.” Jeongguk stares, mouth agape. Jimin’s hair is a shocking shade of bubblegum pink, thick, full framed prescription glasses perched on his nose, and wearing what looks like it could only be a shirt he wears to sleep, stray thread pulling away at the edges.
He’s still the most beautiful creature Jeongguk has ever looked at.
“Shit,” Jimin squeaks, ducking quickly behind the door but not closing it, “Jeonggukkie? What are you doing here? How did you, how did you get here?”
It was almost comical the way Jeongguk’s eyes widened. He’d only caught a brief glimpse of Jimin but already, his gut is churning with the mixture of fear and excitement.
“Hyung, your hair, it’s pink,” Jeongguk says, a bit dumbly.
He hears Jimin groan, full of suffering. “I know it looks stupid. I was feeling shitty and did it on impulse. I should’ve just eaten twenty nuggets instead. Now Yoongi hyung won’t stop making fun of me.”
Before he realises it, Jeongguk is chuckling, a lightness filling his chest. He reaches one hand into the gap between the door and frame, holding the wood firmly.
“Hyung,” he pushes at the door gently, feeling the resistance. Jimin must be right behind it, leaning against the other side, “hyung, open up, let me see.”
“No!” Jimin yelps, pushing back against the door more forcefully, “go away Jeongguk, I don’t want to see you.”
“Really?” Jeongguk’s heartbeat is thundering in his ears, his grip on the door tightens, “because I really want to see you, hyung.”
“Liar,” he hears Jimin say under his breath. Jeongguk’s heart clenches. Jimin didn’t think he wanted to see him.
“Why do you think I’m lying? Because of the stupid love potion you doused on yourself?”
Momentarily, he feels Jimin stop pushing. Jeongguk waits, leaning his weight against the door frame. Suddenly, the door pulls back and Jeongguk nearly face plants straight into Jimin’s chest.
“Jin hyung told you,” Jimin finally says, after waiting for Jeongguk to stand back up, “how did you manage to enter his shop?” At the lack of response, he shoots Jeongguk a glare, hands flying up to grab at his glasses, “Jeon Jeongguk, don’t you dare laugh! I will make sure you regret ever being born.”
“You look good, Jimin hyung,” Jeongguk reaches to pull away Jimin’s hands, delighted to find how his hand almost completely engulfs Jimin’s, “I missed you.”
Jimin’s jaw snaps shut, eyes wide. He’s putting on a brave front, but Jeongguk can see how his irises are wavering. He’s scared.
“Fuck, being a witch and not being able to read minds or get the boy I like to like me back,” Jimin looks away, Jeongguk’s attention too overwhelming, “what’s the fucking use.”
“Jiminie hyung,” Jeongguk can’t help the smile pulling at his lips, “do you like me, hyung?”
Jimin tries to squirm out of Jeongguk’s grasp, to no avail.
“Because I like you, without the stupid potion, or the magic,” Jeongguk pulls Jimin in by his hands, both closer against his chest, “why didn’t you just tell me, hyung?”
Defeated, Jimin’s smaller frame sags, all the fight leaving his body.
“I wanted you so badly,” his voice is small, almost ashamed, “I wanted you so much, but I was too scared you would say no. So I did what I was good at. And then it worked because you asked me out the next day.” Jimin clenches his hands into fists, clutching and ruining the fabric of Jengguk’s shirt, “but that was just the magic. I felt disgusted at myself for doing that.”
“Jimin hyung,” Jimin looks up to meet his eyes, startled at how close their faces actually were. Jeongguk can’t seem to control his smile, his teeth on show, his nose scrunched up in the way Jimin loved to bop and make fun of.
“What are you smiling at?”
“I’m so happy,” he has to bite down on his bottom lip to tame the giddiness. Jeongguk felt relief flood through his veins, joy spreading from his chest outwards, all the way to his fingertips, tingling.
“Jin hyung read my fortune, you know, you told me to take control of my own fate, but he said the leaves told him something about you. And me,” Jeongguk pauses, letting go of Jimin’s hands instead to cup around his jaw, “he said I had to make a choice, whether or not to forgive you for using borderline taboo magic on me.”
Boldly, Jeongguk leans down, closes the few measly centimetres of space between them to fit their lips together, “and I choose you.”
Kissing Jimin again felt just like the first time, electrifying, wonderful, magic, like he’s being enchanted, put under a spell by seaside witches, with their secrets and their loyalty to the lunar deity. To Jeongguk, Jimin is the magic, no gimmick, no tricks.
Jimin pulls back, his hands now curled around Jeongguk’s wrists, grounding him, “don’t regret this,” he meets Jeongguk’s gaze from under his lashes, “don’t you dare.”
Jeongguk’s response is to kiss him again, and again, and again.
“I’ll never regret you.”