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bitchin’ witchin’

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I.

 

Breathing in the strong aroma of coffee, Yoongi knew that it was a bad idea to be drinking it right now. Of all of the things on the menu that he could have ordered: teas of countless flavours and brews, fruit and milk smoothies, or even just something plain like water, he had settled on coffee. He knew that it was a big mistake, but at this point, it seemed rather pointless to blame the caffeine for his insomnia.

 

If Yoongi was going to spend yet another night sleeping just three hours, or even not a single hour at all, then he might as well enjoy this caffè macchiato.

 

As he brought the cup to his lips to take a slight sip, Yoongi watched Taehyung crossing the café to get back to the counter. He had his serving tray in hand, which was now empty as he had placed his order down on his table for him: a massive bowl of bulgogi deopbap mixed with stir-fried vegetables and a plate of gyeran bbang that was surprisingly covered in sprinkles of bacon and had tomato and onions baked into the eggy bread.

 

Back up in Seoul, Yoongi had seen a great many different styles of gyeran bbang, but not one as colourful and unique as this. The dish had caught his eye on the menu, and he could only hope that he would be able to eat both servings of food as to not waste a single bite of the meal.

 

Yoongi had heard good things about the café from his mother, and so it had been the first place that he had visited upon arriving in the town just three days ago so that he had been able to sample some snacks whilst he had been working on his laptop for a couple of hours. He had avoided drinking the coffee at first, but tonight he had finally cracked and had decided to just go for it.

 

Yoongi had tried everything. He had cut down on caffeine for several weeks, had once cut it out for an entire week just for the sake of it - nothing. He had tried warm baths with candles and meditation whilst inhaling incense - nope. He had taken herbal medication that had been recommended from his doctor, only for it to work for a couple of days and then sadly stop feeling so effective shortly afterwards.

 

Nothing had defeated his insomnia so far, and he was beginning to think that nothing would. So fucking what if he wanted a coffee tonight?

 

As Yoongi swallowed the first sip of frothy foam and scalding hot coffee, he turned his head to look out of the window just beside him.

 

The street outside was almost empty in the late evening hour, shockingly so in comparison to the sight that he had gotten used to seeing up in Seoul. There was a bare flow of traffic that lazily rolled down the wide street every now and again, and hardly any pedestrians present even when the street was lit up from countless neon signs and shop windows. He had a feeling that most of the shops might just be takeaway food joints, which would explain the occasional delivery boy zooming past on a motorised scooter.

 

Right now, it was raining quite heavily, and the sound of the rain hitting against the window panes was a constant source of white noise within the café. Taehyung was playing soft jazz music over the speakers behind the counter, and there was something strangely soothing about the soft saxophones and the drumming beat of the rain blending together.

 

The neon signs cast a rainbow of colours across the rain-soaked paving flags that lined the sidewalks. The reds blended with the blues to make a hue of purples; the blues and yellows made vibrant greens; the yellows and reds made burning oranges - there didn’t seem to be a single colour not bleeding out against the wet concrete outside of the café.

 

Yoongi had considered snapping a photograph or three with his camera - his Nikon D850, just for the sake of it. The sight was pleasing, would look good on his website and Instagram and Twitter, even when it was nothing special. It was the kind of shot that people snapped on their phone cameras and posted online to show off their skills, but it was still a nice shot even if it wasn’t new or original.

 

But so far, Yoongi had delayed doing so because he had yet to find his focus, his reason for taking the shot. Maybe at some point over the course of the evening he would notice something outside worth focusing on? Whatever the case, his camera remained sitting on the table just beside his elbow, with the lens cap in place and the lanyard neatly folded up across the wood.

 

Yoongi let his breath out in a tired sigh, placing the cup down so that he could grab his spoon and tuck into the bulgogi deopbap at last. The marinated meat was tender on his tongue, mixing in with the soft rice which had soaked up the sauce to make it tangy and sticky. As he chewed the first huge mouthful, Yoongi found himself reflecting on what had happened over the last three days.

 

Since moving back down to Daegu, Yoongi had felt a rather strange sensation that he couldn’t quite seem to pin. After spending several years up in the capital, surrounded by packed skyscraper apartment blocks and constant commercial areas, it was rather unusual coming back to the region to see the much smaller buildings and empty streets. It was almost as if his eyes had been opened to something that had been right in front of him this entire time, and what he had realised was this.

 

His hometown was a ghost town - was a sleepy, boring and tiny place with nothing much to it at all that made it special or even interesting. It was the kind of place that people were glad to have gotten away from, and one that they would never return to unless they had to do so for the most urgent of matters.

 

As it so happened, Yoongi was assisting his mother with a rather difficult period of mourning the sudden death of his uncle. The man had been there for the two of them ever since he had been a child, brought up by his single mother surrounded by stigma and judgement. But he had passed from a shockingly fast-acting cancer that had been diagnosed far too late, and his death had struck his mother terribly hard.

 

That was why Yoongi had packed up his essential belongings into a small luggage trolley and he had travelled all of the way back down to Daegu to move into his family home once more. It was perfectly fine to do so with his job, he had no problems there, but the entire experience just felt so…final to him a way that he didn’t quite understand.

 

Yoongi felt like now that he had returned back home to Daegu, to his home district of Dalseong-gun, that he was never going to leave the region again. It was a silly thought, one brought about from his usual fractured thoughts as a result of his terrible sleep, but he couldn’t seem to budge it away.

 

It had been three days now, and Yoongi was still sleeping just one to three hours a night - black and empty sleep that never refreshed his mind or body at all. The move down to Daegu, down to the fresh country air that his mother had stressed would clear away his terrible insomnia, had yet to do so, and he had a feeling that it never would.

 

Fresh air, herbal teas and supplements, alcohol - nothing had yet to manage to budge his insomnia, and so Yoongi just knew that this entire process of helping his mother to sort out his uncle’s estate was going to be a strange, numb and unpleasant experience.

 

Hopefully, Yoongi wouldn’t start hallucinating and lapsing into micro sleeps in front of her. That was the last thing that his mother needed, as she would no doubt be worried about his health now that his uncle had passed with little warning.

 

Across the café, Yoongi saw that an elderly woman was in the act of leaving; having already paid and collected her belongings together, including her flat pumps from the shoe rack beside the door. She had brought an umbrella with her, which had been very smart considering the fact that it had started raining a short while ago. He hadn’t brought an umbrella, a jacket, or even had a hat to keep him dry from the sudden downpour, and so Yoongi could only hope that it stopped before he had to leave.

 

“Goodnight, Hyemi,” Taehyung called, lifting his hand to give the elderly woman a tinkling wave with his fingers. “Travel home safely, and get plenty of sleep now; you hear?”

 

“You too, son,” she called back with a fond and motherly smile, as she pushed the door open and then popped the umbrella up.

 

Then Hyemi stepped out of the café and out onto the almost empty street, and so Yoongi turned his attention back to the other man.

 

Taehyung was different to the boy that he had once been friends with, but not in a bad way. Yoongi’s recollections of Taehyung from his childhood were that of a child that had been far too hyperactive and mischievous for his own good. The kind that had knocked his teeth out by accident and had broken his wrists and fingers with startling ease just playing games.

 

But now, Taehyung was certainly more mature. Not only because of his obvious increase in age, but in the little things too. It was the way that he carried himself, his head and shoulders held high and his gaze focused rather than constantly shifting around without rest. He walked and talked like someone different, but the thing was that he probably wasn’t at all different deep down.

 

This Taehyung was still the same Taehyung that he had grown up with in school - it was him that had changed.

 

Several times, Yoongi had considered asking Taehyung out for coffee or something to eat, so that they could catch up again, and several times he had stopped himself from doing so. His reasons were rather silly, ranging from finding it rather stupid to ask someone that worked in a café all day if he wanted to go out for coffee after his shift was finished, to just never finding the right words to say to him.

 

Truthfully speaking, Yoongi didn’t want to admit the real truth to himself, and it was this. He just didn’t really care that much about what had happened in his absence from Daegu. He didn’t care about his old classmates and friends, about the gossip that he had missed out on and the kinds of characters that were around these days. He didn’t particularly care that much about Taehyung either, because the other man had been nothing more than a casual friend when they had both been children.

 

Rather than catch up with Taehyung after all of this time, it made more sense to just try and befriend him anew instead. Yoongi wasn’t at that level of new friendship to consider wanting to spend an evening in his company, but maybe once he had finally settled down again, he would find himself more willing to open up to him.

 

After all, Taehyung was one of the only people that he had had run-ins with in the town that he didn’t mind seeing again, not like the other kids from high school that he would very much like to avoid for the rest of his life. If Yoongi didn’t want to interact with the ghosts of his childhood years save for Taehyung, he had very little choice but to attempt to get to know him once more.

 

Yoongi spared a quick glance over at Taehyung as he cut into the gyeran bbang, the gooey egg yolk running out to soak into the bread. The younger man was in the act of cleaning up the counter, on account of the fact that he was going to close the place soon enough. He brought the mouthful of eggy bread, bacon and vegetables to his mouth, sampling his first bite. Somehow, the sweetness of the bread mixed into the salty egg and bacon to create a fantastic flavour combination on his tongue, and he hummed in satisfaction as he chewed the bite.

 

Well, one thing that Yoongi knew for certain - he had made a good choice coming here for food and coffee tonight.

 

Over the duration of his meal, Yoongi didn’t speak to Taehyung but rather just looked between the bowl and plate and the window beside him. He chased bites of food with sips of coffee, savouring the slightly bitter note underneath the creamy milk foam. Even if he would later regret ordering the caffè macchiato, at least he could enjoy it in the moment.

 

By the time that Taehyung approached him again, Yoongi was mopping up the gooey egg remains with the final chunk of bread and shoving it into his mouth. He felt content, warm and full of delicious food, but sadly he felt not even a hint of tiredness filling his system as he shifted to stretch on the floor cushion with a grunt.

 

“Anything else? Or just a refill?”

 

“No - wait…actually, y’know what? I’ll have an egg tart, please,” Yoongi replied, as he let Taehyung retrieve his cup. “I’ve been told that they’re real good here.”

 

“Oh? I hope to not disappoint you then,” Taehyung said with a quick smile, retrieving the plate to stack it on top of the empty bowl.

 

“Nah, ain’t gonna happen,” Yoongi remarked, returning the smile. “The bulgogi deopbap? Best I’ve ever had that my mama didn’t make, the restaurants up in Seoul couldn’t top that, Tae.”

 

“Ah, you’re just saying that,” the younger man almost gushed, surprisingly modest about his great culinary skills.

 

“I ain’t had gyeran bbang since last winter, I bought some on a stall whilst out getting snapshots for a tourism campaign - I thought it was real good, that salty and sweet combination. I ain’t ever had it with bacon and vegetables though. It’s fantastic, Tae.”

 

“Yoongi, are you a freelance photographer or are you one of those funny food bloggers, huh?”

 

A car had just slowly pulled up to the curb outside, the movement catching Yoongi’s eye and making him turn his head to look at it. It rolled to a stop quite a stretch down the sidewalk, meaning that he mostly got a look at the back of the vehicle.

 

“Yoongi?” Taehyung asked in a quiet voice, which made him twist to look up at him.

 

“Huh? Oh, ha,” Yoongi chuckled awkwardly, as he reached up to rub at the back of his neck. “Don’t worry, I ain’t one of those kinda people. But, uh, if you want I can get some shots for you? Y’know, for menus, window posters, promotional shots in case you got a social media page? I could get some shots for you?”

 

“Seriously?” Taehyung asked, lifting his eyebrows and widening his eyes at him in surprise. “That’d be real sweet of you, Yoongi. But what’s the price tag for a thing like that from a big professional like you, huh?”

 

“My payment? Lemme eat the food after I’m done photographing it,” Yoongi joked, the both of them laughing heartily as Taehyung gathered up his used dishes and he moved to go back into the small kitchen.

 

Yoongi turned his head to look out of the window at the strange car again as soon as the other man was out of sight. He had never really been much of a car lover, but his uncle had been a mechanic and he had greatly loved cars. As a result of all of the car models that he had grown up helping build and the magazines for references, he felt like he almost recognised the model to be a Ford XY Falcon GT; judging from the body shape with the squared hood and boot and the gold stripe paint job along the doors.

 

The rain pattered down onto the car, the noise that it made no doubt the exact same as the sound of it hitting the window pane right beside him. The water caught the streetlights and neon signs from out on the street, casting across the wide and squared hood and boot to illuminate the body in a variety of bright colours. It was hard discerning the exact colour of the car, for it looked to be black in the current late night hour, but it might just be another colour entirely - like deep blue or even green.

 

Yoongi could see someone sitting inside of the car even through the water running down the foggy windows; a young-looking man that was moving around the interior and seemingly checking things that were inside of it. He couldn’t make out his face through the fogged-up and droplet-covered back window, just a hint of his features and black hair.

 

A moment later, Taehyung returned from the kitchen with a small plate on which a large egg tart was currently placed, along with his second cup of caffè macchiato.

 

“Tae, who’s that? In that car over there?” Yoongi asked suddenly, lifting a hand to lazily gesture out of the window.

 

“Hmm - oh. That’s Jimin,” Taehyung said in a matter of fact voice, as if he in any way had a clue who ‘Jimin’ was. “Why do you ask?”

 

“Dunno, I ain’t recognise the car, I just thought that I’d ask,” he explained, because there really wasn’t a reason why he had asked beyond simple curiosity.

 

“Yoongi, please resist the temptation to ask me about every strange car that you see outta the window,” the younger man joked, placing the cup and plate down in front of him carefully. “You’ll be here all night, you know?”

 

“A’ight, so, who’s Jimin?” Yoongi asked, because the question was just begging to be vocalised. “How’d y’know him? How’d y’know his strange car from the next, huh?”

 

“Jimin’s…well, he’s a bit of a local legend around these parts, Yoongi,” Taehyung replied, hovering beside his table instead of straightening up. “He’s a witch.”

 

“…A witch?” Yoongi asked, as he lowered his cup from his lips and stared up at him. “I’m sorry, Tae, d’you just say that he’s a witch?”

 

“Why not? It’s 2017.”

 

“I didn’t mean it like that, Tae, I-”

 

Yoongi let out a soft groan, reaching up to nurse at his brow for a few seconds as he processed the entire scenario.

 

Taehyung had just told him that the unusual man outside on the curb, sitting in the rather outdated but sweet-looking XY Falcon GT was a witch. A witch - just like something out of a storybook or children’s film and not reality.

 

“I didn’t mean it, like, ‘cos he’s a guy, Tae, I meant it ‘cos you just told me that he’s a fucking witch,” Yoongi explained, dropping his hand from his brow so that he could tap his fingers down on the tabletop for emphasis. “Witches ain’t real, and we both know that. That’s why I’m finding it a little hard to accept what you just told me.”

 

“Well, I dunno what else to say to you, Yoongi,” Taehyung replied with a lazy shrug. “Jimin’s a witch, that’s all there is to it.”

 

“That’s the funniest looking broomstick I ever saw, Tae,” Yoongi sarcastically retorted. “What’d you think the horsepower on that thing is?”

 

“See, that’s the problem, Yoongi,” Taehyung declared with a soft head shake. “You’re old-fashioned at heart. You heard the word ‘witch’ and you thought of all of that silly nonsense outta old Hollywood films that used to play on TV when we were kids. You ain’t thinking about the spiritual aspect.”

 

“There’s a spiritual aspect? Here I was thinking it was an…occultist aspect.”

 

“Jimin’s just like everyone else, Yoongi, except he sells charms and tonics and treatments to soothe the kinda problems that doctors sometimes can’t always help you with. Think of him as a kinda…homeopathic helper, and not some Devil-worshipping lunatic.”

 

“I ain’t said he was Devil-worshipper,” Yoongi pointed out pedantically, as he turned to look back out of the window. “That never left my lips once, Tae.”

 

Taehyung just gave him a look that said that he hadn’t needed to say it, because it was rather obvious that he had been thinking it. Then he moved to cross the café and he disappeared into the back room again, leaving him alone with his egg tart and coffee.

 

Before he could help himself, Yoongi retrieved his camera from the table so that he could snap the lens cap free. After a quick check, he lifted it to his eye so that he could try and snap a photograph of the car just for the sake of it.

 

Maybe it would make a good shot for his portfolio - the vintage car bathed in rain and neon signs certainly an aesthetically pleasing shot?

 

Maybe he could sell it somehow; though he was struggling to figure out the kind of market or contract that such an image would appeal to save for typical wall print art.

 

Maybe he could collect a great deal of photographs like this and hope to host them in a gallery of some kind - the collection focusing on something vaguely deep and reflective about society that would make him sound intelligent (the thought making Yoongi snort as he moved his hand to feel for the focusing ring and he gave it a slow twist).

 

Maybe he would just keep it to himself for the memory, because it was most certainly the kind of night that he would like to remember.

 

That long insomniac night in which Yoongi had discovered that witches were real, they drove vintage muscle cars, and they could be males too.

 

“Jesus Christ…” he said with a smirk, as he brought his finger down on the shutter button.

 

Yoongi snapped a photograph with f/22 aperture first, so that he could get a great shot of the entire street in focus that he could consider editing digitally later. Then he adjusted the aperture ring to decrease the level of focus, experimenting with a risky f/2.8 so that he could hope to catch the car in great focus but blur the street into nothing more than a faded backdrop. He shifted on the floor cushion to get closer to the window and bring the car into better focus before hitting the button again.

 

Yoongi pulled the camera away and he hit several buttons with his thumb, opening up his gallery so that he could look at the two shots.

 

“Mmm,” Yoongi hummed under his breath, eyeing the blurred snapshot intently before reaching around to adjust the aperture ring again. He set it to the smallest number, lowered the focus ever so slightly, and then he shifted to balance his elbow on the table again so that he could get another shot.

 

Yoongi was hoping for a strong bokeh effect from the lights and raindrops on the window, but to still get some focus on the car so that it was strong and main part of the composition. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the decreased focus shot, as he had thought it was pretty good all things considered, seeing as snapping shots of cars was hardly his favoured field of focus. He had to zoom to try and do so, snapping a photograph that he would probably look at tomorrow morning and think looked stupid and amateurish.

 

When Jimin finally emerged from the car, Yoongi got his first proper look at him through his camera viewfinder. He had to quickly fiddle with the zoom and focus to see him more clearly, his fingers moving to adjust the rings on complete instinct.

 

Yoongi saw that he was a slight young-looking man, perhaps his height if the inch heel on his designer-looking leather boots was taken out of the equation. He looked to have a small frame too, but one that he filled well so that he didn’t look skinny but rather lean and fit. He was wearing a diaphanous black shirt with long sleeves and an open neck that revealed his upper chest, which was tucked inside of his high-waisted and ridiculously tight trousers.

 

Yoongi thought that Jimin looked like one of those goths that he had heard about, the ones in western fashion and music, and the thought made him snort again.

 

Yes, Jimin most certainly looked like a witch in that gothic black get-up, that was for certain.

 

But it wasn’t his clothing that he focused on the most, but rather his face. Looking through the zoomed-in viewfinder, Yoongi was able to look right at Jimin when he was unaware that he was being observed; was able to see him in a completely natural state. Glossy black tousled hair framed his face in waves, and he had tanned skin that caught the streetlights and glowed. He also had youthful features that completely juxtaposed against what he had imagined the so-called witch to look like.

 

Simply put, Yoongi found himself lowering his camera with a gasp at the sight of him, shocked to discover that Jimin was actually a very handsome and very young-looking witch. It wasn’t that he had expected him to be some ancient-looking man with more wrinkles on his face than lines on a road map, but he was still surprised.

 

Yoongi looked over at the counter to see that Taehyung was still in the back room, and when he turned to check the window again he realised that Jimin was coming inside of the café. Maybe just for a hot drink, maybe for other reasons entirely. It was enough to make him lower his camera and hastily switch it off, snapping the lens cap back in place so that he could put it aside.

 

The door swung open a moment later, Jimin stepping inside to the sound of the softly twinkling bell attached to the top. His hair had droplets of rain caught in it, but otherwise he looked to have not gotten soaked too much from the rainfall. The so-called witch slowly ran his eyes across the café interior as he moved to get to the counter, and after a moment, his eyes settled on him. There was something so…intense in those eyes of his that made Yoongi want to gulp; a power unlike anything that he had ever thought could possibly radiate from another person.

 

Yoongi considered saying something to him, a simple ‘good evening’ would suffice enough. Yet he found himself dropping his gaze down to look at the egg tart instead, his tongue far too heavy to move and say a single word to him.

 

“Hmm, shy, how cute,” Jimin said in a husky and soft voice, coming to a stop at the counter and shifting to languidly lean against it.

 

Yoongi swallowed hard only to find that his mouth felt rather dry. As a result, he practically gulped, the sound so loud that the other man might just have heard it from across the café. He retrieved his fork to cut into the egg tart just for the sake of it, the metal slicing straight through the soft crust and fluffy inside until it hit against the plate with a soft tapping sound. He watched the crust shifting down to land on the white porcelain, finding that he was just itching to look back up at the witch again.

 

Jimin was just lounging there against the counter, studying his nails with a bored expression whilst he waited for Taehyung to step back into the main-room, and yet he was still radiating heat and power. It was like cologne, coming off him in waves that even Yoongi could feel. He might not believe in witches and magic, but there was most certainly something coming off the other man that was impossible to ignore or explain.

 

As it was, Yoongi could detect a scent coming from him - a woody and intensely masculine scent that clashed against the makeup that he was wearing. He had quite the amount of eyeshadow and eyeliner on, the black ringing his eyes and lashes and a smudge of dusky pink spread across his heavy eyelids; there were two soft hints of peachy colour on his cheekbones, and he had full red lips.

 

Yoongi had seen many men back up in Seoul wearing makeup: disguising any slight skin problems with a dab of foundation, lightening their skin tones with layers of ashy grey creams, or wearing a little hint of eyeliner here and there just for the sake of it.

 

But this was something else.

 

Jimin was painted, every single smear of powder perfectly applied. He wasn’t disguising little imperfections, he was enhancing his obvious beauty because he wanted to make a statement.

 

That statement was quite simply: I am beautiful and I am powerful.

 

It was no wonder that Yoongi found it hard to swallow just looking at him.

 

After a minute, Taehyung emerged from the back room, pushing the fabric curtain aside and giving Jimin a wide smile in greeting. There was a black case in his hand for some reason, which Yoongi found his gaze focusing on as he chewed a bite of the tart slowly.

 

“Good evening, Jimin! Boy, am I glad to see you again,” Taehyung sighed out in relief, letting go of the curtain and moving to get to the counter.

 

“Oh, how could I stay away? This place smells divine, I’m drawn to it,” Jimin replied with a soft smile, which made his eyes crinkle at the corners.

 

Yoongi tried to not look over at the two men because he knew that this was a private matter. Yet he found his gaze shifting over to the counter every couple of seconds, as he was too damn curious to help himself.

 

Jimin accepted the little black case from Taehyung, popping it open so that he could look inside. He made a soft noise that sounded pleased to Yoongi, not exactly a purr but pretty close.

 

“Oh, Taehyungie, you know exactly what I like,” he drawled, a soft huskiness to his voice that made Yoongi’s fingers twitch around his cup for some reason.

 

The witch most certainly wasn’t from Daegu, not with that accent. Yoongi had him for a Busan man, though he didn’t slur or clip his words as bluntly as he could have. He almost sounded cultured in comparison to him, now that Yoongi had stopped trying to imitate a Seoulite and had went back to his rather rough roots.

 

A quick look over at them both showed him that Jimin was pulling something free from the case. It was a chain of some kind, on which a pendant was swinging. He held the glinting piece of metal in his palm tightly, his eyes closing as he took a deep breath and he held it in his lungs.

 

The café fell silent at this, and Yoongi shifted his gaze to look at Taehyung, wondering what the hell was even going on at this point.

 

But Taehyung didn’t look away from Jimin once, who was softly twitching his brow and lips as he seemingly…read the necklace, or absorbed something from it.

 

“Hmm, this is good, I’ll accept this,” Jimin said, as he dropped the object into the case and he snapped it shut again. “Honestly, Taehyungie, where do you find all of those stones, hmm? Such power, such wisdom…”

 

“I find ‘em in my garden,” Taehyung explained with a quick smile. “There’s hot springs close to my home, I find that I unearth so many stones when I’m seeing to my garden crops - amethysts, opals, agate, tiny gemstones. I dig ‘em up and make stones for jewellery. My grandmother used to make jewellery before she got ill. She taught me how to do a lot of things back when I was a kid, and I learnt the rest on my own.”

 

“Oh, I need to go rummaging through that garden of yours one day,” Jimin said in that little purr of his, as he hugged the case against his chest. “We can share gardening tips, hmm?”

 

Taehyung laughed at this, throwing his head back so that his too-long dark brown hair fell back from his brow. It was a nice laugh, one that Yoongi thought still sounded like the laugh that he had grown up listening to, just in a deeper tone that it had used to be.

 

Jimin suddenly turned to look right at him, making Yoongi drag his eyes away from Taehyung to hold his gaze.

 

“Do you have a problem hmm, honey?”

 

Yoongi had been in the act of swallowing a mouthful of coffee when Jimin asked this question, and it caught him by complete surprise. It was less the fact that he had suddenly addressed him, but rather the fact that he had called him ‘honey’, and the rather unexpected and affectionate nickname made him gulp the coffee down much too fast.

 

As the mouthful of coffee was sucked down his throat, Yoongi felt his body reacting on instinct. Before he could help himself, he was choking; coughing on the substance as he grabbed a napkin from the holder and he clapped it against his lips. He luckily caught all of it before any dribbled free down his chin messily.

 

Yoongi couldn’t help but notice the fact that Jimin was smiling at him the entire time, for the witch seemed to find his blustered reaction either amusing or endearing.

 

“Uh, no,” Yoongi managed to reply, hearing just how strained that his voice was and finding his cheeks growing even hotter with embarrassment. “No problems.”

 

“Oh? Because you were looking at me like you might just have a problem,” Jimin reiterated, cocking his head so that his dangling earrings bounced off his jawline. “You sure? I’m sensing something…off about you. Some kind of ailment…”

 

“No, I’m fine,” he mumbled in reply, very much lying and struggling to keep his eyes from rolling around the café restlessly.

 

Jimin thought this over for a moment, his lips twitching at the corners into something that looked like a soft smile.

 

“What was that about gardening? Oh, yes…”

 

As Jimin and Taehyung fell into conversation, Yoongi noticed the fact that the witch kept his gaze on him for a noticeably longer than the other man, and he found his coffee much more interesting to study. It was hard holding his gaze when it was so intense and powerful, when Jimin seemed to be able to look straight through him and tap into a hidden part of his mind that told him everything that he needed to know.

 

Yoongi did have a problem, a very serious problem that was affecting his physical and mental health. It wouldn’t take a witch to notice this fact, because most everyone would be able to see just how exhausted that he was. Dim lighting could only disguise his bruised eyelids so much, could hide away the glazed eyes and empty way that he would stare off across a room for a moment before coming back to reality again with a jerk.

 

During their conversation, Yoongi saw Jimin exchanging goods with Taehyung. He did so discreetly, slipping a hand into his trouser pocket so that he could retrieve a small baggie of something that looked to be dried roots to his eyes, which he placed down on the counter and kept under his palm for a few seconds. When he lifted it up, Taehyung quickly slipped it into his own palm, and then he transferred it into his loose trousers pocket - a deal done.

 

Whatever it was that they had just exchanged goods for, Yoongi didn’t know, but he hoped that it was something legal. Not that he thought that Taehyung was the type to purchase drugs from someone, but there was no telling what passed for legal and illegal substances, especially not when said substance had come from the fingers of a local witch.

 

“Let me know if you see any noticeable improvements, OK? I infused the huang qi in ginseng tea for an entire week just for added immunity-boosting properties. Remember, red reishi. Make the blend into a tonic, the mushrooms can be made into tea or even added to food - it doesn’t matter, just make sure that she gets them into her system whatever way that she prefers.”

 

“Truthfully, Jimin, the last blend really helped boost her energy levels after the chemotherapy,” Taehyung replied in a quiet voice, though Yoongi was able to hear it in the silence of the café. “It was amazing, I can’t thank you enough.”

 

Jimin just waved this off with a soft twitch of his wrist, telling the other man that he didn’t need to thank him. Judging from the serious subject that they were discussing, however, Yoongi thought that he really might just deserve the thanks.

 

Chemotherapy?

 

It seemed like someone that Taehyung knew had also been stricken with cancer just like his uncle. The mere thought made Yoongi’s lips pull in at the corners with a grimace. Fucking cancer, always appearing so suddenly out of the blue and ruining everything that it touched - a disgusting and hungry parasite.

 

“I’ll see you next week, Taehyungie. Same time, same place,” Jimin said, taking a couple of steps away from the counter before sparing a quick glance back over at him. “Maybe I’ll be seeing you again some time soon, hmm?”

 

Yoongi watched him crossing the café without saying a word in reply to this, finding a rather sudden sensation building up in the pit of his stomach that told him that he should call out to the witch before it was too late; that he should tell him that he actually did need help from him.

 

Magic wasn’t real, Yoongi knew that it wasn’t real and just thinking about it made him feel a familiar and long buried twinge of discomfort. But he needed help, and right now he was willing to ignore his discomfort for the sake of possibly fixing his dreadful malady.

 

Before he could help himself, Yoongi slung his camera around his neck and he pulled his wallet free from his jeans, quickly tossing down a handful of bills to cover the costs of the food and coffee with a tip. Then he shoved his wallet into his back pocket so that he could jump to his feet and he hastily crossed the room to get to the shoe rack, snatching his boots from it.

 

“I gotta go talk to him,” he muttered, as he awkwardly tugged his boots back on and he almost stumbled to fall right on his face.

 

Taehyung could only snort laughter at this as he pushed the café door open, his boots not even laced up from his haste to get out of the building and catch the witch before he left.

 

“Actually-”

 

Yoongi stepped away from the doorway of the café, taking several bumbling steps towards Jimin just as he was about to climb into his car. He felt the rain hitting him instantly, which made him pull his shoulders up high with a soft gasp.

 

“Hmm, did you say something, honey?” Jimin asked, languidly leaning against the open car door so that his body curved to the side enticingly. His black shirt was so thin that Yoongi could see his waist through the diaphanous material; slim but not in a frail or weak way.

 

“Actually, I, uh, I got a problem,” he muttered, as he reached up to rub at the back of his neck roughly and he avoided his powerful gaze. “It’s to do with sleep - both lack of it and, uh, the quality too.”

 

“Well, climb on inside and out of the rain, honey,” Jimin suggested, as he gestured at his vehicle. “How about I give you a little consultation? Free of charge, of course.”

 

Yoongi quickly crossed the sidewalk so that he could climb into the passenger-seat, wanting to get out of the rain before it soaked him through to his skin.

 

Jimin went around to the driver-seat to pop it open too, the pair of them climbing inside of the car.

 

The first thing that hit Yoongi upon climbing into the vehicle was the scent. The interior of Jimin’s car smelled like a variety of things, which might just have been herbs, spices or even plants of some variety. Mostly, he could scent a rather spicy note that made his nose itch, which blended with more mellow and sweet scents that might just have been vanilla, marshmallow, and honey. There was also a pungent earthen scent buried underneath the more appealing notes.

 

As Yoongi ran his eyes over the interior, he saw that there were fetishes dangling from the rear-view mirror - feathers, bones, stones and metal all linked together on threads. He had no clue what they were for or what purpose that they would serve, but they looked very tribalistic and not at all like the usual pretty items that he had imagined were sold to wannabe witch teenage girls on online websites. No, they looked old and heavily tribalistic, and he found himself dragging his gaze away from the fetishes to look at the rest of the car.

 

Massive pieces of crystal were placed all over the dashboard. Some consisted of several sharp points, in shades of deep purple and green. Others were tiny little things growing out of a chunk of rock: in clear, pink, orange and yellow shades. They caught the lights from outside to reflect colours all across the dashboard, twinkling brightly like stars.

 

It was only when Yoongi placed his hand down on the window rest and he felt something against his palm, something dry that was moving, did he realise that there was something even more shocking present than crystals and fetishes.

 

There were plants growing inside of the car: snaking vine creepers that had crawled all over the rests and roof around the windows, a little plant pot sitting in the cup holder with a blossoming bud poking up out of the soil. Hell, even the back of the car was filled with plants because Jimin had removed the backseat to store several planters inside of the vehicle. This explained the strong scent of earth that was trapped inside of the vehicle at least.

 

Yoongi could only wonder what the hell he might just be hiding away inside of the boot.

 

“Don’t mind the plants, honey,” Jimin said, tugging the door shut and settling down in his seat with a soft sigh. “What can I say, they like it inside of here - good sunlight, plenty of air through the open windows, warm in the cold seasons. They love it.”

 

“Jimin, how…how d’you feed ‘em?” Yoongi asked in dumb shock, reaching up to stroke at the vine that was snaking up across the top of the window frame right beside his head. Just like he had thought, the vine reacted to his touch by twitching, and he eyed the one on the window rest to see that it was softly heaving…like it was breathing.

 

“I water the planters and pots, I spray the others to keep them moist and supple,” Jimin replied in a matter-of-fact voice. “They’re easy enough to care for, they don’t require much more than love and affection from me to keep them strong.”

 

It was as if Jimin didn’t find the fact that his car was filled with moving and breathing plants weird at all. Considering the fact that he was a witch, he really might not find it shocking; but Yoongi was still searching for ways to explain everything without thinking of such crazy things like witchcraft and magic.

 

Maybe some plants could move and breathe like that, like foreign plants that Yoongi had never heard of or seen before. There must be millions of flora all over the world, it could be completely possible that one or two of them could do such things…

 

Right?

 

Yoongi saw that Jimin was opening up the case that Taehyung had given him in return for those dried herbs, so that he could retrieve the necklace from inside of it.

 

“What’s so special about that stone, huh? Special enough to accept it as payment instead of cash?”

 

“Opal: good for love, hope, luck and happiness - all of the usual things,” Jimin explained, as he slipped the thin chain around his neck. The milky stone settled in place against the soft swell of his tanned chest muscles, catching so much light that it reflected reds, blues, greens and more back at Yoongi’s eyes. “Because it’s such a beautiful and reflective stone, it’s believed to be related to sight, and because it reflects and produces said light, it’s said to be a karmic stone. Your good acts will come back to you, the bad ones too. But do you know why I love opals so much?”

 

Yoongi shook his head slowly at this, silently telling the witch that he had no clue at all.

 

“Opal releases light, but it also helps release your inhibitions,” Jimin continued, reaching up to touch the pendant. “Hmm, all of that hot passionate and wild love just bursting free without reservation or fear? That’s what I crave, honey.”

 

Yoongi dragged his gaze away from the witch at this to stare at the plant pot sitting in the cup holder instead. He heard Jimin laughing at him again, no doubt finding the way that his cheeks had went a rather sudden and startling shade of pink highly amusing.

 

“That was a joke, you know? Now, honey, tell me what’s the matter, hmm? What’s ailing that little head of yours that I can help fix?” Jimin asked in a soothing and sweet tone, shifting in his seat to look straight at him and give him his full attention.

 

“My problem’s that I don’t sleep very…very well,” Yoongi managed to mumble, his eyes shifting away from the fetishes dangling from the rear-view mirror to look over at the other man. “It’s been like this for a long time now, and I kinda got used to it, but I’m starting to lose control again. When I sleep, it’s an hour or two a night, maybe, and I don’t dream.”

 

“You don’t dream?” Jimin repeated, raising one thick and manicured eyebrow at him curiously.

 

“I ain’t never had a dream that I can remember before, not a single one,” he explained, shifting in the passenger-seat awkwardly and trying his very hardest to not touch the thick and pulsing vines on the window rest. “It’s just blackness for me - black and empty.”

 

“Holy…shit. Honey, that isn’t a problem, that’s a literal nightmare.”

 

“It never used to bother me that much, y’know? I kinda got used to it. I know it ain’t healthy, but it comes and goes. Sometimes I sleep six, maybe seven hours a night for months at a time, and then sometimes I go weeks with less than three hours a night. I just learned to get used to it. I take the herbal supplements that doctors tell me to swallow by the shitload, I do all of that stupid meditation bullshit that’s meant to relax my body and mind - I do all of it, and it ain’t worked none for me, Jimin,” Yoongi explained, before letting his breath out in a heavy sigh. “I just accepted that nothing could fix me, so, I just gave up searching for a magical remedy. Until…”

 

Yoongi paused for a moment, giving him a sidelong look that made Jimin grin at him. He didn’t even have to finish that sentence because it was so very obvious what he was trying to say to him.

 

Yoongi had given up on searching for a magical remedy, until he had crossed paths with none other than a magical being - a witch.

 

“Let me think for a second, honey…”

 

Jimin lifted a hand to run his fingertips along his lipstick-covered lips. He must have some special treatment on top of it, for it didn’t smear from his touch in the slightest. His fingernails were perfectly cared for; glossy, smooth, the lengths a little long rather than cut blunt to the skin like his own nails, but they were neatly filed down to a round curve around his fingertips. His fingers were also covered in many chunky silver rings, most of them without stones but rather just thick bands that glinted in the dim interior car lighting.

 

“It sounds like you’ve got a bad case of insomnia, which is simple enough to fix. But lack of dreaming - not even a single one? That’s fascinating…”

 

The interior of the car fell silent for a moment as Jimin thought this over, the only sound that of rain pattering against the windows and roof with a soft noise. After a moment, Yoongi was convinced that he could hear the plants breathing all around him, the breathy sound of inhales and exhales that weren’t coming from him and Jimin. It made him feel slightly uncomfortable, made him fold his arms over his chest and spare another glance at the backseat planters.

 

“I, uh, I read a lot about the subject, whilst I was trying to fix myself,” Yoongi said to break the silence of the car. “Apparently, dreams occur during REM sleep, and that occurs around…an hour and a half, two hours into sleep or something. But some nights, I don’t sleep for that long before waking up, and then I fall asleep again only to wake up shortly afterwards and not be able to rest any more. It’s the restorative part of sleep too, which is why I feel like shite right now.”

 

Yoongi reached up to rub at his eyes at this with a deep grunt, feeling his dry and tight eyelids against his knuckles as he roughly massaged at them. Then he dropped his hands into his lap with a heavy sigh, sinking back into the leather seat because he was just so exhausted inside.

 

“OK,” the witch said, as he shifted in the seat to look over at him. “I think that I’ve got a deal for you, honey.”

 

Jimin folded his arm around the rest so that he could lounge comfortably, and it took Yoongi a great deal of strength to not drop his gaze down to the smooth curve of his waist that ran down to the sharp jut of his hipbone over his trouser waistband. He sat in the seat as comfortable as could be, his slouching somehow looking elegant against his rather lazy slumping.

 

“You do?” Yoongi breathed out, staring at the witch with rounded eyes.

 

“Mmmhmm. You want to hear my deal?”

 

“Yeah, what’s the deal, Jimin?”

 

“Tonight, I’ll give you a free hit of the good stuff - and I mean the best you’re ever going to get,” Jimin explained, as he lifted his free hand to lightly wave his wrist around as he spoke. His manicured nails were so very glossy in the yellow glare from the ceiling light. “Honey, I guarantee you the most perfect and deep sleep that you’ll have ever had. I’m talking six to eight hours, maybe a little more: solid rest. I’m talking dreams, lucid and vivid dreams that you’ll never forget because you’re going to sleep the entire time without waking up.”

 

“Seriously?” Yoongi asked, unable to keep the genuine surprise off his face. “You can…you can gimme all of that, Jimin?”

 

“For tonight, free of charge. But after tonight, it’s going to cost you just like anything else; OK?”

 

“Uh, a’ight; what’d you usually charge for this kinda service?”

 

“What I want from you, honey, is trinkets.”

 

Yoongi blinked slowly at this statement, the words going in through his ears and yet not being fully processed by his mind.

 

Had Jimin just said that he accepted ‘trinkets’ as a payment for his services? As in…jewellery, knick-knacks, things like that?

 

“…Trinkets? What’d you mean by that, Jimin?”

 

“You know, trinkets,” Jimin repeated, before deciding to elaborate on this. “Anything that glitters, anything golden, anything pretty and sparkly - hmm, it’s even better if it’s a piece of jewellery. Personally, I’m a bit obsessed with seashells too, because I love listening to them and-”

 

“Is this a joke?” Yoongi interjected, unable to help himself because it was all just so absurd.

 

“No, honey, I’m not joking,” he said in a surprisingly honest tone, as he reached up to take hold of the necklace pendant. “This necklace that Taehyung gave me? This is a trinket, created with care and love so that it contains so much more energy than the opal in the setting alone. You’d be surprised how many things contain energy, simple things like trinkets - they contain a lot of love.”

 

“Why trinkets though? What about money, Jimin?” he argued, watching the opal catching the streetlights through the front window so that it gleamed back at his eyes. “Don’t you think that your services deserve to be paid for more substantially than in trinkets?”

 

“I like the trinkets more than money,” Jimin said with a soft shrug, his loose shirt shifting down his shoulder to flash a curved slope of muscle. “Jewellery…I can sell it sometimes, if it’s boring and its energy value is much less than its monetary value. I only accept good shit, honey, no plated or fake shit for me, no imitation stones or costume jewellery. Antiques too, I can sell them when I want, if they aren’t interesting or powerful enough to keep. As for seashells, I just love them - I know that I shouldn’t accept them, but I can’t help myself.”

 

Jimin gave him the most mischievous smile at this, and Yoongi found that he wasn’t annoyed by the sight even when he found the entire scenario ridiculous. The glint in Jimin’s eye, the cheeky and playful behaviour, it was all strangely likeable in a way, even if it all seemed crazy right now. It made him smile at him too, even as he shook his head in disbelief.

 

“Do we have a deal, honey?” Jimin asked, holding his hand out to him in offering to seal said deal with a shake. “What’s your name, hmm?”

 

“Min, Min Yoongi,” Yoongi said, taking hold of his hand so that he could give him a firm shake.

 

“Park Jimin,” Jimin said, giving his hand a squeeze before he let go again. “I only asked because I like to get to know my clients, especially the ones I know that I’ll be seeing again.”

 

Yoongi watched the witch popping open a dashboard compartment, which revealed a great deal of plastic baggies shoved inside of the space that were filled fit to burst. They all looked just like what had been in Taehyung’s baggie: dried herbs, roots and petals and powders. The sight of them all made him furrow his brow deeply, wondering what the substances even were.

 

Jimin rummaged through the baggies before selecting one, one that was filled with what looked like dried flowers: blue petals and green leaves that were faded and crumpled into a substance not too different from tobacco in consistency. Then he retrieved a packet of rolling papers, which he peeled two free from.

 

“Are you…are you giving me drugs?” Yoongi asked curiously, the question slipping free before he could help himself.

 

This made Jimin burst out laughing, throwing his head back so that his tousled hair fell back off his brow and his head bounced off the padded leather headrest. He dropped the rolling papers into his lap, reaching up to clap his hands over his mouth, but not before Yoongi caught sight of his teeth. He squeezed his eyes shut from the force of his giggling so that his eyelids crinkled at the corners, and his shoulders shifted, rising and falling in waves.

 

“Honey, I’m not a fucking dealer, OK?” Jimin explained around his laughter. “If you want drugs, have fun finding them in this city. You can’t, trust me. These aren’t drugs, these are legal highs that I grow in my garden if you must know - plants, roots and beans, all legal and all safe. Some of the plants that you can see in the car? All of them go into my treatments, and not a single one is illegal, I promise.”

 

Jimin licked one of the rolling papers right down the length, before sticking it to another sheet to expand the size of the rolled cigarette. Satisfied that that was big enough, he opened the baggie so that he could start spreading a thick line of dried herbs across the surface. He rolled it up carefully before bringing it to his mouth so that he could wet it with his tongue, sealing it shut tight.

 

Yoongi eyed the fat stick blankly as Jimin grabbed a lighter from the dashboard, a silver one that looked to be intricately engraved.

 

“Do you smoke, honey?”

 

“No.”

 

Jimin shoved the stick into his own mouth first so that he could spark the light and hover the lighter flame right in front of the end. He set the end alight, smouldering away until he took a sharp inhale to get the cigarette to start burning. He breathed the slight inhale out of the corner of his mouth, pulling the stick free to hold it out to him.

 

“What’d I do?” Yoongi asked, as he accepted the cigarette from him; holding it between his fingers and thumb and eyeing it curiously.

 

“Smoke it, honey, all the way,” Jimin instructed, as he shifted in his seat so that he could start the engine. “I’m gonna carry on with my business and you’re gonna take a nice long rest right there beside me, because I wanna supervise you whilst you’re under. OK?”

 

Yoongi brought the cigarette to his lips and he took a small inhale, smoke getting into his mouth that he let back out again a moment later in a puff.

 

“Suck it into your lungs, honey. You’re just getting it in your mouth. Really pull it in, hmm?” Jimin explained, lifting a hand off the wheel to gesture with his hand towards his chest whilst he took a deep inhale for emphasis. “Like this.”

 

Yoongi took another drag off the end of the cigarette, this time pulling quite the amount of it into his lungs. The smoke was hot and itchy, and he coughed it out again a second later and he clapped his hand against his throat.

 

“Jesus Christ!” Yoongi wheezed, choking hard on the smoke. “That burns!”

 

“It’s OK,” Jimin said in a soft voice, as he steered the car away from the curb and onto the empty road. “After a few pulls, it won’t feel that bad. You’re new to smoking, it might burn and make you feel a little dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous, but that’s normal. Don’t worry about that, that’s not the effect of the blend that I gave you.”

 

Yoongi swallowed hard, finding that his throat felt itchy and dry. But after a few seconds, he brought the cigarette back to his lips and he took another pull off the end that he tried holding in his lungs. He managed to hold it for several seconds before coughing it out again, lifting his hand to his mouth to cover his lips as he tried to get himself under control.

 

As the car slowly rolled down the streets, Yoongi took quick drags off the end of the cigarette until he started to feel rather dizzy just like how Jimin had told him. It made him sink back in the seat and watch the neon lights on the exteriors of the different buildings floating past in the darkness, until he could see nothing more than colours rather than shapes and characters. He found that his lips were going numb just like his fingers and toes, so that he couldn’t really feel the cigarette stick when he slipped it back into his mouth.

 

“I feel…a lil sleepy,” Yoongi mumbled through his numb lips, turning his head to look at Jimin. The act of moving made his vision blur, made everything feel foggy and distant even when the witch was sitting just beside him. “Mmm, shit, I feel funny…”

 

“Just a little more, honey,” Jimin suggested, glancing away from the main window to look at him. His voice sounded like it was echoing from down a tunnel, his lips not moving in rhythm with his words. “There’s just a little bit left to smoke, hmm?”

 

Yoongi managed to make a noise in agreement, slowly bringing the cigarette back to his lips so that he could take another deep pull on it. He found his eyes flickering shut as he breathed it out heavily, sinking down into blackness with a sigh.

 

Everything was red.

 

Yoongi had expected nothing more than blackness just like every other night - empty and cold blackness that he despised. But all that he could see right now was redness, warm and pleasing, and it made him feel so comfortable, so safe.

 

Was he asleep? Was this what it finally felt like to sleep again? Or was this in fact a dream of some kind? Was this the first conscious dream that he was going to remember upon waking up?

 

Yoongi really didn’t know at all, but whatever was happening right now, he liked it. The redness was comforting in a way that the usual blackness of his rest never was, and he would happily stay trapped in it until he woke up again.

 

There was a soft sound coming from the redness, a thumping beat much like a pulse because it was so regular in rhythm. Every single thump made the redness shift and twitch, as if it was in fact material of some kind rather than a solid substance. It might just have been a curtain, but he felt more like it was…membrane; as if he was standing within a massive beating heart.

 

His own heart, perhaps?

 

As Yoongi seemingly floated in the redness, lulled into a wonderful sense of calm just listening to the pulse, he noticed that something was rippling the membrane not too far from his field of vision.

 

Hands, he could see hands pushing through that red membrane.

 

They were beautiful hands, small in size and the fingers but wide, the nails glossy like glass. They were moving around without rest, moving almost as if they were dancing to some rhythm that he couldn’t hear that clashed against the calm heartbeat. It made him lift his own hands up in front of him, silently bading that the hands take hold of his.

 

“Yoongi…”

 

Yoongi heard Jimin’s voice echoing in his head, which made the membrane thump hard all around him.

 

“Oh, that blend worked a treat on you, hmm? Good, enjoy your sleep, honey…”

 

(Honey)

 

(Honey)

 

(Honey)

 

The word rippled at the membrane again, which in turn made the pulse start to pound hard and fast almost in excitement. It was a husky sigh, filled with something that might just have been pleasure.

 

One of the hands reached out to him so that an arm emerged through the thin membrane - naked up to the shoulder. But before he could take hold of it, it pulled away again with a giggle.

 

Yoongi closed his fingers around thin air, watching the arm waving around as even more limbs emerged through the membrane. The limbs almost danced around him, bare and disembodied from a body yet moving and flexing as if they weren’t. Beautiful gainly arms which bent at the elbows to show curved biceps; supple calves that ran up into thick thighs and had feet with wriggling toes on the end that snagged hold of the membrane to wrinkle it like silk.

 

Yoongi wanted to reach out and touch the limbs, wanted to hold onto them in the hopes that he might be able to tug the body through the red membrane and see who it was that was hypnotising him with this enchanting dance.

 

The membrane rippled, flashing Yoongi more hints of a body. He saw a male torso, with softly defined muscles running down to sharp hip bones, before the naked stranger twisted around. Before the red membrane covered it again, he caught sight of a firm and full behind.

 

Beautiful, this stranger was beautiful and he hadn’t even seen his face.

 

Yoongi could hear voices all around him, a hushed and whispered chorus of chanting voices, all gasping the word ‘yes’ at him over the other husky voice until his head felt like it was spinning.

 

(Yes)

 

(Honey)

 

(Yes)

 

(Honey)

 

(Yes!)

 

When Yoongi reached out to grab hold of one of the dancing hands, it dragged him forward until he felt his body connecting with something. Both of the hands reached around to grab hold of him, cupping his own behind to reveal to him that he was as naked as the beautiful stranger was. Yet he didn’t feel shame or fear, because he was so warm and safe within the redness.

 

The membrane rippled again to show a hint of a lower face, to show him a set of full and red lips. When those full lips parted open, Yoongi heard a deep and masculine orgasmic moan escaping them. They were quivering, flushed and slick and clashing against the white teeth that came down to sink into the full lower lip. The teeth dragged at the skin, pulling it back before it bounced forward supple and plump.

 

Yoongi had to touch those lips, had to feel them. When he ran a hand up the exposed torso to stroke his fingers over the mouth, the lips parted again to suck them inside. It was so hot and wet inside of his mouth, his tongue curling up to lick at his fingers.

 

Now, the voices all around him were moaning and crying out in exaltation. The red almost seemed to pulsate with throbs of colour, until Yoongi’s entire body was trembling from the force of it all. He felt the hands caressing his shaking body, the touch burning his skin until he felt his own breath leaving his lips in a gasp.

 

The dancing stranger dropped to his knees in front of him, those red lips of his opening wide as he moved to suck them around his cock. Yoongi couldn’t see the rest of his face because the membrane was still covering him, but he felt like he got a hint of something as the other man bobbed forward to take some of his length into his mouth.

 

The sensation made a jolt of pleasure course right up into his belly and Yoongi rolled his head back with a deep groan.

 

Between the whispering and moaning voices, to the wet sensation of the other man’s tongue lapping along the underside of his cock, Yoongi felt himself trembling. The pulse was racing so fast now that it was pounding like war drums, the pulsating throbs of colour bleeding through his closed eyelids.

 

Yoongi felt his climax fast approaching, his breath catching in his throat as he reached down to knock the membrane free and sink his fingers into the stranger’s hair. His fingers snagged hold of the thin membrane, giving it a hard tug so that it lifted and-

 

Yoongi jerked in the seat with a surprised grunt, waking up so suddenly that he was caught by complete surprise.

 

For a few seconds, Yoongi struggled to open his eyelids because they were so heavy, but then he finally managed to force them open so that he could stare at the sight in front of him. At first, all that he saw was his jeans, his hands placed on them so that his fingers were splayed across the dark denim. He must have been scratching at them with his blunt nails, for he could feel a slight tingling sensation in his fingertips.

 

The view outside of the car window right beside his head was that of a dawn sky, the sunlight cracking through the lavender clouds that were lazily floating across the horizon. The vehicle was still rolling down the road, and he was shocked to find that they were drawing close to his family home as he could recognise the street that they were on.

 

“Oh? You’re awake, sleepyhead,” Jimin remarked from the driver-seat, as he slowly twisted the wheel to pull the car up to the curb and he killed the engine. “Wow, I’m clocking you in for…nine hours of sleep, honey. It’s 6am right now.”

 

Yoongi rolled his head to look at him from underneath his heavy eyelids, his foggy brain struggling to process any of this information right now.

 

Yoongi had just slept for nine hours straight, without waking up after an hour only to find that he couldn’t fall back asleep again? He had slept for more than the average recommended hours, and he had had a dream too?

 

Surely not?

 

“Hmm, someone had a fun dream,” Jimin almost purred at him, folding his arms on the steering-wheel so that the thin material of his blouse was stretched taut against his chest and biceps. “Was it exciting? You were mumbling a lot in your sleep, Yoongi, it was kind of funny listening to you talking to yourself.”

 

“Yuh-yeah, it was exciting,” Yoongi managed to say, finding that his mouth was oddly dry and that his tongue felt all funny and thick. “It felt good…”

 

“You had a couple of REM cycles from what I could tell; three, I think? That’s when you started mumbling and moving in your sleep. You’ll probably remember one or two of them, if you had a dream. Maybe just the last one.”

 

“Mmm, I remember…redness…”

 

“Right, honey, I want to ask you a couple of questions, so, please try and answer them,” Jimin said, as he shifted in his seat and he retrieved a bottle of water from the dashboard. It hadn’t been there earlier, so he had presumably purchased it whilst he had been completing his business deals with other clients. “Drink this, hydrate yourself; OK?”

 

Yoongi accepted the bottle from him, twisting the cap several times only to find that his grip was too weak to do so. He steeled himself, tightened his hold on the cap, and he gave it a hard twist until it came free with a crisp sound. Some of it splashed down onto his lap as he brought it to his lips. When he tried to tip the bottle to drink it he ended up spilling a considerable amount down his chin as well as in his mouth.

 

“Good boy,” Jimin praised, reaching over to wipe at his wet chin for him. “It’s OK, just take your time. You’ve been asleep all night long, honey, and your body isn’t used to such deep rest. It’s OK if you have a couple of accidents, just take your time and let your body wake up, hmm?”

 

Yoongi snorted hard to clear the water from his nostrils, still embarrassed that he had accidentally spilled a great deal of water all over his face and lap. He took a few quick breaths as he tried to get his body under control again, slowly lifting the bottle to his lips so that he could tip it and take a small and slow sip of water.

 

“Is there any unpleasant sensations right now, hmm? A headache? Nausea? Dizziness? Maybe some ringing in the ears or blurred vision?” Jimin asked, cupping his cheek so that he could turn his face towards him and gently tip it back to study his drooping eyelids.

 

“Uh, my vision’s a little blurry but I can hardly keep my eyes open, Jimin,” Yoongi mumbled in reply, slowly rolling his fingers up into a fist and lifting his free hand to try and rub at said eyes. He almost punched himself in the face in the process, his knuckles bouncing off his nose hard but not enough to hurt. “That ain’t weird, right?”

 

“No, it should clear up in a couple of minutes,” Jimin replied without a hint of hesitation, giving his cheek a soft pat. “You’re just coming around, so, take a moment; hmm?”

 

Yoongi made a noise under his breath at this, giving his eyelids another rub to try and force them open so that they wouldn’t flutter shut on him again. He ran his gaze across the dashboard to see that there were other items now sitting on it alongside the crystals; funny little trinkets and pieces of jewellery that glinted in the early dawn sunlight.

 

It took several minutes until Yoongi’s foggy mind cleared enough for him to finally feel awake, and so he shifted to sit up and he placed the half-empty water bottle down on the dashboard. He fumbled to pop the door open, slowly shifting so that he could get to his feet and get out of the vehicle.

 

“Careful! Careful, honey!” Jimin called, watching him through the open doorway with wide eyes.

 

“I’m a’ight,” Yoongi muttered with an embarrassed laugh, leaning against the door frame for a moment as he got his legs underneath him. “I’m fine, Jimin.”

 

Jimin giggled at this, watching him straightening up again and slamming the door shut.

 

“If you want another hit, honey, remember what I charge,” Jimin said through the open window, those lipstick-covered lips of his cracking into a wide smile. “See you soon, hmm?”

 

It was only as Yoongi watched the car pulling away from the curb did he feel something unusual, a strange…wetness between his thighs. His underwear was clinging to him in a way that made him grimace and want to reach down and peel it away from his skin, and it was then that he realised something.

 

Yoongi had just had a lucid wet dream in the passenger-seat of Jimin’s car.

 

 

 

 

 

II.

 

Just like every early afternoon, Jimin was woken up by none other than his pet cat seeking food and affection. The weight of her body jumping onto the mattress was what brought him out of his slumber, but it was only when her cold wet pink nose bumped against his lips that he opened his eyes and he reached over to place a hand on her head.

 

“Mmm, good morning, darling,” Jimin almost purred, his voice husky from sleep and his mouth horribly dry. “It’s always a great start to the day waking up and seeing your gorgeous face.”

 

Geumseong let out a squeaky mewl at this, moving along the mattress to get closer to him so that she could curl up against his ribs and get lavished with strokes and kisses.

 

Geumseong was a Japanese bobtail cat with a calico coat, her white body covered in ginger and black splotches and her funny rabbit-like tail like cotton fluff to his fingers. Her ears were large and sharply pointed, her eyes massive almond eyes both a shade of greenish yellow like peridot and a soft powder blue like the sky.

 

Jimin had adopted the cat because he had found her in a box out in a busy street market just two years ago with half a dozen more kittens; radiating so much lucky energy and charm that he had just had to have her. It was quintessential that a witch own a lucky cat, after all, and he had wanted her so much - his own feline goddess.

 

So Jimin had left the street market that night with a plastic bag filled with herbs and spices, dozens of fish heads and a tiny kitten nestled in the crook of his elbow. Just like that, he had amassed his second pet: a lucky cat better than any charm and also perfect for keeping his lap and bed warm.

 

“I had a wonderful dream, hmm, Geumseong,” Jimin said, cupping the cat’s chin in his fingers and tickling her until she purred in pleasure. “It was filled with so much love and sexual energy. I felt loved in it, even when it was so innocent, ha~”

 

It wasn’t often that Jimin’s sarsaparilla tea-induced sex dreams were so innocent in nature. He had started using the dreams in the hopes of divining his perfect lover out of the feverish moments of lust, but the pleasure that they had brought him had made him indulge in them regularly just because he had no one else with which to share any intimacy.

 

Jimin knew that dream lovers were poor substitutes for a real lover, but he just wanted to feel something, even if it was little more than fantasies that would never come true.

 

A witch that helped flowers bloom but had yet to bloom himself, had yet to reach his full potential because he was unable to fully harness his own powerful sexual energy…

 

Jimin felt like a tiny bud that was struggling to turn into a beautiful flower because no one was tender enough, caring and strong enough to make him bloom.

 

Sexual energy was by far the most potent of all energies, and Jimin knew that he had a well of never-ending power trapped within him. But it was also a curse, because it required sexual intimacy with a powerful human to fully unleash it. He could have sex with any man or woman that he wished, but it wouldn’t mean a thing if they weren’t perfect…and Jimin was refusing to settle for anything less than what he deserved.

 

In the early morning hours, Jimin had dreamt about tending to his garden with another person for the very first time. The man had had a blurred face so that he had been unable to ascertain his true identity, but his warm voice had been so soothing and his hands had held onto his to bring them to his lips even when they had been covered in soil and dew.

 

Rather than frantic grappling and bucking with naked and muscular bodies as he fucked them hard and fast until his dream climax woke him up to an intense orgasm that made him writhe under the covers as his eyes rolled up under his half-lidded eyelids, Jimin’s dream had been different. It had been filled with the sound of laughter and tender touches as he had helped his lover transfer potted plants into the earth, instead of the slap of sweaty skin against skin and guttural groans and grunts. He had gently patted the soil in place with him and had pressed soft kisses against his throat until his lover had sighed so sweetly; rather than sink his teeth into the meat of another man’s shoulder or suck his lips around a leaking cock.

 

Just being in his mysterious lover’s presence had made Jimin feel the most overwhelming surge of love and affection, until his very core had felt like it had been set on fire. He had woken up gasping for breath, reaching across the mattress to grab hold of this phantom lover only to find that he had been all alone in bed and there had been no man to drag close and hold onto. There had been no release, no powerful orgasm that made him wake up to semen-soaked sheets and a wonderful tenderness in his loins, but he did come around to find that he felt so much more clear-headed than he ever had in regards to his perfect lover.

 

Last night, Jimin had touched upon his energy in his sleep and he knew that he would be able to trace it back to the mystery human. It might take some poking and prodding, some guidance and nurturing, but he was certain that he could find his perfect man soon enough.

 

Just thinking about it made a ripple of excitement course right down his spine, made him suck his lower lip in to give it a nibble.

 

Soon, he might finally have a lover that would help him discover his true powers and take care of him just like he had wanted for so long now.

 

After giving Geumseong some more strokes and chin and ear scratches, Jimin dragged himself up into a sitting position. He retrieved his phone so that he could plug it into the wall just beside his bed, leaving it to charge because he was going to need to use it later. Between checking his daily schedule, to calling up clients to check on them and pencil them in for more consultations and treatments, he relied on the Samsung Galaxy S8 far too much.

 

The phone buzzed hard, the screen lighting up to tell him that it was charging. So Jimin got out of bed to toddle into his bathroom so that he could get cleaned up for the day.

 

Jimin’s bathroom was filled with seashells, all of them placed inside of a display that he had built within the large space. He had put together a sandbox that took up quite a lot of the floor space, filled with golden sand that he had raked into beautiful patterns on which he had carefully placed every single one of his seashells. They were spread in beautiful clusters, colours blending into one another like a gradient scale. He had a constant running waterfall fountain placed within the display, which produced the sound of splashing water at all times.

 

Coming from Busan to Daegu, Jimin missed the beach so much - missed the tangy air and the soft roaring of the sea to lull him to sleep every single dawn. That was why his bathroom beach was so important to him, because the sound of the fountain and softly roaring seashells, the scent of the tangy water and sand, made him feel like he was back home in Busan even when he was so very far away from a beach.

 

The sight of soil trapped in the grooves of his palms and trapped under his nails, and spread all over his feet was of no surprise to Jimin, because he often ended up wandering into his garden to tend to his plants before retiring to sleep during the early morning hours. It meant that he was going to have to quickly shower before soaking in his bathtub, because he didn’t want to dirty the water that he wanted to soak in. It also meant that his sheets were going to be filthy, the golden silk covered in smears of earth that would hopefully not stain the delicate material.

 

The scorching hot shower water washed away the soil with ease, thanks to the thick sudsy layer of soap and the nail brush that he used. He cleansed his skin with an exfoliating scrub and creamy soap, and then he ran a bath to fill with soak so that he could sink down into the bathtub and meditate for a little while.

 

Jimin lowered himself into the steaming hot water and he rolled his head back against the porcelain slope with a sigh. The water was filled with bubbles and a milky foam that would leave a lovely fragrance on his skin, the scent that he breathed in making him relax.

 

Geumseong couldn’t enter the bathroom because he had enchanted the doorway, just to stop the naughty cat from using his seashell display as a litter box. She had a habit of sitting in the doorway to glare at him whilst he soaked in the bathtub, drawn in by his hums of pleasure but unable to get inside to join him by curling up on the edge of the porcelain lip.

 

“Sorry, darling,” Jimin called with a lazy smile, studying her until she moved to leave the doorway again. “You don’t like baths anyway…”

 

Jimin soaked in the bath water until it started to turn lukewarm, and then he climbed out of the tub and he wrapped himself up in a soft cotton towel. He cleansed, toned and moisturised his face and body, he brushed his teeth and rinsed his mouth through an herbal mouthwash, and then he went into his bedroom and he sat down at his vanity table so that he could apply his makeup.

 

Jimin’s mentor before him, a woman that had raised him that he thought of as his mother even when he didn’t know if she was, had painted her face every single day because she had told him that witches had their own masks to hide behind. But he thought of the ritual as something else, something different to a mask. He thought of it as war paint, and whenever he saw humans staring at him in town with wide and shocked eyes, he felt powerful.

 

Jimin was a witch, and he wanted humans to be shocked by, enticed by and scared of his power.

 

First, Jimin spread a light base of foundation onto his skin, which had been created himself just like all of his products. He had infused it with oils to give him a dewy and glowing complexion. Then he added a hint of pencil to his eyebrows that he carefully brushed in place, so that they looked thicker and more defined. Next came the peachy stripes of blusher, and then the dusky pink eyeshadow, which he carefully applied in a gradient that turned milky and pale as it drew closer to his brow bone.

 

Ringing his eyes with eyeliner, Jimin found that he had reached the apex of his meditation, and he felt so free from worries and calm. It steadied his hand so that he could draw the lines, and it helped him paint his lips with thick lipstick from the end of his brush. He sealed the lipstick in place with a clear coat, just so that it wouldn’t smear over the course of the day, and then he blew his reflection a kiss.

 

It was time to get dressed.

 

Jimin reached into his wardrobe to retrieve a sheer shirt that had bold black vertical stripes just to add a hint of modesty - Saint Laurent with an open collar and long cuffed sleeves. Pulling it on, he felt like a prince, standing in front of his full wall mirror naked save for the black material. He spread the shirt open, exposing his nudity and running his gaze down his body. The lengths skirted around his hips, and when he turned around he saw that the back cheekily covered the top curve of his buttocks. He couldn’t help but giggle to himself at the sight, turning back around to button up the shirt and stop his teasing act with his reflection.

 

“Beautiful, I look beautiful today, darling,” Jimin said with a pleased smile, turning to look down at his cat as he secured the top button.

 

If only Jimin had someone else to tell him how beautiful that he was, someone that wasn’t his pets. If only he had someone that could watch him dressing whilst lying in bed across the room, silently demanding that he come back over for another kiss; someone that appreciated his beauty the way that he had always craved and didn’t seem to be intimidated by it.

 

After securing his shirt, Jimin slipped into a pair of high-waisted black trousers. Taehyung’s opal necklace was still dangling around his throat, and he reached up to give it a tender stroke between his fingers and thumb. The opalescent surface gleamed in the afternoon sunlight, reflecting back so many beautiful colours.

 

“What are you going to bring me, hmm?” Jimin asked, bringing the pendant up to his lips to give it a soft kiss. “Insight? Karmic return? Zero inhibition around beautiful men?”

 

Jimin let out a soft laugh at this, turning on his heel to leave his bedroom and enter the hallway to get to the kitchen.

 

His home was a hanok, a massive single-floor hanok with a basement heating system to keep it warm in the winter by heating up the floors. His bedroom and kitchen took up most of the layout as they were his favourite rooms, but he still had a small sitting-area that was filled with bookshelves that had dozens of books and diaries slipped into them.

 

His kitchen was located at the back of the building, a massive rectangular room that was filled with counters and cupboards, plant pots that dangled from metal chains from the ceiling, a large cauldron set in a fireplace that he used to boil great quantities of water and created candles and washes in, and countless pots in which he stored dry goods, roots and bulbs inside. One counter was covered in glass alchemical goods: a mortar and pestle, retort, calcinator and alembic, which he used to crush and dry plants and herbs and create things like tonics with.

 

Despite all of the mess, Jimin still had a neat and clean area to the side with a table and floor cushions to sit on; alongside his actual kitchen goods. It was where he sat to eat breakfast, seeing as he liked to eat dinner in sleepy town whilst he observed all of the humans through the restaurant window.

 

But much like his car, Jimin’s hanok had plants growing all up the cream walls and ceiling and clinging to the wooden support beams. It meant that there was little point in decorating his home to look nice, save for his bedroom, and so most of the home was bare of wall art and photographs. The vines had a bad habit of knocking them off, or picking them up with their tendrils and refusing to let go again.

 

There was a glass teapot sitting on the stove, which Jimin filled with water and then added a bundle of ginseng roots to. He clicked his fingers hard, setting the stove ring alight so that the infusion of water and ginseng roots could start boiling. He retrieved a cigarette from his cigarette tin and he hunkered forward to set the end alight from the burning stove, breathing the quick inhale out of his nose hard as he straightened up.

 

Jimin liked to carry around a lighter to hide this pyromancy skill away from the humans in town because he knew that they would be terrified of him if they witnessed such an act. He knew for a fact that most of them thought that he was really just a shaman or even a homeopathic healer rather than a witch - the former two professions being respected and normal, and the latter being evil.

 

If Jimin set cigarettes on fire with a click of the fingers, he was a demon.

 

If Jimin helped cure cancer with his supernatural tonics and treatments, he was a guardian angel.

 

Never mind two sides of the same coin, Jimin was two different coins altogether. Some dropped to his feet to praise him for caring for their loved ones and helping them with their simple human problems, and others refused him entry into their restaurants and homes because they thought that he was dangerous and queer.

 

Well…they were right on both regards but for the completely wrong reasons.

 

Jimin took a slow drag off the end of the cigarette, holding it in his lungs as he moved to cross the hallway again and he opened his front door.

 

Just like usual, there was a crate sitting on his porch, filled with a random mixture of goods that he had delivered every single week. Most of the goods were food, and so he hefted the crate inside and he carried it into his kitchen so that he could crack it open and empty it. He liked recycling the crates by filling them with soil and planting even more flowers and herbs inside, even when he had more than enough out in his garden and he knew that he shouldn’t make even more planters. But he also recycled them so that he could deliver his crops to certain clients in bulk, and so they served two good uses.

 

Jimin snapped the crate open with his machete, which he used to cut down beanstalks and hack bamboo down to size in the garden. As soon as it was free, he reached up to pull his cigarette free from his lips, holding it balanced over the backs of his fingers and lazily caught between his index and middle finger.

 

“Let’s see what we’ve got here, darling,” Jimin remarked, breathing out the lungful of smoke whilst Geumseong jumped up onto the counter to start curiously sniffing away at the crate.

 

Jimin’s usual order of paraffin, cut into fat blocks of unscented wax, were tied together with twine and carefully wrapped in wax paper. He had a cardboard box of plastic baggies that he would burn through with ease over the next week or two, and another one that had recyclable plastic bottles. All that he could hope was that his human clients disposed of the plastic like he wanted them to - by being responsible and caring of their local environment and not just tossing them away without a single care.

 

Along with these basic goods, there were food goods for himself and his pets, which had been stored in tins and boxes. A local fisherman gave him tins of fresh fish to feed Geumseong with in return for his herbal aphrodisiacs; a dog breeder provided him with bags of kibble for his dog in return for incense that she burnt to help her dogs stay healthy and revitalised. Even most of the food that he received was gifts from local shop owners as thanks for him assisting them with their problems, instead of money.

 

Jimin collected the pet food bowls so that he could fill them up, filling Geumseong’s bowl with a tin of fresh fish and pouring a massive serving of dry kibble chunks out for Hwaseong. He left the bowl of fish on the end of the kitchen counter, his cat leaping up to tuck into her breakfast heartily. He carried the other bowl across the kitchen, shoving the slide door aside so that he could step out onto the back porch.

 

“Hwaseong, boy!” Jimin called, before giving a sharp whistle.

 

The sound caught the dog’s attention, who was currently napping on the far end stretch of porch. He lifted his shaggy head up to look at him, slowly getting to his legs so that he could trot over to him.

 

Hwaseong was a red and white akita of rather tremendous size, with a curled-up and thick brush tail and large intelligent eyes.

 

Jimin had raised him from a puppy until now, five whole years since he had been just eighteen years old and he had started his solo spiritual journey without his witch mother. Hwaseong had been a gift, and a blessed gift at that. The dog had been a guardian once, loyal and strong, but now he was more of a guard dog that watched over his home for him.

 

After placing the bowl down for him, Jimin gave the dog a vigorous ruffle to the back of the neck and then he went back inside of his hanok.

 

Jimin blew out the flames on the stove, the tea having infused into a rich shade trapped between honey and ginger. He poured out his own serving, which he drank over a light breakfast of harvested fruits from his garden that he kept stored in his fridge, boiled rice and nabak-kimchi. When he was finished, he washed the bowls in the sink and he carefully stored them away again, and then it was time to start working.

 

Jimin kept his huang qi reserve on one of the many windowsills in his kitchen for ease, where it got plenty of sunlight and it was protected from any harsh weather, as it was one of his most sacred blooms. The plant was a yellow tap root species, with an abundance of green leaves and yellow bell flowers. The roots were where all of the magic came from, and it was these roots that he cured and chopped up into fine slivers to give to dozens of humans in town to take alongside their usual cancer treatments.

 

After much experimentation, he had found that feeding the plant with a special infusion of ginseng water was increasing its potency; helping it absorb intense levels of antioxidants which complemented its already phenomenal blood and tissue cleansing abilities.

 

So Jimin retrieved the rest of the ginseng tea and he added a splash of freezing cold water to not only cool it, but to dilute the strength. He watered the huang qi and several other planters with the infusion, singing under his breath the entire time.

 

Right now, herbalism seemed to be his strongest skill by far as he was able to cultivate absolutely any plant that his fingertips touched. It wasn’t simple, it required a lot of energy and focus, and it was a skill that a great many witches struggled to master because it involved living creatures that had their own bodies and minds. But Jimin’s garden was a sign of just how much that he had excelled at the art over other skills.

 

Sure, he could conjure up flames with a hard click of his fingers, or could draw up great amounts of water by rolling his wrists and sucking it up from the ground. He had also long mastered the ability to create treatments and charms back when he had been a mere child, but nothing came close to his talents for herbalism.

 

Maybe when he finally unleashed his full skill potential, Jimin might find that he had other hidden talents? Maybe someone would be able to help him discover powerful secrets and skills that he had never imagined before?

 

After feeding the plants in his kitchen, Jimin collected a pair of suede Chelsea boots that he slipped onto his feet so that he could go out into his garden. Geumseong was sitting on the counter cleaning her face, purring and content from her fish breakfast, and Hwaseong had went back to napping on the porch in the mid-afternoon heat.

 

Jimin’s garden contained not only rows and rows of vegetables and fruit trees in an orchard, and rose bushes and flower patches, but it also contained a greenhouse in which he cultivated even more plants. Wisteria and entada rheedii had taken over an entire wall of the greenhouse with their fat and thick vines, clumped blooms and gigantic bean pods, and he had planters inside all neatly placed in rows.

 

If Jimin wasn’t sleeping then he was tending to his plants. If he wasn’t tending to his plants then he was seeing his clients, giving consultations and exchanging goods with them, or he was mixing up his treatments. There was the even rarer situation in which he was out doing ‘normal human things’ - like shopping for food and new clothes and selling any trinkets that he had sucked all of the energy from, seeing as he had no other hobbies.

 

Jimin rolled up his shirt sleeves to his elbows to keep them clean, not wanting to ruin the precious sheer fabric whilst he tended to the plants. He ran his gaze over the rows of plants, over the tall fruit and blossom trees that fringed the garden and the stretch of rose bushes, and then he stepped down off the porch to start examining them.

 

Jimin hunkered down to study the first plant that he came across, gently taking hold of one of its leaves so that he could hold it up and examine the tiny cluster of bell flowers hidden away underneath it. A quick touch of the soil revealed moisture was still present because of last night’s rainfall, and he was likely going to find that his whole garden was well watered for the day thanks to the sudden weather change.

 

“Hmm, you all seem fine,” he remarked, shifting to examine his angelica plants to find moist and black soil hidden away under their leaves too. “Did you like that rain? Was it refreshing? Did it taste nice?”

 

The flowers almost danced at the sound of his voice, the leaves rustling so that they could whisper at him and tell him all about the wonderful rain shower last night. Oh, they had loved it when the sky had cracked open and had sprayed them with a burst of cold and plentiful rain; they had danced from the heavy droplets splashing down onto their leaves and they had sipped at the wet soil all night and morning long.

 

Jimin smiled as he watched the colourful blooms shifting from side to side in front of him. Quite a lot of them looked much more vibrant today, flushed with colour and happiness from the rainstorm and his voice and soothing touch. He moved across the garden to check on the rest of the plants, examining the soil and spraying them here and there just to keep them happy.

 

Alongside his flowers, he grew other herbs nestled within them. Jimin plucked a spearmint leaf free, popping it into mouth so that he could chew it whilst he worked. The intense flavour flooded his mouth, made his tongue almost burn from the icy freshness.

 

Jimin was in the act of digging up vegetables from the earth to fill up a crate with when he noticed that Geumseong had sauntered her way out into garden. As he tracked her, he saw that she was going straight over to his plants so that she could sniff at them.

 

“Ah ah ah! Geumseong! Stay away from the plants! No chewing!”

 

Geumseong turned her head to look right at him, giving him a languid blink with her mismatching eyes. The look told him that she didn’t care if she wasn’t supposed to chew on the plants - she was going to do so and there was nothing that he could do to stop her.

 

Jimin could only sigh at this, giving her a stern look that he hoped that the cat took to heart (even when he knew that that never worked). Then he resumed digging up the carrots, tilling the rich soil to slowly bring them to the surface and pluck them free.

 

“Hwaseong, you need to keep an eye on her,” Jimin suggested to his dog, nodding in the direction of Geumseong. She was gnawing on something, her furry lips pulled back to show her thin needle-like teeth. “That’s one naughty pussycat.”

 

Hwaseong trotted down off the porch to go over to the cat, grabbing Geumseong by the scruff of her neck so that he could carry her away from the flower patch. The cat went limp at his bite, dangling from his mouth so that her legs dangled from side to side from every bouncy step that the dog took.

 

“Good boy!” Jimin praised, turning to watch his dog carrying his mischievous cat back inside of the house just like that. “I wish our little goddess could follow orders like you can, Hwaseong.”

 

Jimin dragged the crop land so that he could unearth dozens of vegetables, which he dusted free of soil and then stored in one of his many crates. He had a large order to fill, and so he was going to collect all of the ingredients that he needed first and foremost. He pulled vegetables free from the roots, he plucked ripe peaches from his peach tree, and he slowly filled the crate up before going inside of his large greenhouse.

 

Inside of the greenhouse, Jimin grew a variety of more delicate and specialised plants and herbs, which he cared for by way of sprinklers and heated lamps which dangled over the different planters. As he stepped inside of the glass building, he heard a familiar soft rustling sound, and he glanced down to see a snake slithering free from the plants.

 

Mokseong was his greenhouse guardian, a salmusa pit viper of mottled brown and black patches that loved the cool damp earth inside of the planters and the heat of the greenhouse lamps. He kept any pests from entering the glass building and attacking his delicate plants, be they the rat kind or the human kind, and his venom had some wonderful uses when he let him drain it into vials every couple of weeks.

 

As Jimin watered, pruned and snipped at the plants here and there, Mokseong slithered up his legs so that he could hang around his neck comfortably; seeking warmth and strokes along his smooth body. The snake could be surprisingly affectionate when he wanted to be, and so Jimin ensured that he gave him firm massages as he worked. Judging by the swollen lump in his belly, Mokseong had already happily dined on a rat or bird that he had found sneaking around the garden.

 

“Hmm, the strawberries look to be blossoming at last,” Jimin said, as he gently pushed a cluster of white flowers and green leaves aside to eye the growing fruits that were still green and rather hard. “I can’t wait for more fresh strawberries, Mokseong.”

 

The snake just gave a soft hiss at this, his forked tongue brushing against his jawline ticklishly.

 

As soon as Jimin had tended to his greenhouse flowers, he entered the mushroom shed built right outside of it to collect some for his crate of fresh goods. The shed was pitch black and so he needed to use his phone torch to illuminate it, the scent of coffee and damp soil filling the space because they flourished in the substance. He grew a variety of edible, poisonous and simple mushrooms with little more usage than going into treatments, though they were needed much less than his flowers and herbs.

 

After plucking a basket full of mushrooms free, he left the shed to pack them into the crate, which was now filled with his order for his usual weekly client. He had to deliver it as soon as possible so that the ingredients could be stored away and kept fresh, and so after sealing the crate up tight, he retrieved his phone to check his evening schedule.

 

“Hmm, got an ounce of that in the dash…got that in a jar in the kitchen,” Jimin breathed out, scanning all of the client orders slowly and swiping his thumb up his screen.

 

Satisfied that he had all of his client’s orders accounted for that that he had nothing to prepare, Jimin stored the crate in the boot of the car and he slammed it shut. He went back into the hanok to pack more baggies with smokeable leaves and herbs, soluble powders, drinkable tonics in vials and incense sprigs. He retrieved his watering can and spray bottle and then exited his home through the front door so that he could get to his car.

 

Jimin tugged the back door open so that he could lean inside and start watering the planters before he left his home for the evening.

 

Inside of his car planters he was currently growing ylang ylang, with its spider leg-like creeping petals and beautiful scent; snowdrops of pure white; vivid purple violets of sugary sweetness and sarsaparilla, with its abundant leaves, purple flowers and fat red berries that loved the shade.

 

Honeysuckle and jasmine were growing all over the window rests and roof, though they were currently not in bloom just yet. Hopefully some time soon, the former would bloom vibrant trumpet flowers to replace its red berries and the latter would uncurl to show white and soft pink flowers as he had been cultivating the rare bloom.

 

Lastly, in his cup holder pot, Jimin was gently nurturing his favourite plant of them all - saffron, she of the gorgeous purple petals and snaking red stamens. It had taken him so long to manage to cultivate the main plant in his garden and successfully transfer one of the rooted plants into the pot, but with much effort and determination, Jimin had managed to keep his favourite flower present at all times inside of his car.

 

(Human, warm human)

 

(Warm human come?)

 

“Hmm? Do my lovelies want to see Yoongi again?” Jimin asked, eyeing the twitching vines to see them curling up their tendrils like fingers. “Do you like him? He was warm, wasn’t he? Warm and…powerful.”

 

(Warm human touch)

 

(Touch good)

 

(Want more touch)

 

“OK, OK, I get the idea,” Jimin said with a wide smile, retrieving his spray bottle so that he could spritz the vines with water and keep them moist and supple. “I can’t believe my lovelies have a crush on a human…”

 

On account of the fact that it was already the late afternoon hours, Jimin had to leave to visit his first client. She lived across the town in a small family home, rather than in one of the apartment blocks in the district. Everything seemed smaller here than it was in Busan; smaller and emptier.

 

Nari was a middle-aged woman that had been purchasing his fresh produce for her restaurant ever since he had started growing it in his garden - which he delivered every week or so thanks to his incredibly fast growing plants and crops. He brought her carrots, onions, cabbages, potatoes, plums, radishes, cucumbers, mushrooms, bean sprouts and peaches, which went into countless dishes on the menu. He had sampled a great deal of them when he had visited her restaurant, which was one of the most popular evening ones in the entire town thanks to her wonderful cooking, the friendly staff and the special secret, of course.

 

Magical ingredients filled with so much more flavour and aroma.

 

Until recently, Nari had been purchasing other goods from him. They had had to terminate that transaction on account of a tragic and sudden death that had rendered his services unneeded. Yet Nari still purchased his goods, was one of the few humans that paid him for his services rather than give him trinkets and jewellery.

 

So Jimin guided his car into the main heart of Dalseong-gun by following several dirt roads until he managed to get onto paved ones. There wasn’t a great deal of traffic to get stuck in, which made the journey much more bearable. Jimin turned on the stereo on to listen to music whilst he travelled, not only because he enjoyed listening to it but because his plants did too. Some dreamy trip hop beats were surprisingly soothing to them, they seemed to like the pulse of the powerful bass reverberating through the speakers and across the interior of the vehicle.

 

When he reached the woman’s home, the sun was still present on the horizon which meant that he wasn’t late making his delivery, and so he retrieved the heavy crate from the boot and he lugged it across the small front path to get to the back door. Knocking on said door was fun, but he managed to nurse the weight with one arm and reach over to rap his knuckles against the wood. After a minute of waiting, the door swung inwards and he caught sight of Nari through the gap.

 

“Fresh delivery!” Jimin called with a smile, seeing the woman’s face lighting up at the sight of him.

 

“Good evening, Jiminie, please, come in,” Nari said, as she stepped aside to let him into the kitchen. “I’m so very happy to see you.”

 

Jimin was unable to remove his boots with the box in his arms, and so he could only hastily rub the soles against the porch mat before stepping inside as to not track dirt into the home.

 

“But, Jiminie,” Nari sighed out, as she shut the door behind him. “I actually have a favour to ask you.”

 

“Of course, darling. You know that you can request my services for whatever you need.”

 

“Do you grow any flowers in that wonderful garden of yours too? Sunflowers, maybe? Sunflowers were Namgi’s favourite and I was hoping that me and my son could create a nice shrine here in this house for him. Maybe in the living-room, in the corner between the bookshelves? I think it would be nice there…”

 

“Oh, your son? I thought that he was living up in Seoul, darling?” Jimin asked, placing the crate of fruits and vegetables down onto the counter for her and reaching up to brush his tousled hair back off his face. “Is he here on a break perhaps? Maybe a small vacation?”

 

“He moved back down again just a couple of days ago, to help me with all of the legal things and Namgi’s estate,” she explained, which made him hum softly under his breath. “I need all the help I can get, with running the restaurant and what not.”

 

“What’s your son’s name, hmm?”

 

“Yoongi, Min Yoongi, I didn’t give him his father’s clan name,” Nari confided in a quiet voice. “You know, because of everything.”

 

Jimin felt his smile dying on his face at this, so caught by surprise that he could do no more than stare at her as he tried to process this fact.

 

Yoongi was Nari’s son?

 

Jimin had never been inside of the home save for the kitchen, and so he had never caught sight of any framed photographs of loved ones on her home walls before. He could vaguely recall her talking about her son, the one that she had raised on her own, the one that worked in Seoul as a professional…photographer, was it? Maybe an artist? He couldn’t seem to remember the exact details about him because she hadn’t said too much during their encounters, but now that she had said that Yoongi was her son…he was starting to see it.

 

Nari’s rounded face and rather sweet nose, that wasn’t quite a button but was close, her thickly lashed eyes and small pout of a mouth. Yes, he could see enough basic similarities between her and Yoongi to see that he was related to her at a glance.

 

“…As a matter of fact, I grow so many sunflowers in my garden, darling,” Jimin said with a wide smile, shifting to lounge against the counter and running his fingers across his lips. “I can bring you a weekly bouquet of sunflowers, free of charge. Consider it my apology for my treatments not working fast enough.”

 

“Ah, Jiminie, your treatments did what they could,” Nari said with a wave of the wrist. “It was too late, far too late. Your treatments gave me that little bit longer with Namgi before his passing, I’m certain of it, and for that I’m thankful and forever indebted to you.”

 

“Is your son home right now, hmm?” Jimin asked, rolling his gaze over to look at the kitchen doorway.

 

“No, he’s out collecting Namgi’s personal belongings from his home; he had to take his van to do so because we don’t have a car. He got his license up in Seoul - I’m very proud of him for that. I can’t drive, I can’t even ride a bike,” Nari said with a soft chuckle, reaching up to place a hand against her bosom. “You might see him though, when you next bring me a delivery.”

 

“Oh, I’m sure that I’ll see him soon enough…”

 

After leaving Nari’s home, Min Nari - he mentally corrected with a laugh, Jimin climbed back into his car so that he could carry on travelling across the district to deliver his client’s orders. He clicked his fingers to set a cigarette alight, starting up the engine so that he could roll back into the road; the stereo switching on once more to blare loud music.

 

Over the course of the evening, Jimin handed over treatments for impotence, cancer, skin problems - acne, wrinkles, and more in return for jewellery of gold, silver and studded with various authentic gems and stones. He handed over blessed good luck study charms to students in return for old friendship gifts of theirs they no longer cared for that radiated beautiful childish energy that he just had to have; energy that made him smile just touching the old bracelets and keychains. He consulted with women wanting to find out if their husbands were cheating on them with massage girls, and husbands wanting to know if there was a way to make their wives find them handsome and charming again after twenty years of happy marriage that was sadly starting to dull.

 

One by one, Jimin exchanged his goods for new items, which went into his pockets and onto his dashboard. He checked his banking app to see transactions going through for the more expensive services like love and fertility magic, like spiritual consultations for dead loved ones and banishment charms to keep other humans well away.

 

Naturally, Jimin found himself drawn to Taehyung’s café, but this time it wasn’t because of the younger man’s youthful and bright energy and beautifully crafted desserts, but rather something more potent entirely. He rolled the car up to the curb to kill the engine, shifting on the seat to give his saffron flower a tender stroke.

 

Before he even stepped out of his car, Jimin knew that Yoongi was inside of the café because he could sense him. The man had an interesting aura around him, one that he knew that he would never confuse for anything else because he had never felt it before.

 

There was something coming him, something powerful and enticing that rippled in waves that just pulled him in. It was sexual energy mostly, for Yoongi seemed to be carrying an extraordinary amount of sexual energy around him that seemed to be suppressed in some way. Virginal, but far from meek and sweet to Jimin. Those waves were hot pulses, so faded that he could barely even see them around his body, but he knew that with some assistance, he could help make those energy waves spike rather than weakly ripple.

 

Why, just last night Jimin had sensed those waves growing stronger whilst Yoongi had been slumbering in his car. Whatever had entered that funny little head of his whilst he had been under the influence of his blue lotus cigarettes, it had been erotic enough in nature to feed into his underlying powers, and it had revealed to him a shocking amount of energy.

 

It would be a waste for Yoongi to not utilise that powerful energy of his, which he seemed so completely unaware of. The other man presented himself in such a reserved and quiet fashion, when inside…his energy levels were begging to be unleashed just like his own energy.

 

Jimin had a rather funny thought that he couldn’t seem to shake and it was that Yoongi might just be…he might just be the man that he had been searching for this entire time. He had such powerful sexual energy coming from him, he was handsome and charming in a funny kind of way, and he had potential that was buried underneath layers of bad health and shyness.

 

But only after he had flooded Yoongi’s body with treatments to fix his flagging physical and mental health, would Jimin really see just how strong that potential could be.

 

Jimin opened the compartment so that he could retrieve a baggie, in which there were dozens of herbal pills. He pulled the keys out of the ignition, popping the door open so that he could climb out of the vehicle and slam the door shut again. As he crossed the curb, he shoved the keys and baggie into his trouser pocket, and then he pushed the café door open.

 

“Oh, Jimin! Good evening!” Taehyung suddenly said from behind the counter, just as he lifted the partition up to carry a tray of delicious-looking food over to a table of elderly women.

 

“Good evening, Taehyungie,” Jimin said, letting the door shut behind him and then hunkering forward so that he could tug his boots off and place them on the shoe rack. It seemed that Yoongi’s shoes were already present too, a pair of thick soled and deep navy Doc Martens creepers that he eyed with a soft hum of appreciation. “How’s Sookja doing?”

 

“Ask her yourself, Jimin, she’s right here,” Taehyung explained, as he squatted down to start placing dozens of bowls and cups down for the table.

 

“Oh my goodness!” Jimin exclaimed with a wide smile. “Which one of you beautiful grandmothers is Taehyung’s beloved Sookja, hmm?”

 

This compliment made the four women all titter laughter, reaching up to cover their pleased smiles in a way that made Jimin let out a happy giggle. There really was no words to describe just how much that he loved grandmothers, loved listening to them natter on and on about the things that they had seen and done, loved giving them treatments to soothe away the aches and pains of a life hard-lived and worth bragging about.

 

At his question, one of the women lifted a hand up to signal that it was her. There was a slight resemblance in her and her grandson’s faces, not as strongly as Yoongi and Nari’s, but strong enough for him to see that she was Taehyung’s grandmother.

 

Jimin saw that she was wearing a floral headscarf, which might just be a prop at disguising her thinning hair, which was no doubt the result of the chemotherapy. He made a mental note to give Taehyung some supplements to help fix that issue, which would hopefully help her hair stay strong and thick even through the course of treatments.

 

“Sookja, you’re looking beautiful this evening,” Jimin said, crossing the room so that he could take one of her gnarled and wrinkled hands within both of his. “How are you feeling today, hmm?”

 

“Oh, I’m feeling much better today,” Sookja said, her voice creaking dryly from her age and current ill health. “Our Taehyungie has been an angel, a wonderful angel. He takes me for my treatments every single week, and he makes sure that I drink all of the tea that you make for me. This tea tasted much sweeter, I think I-I detected some ginseng and-”

 

“Yes, I infused the roots with ginseng tea when I was growing it, just for an added boost,” Jimin explained in a soft voice.

 

“Ah, I knew it,” Sookja said with a knowing smile. “Why, I’m starting to eat much more since Taehyungie started giving me your tea, and today is the first time that I’ve been able to go out with my friends again since my diagnosis. God bless you, son.”

 

“Then allow me to excuse myself so that you and your friends can share your meal, Sookja,” Jimin said, lifting her hand to give it a quick kiss on the back of her knuckles. “Make sure to eat as much as you can to keep up your strength.”

 

Jimin straightened up to see Taehyung giving him a thankful smile, his large eyes looking a little wet to him as he disappeared into the back room again.

 

“The boy’s an angel,” one of her friend’s said in a quiet voice, nursing her own cup of tea. “A true angel sent down from heaven.”

 

This made all of the gathered women hum in agreement, before falling into a nattering conversation about just how lovely and charming that he was.

 

Across the café, Yoongi was sitting in the same corner window seat as last night: his camera on the table along with a series of empty bowls and plates, and there was a large coffee cup at hand. He spared a quick glance up at him before dropping his gaze again, even when it was pretty obvious that he had been watching the entire conversation from the sidelines.

 

Tonight he was dressed in a denim jacket to chase away any chill breezes, underneath which there was a loose white logo tee-shirt hanging loose from the waistband of his fitted and cuffed jeans. The sight of rather childish cartoon print socks on his feet was surprisingly cute in a way, betrayed his attempts at acting mature and reserved around him.

 

“Good evening to you too, honey,” Jimin called, as he moved to draw closer to his table.

 

“Uh, good evening, Jimin. You want a coffee, huh?” Yoongi offered, even when he had no need to do so.

 

It seemed that Yoongi might just want to talk to him tonight if he was willing to buy him coffee, quite likely as a result of what had happened last night. It made sense, he had been far too foggy to have possibly have spoken to him about his experiences, and he might have questions about it all that he would like answers to.

 

“I prefer champagne,” Jimin remarked with a joking smile, as he shifted to get to his knees first, and then he settled down on the floor cushion. “Tea’s fine though - chrysanthemum.”

 

“Sure thing. What about a bite to eat, huh?”

 

“What? Are you buying a little treat just for me? Hmm, mama raised a gentleman, didn’t she?” he teased, his smile just growing wider and wider.

 

Yoongi let out a soft laugh at this, struggling to hold his gaze even after he had willingly invited him to his table with the offer of a hot drink. There was that same flighty shyness from last night, which just clashed against his powerful aura in the most wonderful of ways. Two opposing forces meeting together, the end result so very alluring.

 

“If you must know, Taehyungie makes amazing tteok,” Jimin said, curling his fingers up against his cheek to cradle his chin in his palm. “I’m kind of addicted to them.”

 

“Chrysanthemum tea and tteok, got it,” Yoongi said with a nod, gesturing at Taehyung when he reemerged from the back room so that he could place their order. “Hey, Tae. Can I get a refill and an egg tart, and can Jimin get a cup of…”

 

After taking their order, Taehyung went back into the kitchen so that he could retrieve the drinks and snacks for them. It would take him a couple of minutes to prepare the order, and so they had a moment to themselves in which to talk or simply observe one another.

 

Jimin turned his head to watch Taehyung go, noticing a much more obvious bounce in his step that showed him that the younger man was very happy today. That was of no surprise, seeing as his grandmother was present and enjoying an evening meal with her friends in this very café, looking much better than what she had presumably looked like over the last two months or so. Just watching him go brought a soft smile to his face, and Jimin watched him disappearing into the back room through the curtain before turning his attention back to Yoongi.

 

Yoongi didn’t say a word to him whilst they waited for Taehyung to return to their table, showcasing that shyness of his as he studied the tabletop, the view outside of the window, the people dining across the café; everything but hold his gaze. He tapped his fingers on the wood, which drew attention to his hands.

 

Jimin couldn’t help but study them, seeing long fingers with blunt nails that had most certainly been nibbled on here and there over the last week or so. They were the kind of hands that he felt would be easy to recognise on account of the prominent veins and knuckles visible through his thin and lightly tanned skin.

 

Jimin found himself almost entranced by his tapping fingers, unable to take his eyes away from them. He heard the faint sound of conversation floating through the café air, blending in with soft jazz playing from the mounted speakers behind the counter. It was only as Taehyung hunkered down beside their table to place their order down for them that he was dragged out of his musings.

 

“Thank you, Taehyungie,” he said with a quick smile, eyeing the spread to see two steaming cups of coffee and tea, two small plates of dessert, and a jar of honey with a wooden dipper sticking out of the top. “I was just craving some of your desserts.”

 

Jimin added a liberal drizzle of honey into his cup, gently stirring it into the steaming golden tea to sweeten it to his liking. As soon as it had blended into the tea, he placed the jar aside with a content hum and then he popped one of the pink chunks of tteok into his mouth to chew it. It was irresistibly chewy, both sweet and savoury on his tongue.

 

“So, how are you feeling, sleepyhead?” Jimin asked Yoongi around the bite to break their momentary silence. He picked up his cup and hovered it in front of his face to inhale the sweet and somewhat spicy scent.

 

This new nickname of choice made Yoongi laugh softly, reaching up to cover his mouth with the backs of his fingers. He saw his cheeks flushing with a hint of colour; just another sign of his shyness. Jimin wished that he hadn’t hidden it away like that, however, for he had wanted to see his full smile.

 

“Feeling refreshed? Feeling like you actually slept?”

 

“It’s hard explaining what I feel like right now, Jimin. But I know one thing, and it’s that your treatment…your drug, medicine, whatever the fuck it was - it worked. I ain’t feeling fully refreshed just yet, ‘cos I’m so backed up but-”

 

“Oh, you’re backed up, alright…” Jimin remarked from over the rim of his teacup; giving the other man a mischievous look as he ran his gaze down his body.

 

It seemed that Yoongi was completely oblivious to both the look and the joke, for he just looked at him blankly for a moment before continuing.

 

“But I’m feeling better today, better than I’ve felt in weeks now. Shit, I, uh, I didn’t buy into the whole thing last night, y’know?” Yoongi admitted in a quiet voice, as he scratched and tugged at his ear in a rather nervous fidgeting habit. “I thought that witches were something outta a storybook and not real. I’ll be honest and admit that I thought it was just one big con act and that you were taking the people in this town for a ride.”

 

“Thank you for being honest with me, honey.”

 

“Well, I mean, it’s bad to take advantage of people, but…if what you’re selling actually had a placebo effect on ‘em all?” Yoongi shifted on the floor cushion and gave his coffee cup a slow twist. “It’s hard to see your hustling as so morally repugnant, y’know?”

 

“Then how do you know that my ‘magic spell’ on you-” Jimin peeled a hand free from his teacup to twitch his fingers at him playfully, “wasn’t just a placebo effect, hmm?”

 

“I’ve already tried that with multiple supplements and medication, I think that I’m immune to the effect,” Yoongi replied with a soft shrug, retrieving his fork so that he could cut it into the egg tart with the tines. “Even if it somehow was a placebo effect, I still appreciate it.”

 

“Oh? Does that mean that a certain little sleepyhead wants a little more of the good stuff?” Jimin asked with a naughty smile, as he placed his cup down and he rested his cheek in his warm palm.

 

“I never thought that I’d say something like this, Jimin, but gimme another hit.”

 

Yoongi’s lips twitched at this before he let out a sudden laugh, a funny wheezy guffaw that made his eyelids crinkle at the corners and made him look considerably more youthful. It had been hard focusing on his features last night on account of how bruised and sunken that his eyes had looked, how raw and nibbled his lips had been.

 

But that little grin showed Jimin an unexpectedly attractive side to the other man. Youthful, maybe a little bit playful at times even when he tried so hard to hide it. It was enough to make his own lips curl up at the corners, finding this new-found level of energy and hidden vigour highly…pleasing.

 

Underneath Yoongi’s exhaustion, there was something there; a spark just waiting to be ignited until it grew strong and powerful, until it flooded his system like a wildfire.

 

Jimin wanted to light a match and watch Yoongi burn.

 

“Hmm, I’d love to give you a hit, honey. But you remember what I said last night, right? Even after that…hot little dream of yours?” Jimin asked, seeing the way that Yoongi shifted on the floor cushion and how his cheeks flushed pink again. “That was a free sample, and if you want more, you’ve gotta give me something in return.”

 

“I know. What about these, huh?”

 

Jimin watched Yoongi reaching into his denim jacket pocket curiously, and his ears detected a wonderful sound underneath the rustling of the material. It was the hollow clinking sound of something that was unmistakably seashells knocking together, and he felt his own fingers tightening around his teacup in something close to anticipation.

 

When Yoongi pulled his hand free, his fingers were curled around whatever had been in his pocket. He moved to hold his fist out to him, and Jimin found himself holding his breath as he slowly uncurled his fingers.

 

In his palm, there were three pink and smooth seashells and a pair of silver cufflinks, which glinted in the fluorescent overhead lights.

 

“Oh, honey!” Jimin crooned, as he snatched one of the small seashells right out of his hand so that he could get a better look at it. “It’s so beautiful!”

 

The seashell was a rose petal tellin shell, with a soft pink gradient colouring all over its smooth and scallop-shaped surface. The colouration made him think of nipples, especially the soft aureole of a creamy shade around the vivid pink centre. It was a beautiful seashell, and the two sister shells still in Yoongi’s palm were just as divine to look at, and Jimin just knew that he needed to place them in his bathroom display. They would be the prized centrepiece, demanding attention and giving off beautiful wave sounds all throughout the night.

 

“What kinda feelings d’you get off that seashell, huh?” Yoongi asked him curiously, lowering his coffee cup so that he could lean closer to him and eye his expression. “What kinda energy do they give off?”

 

“This is a foreign seashell,” Jimin replied, without a hint of hesitation, not even looking up at the other man as he was far too busy examining the seashell. “It isn’t native to the country, or even the continent. This is an American seashell, I’m sure of it. Motherly, that’s what I think when I hold it in my hands. This seashell screams motherly love to me, it’s trapped inside of it like grains of sand and it’s so alluring to me, honey.”

 

“When I was a kid, we went to America on holiday,” Yoongi explained, shifting on the floor cushion to get comfortable. “My mama, uncle and me. Anyway, she’s a bit obsessed with trinkets too. Seashells, pressed flowers, newspaper and magazines cut-outs - she used to fill up scrapbooks with all of the different things that she liked. She also used to buy all of that tourist garbage that they sell at ridiculously high prices, even when my uncle hated it and thought that she was getting ripped off. But we didn’t have the heart to tell her, y’know? ‘Cos she just loved the shite. There’s boxes of stuff just like that, Jimin, both in our family home and even up in my apartment in Seoul. I can’t toss it away. I can’t even give it back to her, ‘cos I just like looking at it sometimes too - for the memories.”

“Mmm, I knew it,” Jimin said with a wide smile, looking up at the other man. “You’re so painfully sentimental, honey. I saw it on your face last night, I heard it in your voice too. You’re a fucking softie at heart, aren’t you?”

 

“I, uh…yeah,” Yoongi said with a soft laugh. “Yeah, I’m sentimental, Jimin. I’m sentimental and materialistic - the two worse traits, mmm?”

 

“So, you live up in Seoul?” Jimin asked, picking up another chunk of tteok from the plate and popping it into his mouth. “What brought you back down here to this ghost town, Yoongi?”

 

“I came back down here after my uncle passed away - cancer,” he replied in a quiet voice, dropping his hand back down onto the table. “I gotta help my mama get through the grieving process, help her tie up all kindsa legal loose ends.”

 

Jimin hummed at this, pretending to not be aware of the fact that he knew Yoongi’s mother and that he had been supplying her fresh produce for the best part of two years now, alongside some tragically short cancer treatments.

 

“What do you do up in Seoul, hmm?”

 

“I’m a freelance photographer - commissions mostly, y’know, portraits and all that? Sometimes, pets, I like it when it’s pets,” Yoongi said with a quick smile, looking down into his coffee cup as he did so. “It’s like a dream job right until they start misbehaving and jumping off the stools and running off across the park…”

 

Jimin giggled at this, trying to imagine Yoongi chasing after a massive dog across a park with his camera in hand; his exhausted face set in a grimace.

 

“Are you gonna take my photograph, hmm?” Jimin asked with a teasing smile, as he cupped his head in his palm and he traced the rim of the teacup tenderly with his forefinger.

 

“Can I?” Yoongi asked, the question catching him by surprise as he had actually been joking.

 

For a few seconds, Jimin could only stare at him blankly, and then he realised what he what he had asked him. Yoongi had even moved to retrieve the camera, popping the lens cap free slowly as he waited for him to give him a proper reply. So he nodded at him vigorously, finding that he couldn’t quite seem to articulate a verbal reply.

 

Yoongi powered the device up before lifting it to his eye, quickly glancing down the viewfinder. He shifted one hand to grab at a ring at the front, twisting it this way and that as he squinted through the viewfinder at him.

 

“What’s my best side, honey?” Jimin joked, turning this way and that in front of the camera to strike several poses.

 

“They’re both your best sides,” Yoongi retorted with a quick smile, shifting to lean back on the floor cushion and increase distance. Yet after a few seconds, he moved to get onto his knees. “Gimme a sec…”

 

Yoongi moved so that he could kneel right beside their table, sitting back on his socked heels and finding a much better angle. He resumed fiddling with the rings as he presumably fixed the focus and did other professional things that Jimin had no clue about.

 

“Try looking out of the window,” Yoongi suggested, as he finally stopped fiddling with the rings to adjust it all. “Not fully, turn your head just a lil like- yeah, just like that, that’s great, Jimin.”

 

Jimin was still mostly facing Yoongi, save for a slight tilt of his head so that he could also glance out at a hint of the street. It seemed that the other man was aiming for a naturally composed shot, one that looked like it had been taken whilst he had been unaware and unfocused, rather than staring and smiling right into the camera.

 

“When you sit with your chin on your fingers, like, that soft slouch that you do, it looks good,” Yoongi continued, and so Jimin shifted to sit in his favoured sitting position of choice.

 

“Like this, honey?”

 

“Uhuh, just like that…”

 

Yoongi reached over to slowly brush a lock of hair back off his face for him, fumbling for a second or two before figuring out that he could get it behind his ear. He carefully tucked it in place there, likely exposing his dangling earrings within his tousled locks.

 

After a moment, Yoongi was finally satisfied enough to take a photograph of him, even when Jimin had meant it in a joking and casual manner, and not a professional shot. But he held the pose for him anyway, until he heard the crisp sound of the shutter snapping shut and then opening again with a quick flash of light.

 

Yoongi hit several buttons on the device so that he could no doubt examine the photograph, and he made a soft sound under his breath that revealed that he was pleased with it.

 

“Can I see it?”

 

Yoongi looked up slowly at this question, his eyes growing delightfully rounded as he stared at him. It took him a few seconds, but he slowly moved to hold the camera out to him and so he accepted it from his fingers.

 

Jimin eyed the rear display to see a photograph of himself, the sight making him let out a giggle. As a result of the dim café interior lights, a lot of the lighting had come from both the flash and the street outside. As a result, there was a soft wash of neon from the closest building signs all over his face - a soft red that added a wonderfully sensual feeling to the snapshot.

 

Jimin hit a button to cycle back through the gallery, finding that the previous photograph was one taken of his car outside of the curb in the rain from last night. Another couple of presses showed him the exact same shot but on slightly different angles and with a drastically different level of focus.

 

“Oh, honey, I like this,” Jimin said, as he angled the camera to show him rear display screen. “This one of my car, with the lights all blurred like fireflies like that? It’s amazing.”

 

“You help me fix my insomnia, I’ll give you a print of it free of charge,” Yoongi offered him a soft smile. “I’ll give you a professional printed shot of whatever you want, Jimin.”

 

“I should hire you to take some more shots of me. My walls would be so much more interesting if I was all over them, and beautiful too,” Jimin joked, handing the camera back to him and moving to grab another chunk of tteok.

 

“Yeah…”

 

It took Yoongi a few seconds to realise what he had said, his eyes slowly growing rounded as his lips went slack and then twitched as he tried to find the right words to say.

 

“I mean, well, you’re a, uh, a very handsome young man, Jimin,” Yoongi explained, as he sat down and almost wriggled on his floor cushion. “I ain’t gonna lie to you, it’s a charm of yours.”

 

“You think I don’t know that, sleepyhead?”

 

“No, I think that y’know that you’re handsome and charming. How else could you be that confident, huh?” he retorted, which made Jimin hum in agreement under his breath. “It’s nice, you don’t often meet people that are so confident and happy with ‘emselves and their appearances, y’know? I’ll bet that you’ve had your fair share of people seeking beauty treatments from you to fix their preconceived imperfections.”

 

“You would assume, but these days, cosmetic surgery can give women the results they desire without magic spells and potions,” Jimin replied, sighing heavily as he picked up his teacup. “It’s tragic, what can I say? But I noticed that you said ‘perceived’ imperfections, as if no such things exist. Do you seriously think that there’s no such things as imperfections, Yoongi?”

 

“Mmm, not sure,” the other man replied honestly, even giving his usual characteristic shrug. “I like to say that I do, ‘cos that’s the right thing to say to others; right? Everyone’s perfect, no one’s ugly. What’d you think, huh?”

 

“Imperfections exist, we all have them, be they of the physical kind or otherwise. There’s no shame in admitting to it, I think that the problem is that far too many people think that imperfections need to become perfection,” Jimin said, before taking a sip of tea. “We act like imperfection is a sin or a disease or something.”

 

“What’s your imperfection, Jimin?” Yoongi asked him rather boldly, nursing his coffee cup in both hands.

 

“Hmm, that’s pillow talk, sleepyhead,” Jimin replied with a wry smile. “Besides, I’m a witch. Do you think that witches are human? Do you think we abide by the same rules as you?”

 

“Probably not, but seeing as you drive a car just like the rest of us and you ain’t flying around on a broomstick, I might just be wrong…”

 

“I got plenty of tricks,” Jimin bragged in a husky tone, placing his teacup down so that he could lean closer to him. “You should see the kind of things that I can do with these fingers, honey.”

 

For a moment, Yoongi could only stare inside of the coffee cup rather than hold his gaze. He peeled one hand free so that he could grab his fork, cutting into the tart so that he could get another bite of crumbly crust and fluffy sweet filling.

 

“What’s your imperfection, Yoongi?”

 

“Mine? Pft, I got many but I’ve since neglected to see ‘em as imperfections, more just…necessary flaws,” Yoongi mumbled around a huge bite of egg tart. “I ain’t gonna be perfect, that takes far too much effort and far too much interest on what other people think of me. Me? I’d rather remain flawed and live my life, than live someone else’s just to please the world.”

 

Jimin thought this over for a moment as he gently stroked at the seashell still clasped in his left hand. He felt the smooth surface against his thumb, usually cool but now warm from his cradling fingers.

 

The energy coming from the seashell really was something; a blend of sentimental sensations that conjured up faded images of beautiful beaches filled with golden sand and blue waters, of smiling faces and funny words that echoed in Jimin’s head that he couldn’t understand. But that wasn’t all, for it also contained untold amounts of love, which he latched onto hungrily because it was so pure and perfect - maternal love.

 

“Keep the cufflinks, honey. Give me them in the future for payment, if you want. All I need from you tonight are the seashells,” he explained, collecting the two other seashells from the table and rolling his fingers over them all with a sigh. “All of that love energy…hmm, so beautiful.”

 

Jimin transferred the seashells inside of his left trouser pocket, and then he pulled out the baggie of herbal supplements that he had stored in the right pocket.

 

“I want you to start taking these, Yoongi,” he said, holding the baggie out to the other man by the corner.

 

“What’re they?” Yoongi asked in a quiet voice, reaching over to accept them from him and eyeing the large pills curiously.

 

“Supplements, herbal,” Jimin replied, as he watched him turning over the baggie to look at and feel the mottled brown pills through the plastic. “Your health is just…terrible, honey, and that’s putting it nicely.”

 

“Huh?” Yoongi hummed, sharply looking up at him with those rounded and bruised eyes of his.

 

“It’s a different kind of unhealthy, not like being out of shape or overweight,” he explained, cocking his head so that his earrings dangled back and forth slowly. “Sleep deprivation is going to wreak havoc on all of your body, and it already has. Feeling energetic these days? Feeling that zesty spark of life hmm, Yoongi?”

 

“OK, I get it,” Yoongi muttered, glancing back down at the supplements in his hands.

 

“You trust me, right?” Jimin asked in a soft voice. “You trusted me enough to smoke what I gave you last night, so, you should trust me with the pills too. They’re nothing more than fancy vitamins, honey; the kind that you would pay a pretty penny for, and that’s the truth. I’m giving them to you, free of charge, because you really need them to improve both your physical and mental health.”

 

“Free of charge? How come?” the human asked, rolling his eyes back up at him as he placed the baggie inside of his denim jacket pocket.

 

“Truthfully, Yoongi?”

 

Jimin cocked his head as he lifted up his cup of tea, seeing that there were just several sips left inside. A lock of hair fell across his brow again, tousled and bouncy, but Yoongi made no move to secure it in place for him. After a moment of thought, he found himself able to break their momentary silence.

 

“Honey, you’ve got the most potent energy levels that I’ve ever detected from a man in this dreary little town. You might not believe in the whole magic deal right now - I understand, I know that a lot of my clients don’t believe it too, but it’s the truth,” he explained quickly, seeing that Yoongi was listening to him intently. “Before I even stepped inside of this café tonight I knew that you were here, because you’re just…red all over.”

 

“Red?” Yoongi asked, lifting his thick eyebrows so that the messy black hair on on his brow shifted.

 

“Mmmhmm, red waves, red energy - pure power,” Jimin repeated, peeling a hand free from his teacup to loosely wave his wrist. “Like I said, you’re unbelievably strong, honey.”

 

“I don’t feel powerful right now, Jimin,” he admitted in a whisper.

 

“That’s because you’re not healthy, Yoongi. That’s why I want you to start taking those supplements alongside your insomnia treatment, so that the rest and the nutrients can nurture you to full strength,” Jimin explained, shifting on the floor cushion to get closer to him so that he could cup one of his cheeks in his hand.

 

“Oh,” Yoongi sighed out, before letting out a flustered laugh at his touch.

 

“Take a pill every morning with breakfast, I recommend drinking a cup of pine needle tea when you do so - it’s filled with vitamins and good for fatigue. Just one pill every day for a month, and I promise that you’ll start feeling more energetic and healthy within just a week, honey. But most of all, trust me.”

 

“I…I trust you, Jimin,” Yoongi said, moving ever so slightly to lean into his touch. “You promised me sleep and I got it, I got more than I could’ve ever hoped for. If you’re telling me those pills are gonna make me feel better, I know that they will.”

 

“Hmm, good boy,” Jimin said with a smile, giving his cheek a soft squeeze and pat.

 

Before leaving the café to get to his car again, they finished eating the tteok and egg tart, washing the food down with their chrysanthemum tea and coffee. Yoongi paid for the order with a random assortment of wrinkled notes from a deep brown leather wallet that contained many cards, including a black credit card that made Jimin hum in appreciation.

 

A man with money was the best kind of man, right alongside a man radiating enough sexual energy to make his stomach feel all knotted under his ribs.

 

They left the café in a pair as soon as Jimin had said his farewells to both Taehyung and his grandmother, hitting the sidewalk to go over to his car.

 

“I, uh, I never said so last night but you’ve got a real sweet car, Jimin,” Yoongi said, stopping on the curb to run his eyes along the deep green paint job that was almost black and then reaching over to stroke the golden stripe along the length of the doors. “It’s a Ford XY Falcon GT, right?”

 

“Oh, you know your cars, honey,” Jimin said with a smile, leaning against the open door frame to look at him.

 

“My uncle used to like cars, I learnt from him,” the other man explained, straightening up again so that he could hold his eyes as he popped the door open to climb inside.

 

Jimin joined him inside of the car, slamming his own door shut and settling back in his seat. The vines rustled noisily as he did so, whispering happily because a certain warm human had climbed inside of the vehicle again tonight and they were very excited. They were so excited in fact, that one of the honeysuckle vines decided to snake right along the window rest so that it could touch the back of his hand first.

 

Yoongi jumped in surprise when the vine brushed against his skin, making him pull his hand away and hold it against his chest with a gasp.

 

“I think that they like you, honey,” Jimin remarked with a quick smile, listening to the vines rustling and breathing as they curled back along the window rest.

 

(So warm, so warm)

 

“Huh?” Yoongi breathed out, glancing between the plants and him in turn. “The…the plants like me?”

 

“Hmm, you’re warm, you give out a lot of energy,” he explained, watching the other man reaching over to give the vine a tentative touch. “They like listening to you talk too. Plants can hear, you know? They like listening to noises, certain sounds more than others, and I know for a fact that they like listening to you.”

 

“How’d you know that?” Yoongi asked, as the vine snaked along the plastic again to touch his hand with its tendril-like fingers.

 

“Because they talk to me, honey,” Jimin replied, seeing the human’s fingers twitching from the ticklish touch of the tendrils. “Apparently, they think that you’re warm, they like it when you touch them.”

 

Yoongi let the honeysuckle tendrils snake right between his fingers, almost as if it was holding onto his hand. The sensation of their dry and spider-like roots made him let out a soft chuckle, no doubt finding it highly ticklish.

 

“I think that they’ve got a crush on you, honey,” Jimin finished, moving to pop open the dashboard compartment so that he could rifle through the plastic baggies.

 

“Pft, plants can’t have crushes,” Yoongi remarked with a head shake, his lips curling up into a bright smile that made his eyelids crinkle at the corners and revealed quite the amount of gum line. “Now I know that you’re just messing around, Jimin.”

 

“Uhuh, plants can’t have crushes but they can give you a handshake,” he argued, just as he located the right baggie of dried and cured herbs.

 

This made Yoongi realise what the honeysuckle was doing, which made him gently pull his hand free from the tendrils and discreetly wipe it on the thigh of his jeans.

 

“Last night, I gave you a blend of blue lotus roots and petals,” Jimin explained, as he held up the baggie for emphasis. “I gave it to you because it helps with insomnia mostly, but it can sometimes give vivid dreams whilst deep in slumber. I figured that the rest was something that you were craving more than the dreams right, honey?”

 

“Yeah, I just wanted to sleep last night, Jimin,” Yoongi agreed with a slow nod. “I was so desperate that I’d have taken a whole night of blackness just to wake up feeling alive again. But I did finally have a dream, a vivid dream.”

 

“Did you like the dream?” Jimin asked, placing the pouch in his lap so that he could retrieve the rolling papers too. “I could sense your energy waves peaking last night, it seemed like you really enjoyed it.”

 

Yoongi hummed in agreement at this, but he didn’t seem to want to share said dream with him. That was quite alright, Jimin was more than certain that he had had an erotic dream of some kind and so it made sense that he would prefer to not discuss such things with him.

 

Potent sedative and mild hallucinogenic treatments like blue lotus could induce arousal from relaxing the muscles, after all. It was nothing to be embarrassed about, it was just a natural bodily response that pretty much most humans would have after inhaling the burnt fumes.

 

“If you want a deep, long and aware slumber, then I can give you a little something extra?” Jimin suggested, lifting a rolling paper to his lips to dart his tongue out and wet it. He stuck the second sheet to it, smoothing them together to create a nice and large surface on which to fill with ingredients. “You’ll sleep just like last night, but you might have stronger dreams. You might have greater control over what occurs in them too, a greater grasp on your mental self - so to speak.”

 

Yoongi thought this over for a moment, no doubt playing over the pros and cons of the entire thing.

 

It might just be that Yoongi was scared that changing the blend might affect him in a different way, that it might not rest him as well as his treatment had last night. If so, it might not be as satisfying for him. He might just be wondering about how his dreams might be altered from the new substance, seeing as he had only just managed to have a strong and lingering dream last night. Maybe he had liked the intangible and vivid sensation of being caught up in a dream that he had had no control over? Maybe he didn’t want vivid clarity?

 

But Jimin knew for a fact that the new blend would just improve his slumber in all possible ways. It would give him a much deeper rest, it would increase the potency of his dreams - there were no actual cons.

 

Having control in his dreams when Yoongi had had so little control over his life was actually an empowering thing for him to experience.

 

Having a vivid sense of what was happening after being afflicted with the heavy fog of insomnia - which made it hard to understand reality from a daydream, would also be a pleasant sensation for him to dive right into.

 

All that Yoongi needed to do was say ‘yes’, and Jimin would give him a night of sleep better than anything he had ever had.

 

“…Yeah, I think that I’d like that, Jimin,” he finally said in a soft voice.

 

“OK, honey,” Jimin said with a smile, as he shifted to sit forward in his seat and he started rummaging through the dashboard compartment. “Just like the last blend, this isn’t a drug, this is an herbal supplement that I grew myself. It’s not addictive, it’s not harmful, it’s all natural.”

 

“I trust you,” Yoongi said in that same soft voice, watching him pulling free baggies of random dried herbs, pills and seeds until he located the right one. “You ain’t a dealer, remember?”

 

Jimin laughed at this as he shut the dashboard compartment and he sat back in his seat. All of his needed ingredients were all there on his lap, just waiting to be used.

 

The substance in particular was entada rheedii, which he had started growing in his greenhouse after coming across the substance through a travelling acquaintance. He rather liked the funny massive bean stalks, which had almost eaten up an entire wall and most of the roof of the greenhouse. The plant grew large beans that he had to bleed, dry and crush up to create tinctures and powders with, and it was a powerful dream-inducing herb.

 

Yoongi would no doubt find the sight of the towering bean stalks ridiculous, would joke about it being like something straight out of a fairytale even when it was right there in front of his nose. It seemed like he had a great fascination for the absurd, yet he struggled to accept it as anything more than daydreams and fantasies rather than potential reality.

 

Jimin gathered some dried blue lotus to fill up the rolling paper with, spreading it across the surface in a fat line. Then he sprinkled a pinch of the powdered beans over the line, creating a blend of sedative and hallucinogenic herbs that would really give Yoongi a deep and dream-filled slumber. Then he rolled it up into a stick, bringing it to his lips so that he could wet the end and seal it shut.

 

“Hmm, I’m no dealer, but I’m giving you a hell of a deal, honey.”

 

Jimin popped the rolled cigarette into Yoongi’s lips, so that he could teach him how to inhale and get the end smouldering without his assistance. The human accepted it from him, opening his lips to trap the bobbing stick between his little pout.

 

“Right, honey, on the count of three I want you to suck on the cigarette, OK? Give it a quick suck to light it,” he instructed, leaning closer to him and lifting up his hand to tinkle his fingers at him. “Do you want to see a trick, hmm?”

 

Yoongi thought this over for a moment before making a soft noise in agreement, his expression showing a mixture of curiosity and maybe a little bit of trepidation.

 

“One…two…three-”

 

Jimin brought his fingers up to the end of the cigarette and he clicked his finger and thumb briskly. The dry snap of the act made a little flame ignite, setting the end on fire just as Yoongi gasped in surprise and he got the cigarette smouldering. The sudden quick inhale of smoke made him cough, breathing it out through his nostrils hard and making him giggle.

 

“Magic fingers, honey,” Jimin said with a mischievous smile.

 

Yoongi pulled the cigarette free from his lips with his non-magical fingers, staring at him with rounded eyes as a lazy furl of smoke drifted up to escape through the roof window. It seemed like the act had shocked him deep to his core, like he had always known it would do so to humans. It took the other man considerable effort to swallow and then wet his lips, the gulp making his Adam’s Apple bob up and down funnily.

 

“Now, smoke and sleep,” Jimin suggested, as he started the engine and he pulled the car away from the curb again. “Get plenty of sleep, honey.”

 

As a result doing his deals over most of the early evening hours, Jimin had no clients to visit tonight. That meant that he needed to utilise his time in a different way, and so he started guiding his car down the roads so that he could return to his home. Back home, he could care for his garden, create new blends and tonics, and he could let Yoongi slumber in something much more comfortable than his passenger-seat whilst he observed his rest.

 

Whilst Jimin guided the car along paved roads filled with parked cars and lazy traffic, Yoongi smoked the cigarette slowly. He coughed every now and again, still getting used to the hot itch of smoke getting into his lungs, but he didn’t complain about feeling dizzy or nauseous. The sidewalks were lit up by many neon signs and orange-tinged streetlight bulbs; casting across crowds of pedestrians that were out enjoying the night markets, going out drinking and singing with friends, travelling to and from work, or just going for walks.

 

As Jimin ended up drawing close to the dirt road outskirts, the areas now devoid of most things save for old factories and little areas of farmland, Yoongi finally succumbed to his drug-induced sleep. He lazily slumped back against his seat, his head lolling to settle on the slight hint of glass so that the breeze played with his hair.

 

Jimin had to grab the remains of the cigarette from his fingers, stubbing it out on the tray so that it wouldn’t burn his fingers or jeans. The other man’s fingers twitched as he did so, a breathy sound escaping his lips that wasn’t quite words.

 

“Deep asleep, honey?” Jimin asked him, reaching over to brush his hair back off his brow to get a better look at his face.

 

Yes, Yoongi was deeply asleep, having already gotten deep enough to not react to his touch. His eyelids were still, would stay still for another hour or two until his first session of vivid REM sleep started and he finally got to indulge in more dreams.

 

The sight of his slack features made Jimin smile softly, turning back to the road in front of him and hitting the headlights to illuminate the country roads so that he could ensure that he didn’t drive straight into any trees, rocks or potentially run over a poor little animal that had wandered onto the path. It took him quite some time to reach his home, and in that time, the moon shifted across the sky to sit high amongst the lazy scattering of stars.

 

Jimin killed the car in front of his hanok, retrieving his cigarette tin so that he could pop one of them in his mouth. He set his cigarette alight with a click of his fingers, taking a quick inhale to get it to start smouldering and then breathing it out of his nose hard. He pulled it free to wet his lips, turning his head to look at the slumbering human just beside him.

 

Yoongi was slumped back in the passenger-seat just like yesterday evening. His head had rolled back against the rest at some point, his expression slack and his lips parted. They twitched every couple of seconds, as if he was trying to speak some words that were inside of his mind and yet couldn’t find his voice to do so, and every now and again his tongue would slip free. Never enough to wet his lips, but just so the tip could escape and curl up against his upper lip before slowly retreating. His fingers twitched too, his blunt nails scratching against his jeans spasmodically. It seemed that he had finally entered his REM sleep phase, which meant that he was dreaming again.

 

As Jimin took a deep drag on his cigarette, Yoongi shifted in his seat again, except this time it was more than just a series of soft twitches.

 

No, Yoongi rolled his head to the side so that he could see his full face, his hair falling across his rapidly twitching eyelids, and then he opened his eyes a crack.

 

Jimin could see that he wasn’t fully there, that he was still very much asleep and not actually looking at him. It was obvious because his eyes were glazed over, just a sliver of his irises visible from under his thick eyelashes so that he wasn’t even holding his gaze.

 

“You OK, honey?” Jimin asked, as he breathed his lungful of smoke free and he lowered his hand from his face. “Are you feeling alright, hmm?”

 

Yoongi did little more than huff at him, unable to speak because his body was so heavy and numb from the blend that he had smoked. Was he trying to reply to his questions, because he could hear him even during his slumber? Or was he just huffing in his sleep and it was just a coincidence?

 

When Jimin reached over to touch him, he lifted up one of his eyelids to examine his eye to see that his pupil had swollen to almost take over his whole iris. It didn’t contract from the sudden source of light, but rather stayed fully dilated.

 

Yes, Yoongi was fine, he was very much sedated from the blue lotus and deep in slumber. The entada rheedii might just have triggered this reaction, the vivid dreams having a slightly somnambulist-like effect on his system. He was moving, he had made a couple of noises under his breath just like a lot of people did when they were asleep.

 

“Alright, honey,” Jimin said, retrieving Yoongi’s camera to sling it around his neck. Then he climbed out of the car to go around the hood to pop the other door open. “Let’s get you out of this car, let’s get you inside and all snug, hmm?”

 

Upon pulling the passenger-seat door open, Jimin saw that Yoongi was covered in vines again. One of the honeysuckle vines had gotten excited and had unfurled down from the window frame to snake across the head rest and tangle in his hair. It was slowly shifting within his locks, stroking and teasing him in his sleep like loving fingers.

 

“No no no, get out of his hair,” Jimin scolded, gently tapping at the vines to get them to untangle from Yoongi’s messy black locks. “Come on, lovelies, let go.”

 

It took them a moment to relinquish his hold, the honeysuckle vines slowly pulling away with a series of rustling sounds. It clearly didn’t want to, he heard the plant complaining in a series of sad whispers, but at least it did what he had asked.

 

Jimin had to heft Yoongi out of the passenger-seat, finding that his slight frame had more weight to it right now because of his deep sleep. The other man slumped against him, and so he had to snag his arms around his ribs and underneath his knees so that he could carry him across the grassy patch to enter his garden.

 

“Mmm…huh,” Yoongi breathed out, his head rolling to settle against his chest so that he felt his warm breath against his exposed skin.

 

When Yoongi wriggled in his hold, Jimin almost dropped him and he had to stop and hunker down to save him from having a nasty tumble down into the grass.

 

“Oh, careful, careful, honey,” Jimin said, getting a better hold on him so that he could straighten up again and heft him across the garden to get up onto the porch. “You must be having an exciting dream.”

 

Hwaseong was napping underneath the porch, curled up in a ball with his head on his white paws. Jimin set the basement fireplace alight so that it would generate some warmth through the hanok and around the porch, hearing the dog rumbling in response because he was going to enjoy the nice waves of baking heat.

 

On account of the fact that his arms were full, Jimin had to push the porch door open with his skills by way of a soft twitch of his head; the wood scraping loudly as it slid to the side to let him carry Yoongi inside of his home. He saw that Geumseong was in the act of emerging from his cauldron because she had been napping inside of it, trotting over to wrap around his feet as he carried the other man through the kitchen and into the sitting-room.

 

Inside of the sitting-room, there were several plush floor cushions that he liked to lounge on when he was reading and filling his diaries with observations on his latest experiments with his plants and treatments. So Jimin dragged them across the dark wooden flooring with his mind so that they were all neat in a row, forming a makeshift mattress on which Yoongi could rest.

 

Jimin was in the act of hunkering down to place him on the cushions when Yoongi shifted in his hold again. His face bumped against his, his lips dragged across his cheek in a weak attempt at a kiss. He couldn’t help but start laughing at his bumbling attempt. He had so little control over his body in his current state, slumped in his arms as he tried to get him to let go of his neck so that he could push him down onto the flooring cushions. It took a little effort, but eventually he was able to get Yoongi to lie down.

 

“Oh, you’re a cute one; aren’t you?” Jimin teased, giving Yoongi’s cheeks a squeeze and seeing his lips pouting out. “Look at that face, how cute.”

 

Yoongi’s lips slapped together softly at this, a series of weak noises escaping him that made him laugh.

 

“Do you wanna kiss me, honey? Hmm? Is that what you’re dreaming about right now? Kissing me?” Jimin asked, letting go of his cheeks so that he could reach up and stroke his hair back off his brow. “Now, that would be an erotic dream, wouldn’t it?”

 

Yoongi rolled his head against the cushion with a deep sigh, his lips opening so that his tongue could roll free again and lick at them. His fingers dug into the cushions, his thighs tensing up as he brought them together and he wriggled. The crotch of his fitted jeans was slightly bulging as a result of his arousal, his erection trapped within layers of tight clothing and no doubt angrily throbbing in want of being released. That was likely why he was squirming so much in his sleep.

 

“Oh, Yoongi,” Jimin sighed out, giving the other man another quick hair stroke. “I know how it feels to hunger for intimacy in dreams that I’ve never had in reality before…”

 

Jimin removed their boots so that he could put them on the shoe rack beside his front door. After some rummaging in his closet, he located a blanket, and so he brought it back into the sitting-room and he fixed it over Yoongi’s body for him. He pulled it up to his ribs, gently tucking it around him so that he would be comfortable in his slumber. He left his camera on his table beside a stack of books, just so that the plants in his car wouldn’t try playing with it and risk breaking it with their strong tendrils.

 

As soon as Yoongi’s first REM cycle had finished, twenty solid minutes of mumbling and twitching, he settled down again to enter deep sleep once more. Another cycle would come soon enough, repeating maybe three or so times before he woke up again. That meant that Jimin could leave him alone for a little while, and so he went back into his kitchen to feed his cat and dog and then out into the garden to work the earth.

 

Jimin wet the soil and he plucked slugs and other little pests free. He collected perfect specimens of flowerheads, berries and fruits to go into a basket so that he could use them, and he entered his greenhouse to adjust the heat lamps and ensure that all of the plants were well-fed and happy. There was no sudden rainstorm for them to dance in tonight, but they seemed happy enough to dance just for him because they were so content to feel his touch and hear his voice again.

 

After tending to his garden, Jimin collected his trinkets from his car so that he could bring them back into his home. The jewellery that he liked went into a box on his vanity table, the ones that he would sell went into a jar instead. He filled his drawer of knick-knacks with even more sweet friendships goods and toys, and then he entered his bathroom.

 

Jimin pulled the three rose petal tellin seashells free from his trouser pocket, cupping them in his palm as he eyed the spread of seashells all over the golden sand. He hunkered down to look at the display, searching for the perfect spot for them to go. Yet he found that he was unable to locate a spot in the rows and rows of scallops, cockles and conches.

 

It was only as Jimin ran his gaze across the fountain that he realised that the best location for them was right there on the lip of the waterfall - the soft pink clashing against the white marble. He placed them down on the fountain, making a soft noise under his breath in appreciation.

 

“There, that’s perfect,” Jimin said with a smile, cupping his cheeks in his hands so that he could watch water splashing down into the pool with a lovely tinkling sound.

 

Jimin retrieved his basket of goods and some tools so that he could stay in the sitting-room for Yoongi’s next cycle of dreams, just to make sure that he was fine and he didn’t start sleepwalking or something. He crushed berries for juice, and cracked nuts and pounded beans into fine powders; he distilled essence from heating up liquids and roots, and he stewed them in boiling water and infused teas so that he could experiment and find new treatments that he scrawled notes about in his diaries.

 

During his slumber, Yoongi tossed this way and that on the floor cushions, his breath leaving his lips in a series of grunts, huffs and soft moans. He rolled onto his stomach to bury his face into the cotton, his body lazily shifting under the blanket as he rubbed his crotch against the cushions; his thighs spread wide and his socked feet slipping free from the material to kick around, his toes clenching tight with every little moan.

 

Yes, Yoongi was most certainly diving into erotic dream after erotic dream, as sleep seemed to be the only time that he could relieve some of the intense pressure inside of himself. It was so repressed that it was begging to be released somehow, and it seemed that his sedative and hallucinogenic treatment was finally helping him purge it all somehow.

 

Jimin couldn’t help but think about the strange chance that Yoongi might not even masturbate, which would explain the amount of energy that was trapped inside of him. If he wasn’t letting his pent-up energy out through such an act, and he wasn’t having sex (judging from the strong waves of virginal power that Jimin had sensed last night), then there was no other way for it be released.

 

Maybe, Yoongi’s inability to sleep was linked to this?

 

“Jimin…” Yoongi moaned into the cushion, wriggling under the blanket again.

 

“Yes, honey?” Jimin asked, lifting his retort to swirl around a tonic and then bringing it to his nose to give it a quick sniff.

 

“Mmm,” he sighed out, rolling his head to the side at last to show him his slack features and rolling eyelids.

 

Yoongi fell silent at this, his hand running up the cushion mattress so that he could bring his thumb to his lips and slip it inside of his mouth. His eyelids fell still, his dreams having once more finished in favour of more deep sleep.

 

Over the final few hours of Yoongi’s slumber, Jimin finished working on his projects and he went into his kitchen to prepare some food. It was fun trying to prepare a bowl of gulguk when Geumseong lingered on the counter, her pink nose twitching at the scent of the fresh oysters that a client had gifted him. He made plate of kimbap filled with tuna and fresh vegetables from his garden, which he ate alongside the cool and creamy soup and a glass of ginseng tea.

 

Jimin left a small serving of food aside for Yoongi to have upon waking up, just so that he would eat breakfast and start taking his supplements in his presence. He would hopefully enjoy the fresh food, and the ingredients were very good for him; oysters and fish, sweet fruits and nuts that could help his circulation and heart. They were also good aphrodisiacs too, but Yoongi didn’t really need to know this fact.

 

When Jimin returned to the sitting-room just short of 6am, he saw a rather surprising sight. The rambling apricot-coloured Goldfinch roses that had taken over the wall and roof of the room had snaked its vines right across the flooring to touch Yoongi just like the honeysuckle in his car had.

 

Honeysuckle, however, had smooth vines, and the roses had sharp thorns on them.

 

Jimin let out a gasp, quickly darting over to drop to his knees and examine the vines. Somehow, the roses had managed to snake smooth tendrils into Yoongi’s hair and around his waist, so that their sharp hooked thorns didn’t catch in his flesh. This meant that the smooth vines were playing with his hair too, tenderly smoothing it down and running along his scalp like motherly fingers.

 

Yoongi was so deeply asleep that he didn’t even react to their stroking touch; his thumb still firmly between his lips. He might just have enjoyed it in his slumber, found the touch soothing and pleasurable in a way.

 

Why did his lovelies love touching Yoongi so much? Was it really just because he was warm and they longed to absorb that gorgeous heat that his body radiated? Or was there something about him that attracted them to him; something like his powerful sexual energy that made them want to bloom and produce fruit and berries?

 

Jimin didn’t at all know, and so he just gently pulled the tendrils free from his hair and he watched them curling back across the floor to snake up the walls again with soft sighs. The apricot and cream blooms rustled as they did so, voicing their sadness that they couldn’t touch him for that little bit longer.

 

Unlike yesterday, when Yoongi had woken up with a sudden jerk, he came around from sleep with a series of soft sounds. He opened his eyelids several times only for them to flutter shut again as his eyes rolled around, until he was able to focus and keep them open. He pulled his thumb free from his lips to wet them with his tongue, letting his breath out in a grunt as he lifted his head up off the floor cushions.

 

“Wuh…where am I?” Yoongi mumbled, dropping his chin on the cushion so that his hair fell over his eyes in a tangled mess. “Huh? Jimin?”

 

“You’re in my home right now, honey,” Jimin explained, seeing the other man shifting so that he could look up at him. “I didn’t want to leave you sleeping in the car, it’s not very comfortable. I had to come back and do some work in my garden, so, I thought it was best to let you rest inside. You don’t mind, do you?”

 

“Nuh…no, no, it’s fine,” Yoongi sighed heavily, reaching up to rub at his eyes with one tightly curled-up fist. “It’s more comfortable, it feels nice. Thanks, Jimin.”

 

“Don’t mention it, honey,” Jimin said with a soft smile. “Now, what about breakfast?”

 

Yoongi blinked up at him for a few seconds, slowly processing his words over as he wet his dry lips with his tongue. It took him a moment, but then he nodded at him, and so Jimin moved to slip an arm around his ribs so that he could gently pull him up his feet.

 

Yoongi found the sight of the Goldfinch roses highly fascinating, staring back over his shoulder at them as Jimin slowly guided him along the hall and into the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, he found the new room even more shocking, for he found the cauldron and countless shelves of pots and decanters even more worthy of his attention. As he helped him over to the kitchen table, Yoongi reached up to touch one of the dangling flower pots, which luckily didn’t drop from the chain and shatter into hundreds of pieces.

 

Jimin slowly lowered him down onto the floor cushion, Yoongi slumping forward and folding his arms on the table. He resumed his constant scanning, finding the planters on the windowsills his next target of choice. They were vibrant and interesting enough to look at, especially the colourful flowers.

 

So whilst he did so, Jimin filled his kettle with water and he dropped a strainer filled with pine needle tea leaves inside; setting the stove ring alight so that he could let it boil whilst he collected Yoongi’s serving of breakfast he had stored away.

 

Jimin turned back around as he shoved the refrigerator door shut with his hip, moving over to place the plate of kimbap, bowl of cold rice and gulguk down on the table for him. As expected, the scent attracted Geumseong’s attention once more, which made her coming popping out of his cauldron in a flash of white, ginger and black fur to race over to the table.

 

“Oh!” Yoongi gasped, before letting out a laugh. “She scared the shite outta me, Jimin.”

 

“Geumseong’s a naughty pussycat,” Jimin said with a smile, rolling up the waxed window covers so that he could let the sunlight come pouring in to illuminate the kitchen.

 

“She’s a pretty pussycat,” the other man remarked, holding his hand out to her so that she would sniff at it and allow him to stroke her. “The kind I wanna take photographs of…where’s my camera?”

 

“In the sitting-room. Would you like me to get it for you, honey?”

 

“Yeah, please,” Yoongi said with a soft nod, stroking his hand down the cat’s spine, Geumseong almost dragging her belly across the flooring as she moved to crawl onto his lap.

 

Jimin retrieved the camera for him whilst he left the tea brewing on the stove, and when he returned, he was surprised to see that Geumseong was curled up on Yoongi’s lap getting pampered. She was purring away happily, clearly pleased with all of the attention that she was receiving from a new human with warm and large hands and a nice soothing voice.

 

That, or she was hoping to snatch a juicy oyster from the soup to run away with when he wasn’t looking.

 

“Unbelievable. First, my plants love you, now my pets,” Jimin said with a laugh, as he handed him his camera back.

 

Yoongi accepted it with a lazy smile, snapping the lens cap free so that he could turn the machine on and attempt to snap a good photograph of Geumseong. She didn’t exactly pose for him, but she did stay nice and still with her eyes narrowed into thin slits so that he could move this way and that and try and get some shots of her.

 

“Geumseong, I ain’t ever seen a cat as beautiful as you,” Yoongi remarked, his voice taking on a rather babyish tone like most people did when talking to animals and children.

 

“I’ll bet you say that to all of the pretty ladies,” Jimin joked, cocking his head to watch him intently; his earrings dangling to bounce around his jaw.

 

“Uh, not exactly,” the other man said with a rather shy smile. “I mean, I love pretty ladies just as much as everyone else just…not like that, y’know?”

 

“So, you’re telling me that you prefer pretty boys, hmm?” Jimin teased, resting his chin against his curled-up fingers as Yoongi snapped the first photograph of the cat. “What a coincidence…”

 

The kettle finally finished boiling with a soft hissing sound, and so Jimin straightened up to turn off the stove so that he could bring it over to the table with two deep glass teacups.

 

Geumseong decided that she had had enough strokes without the added incentive of oysters, and so she dived off Yoongi’s lap to trot off down the hallway to presumably enter his bedroom. She would curl up on his bed and knead his throw cushions to death just like always.

 

Yoongi turned his head to watch her go, and it was only then that he seemed to realise that he had placed his breakfast down on the table for him. So he powered down his camera and he proceeded to grab his spoon so that he could start eating.

 

“That’s one hell of a garden…” Yoongi mumbled around a mouthful of rice, his voice still heavy with sleep as he reached up to rub at his eyes with his free hand. Maybe it was to keep them open, maybe it was to check that he wasn’t seeing things. “Shit, Jimin, you own a farm.”

 

Jimin laughed softly at this, hunkering forward so that he could pour out the pine needle tea for them; the liquid a pale green with floating flower heads bobbing on the surface. After he had filled up the two glasses, he placed the kettle back on the stove and then he grabbed a final bowl of fresh berries and slivers of peaches from the refrigerator, carrying them over to the table and sitting down on the floor cushion to face him.

 

“Ain’t you having any breakfast, Jimin?” Yoongi asked, grabbing a chunk of tuna and cucumber kimbap from the plate.

 

“I’ve already eaten, I had dinner whilst you were sleeping,” Jimin explained, popping a strawberry into his mouth. “I’m pretty much nocturnal, honey. I work all night, I sleep during the morning, I tend to my garden in the evening - repeat. I’ll be eating my breakfast right around the time that you’re having dinner, and speaking of breakfast…”

 

Jimin peeled the leaves off another strawberry, waiting for the other man to figure out what he was hinting at. It took Yoongi a moment but then he made a soft noise under his breath, a little ‘oh’ that revealed that he had remembered the pills in his denim jacket pocket.

 

Yoongi got one free from the baggie, sealing it up again so that he could store it back inside of his jacket. He got the large pill between his finger and thumb to examine it, looking at the mottled brown colouration on the glossy surface. Then he popped it into his mouth to swallow it with a sip of hot tea.

 

“How did you sleep, honey?” Jimin asked, nursing his own cup of tea in hand. “Did the treatment work better than last night? Did you have better dreams?”

 

“Oh, I’d the most…vivid dream, Jimin,” Yoongi whispered over the rim of his cup, running his tongue around his mouth to no doubt chase after the lingering herbal taste of the pill. “It felt like I was actually awake, I was that aware when I was asleep. It was weird, at first I hated it ‘cos I couldn’t figure out what was real and what was fantasy. But the longer that I slept, the more I started to understand.”

 

“What exactly do you dream about?”

 

Yoongi had no need to reply to this question, on account of it being a personal and private matter. He could just shrug it off or lie, just to avoid telling him the truth. But Jimin could see in the way that he nibbled on his lower lip that he was going to open up, he just needed a moment to collect his thoughts together.

 

“Uh, I dream about things that…that I ain’t ever dreamt about before,” Yoongi replied in a quiet voice, his tongue slipping free to lick at his lips. “I guess that they’re…fantasies, in a way. The kinda thoughts I never have when I’m awake.”

 

“Why? Because you’re scared of them?”

 

“…Confused, mostly, and maybe a lil bit scared,” he admitted, swallowing hard enough to gulp. “They’re sexual dreams, Jimin.”

 

“There’s no need to be scared of sexual dreams, Yoongi,” Jimin replied in a quiet voice, watching him placing his cup of tea down so that he could resume eating his breakfast.

 

“I know, but it ain’t that simple, Jimin, it’s…”

 

Yoongi let his breath out in a heavy sigh, lowering his spoon from his mouth as he turned his head to look out of the window. He ran his eyes across the flowers and crops outside of the hanok, tracking Hanseong across the grass as the dog was chasing after a butterfly.

 

“It’s complicated, Jimin,” he said in a whisper-soft voice. “It’s a lot of complicated memories and shite that I’ve tried burying for a good couple of years right now. I never used to…to understand it, but since meeting you, I’m starting to think about it all in a different light. It’s just making me get even more confused.”

 

“That’s fine, honey, you don’t have to tell me right now,” Jimin said in a soft voice, placing his empty cup down so that he could reach over and take hold of Yoongi’s hand. He gave it a gentle squeeze, seeing the other man taking a quick inhale of breath at the contact. “There’s going to be so many more nights and mornings like this in the future, right? Take your time, think about it all, and tell me then if you feel like you can. You know that I’m here to listen, I’m good at listening and diagnosing all of the little things.”

 

“A’ight,” Yoongi said with a slow nod, turning his head to hold his eyes again. “Thanks, Jimin. For the treatments, for the breakfast, just for listening. I, uh, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to back down here after everything, but it’s nice spending time with you. You might just be my first new friend.”

 

For some reason, this made Yoongi let out a soft guffaw, dropping his spoon so that he could cover his smile just like he had done so in the café.

 

“Now, finish your breakfast,” Jimin said with his own smile. “I’ve got some flowers to go and pick, some sunflowers. I need you to give them to a certain someone for me, OK?”

 

 

 

 

 

III.

 

Yoongi pulled the van up to the curb so that he could kill the engine, cutting the radio off in the middle of some old folk song that he didn’t recognise in the slightest. It plunged the vehicle into silence at last, nothing but the faint sound of distant traffic coming in through the rolled-down windows.

 

Though Yoongi wasn’t a huge fan of folk music, it was the last CD that had been loaded into the van stereo system before his uncle’s death. As a result of this fact, he had decided to leave it playing as it had felt like the right thing to do. Maybe his mother would like to take the CD as soon as the van had served its purpose, assuming that she agreed to sell it seeing as she couldn’t drive. Maybe not, it might be too upsetting for her to listen to it right now.

 

Yoongi snapped his seatbelt off so that he could climb out of the van, shoving the door to the side so that he could slide it open and reveal the open backseat. Inside, there were dozens of boxes filled with his uncle’s belongings that he had been packing up and making an inventory of for the past week.

 

After the obvious legal matters had been sorted, like the funeral papers, the cremation, and Namgi’s will, Yoongi had been left with the matter of emptying the man’s home of goods. He had needed to pack them up in cardboard boxes filled with Styrofoam packing to keep the fragile items safe, and he had had to bring it all the way back to his family home for his mother to sort through.

 

Namgi had left his possessions solely in the hands of his mother, save for some items that he had left for him. Yoongi didn’t really know what he was going to do with said items, but he supposed that he would figure it out over the next couple of days. He just needed time to think about it all, to mull over the sentimental thoughts and come to terms with his uncle’s passing too.

 

Just a week or two ago, Yoongi would have struggled to heft all of these boxes in and out of the van because he would have been drained of energy as a result of his insomnia. But now, after three weeks of solid sleep, and most of the portion of supplements that Jimin had given him, he was starting to feel his strength returning to him again.

 

Shit, Yoongi was going for early morning walks through the town to snap photographs in the parks and subways, rather than lying in bed with a mug of coffee and staring up at his ceiling from under his burning eyelids. That was a sure-kill sign that he was getting better, he just knew it.

 

“Urgh,” Yoongi grunted, as he pulled the first cardboard box free from the van so that he could carry it over to the back porch and place it down. It was better to empty the van first and then carry all of the boxes inside of the house, rather than constantly go back and forth whilst going up the porch step with the heavy goods.

 

It was currently the early afternoon hours, which meant that Jimin would still be sleeping in his curious-little hanok on the outskirts of the town - the one overran by giant blooms of gorgeous roses and thick bundles of wisteria that had actually snaked their way inside of the kitchen and sitting-room to fill the home with beautiful fragrance.

 

Yoongi had been inside of the home many times over the last three weeks, though he had only ever stayed in his sitting-room and kitchen and had not went anywhere else like his bedroom and garden. He slumbered in the former, underneath thick winter blankets with a soft pillow, and he dined in the latter to have breakfast before leaving his home in the early morning hours.

 

Though Jimin had told him that he was able to smoke his herbal treatments at home in the comfort of his own bedroom, Yoongi had constantly found himself staying with the witch instead. It might just have been because he had wanted to ensure that he wouldn’t have had a bad reaction to the blend, but he knew otherwise.

 

It was because Yoongi felt like he could only sleep if he was in his company, if he had the witch watching over him and occasionally talking to him as he stroked at his hair whilst he slumbered on his floor cushions.

 

It wouldn’t feel right waking up in his own bed, which was still small from his teenage years (but really didn’t matter that much these days because he had a habit of curling up in his sleep). It would have felt strange and wrong waking up to go into the family kitchen to make breakfast; not when Jimin always seemed to have a serving of delicious food and tea just waiting for him in his kitchen instead.

 

But there was also another rather obvious reason why Yoongi had wanted to stay with Jimin during the night, and it was because he liked spending time in his company. He found Jimin fascinating and attractive, and he didn’t want to just see him in Taehyung’s café every single night for such a short time during their deals.

 

Yoongi had paid Jimin in seashells and trinkets, of which there was an abundance in his bedroom over the years. In return, Jimin had given him his special cigarettes that had allowed him to sleep eight to ten hours, along with the added bonus of vivid dreams.

 

Yoongi’s dreams were starting to get intense, and not only in imagery. He was starting to feel things in them with greater sensitivity, was waking up to find that he could recall them perfectly without a hint of fogginess. He couldn’t tell if it was the treatments increasing in potency, or if it was as a result of the supplements that Jimin had made him take, but he did know that he was starting to get tangled up in them so much so that he struggled to get the thoughts out of his waking mind.

 

Redness.

 

Heat.

 

Sex.

 

Love.

 

Every single night, over and over, losing himself in the throes of passion with no other than Jimin, who his sleeping mind has completely fixated on.

 

Just last night, Yoongi had dreamt that he and Jimin had made love in his garden, which he had only gazed upon through the kitchen windows. It had started with tender kisses whilst tending to one of the many flower patches, soil clinging to their palms and cheeks as their lips and tongues had softly brushed together, only for their hands to roam across clothing and find buttons to pop open and zippers to run. He had helped Jimin out of one of those beautiful silken shirts of his, had let the witch wrench his tee-shirt off over his head and suck hot and wet kisses all over his neck and shoulders until they had slumped to land in the grass.

 

Yoongi had felt fingers snagging chunks of earth to pull them free; Jimin lying in a bed of fragrant red flowers as he had rocked his hips and had rode the witch’s cock - slow and steady at first until he had gotten faster and faster and the impact had flooded his entire core with prickling heat and jolts of pleasure.

 

Yoongi had woken up coated in sweat, the usual slick heat soaking into his briefs and his heart racing in his chest. Then Jimin had guided him into his kitchen to eat breakfast, staring out at the exact same garden that had been in his erotic dream whilst the other man had smiled at him and had told him all about some unusual facts about the plants that he loved.

 

Yoongi had no clue if Jimin had any idea at all about the kind of things that he had been dreaming about. He knew that he couldn’t read his mind, he was a witch not a psychic. But he also knew that Jimin was able to detect energy levels, and that might mean that he could pick up on little hints from him in regards to his dreams. He had told him that he had red energy all around him, red just like the colour that filled so many of his dreams.

 

Whatever that red energy was, Yoongi had a feeling that it was getting stronger and stronger, and he could only wait and see what would happen when it reached full power.

 

Yoongi hefted the final box onto the porch, then he slid the van door shut with a hard shove, hearing it thumping loudly in the silence of the neighbourhood. As he went back up onto porch, the sound of the slamming door must have alerted his mother to his return, for she opened the back door for him.

 

“Oh, you’re back again, Yoongi,” she said with a smile, moving so that she could pick up one of the boxes for him. “My, this is heavy-”

 

“Ah, careful, mama! Careful!” Yoongi cried out, moving to grab the box so that he could support it. “Drop that on your poor foot and I might just need to take you to the hospital. That, and you might break all of the fragile things inside of it.”

 

This joke made his mother laugh softly, letting him take the box from her hands to carry it inside of the home.

 

Rather than stack the boxes in the kitchen, Yoongi thought it would be for the best to put them in the living-room instead. They could sit on the floor cushions and open them up one by one, his mother telling him what items she wanted to keep and what ones she would sell or donate to charity shops instead. So he placed the first box down on the floor, straightening up to see that his mother was carrying another one inside for him. She had collected a lighter box instead, one that she could carry with ease and place on the floor beside the first box.

 

It took them several minutes to move the boxes inside the home, and then came the laborious process of sorting through them with her. Yoongi had a feeling that it was going to be tricky convincing her to get rid of certain things, because she was just as terribly sentimental as he was.

 

“Mama, do we have any pine needle tea?” Yoongi asked, as he closed the back door shut.

 

“Pine needle tea? Let me check the cupboards. I didn’t know that you liked that kind of tea, in fact, I didn’t know that you liked tea that much at all,” she called in reply, moving to join him in the kitchen and popping one of the wall cupboard doors open.

 

“I’ve acquired a taste for it since coming down here again,” Yoongi replied, leaning against the counter and listening to her rummaging around the shelves.

 

“No pine needle, but there’s plenty of green tea,” his mother announced, pulling free a little wooden box of dried tea leaves. “Would you like some of that instead?”

 

A couple of minutes later, his mother brought the teapot and cups in on a tray, placing it down on the coffee table. She filled up the cups for them and proceeded to sit down on the cushion just a few feet away from him, watching him cutting a box open with a penknife so that he could lift up the flaps and reveal the packed contents.

 

“Right, mama, I know for a fact that there’s silverware and porcelain in this box,” he declared, tearing straight through the brown tape so that he could pop the flaps up and reveal the popped Styrofoam puffs. “I understand if you wanna keep some of the antique plates and silver spoons, but remember, there’s so much stuff to sort through and we can’t keep it all.”

 

“I know, I know,” his mother said with a quick and embarrassed smile. “I’ll try to not hoard everything, I’ll try my hardest.”

 

Over the following two hours or so, Yoongi emptied box after box of goods: from silverware and porcelain, to books and magazines, to clothes and shoes, to the obvious knick-knacks and antiques that Namgi had accumulated over the course of the last couple of years. His mother stayed true to her word, designating his shoes and clothing save for a few items to charity shops (she had wanted to keep his mechanics overall and cap, and Yoongi had accepted several knitted jumpers upon her suggestion of him keeping them for the winter). She also selected some of the best silverware and porcelain, so that the remaining stuff could be sold.

 

But when it came to other things, she was much more reluctant to give them up.

 

Between the car magazines and models, which had been her brother’s passionate hobby, she just couldn’t bear to part with them and so he had had to let her keep them. There was a spare room along the hall that they could always leave them in, a room that he had once used like an office to sit in and study for his high school exams, and also work on his photography projects before he had moved to the capital. Yoongi supposed that they could put up shelves for the models, and purchase a rack or two to place the magazines in, just to please her.

 

It had been just as tricky getting his mother to part with his books and other small items, which was a sign of her terrible hoarding habits and love of sentimental items.

 

Eventually, they decided to take a small break from the sorting. Yoongi accepted another full cup of green tea from his mother and he shifted to get more comfortable on the floor cushion. He slouched his back with a sigh, finding that his lower back was stiff and sore from carrying all of the boxes. When they resumed work, he would have to seal up the charity boxes of clothes and shoes whilst she packed all of the goods that she wanted to sell in another box. He would no doubt have to try and sell it all over the next few days, which was going to prove a challenge.

 

“Mama, has Daegu always been…crazy?” Yoongi asked out of the blue, the question just coming to mind before he could possibly contain it.

 

“What do you mean, honeybun?”

 

This made a Yoongi lower his cup and turn to look back over his shoulder at his mother. It was difficult having a serious conversation with her about things when she was still very much insisting on calling him his childhood nickname of choice, one that he could never escape from.

 

“Since when’s Daegu had a local witch in it, mama? When’s that been a thing?” he asked, before quickly adding. “Sure as hell wasn’t no witches here when I was a kid.”

 

“Oh, you mean Jimin! The nice witch that drives around in that funny old car - yes, he’s nice, I like that boy,” she said with a surprisingly warm smile.

 

“Mama, are you even listening to what you’re saying right now?” Yoongi replied, struggling to keep a straight face because he wanted to laugh so much. “You’re talking about the local town witch like it ain’t nothing at all, like it’s normal.”

 

“Well, that’s because it is,” his mother pointed out in a matter of fact voice. “Jimin’s as real as you and I, honeybun, he’s not one of those silly urban legends like a ghost or a goblin.”

 

“I know, I’ve met him, I…uh, I’ve met him a couple of times, actually,” he explained. “I was told that he’s a witch, and for a lil while I kept trying to think of excuses to explain it as something else, y’know, like a homeopathic healer or something. But with you saying that he’s a real witch, just like everyone else…I think that it really must be true.”

 

“You’ve met him a few times? As in, you’ve met him out on the streets and inside of shops and such, or you’ve been seeing him for treatment?” his mother asked, as she filled her cup up again with more green tea.

 

“Oh, y’know, for things,” Yoongi muttered, peeling a hand free from his cup to rub at the back of his neck in a fidgeting manner. “It ain’t nothing serious, mama, don’t you worry none about that.”

 

“Is it for your terrible sleeping habits? Oh, I hope it’s for that, honeybun. I know that all of the doctors you visited in Seoul couldn’t help you, I know the medicine and tea I sent you didn’t work either. Is it for that?”

 

“Yeah, mama, I’ve been seeing him about my insomnia,” he admitted honestly, seeing no need in lying to her. “I’ve been seeing him for roughly three weeks now, in the night when I’m finished working on my photography projects and I’ve helped you sort out all of the estate business.”

 

“Ah, so that’s where you’ve been going every night, hmm?” his mother remarked, giving him a rather knowing smile from over the rim of her teacup that made her eyelids crinkle at the corners just like his own. “Jiminie’s a handsome boy, I like him a lot. I’d like to see him sitting here, sharing tea and food with us.”

 

Yoongi could only snort at this, still finding his mother’s acceptance of his sexuality both unbelievable and relieving. After all, he only had her now that his uncle had passed, had no father or siblings to call family should she have turned her back on him upon him discovering his sexuality when he had been a young teenager. It seemed that his mother might just have detected a slight hint of interest from him when he had been talking about Jimin: maybe in his expression, fidgeting or the way that he had spoken about him.

 

“I’ve been getting sleep treatments from him, he gives me herbs to smoke,” Yoongi explained, placing his empty mug aside so that he could drag a new box closer to him and open it up with the penknife. “Not tobacco, it ain’t that kinda cigarette - don’t worry. Anyway, I’ve been smoking ‘em alongside taking supplements, to boost my immune system.”

 

“Honestly, honeybun, you look so much better to me,” his mother admitted after a quick sip of tea. “When you first came back here, you were so thin and dreadfully pale from your insomnia. You were grumpy and tired all of the time too. But now, you’ve put on some weight, your skin is glowing and healthy-looking, you have so much more energy and you’re smiling a lot more too. It’s wonderful.”

 

Yoongi thought this over for a moment as he sipped at his own green tea.

 

Jimin had told him several times over the last week that he looked much better. He had cupped his face in his warm hands and he had turned it this way and that as he had told him that his eyes were brighter and clearer, that his skin was flushed and glowing too. Now his mother was telling him that he looked better too, which was obviously the result of his sleep treatments and supplements.

 

Was it also maybe a result of that so-called energy of his increasing, or was that something different?

 

“…Mama, d’you remember that night, back when I was fifteen? The night that I set my bed on fire?” Yoongi asked in a quiet voice, lowering his teacup from his lips.

 

“Do you mean the night that you stole one of Namgi’s pesky cigarettes and you tried smoking it?” she asked with a sidelong expression. “Of course I remember that, Yoongi. You damn nearly burnt the house down because you fell asleep smoking a cigarette.”

 

His mother let out a laugh at this, shaking her head so that her hair fell forward in a straight sheath over her shoulder.

 

“Yeah, that night,” he mumbled, staring down into the murky tea.

 

“Why are you asking about such a thing, Yoongi?”

 

“Oh, just thinking, mama,” Yoongi said, as he placed the cup aside and he reached over to grab one of the boxes. “You never told me how you know Jimin though. Does he go to your restaurant? Is he a regular customer?”

 

“Where do you think that I get all of that lovely fresh produce for the restaurant from, honeybun?” his mother asked with a laugh. “Jiminie supplies me with his best stock, I like to buy some extra goods for our kitchen too. He grows the best-tasting vegetables that I’ve ever cooked.”

 

“Yeah, his cooking’s pretty good,” he agreed, thinking about all of the delicious dishes that he had served him for breakfast: gulguk, chogyetang, gomguk with sides of rice, meat and succulent fruits.

 

“Before Namgi passed, I also consulted with Jiminie about treatments for his cancer. He gave me incense to burn for his lungs, and medicine for him to swallow, but it was far too late at that point. Jiminie’s treatments could really only extend his time for a little while, but it was longer than he ever would have had without it,” his mother explained, as she started moving goods back inside of one of the boxes. “I’m very thankful for the extra time that Jiminie granted the two of us, but I do wish he had had that little bit longer so that you would have been able to see him one last time, Yoongi.”

 

“Jimin gave uncle Namgi treatment for cancer?” Yoongi asked dumbly, twisting to look over at her again.

 

His mother hummed at this, reaching up to tuck her hair back behind her ear.

 

By the time that they were finished with the task of resealing the boxes and moving the rest into the office room for the time being, it was the mid-afternoon hours. In that time, Yoongi pondered on what his mother had told him about Jimin providing her with fresh produce and cancer treatments for his uncle, and how the witch had never told him about this fact.

 

Perhaps he hadn’t known that she was his mother? But that seemed unlikely, considering the fact that he had spoken about her and his uncle often over the time that they had spent together. Yoongi supposed that there was a chance that he might just have not thought to mention it, or that he hadn’t wanted to talk about Namgi with him after his sudden passing for fear of causing him upset.

 

As soon as the last box had been sealed shut and the task was complete, Yoongi left the family home to go on a walk into the town with his camera - just to get some fresh air and pass the time until the evening like usual. He had no real destination in mind, just the sidewalks and park paths that he liked walking along and hoped to find something that caught his eye.

 

After a while, Yoongi found his feet guiding him right off the beaten path, taking him away from the paved roads of the town and the many blocks of buildings until he was wandering along a dirt road that looked to run to nowhere. There was distant farmland filled with crops and paddies, and massive buildings that would likely store livestock, but very little else out in the wild.

 

Except Yoongi knew for a fact that it would lead him to Jimin’s hanok eventually; he just had to follow the country road until it did so. He had travelled in Jimin’s car enough times already, leaving his home in the early morning to arrive back in town. So he just carried on wandering until the sight of the building appeared on the horizon.

 

Yoongi had no clue at all if Jimin was even awake inside of the hanok. If he knocked on the door, it might just disturb him when he was resting and he didn’t want that. It was rather silly of him to have went wandering all of the way to his home uninvited like this, but he had been unable to help himself because he had just been…drawn to it.

 

After a moment of thought, Yoongi decided to go around the building instead of knocking on the door, so that he could enter his garden instead.

 

Despite all of the visits to Jimin’s home, Yoongi had never went in his garden before. He had thought about snapping photographs of it whilst he had looked at it from out of the kitchen window over breakfast, yet he had never asked Jimin if he could go out to look at it properly.

 

Yoongi supposed that he could sit on the back porch for a little while and take some photographs, maybe stroke and play with his pets and wait for Jimin to wake up. He could tell him all about how he had wandered here on a walk and how he had found his garden irresistible, which he just knew that Jimin would laugh at; throwing his head back so that his tousled hair fell back off his face and his earrings dangled around his jaw.

 

It wasn’t really trespassing to enter his garden when he had been invited into his home many times in the past, was it? Yoongi was certain that Hwaseong wouldn’t bark and chase him away seeing as he had had the dog sprawled across his lap dozens of times before and he had given him treats and ear scratches. If Hwaseong didn’t think that it was trespassing, that meant that he was safe to enter the garden and start looking around.

 

The first thing that caught Yoongi’s eye was the rather obvious sprawling flower patch that took up a great amount of land. It wasn’t a mess of plants, but rather neatly organised into squares for ease of watering and pruning them. He saw so many flowers that he couldn’t even hope to identify, and so he moved around the spray as he tried to find a particularly attractive display of colours that he could eye through his viewfinder. Unsurprisingly, he found himself snapping quite a few photographs; one hand constantly twisting at his focus and aperture rings to adjust them between each shot and really experiment for fun.

 

These photographs weren’t for anything special like a project, but were rather just snapshots that Yoongi wanted to take and save for the sake of memories. It would be nice to keep a folder of such photographs on his laptop, and he might just find that he liked a couple of them enough to display in his online portfolios.

 

Across the massive garden, Yoongi saw a sprawling patch of fertile farmland on which Jimin had planted many kinds of trees: mostly fruit-bearing ones but also some blossoming ones too. Not too far from this orchard, he discovered the vegetable patch where Jimin grew the fresh produce that he sold to his mother. Sprawling creeper plants snaked across the earth, hiding their ripe treasures from his eyes; others were growing on bamboo support sticks so that he could see them perfectly. He couldn’t help but snap a few more photographs of them, particularly one of a ripe and juicy tomato speckled with water droplets on its glossy skin.

 

Yoongi noticed a large greenhouse from across the garden, the outer walls greatly covered in thick growths of vines and wisteria. The glass building beckoned to him, almost demanded that he enter it and see what was hidden away inside. So he straightened up to cross the garden, carefully treading as to not stomp down on any plants or roots.

 

Upon entering the greenhouse, Yoongi discovered that it was incredibly warm inside as a result of large heating lamps placed here and there across the interior. The scent of damp earth overwhelmed that of the flowers, but it was a highly pleasing scent, though it had mixed in with a more fetid aroma from the unusual vines all over the interior and exterior of the building.

 

Yoongi saw that one of the massive vine plants had dangling pods almost as tall as he was hanging from them, which looked to contain large seeds, peas or beans of some kind. The sight was enough to make him stare up at the vines in awe, his breath leaving his slack lips in a soft sigh.

 

The sound of rustling filled the greenhouse, which might just be the result of the vines moving around like they did so in Jimin’s car. Yet Yoongi found his gaze dropping to look down at the plants in front of him, and that was when he saw something unexpected.

 

There was a large mottled snake slithering free from what looked like a strawberry plant, heading straight for his foot so that it could snag around his ankle and sink its fangs right into him.

 

“Holy shit!” Yoongi cried out in horror, diving back a step and stumbling over his own feet to hit the floor with a bone-rattling thump.

 

The snake slithered out of the plants to show that it was so much larger than he had feared, its narrow head running down into a thick body that was brown and covered in black splotches. It didn’t strike at him like he had been fearing, but it did coil up to look right at him - its black tongue darting free to scent the air with a hissing sound.

 

Jimin appeared in the doorway a moment later, fully dressed in his usual flamboyant way: a black and silver striped silken shirt hanging loose on his small frame, tucked into leather trousers with several belts around his hips. His feet were bare and his face was free from makeup in a way that seemed to hint that he wasn’t even finished getting ready yet, but his cry of horror must have attracted him out into the garden.

 

“Jimin! Snake!” Yoongi gasped in horror, as if the witch couldn’t see the large reptile. “Fucking big snake!”

 

“Yoongi, you nearly stepped on my baby,” Jimin cooed, as he bent down to lift up the glossy snake and he slung it around his neck without a single care. “It’s OK, Mokseong, he didn’t see you hiding in the strawberry patch. Hmm, how funny…”

 

Yoongi had heard enough jokes about snakes hiding in flower patches in the past, usually aimed towards attractive women in a way that made him feel a dull throb of anger in the back of his mind. But he had never thought that he would stumble across an actual venomous snake hidden away in a patch of strawberries. It should have been amusing, but he was far too terrified by the sight of the hissing snake to laugh.

 

“Jimin, that’s a-a salmusa, that’s venomous, I-”

 

“Mokseong only bites rats and naughty strangers that enter my greenhouse without my permission,” Jimin interjected, cocking his head to look at him and narrowing his makeup-less eyes. “So, why didn’t he bite you, honey?”

 

Mokseong slithered inside of Jimin’s open shirt to slide along his bare chest muscles; cold and smooth scaly skin against hot and soft golden skin. His shirt rippled as the snake wrapped himself around him, lazily slithering around his chest and shoulders only to emerge once more. His head popped free, his forked tongue rapidly flicking against the underside of Jimin’s jaw.

 

There was something so deadly but hypnotic about the way that the snake moved on Jimin’s body, Yoongi’s eyes latching onto it to track every single clench and coil of its body.

 

“I, uh, I dunno,” Yoongi admitted in a quiet voice, dragging his eyes away from the snake to hold the witch’s gaze. “I’m fucking glad that he didn’t though. Uh, thanks, Mokseong.”

 

Jimin cupped the snake so that he could lift its face to his own, looking at it for a moment before looking back at him.

 

Was he talking to it somehow? Was that possible, or was that just crazy?

 

“Yoongi, stroke him…”

 

“Stroke him, huh? What?” Yoongi repeated, as he stared at him dumbly. “I-I don’t wanna stroke him, Jimin. He might bite me, I-”

 

“Don’t worry, his bite won’t kill you,” Jimin promised in a quiet voice. “I drained him just this morning, any venom that he’s accumulated will be far too weak to do much more than sting you, and even at full toxicity, you wouldn’t die.”

 

“Salmusa bites cause skin necrosis, Jimin, I don’t wanna lose my fucking fingers,” Yoongi said, getting upright and shifting from foot to foot in discomfort as he hugged his arms against his chest.

 

“I’ve got my own treatment kit right here in the greenhouse, Yoongi - just trust me, OK?”

 

After a few seconds, Yoongi lifted his eyes so that he could hold Jimin’s gaze. He saw that he was being honest with him, that he wasn’t in any kind of danger but it was just his own fears making him feel like he was. He knew that the witch was so confident that he wasn’t going to get bitten, but he was just far too frightened of the possibility to unfold his elbow and just reach over to touch the animal.

 

“You promise?” Yoongi managed to ask in a whisper, slowly unfolding an arm to hover his hand out in front of him.

 

“I promise. Use the back of your hand and fingers to touch him, not your palms. Also, stroke down his body, not up it. Snakes are very sensitive, you don’t want to damage his skin, honey, or then he really might bite you.”

 

When Yoongi felt the backs of his fingers touching the snake, he expected Mokseong to coil up tight and then dive at him, to sink his fangs right into the curve of his thumb or even down into his inner wrist. He waited for the agonising sharp prick of them sinking into his flesh, and yet…Mokseong didn’t move an inch.

 

“Are you doing that?” Yoongi asked in that same whisper, lifting his gaze to look up at Jimin.

 

“Doing what, honey?” the witch asked back in genuine confusion.

 

“Telling him to not bite me or something? Are you controlling him?” he clarified, giving Mokseong another tender stroke with the back of his hand and feeling cool but not freezing cold skin against his own.

 

“No, I can’t do that,” Jimin explained with a soft head shake. “My pets have a life of their own, honey, I can’t control them like that and I wouldn’t want to.”

 

“So…so, he don’t wanna bite me?”

 

“Mokseong likes you,” Jimin said with a smile, watching him stroking the snake from head to tail with the back of his hand. “See, I told you that he wouldn’t bite you, honey.”

 

“I, uh, I ain’t scared of snakes,” Yoongi admitted, as he pulled his hand away from the reptile. “Mokseong just scared me ‘cos he came slithering out like that, I thought he was a wild snake. I’ve photographed a couple of pet snakes in the past, actually.”

 

“You aren’t scared, hmm?” Jimin asked, as he reached up to grab hold of the snake and he moved to place him right around his neck without warning.

 

“Oh!” Yoongi breathed out in shock, tensing his body tight and bringing his shoulders up to his ears.

 

“It’s OK, just relax,” the witch suggested in a soothing tone, reaching up to cup his cheek in his warm hold. “Let Mokseong move and settle on you, let him get comfortable. You won’t even realise that he’s there once he settles down.”

 

Yoongi took several slow and deep breaths to try and calm himself down, feeling the snake shifting across his body as he did so. Mokseong was heavier than he looked, and he had a habit of clenching around his shoulders in a way that showed just how powerful his hold could be, should he chose to crush something to death. But as soon as he had relaxed, the snake also settled down in place and seemed content to just stay around his neck for a while.

 

“Come on in, honey - well, I mean, you kind of already did,” Jimin said with a mischievous smile, as he finally lifted his pet snake free from around his neck for him and he placed him down on the ground.

 

Yoongi watched Mokseong slithering into the strawberry plant again, quickly disappearing into the darkness that the thick leaves created like death stealing into the shadows itself. It felt so relieving not having the snake dangling around his neck, even if Mokseong had proven himself to not be a threat to him.

 

“I, uh, I’m sorry for intruding on your property, Jimin,” Yoongi said in a quiet voice, as he followed him out of the greenhouse and he made sure to keep an eye on the floor as to not stand on the snake. “I was just walking through town when I felt this…unexplainable urge to walk down this path and before I knew it, I was stumbling onto your home. I didn’t wanna wake you up, so, I decided to go out into the garden instead.”

 

“I’ve been awake for some time, honey, I was in the bath,” Jimin replied, glancing back over his shoulder at him. “If you’d have knocked, I’d have answered the door in nothing more than a towel.”

 

Yoongi hoped that his cheeks didn’t flush too pink at this, his mind filling sudden images of Jimin wrapped up in nothing more than a small towel; his body covered in beaded water. It was clearly obvious what he was thinking, however, for he heard the witch giggling just a few seconds later.

 

“Jimin, you’ve got a beautiful garden,” Yoongi said, as they came to a stop close to the large flower patch. “I ain’t ever seen anything like this before.”

 

“Thank you, honey,” Jimin said with a pleased smile, his own bare cheeks turning a rather warm shade of pink too.

 

“I don’t even know what most of these things are, save for the obvious flowers. I love the roses in the sitting-room though; what’re they?”

 

“The roses on the hanok walls, those are Goldfinch,” Jimin explained, before turning to point across the garden at a tree. “That’s Paul’s Himalayan Musk growing on the apple tree, which is just beautiful.”

 

The roses on the apple tree were a beautiful powder pink and so soft and perfectly bloomed that Yoongi could only agree. He had never seen roses so beautiful before, not even in florist bouquets.

 

But there was another beautiful sight in front of him too, and it was Jimin.

 

Jimin, with his face completely bare of makeup for the very first time. His hair was effortlessly tousled here and there, looked to fall that way naturally without any styling, framing his bare face perfectly. There was no dewy foundation present, but his skin still glowed without it. The faintest ghosts of past acne were lingering around his cheeks, something often considered a flaw to many but not Yoongi. Skin wasn’t supposed to be a perfect smooth canvas, it was supposed to be lived in, and he found the faint scars fascinating to study.

 

Now that Jimin’s eyes weren’t framed with black liner and a gradient scale of pink eyeshadow, they looked different. Yoongi was more aware of how swollen his lower eyelids were, and his heavy upper eyelids. His eyes looked smaller, but they were still incredibly rounded in a way that made him look more youthful. His full lips were naked of lipstick so that they were a dusky pink shade, which Yoongi thought that he liked more.

 

Jimin just looked surprisingly younger and more approachable now that he was free from his intense makeup. He looked like the kind of young man that he might bump into on the subway back up in Seoul, that he would stumble apologies at and find himself looking at again because of his handsome features.

 

Yoongi was getting to see Jimin without his makeup at last - without his mask, should it be something that he liked to hide behind; or his war paint, should it serve a more intimidating purpose. It was strange in a way, but the witch still looked powerful even without the intense makeup to demand the eye.

 

“Yeah, beautiful…” Yoongi said in a quiet voice, staring at the other man openly.

 

Jimin turned back to face him, a rather shy smile on his face that showed that he might just have realised that he was talking about him and not his garden. He reached up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind his ear, his rounded cheeks taking on a soft pink flush.

 

“Well, if you’re planning on sticking around, honey, would you like to come on in for some food?” Jimin offered, cocking his head in the direction of the open back door.

 

“That’d be lovely, Jimin,” Yoongi replied, returning the soft smile.

 

After feeding his pets, Jimin proceeded to start rooting around the many kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator so that he could start emptying things onto the counter. Yoongi noticed that there was a crate on the floor, which was likely his usual supply of fresh goods that he received every week or so, and Jimin proceeded to collect a small box filled with ice and frozen oysters - which seemed to be a favourite of his.

 

“Time for breakfast, or in your case, dinner,” Jimin declared with a flourish, prancing into the kitchen with a happy bounce in his step and the box of oysters in hand.

 

“D’you need any help?” Yoongi offered, even when he wasn’t exactly the greatest cook.

 

“As a matter of fact, I do,” the witch replied with a quick smile. “Please, wash the rice, fruit and vegetables for me; I’m going to go and collect a few from the garden so that they’re nice and fresh. If you can cut them up, for me, that would be very helpful, honey.”

 

“Sure thing, Jimin.”

 

Whilst the other man retrieved his ingredients of choice from the garden, Yoongi set about washing the rice in a deep pan; kneading at the grains and pouring the water free to repeat the process over and over until the water was clear. He found himself thinking about how he should cook the rice in the cauldron instead of the small rice cooker on the counter - the thought making him snort laughter to himself. Sadly, he had to fill up the cooker instead, adding the water and setting the timer with several quick presses with the button.

 

Upon Jimin returning from the garden, he had a basket filled with mushrooms, cucumber, carrots, and radishes, and also a selection of berries and peaches.

 

Yoongi set about cleaning them under the running tap: peeling the leaves free from the berries and placing them in a bowl, peeling and chopping the vegetables into fine slivers. He left the mushrooms whole, just for the sake of it, and then he set about mixing the carrot and cucumber in a mixture of sauce that had been stored in Jimin’s refrigerator: which smelled like garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

 

It turned out that Jimin was making soup, which was often what he prepared as the main meal for breakfast along with rice, some fish or meat and side dishes of vegetables and fruit. Yoongi saw that he had boiled a pan of water and kelp on the stove that he dropped the radish slivers and mushrooms in, and he left the pot covered on a low heat to soften and flavour the stock whilst he shucked and cleaned the oysters in salt water.

 

Yoongi had watched the witch cooking many times before, and there was always something fascinating in the way that he did so. Jimin moved effortlessly around the kitchen: chopping and slicing, stirring and frying without a hint of hesitation, his focus intense and enticing. It seemed that he was as passionate about cooking as he was his garden, and it showed.

 

His mother was right when she had said that his produce tasted delicious, but it wasn’t just the ingredients that made the meal. Jimin’s talents in the kitchen made a simple meal taste like an extravagant one, rather than just his fresh ingredients.

 

Whilst Jimin left the oysters boiling in the soup, Yoongi emptied the rice cooker and he set the table with bowls of rice, namul and a platter of diced strawberries and peaches. He also brewed some tea on the stove ring beside the soup pot, finding that the scent of the soup made his stomach rumble below his ribs in appreciation.

 

As soon as he had finished pouring out the pine needle tea, Jimin finally removed the lid from the pot and he carried it over to the low table with a smile on his face.

 

“You know, Yoongi, you’d be surprised by how much food can really help you in the bedroom,” Jimin suddenly declared, as he stirred at the contents of the pot with the ladle and made thick wafts of fragrant steam take to the air. “Food has a profound effect on our health, and it can have its benefits. Increased circulation and blood flow can help maintain erections and increase sensitivity to touch; did you know that?

 

Yoongi found himself tightening his hold around his teacup at this, eyeing the contents of the thick soup that he was stirring at. He could see the oysters, radishes and swollen mushrooms floating in the slightly creamy stock.

 

“Hmm, it’s true. Certain vitamins can calm nerves and relax muscles, some can increase hormone production. But taste, honey, is so very important to sexual satisfaction. Sweetness has its benefits,” Jimin said with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Sweet food can increase stamina, all of that sugar really boosts your energy levels.”

 

“Why’re you telling me this, Jimin?” Yoongi asked curiously, as he filled up their two bowls with a portion of the gulguk and then sat down on the floor cushion facing him.

 

“Are you feeling much more energetic these days, honey?” Jimin asked, as he held a spoonful of soup in front of his lips.

 

“Jimin…have you been feeding me aphrodisiacs this entire time?” Yoongi asked, as he looked down at the spread of food across the table in blank surprise.

 

“Feeding you? Maybe, mostly I’ve been giving you supplements to better your health,” Jimin replied with a wry smile and wink. “It takes time to have an effect, honey, not just a single meal. That said, this meal is pretty good at stirring up excitement.”

 

Yoongi could only stare at him at this, hovering his own spoon in front of his mouth as he played this all over in his mind. He was in the act of sipping at the soup when the witch let out a sudden laugh that caught him by surprise.

 

“Yoongi!” Jimin said with a giggle, placing his spoon down so that he could clap his fingers over his lips. “That was a joke, well, mostly a joke. I’m not feeding you aphrodisiacs for that purpose. It just so happens that a lot of food that are good for sexual power are filled with vitamins that are fantastic for your health in general. The aphrodisiac aspect is just…an added bonus. I just wanted to fix your health, because it was so bad as a result of your insomnia. But look at you now, honey, you’re glowing.”

 

This compliment made Yoongi let out a flustered laugh, both pleased and embarrassed in equal amounts. It made Jimin’s smile grow wide enough to show off almost every single tooth, as he reached across the table to give him a soft pat on the cheek.

 

Over the duration of their meal, Yoongi found that he couldn’t help but notice the way that Jimin was looking at him. There was just something in his gaze that felt different than usual, something heated and intense, and it made his cheeks start heating up with a sudden flush of colour.

 

For quite some time now, Yoongi had been pretty certain that there was something close to sexual tension in the air between them. It was mostly a result of Jimin’s open honesty about his sexuality and sex in general, contrasted against his rather reserved and flustered responses. He knew that he had feelings for Jimin as a result of their friendship, and that he was sexually attracted to him, and he was almost certain that Jimin felt the same way about him too. It was in his little flirtatious jokes and smiles, in the way that he would stroke at his hair when he was falling asleep with his head on his lap and he would say such sweet things to him.

 

Maybe a couple of days ago, Yoongi might have thought that Jimin just liked his company as a friend and nothing more than that. But today’s cheeky flirtation had reached a whole new level, and it had dispelled that final bit of doubt at the back of his mind.

 

It was only when they had finished eating, the bowls and plates empty of everything, that Jimin decided to break their momentary silence.

 

“Honey, can I talk about something that’s been on my mind for a long time now?” he asked him in a quiet voice, reaching up to touch his dangling earring. “It’s something…intimate, explicit, even?”

 

“A’ight,” Yoongi said, placing the napkin down onto the table and folding his hands in front of him.

 

“Yoongi, I can’t help but be aware of the fact that you’re very sexually repressed,” Jimin remarked without a hint of embarrassment, as he retrieved the teapot and he poured the remains of the tea into their cups. “Do you even masturbate?”

 

“Uh, not that much, no,” Yoongi admitted in a quiet voice, watching the green liquid splashing down into the glass cups.

 

“How come? Parental influence on your upbringing? An embarrassing experience of someone walking in on you?” the witch asked with a quick smile. “Surely that’s not enough to make you stop, just like that?”

 

“I dunno, not really,” he replied with a soft shrug, wrapping his fingers around the warm cup to nurse it. “I used to do it a lot when I was a teenager, y’know? I mean, I’m pretty sure that everyone does but I was…obsessed with it. Shit, I think that I’d my hand down my pants every single day back when I was in high school. I couldn’t help myself back then, I’d had zero control, but I learnt to repress quite a lot of my urges around the time that I started university.”

 

“But I don’t understand. Why did you repress them?” Jimin asked him in confusion, furrowing his brow deeply as he brought his own teacup to his lips. “Something must have triggered this response, right?”

 

For a moment, Yoongi found that he didn’t really know what to say to him. He had thought about this particular subject many times over their friendship, had considered telling Jimin about his strange memory and asking him for advice on the matter, but he had been too scared to do so.

 

“One time I…I was wanking off when I was a kid and I, uh - well, my bed set on fire,” Yoongi said in a whisper-soft voice. “I-I dunno what happened, Jimin, but it scared the fucking hell outta me and I didn’t know what to do. I lied about smoking a cigarette to my mama, about falling asleep when I was studying and it burning my bed so that she would believe me. But there wasn’t no cigarette, Jimin. My bed burst into fucking flames and I think that…that I might’ve done it somehow.”

 

“It’s because of your energy, Yoongi,” Jimin whispered, reaching over to grab hold of his hands so that he could squeeze them within his own. “You’ve got so much sexual energy trapped inside of you, you poor little thing.”

 

Yoongi dropped his head at this, so overcome with shame that he couldn’t hold his gaze. So Jimin moved to lean over the table and take hold of his face again, cupping his cheeks and forcing him to look up at him.

 

“It’s not your fault,” Jimin continued, brushing his thumbs along his cheekbones. “You’ve got power, Yoongi, and it had to get out somehow. The fire, that was just your energy being released through the intense pleasure. You might have made your bed float or blew out the local power grid or whatever - it was just a random effect, that’s all. When too much energy builds up it must be purged to make room for more, it has to get released somehow.”

 

“It scared me so much, Jimin,” he admitted in a whisper. “I ain’t ever told anyone about it ‘cos I was terrified that they would think I was crazy. Even my mama, and she knows everything about me. She knows about my-my sexuality, she knows every lil thing but not that. How can you tell your mama that you set your bed on fire when you were masturbating, huh?”

 

“It’s not easy having so much power, honey…”

 

“Am I a-a witch, or something, Jimin?”

 

“No, you’re not a witch, honey. You’re just very gifted, and you shouldn’t hide it away like that,” Jimin said, moving so that he could kneel beside him and pull him close enough to cradle against his bare chest. He placed one hand on the back of his neck, his other arm loosely slung around his shoulders. “The more that you hide it, the stronger it gets. You deny yourself pleasure in case something like that happens, only to increase the chances of it happening when you finally give in to all of the pressure. Has anything else like that happened, hmm?”

 

“It’s happened to me a few times since that night. I blew out every single light bulb in my apartment block one night when I was drunk and I touched myself in the bathtub,” Yoongi whispered, and it sounded so absurd that he couldn’t help but let out a bark of a laugh. “The entire building just plunged into darkness, Jimin, it was ridiculous. We all had to use candles for the night, I felt so guilty and disgusted with myself.”

 

“So much power, so much raw power,” Jimin whispered, pressing his face into his hair and letting his breath out in a sigh. “Oh, honey, you’re so perfect.”

 

Yoongi felt Jimin pressing the softest of kisses right against his hairline at this, his fingers stroking the back of his neck in a way that made him shudder in delight and swallow a soft moan.

 

“You should masturbate when you go home tonight, Yoongi,” Jimin suggested, cupping his chin in his fingers to tilt his head back and hold his gaze. “Relax, get nice and relaxed and just pleasure yourself. You deserve it, your body craves it. If you don’t overcome your fear, you’ll never be free from your burden.”

 

“I was planning on staying here tonight, Jimin,” Yoongi replied in a whisper-soft voice.

 

For a moment, his words hung in the air with a great weight. Yoongi waited for the witch to break it, to say something witty or amusing that would make them both laugh even when the intent behind it was much more serious.

 

“Hmm, then I might just have a little something new for you to sample, honey,” Jimin whispered, moving close enough to give him a chaste peck on his lips that made Yoongi’s heart start racing in his chest.

 

Over the duration of the late afternoon hours, Jimin had to tend to his garden by way of watering all of the different flowers and crops, pruning leaves and roots here and there and collecting precious berries, fruits and blossoms which he stored away in countless jars and containers for later use. It seemed like a never-ending job to Yoongi, for Jimin had to do it over and over again every single day without rest. That was a sign of just how dedicated to his talents that the witch was, for he knew that he couldn’t handle such an immense workload.

 

Yoongi watched him doing his work from the porch, Hwaseong lying mostly lounged across his lap enjoying ear strokes and the rapidly fading warmth of the summer sun setting on the horizon. He found his gaze being drawn to the greenhouse, in which Mokseong was no doubt slithering around the plants and basking in the heat of the huge lamps, waiting for the next silly creature to stumble right into his lair.

 

Jimin had to leave to drive into town and see his clients just like usual, delivering them all kinds of treatments and charms that would heal them of sickness, bring love, lust and luck, and appease their worries. He said that he would return as soon as he had sealed every deal, and so Yoongi sent him off with another quick and shy kiss, which made the witch giggle at him rather giddily.

 

Whilst he was gone, Yoongi stayed in his sitting-room on the spread of floor cushions with Geumseong curled up in his lap, eyeing the dozens of compendium-like diaries filled with knowledge about herbalism that Jimin had amassed over his young lifetime. It seemed that the witch had a talent in the earth, for his magic seemed to revolve around his beloved garden and plants. He knew that he was capable of other feats too, for he had watched him conjure up sparks of fire with little more than a click of his fingers, and he witnessed him drawing water straight into his watering can so that it had streamed through the air like a ribbon.

 

Sadly, the rambling roses inside of the sitting-room had since closed up and were no longer in bloom. The faint fragrance of them still lingered in the air, but it wasn’t as strong as it had been over the last month or so, and he missed staring up at their apricot petals.

 

As he waited for Jimin to return, Yoongi found himself thinking about the fact that he had more-or-less told Jimin that he was interested in engaging in some form of sexual intimacy with him tonight. It was something that made him feel nervous and a little bit scared, but mostly it left him feeling waves of impatience.

 

It seemed like forever until Jimin returned to his hanok, carrying the usual small collection of trinkets and jewellery that went into his bedroom; his bare soles padding along the wooden flooring. When he stepped back into sitting-room, he moved to kneel down right in front of him, lifting Geumseong out of his lap to place her aside.

 

The cat let out an annoyed rumble, trotting off across the room to presumably climb into his cauldron to resume her nap.

 

“Yoongi, have you been having dreams about me?” Jimin asked, folding his legs to the side and balancing his weight on one wrist as he leaned closer to him. He reached up with his free hand to cup his neck, his cold rings making a shiver run down Yoongi’s spine.

 

“Yeah, Jimin,” he admitted in a quiet voice. “I, uh, since that very first night, I’ve been having sexual dreams about you. At first, it was mostly red: red lights, red…membrane, red lips, everything was red and…hypnotic. But then it started getting more intense, and I could see you and touch you. Every night, I-I wanted to smoke those herbs so that I could dream about you and not just sleep.”

 

“I’ve been dreaming about you too,” Jimin whispered, moving his head so that he could press his lips against his throat. “Hmm, I didn’t know it at first, because I couldn’t see your face. But I could feel your powerful energy, and that energy turned me on so bad.”

 

“Oh,” Yoongi gasped, his shoulders lifting from the ticklish contact of his kiss and making him shift on the floor cushion. “Jimin, can I…can I kiss you?”

 

“Oh, honey, I thought that you’d never ask,” Jimin said with a mischievous smile, before bringing his lips to his to kiss him.

 

Unlike the first two soft and chaste kisses, Yoongi wanted to feel something stronger than that, something deep. He pouted his lips out in return against Jimin’s, finding his lower lip slipping between both of his until the other man parted his lips to lick at it with the tip of his tongue. The contact made Yoongi open his mouth, his own tongue slipping free to brush against his.

 

Yoongi found his hands shifting up to hold onto Jimin: first his shoulders, so that he could catch the silk of his shirt between his fingers and wrinkle it; and then his neck so that he could hold onto him. Every exploratory kiss made his heart almost skip a beat in his chest, made him gasp for breath between kisses and pull Jimin that little bit closer to him.

 

When Jimin’s fingers trailed down to his jeans, to fumble around the waistband to find the button and zipper, Yoongi couldn’t help but stiffen from his nerves; a soft noise escaping him that made the witch break their kisses.

 

“Ah ah ah, less of that,” Jimin cooed, cupping his face in his warm hands. “There’s no need to be nervous or scared, honey, just shut that part of your mind down. You don’t even need to think, just let your body move on its own and seek out all of those…tingling and twitching pleasures, hmm? Let it discover what it likes and it doesn’t like…”

 

“Have you ever done this before, Jimin?” Yoongi asked in a quiet voice, taking a quick gasp for breath and wetting his lips.

 

Jimin paused in the act of moving to give him a kiss, his eyes half-lidded and his lips flushed from their heated kisses.

 

“No.”

 

This reply was most certainly not what Yoongi had been expecting to hear from him. The level of confidence that Jimin exuded when talking about sex, sexual energy and sexual satisfaction, had made him assume the witch to be sexually active. Yet Jimin had just told him that he had never had sexual intercourse before, and Yoongi found this so very hard to process.

 

“Look, I know how powerful that sexual magic is and I know that I’m not reaching my full potential as a goddamn virgin but you try finding the right guy in a place like this, Yoongi!” Jimin cried out dramatically, as he flicked hair out of his eyes; his earrings dangling from the sudden movement.

 

“You were saving yourself for the right guy?” Yoongi asked in a quiet voice, shifting one shaking hand up to place it on his waist and snag at the soft silk of his shirt.

 

“Pft, I wasn’t saving myself like that, I needed to find someone compatible. I can’t settle for anything less than equal to my power, I needed to find someone strong, and your energy, Yoongi, it’s perfect.”

 

Jimin placed his hands on his shoulders to apply pressure and push him down onto the floor cushions, shifting to settle down beside him so that he could cup his face again and give him another deep kiss.

 

Between their heated kisses, Yoongi let Jimin help him out of his jeans, let him take control by popping the button and running the zipper. He broke their kiss so that he could drag the jeans free. Yoongi had to roll onto his back so that he could do so, the witch tugging them down to his ankles and then pulling at his socks with a giggle.

 

Jimin moved to settle down beside him on the floor cushions, his hand finding his hair and his lips pouting out against his once more.

 

Yoongi lifted his hand up from the floor cushion, stroking it down his tee-shirt front and feeling his fingers shaking as he tugged it up close to his ribs. He slipped his hand under the waistband of his briefs, stretching the soft cotton and feeling his stiffening cock twitching and shifting to try and free itself from the material.

 

As Jimin kissed him deeply, his tongue exploring and brushing against his own and his teeth snagging his lower lip to nibble and suck at it, Yoongi slowly kneaded at his erection. The other man’s hand played with his hair, his fingertips stroking at his scalp and his fingers tangling to give little strokes and tugs, the sensation highly pleasing to him.

 

Yet when Yoongi felt the first powerful throb of pleasure in the pit of his belly, he found himself breaking their kiss and turning his face away.

 

“I-I can’t do it, Jimin,” Yoongi gasped, pulling his hand out of his briefs again to grab hold of his tee-shirt ends. “I can’t, I’m sorry, I-”

 

“It’s OK, honey,” Jimin spoke over him, shifting his hand from his hair so that he could hold onto his flushed face again. “It’s OK, there’s no need to be scared. Nothing bad is going to happen and-”

 

“But what if it does?!” Yoongi cried out, unable to help himself because he was so nervous. “What if I set something on fire again?!”

 

“Then I guess I’ll have to buy new floor cushions,” Jimin joked with a smile, his expression showing no fear at all at the thought of such a thing happening.

 

Yoongi worried at his tee-shirt ends, tugging at the soft cotton as he tried to get himself under control. He knew that he just needed to relax, but it wasn’t that easy after so long spent trying to repress his sexual urges. He could see his cock straining against the light blue cotton of his briefs, bulging at the front and throbbing in want of more touching.

 

Yoongi wanted this - he wanted sexual satisfaction and he wanted it to be with Jimin, who he would also like to help achieve such pleasures. He knew that he wanted it so much, he just had to stop worrying and thinking so goddamn much.

 

“Do you want me to do it?” Jimin whispered, the heat of his breath against his ear and neck making him tremble. “Do you want me to touch you, Yoongi?”

 

Yoongi managed to make a noise in agreement at this, finding himself unable to speak because he was so nervous.

 

Jimin slowly ran his hand down the wrinkled front of his tee-shirt, snagging hold of it so that he could pull it up to flash his briefs. He took hold of the waistband so that he could start tugging them free, Yoongi lifting his hips up off the cushions to help him. He hoped that he didn’t look as nervous as he felt right now; being so exposed and vulnerable for the very first time.

 

Jimin left the room for a moment to return with a bottle of some kind, one that Yoongi saw was a bottle of lube. With a quick pump, Jimin got a liberal amount of lube onto his palm so that he could lie down on the cushions beside him again and take him in hand to spread it over his cock. The sensation made Yoongi gasp for breath and then gulp hard, his mouth dry.

 

Yoongi shifted to bury his face against Jimin’s chest, rolling onto his side as he did so. Jimin had to let go of his cock and angle his wrist differently, taking a firm hold and massaging at his base so that he groaned from the contact.

 

Oh, it had been so long since Yoongi had felt something like this. Too long, in fact. He knew that it had been too long, but it wasn’t like he had had much choice in the matter.

 

How could Yoongi have had sexual intimacy with another man if he had a habit of setting things on fire? How could he have attempted to enter a relationship if there had been a chance of him hurting his lover during their most intimate of moments? It had frightened him so much that he had forced himself to not seek out other men for company, sex and relationships, until Jimin, that was.

 

Jimin, who could set cigarettes alight with just a click of his fingers; who was a witch that wasn’t at all scared by the thought of such strange things happening between them.

 

Jimin started off slow, his touch tender and uncertain, before he picked up speed and rhythm and he pumped his fist more steadily. The lube created a wonderfully slick and hot sensation around his cock, made Yoongi slip an arm around Jimin’s neck so that he could sink his fingers into his hair.

 

Jimin’s hair was so soft in his hold that he couldn’t believe it, the way that it slipped between his fingers like silk and just begged that he hold onto it. Yoongi found himself lifting his face so that he could kiss him again, bringing their lips together and darting his tongue out to lick it along Jimin’s full lower lip.

 

“Mmm,” Yoongi moaned against his lips, breaking their kisses and gasping for breath. “Shit, Jimin, that feels so…so fucking good.”

 

“Do you want me to slip my fingers inside?” Jimin asked in a soft whisper, his breath warm against his mouth. “It feels so good when you do it like that, honey.”

 

“Yuh-yeah,” he almost whispered. “I want you to do that, Jimin.”

 

Yoongi had to roll onto his back again at this, his tee-shirt wracked up around his ribs to reveal his naked lower body to Jimin’s eyes. The witch moved to get on his knees, running his gaze down his body as the tip of his tongue slipped out to lick at his lips.

 

“Open up, honey,” Jimin said with a smile, reaching over to give his thigh a quick stroke. “Let me just slip between those soft little thighs of yours.”

 

“Soft?” Yoongi asked in an uneven voice, spreading his thighs open and turning his face to the side so that he could avoid holding Jimin’s gaze. The movement made his stiff cock flop back to lie across his lower stomach, curved and flushed. “You think they’re soft?”

 

“Oh, honey…”

 

Jimin shifted to slip right between his open thighs, sliding himself along the floor cushions with a soft rustle so that he could balance his weight on his elbows and stomach. He snagged one hand underneath his cocked knee to hold onto it, leaning close so that he could press a series of kisses right against his inner thigh. He sucked his lips around one of the kisses, catching his skin between his teeth to give it a soft bite and tug.

 

“Huh, oh,” Yoongi almost hiccuped, reaching down to place a hand on his head and snagging his fingers in those soft locks of his.

 

Jimin let go, his skin bouncing back from his lips marked with soft indents from his teeth and slick with his saliva. Then he resumed nuzzling against his inner thigh, planting kisses and little nips on his skin that had him tightening his hold in his hair.

 

After he had teased him some more, Jimin retrieved the bottle of lube from the flooring again so that he could get some more onto his palm and fingers. He practically coated both of his hands in the runny and cool liquid, taking hold of the base of his cock with his right hand and shifting the left down between his buttocks.

 

Yoongi felt the wet sensation of his fingertips wiping all around his entrance, spreading the lube thoroughly. He teased around his puckered muscles with soft strokes and kneading rubs, applying gentle pressure to get him to open up before slipping a single finger inside.

 

Yoongi couldn’t help but clench with a surprised grunt, even when it was just a single finger and there wasn’t much stretch at all. It was just a result of surprise, from the sudden insertion to the warm wetness now inside of him as Jimin spread the lube and then slipped his finger free again.

 

Whilst he slowly and teasingly fingered him, Jimin carried on pumping his fist around his cock to bring him more pleasure. The new spread of lube felt just as intense as the first, made Yoongi suck his lower lip in to gnaw on it as he rolled his head back on the cushion.

 

After some more gentle prodding and teasing, Jimin slid two fingers in deep, Yoongi finally yielding to him at last so that he could get them in right to the knuckle and settle them in place against his prostate. When he moved them to give him a curling stroke, Yoongi felt a sensation that he had never felt before; a hard throb of pleasure coursing up into his belly as pressure started building up at the base of his cock - coiled and hot.

 

“Huh-uh! That felt good, Jimin,” he gasped, sinking his fingers into his hair to tug at it.

 

Jimin let his own breath out in a soft gasp at this, his brow furrowing from what looked to be a mixture of pain and pleasure.

 

Yoongi couldn’t help but roll his head back against the floor cushion, his eyes half-lidded so that he could see the rose vines that were spread out all across the ceiling above them. He was too nervous to hold Jimin’s gaze whilst he was pleasuring him like this, his cheeks burning hot and his heart racing in his chest.

 

Every now and again, he lifted his head up to look at Jimin just because he wanted to watch him. When the witch lifted his gaze to look back at him too, Yoongi had to look away again - the flustered act making Jimin laugh softly and tell him that he was adorable.

 

This was like one of his dreams, but Yoongi knew that it was reality. His dreams might have been vivid and intense, but this was something more than that. This felt too good to possibly be a dream, he just knew it.

 

Unlike his dreams, however, which lasted for great amounts of time, Yoongi felt himself getting so tangled up in his pleasure that he knew that he was going to quickly climax. It had been so long since he had touched himself, must have been a couple of months ago.

 

But even his rare and rather rushed masturbatory experiences felt nothing like what it felt like when Jimin touched him. There was still that nervous fear deep inside of him, but the pleasure was overriding it for once.

 

From Jimin’s slick fist to his prodding and curling fingers deep inside of him, Yoongi was far too filled with pleasure to care about his old fears.

 

Whilst Jimin pumped his fist fast around his base, each thump of his fist against his groin causing burning friction that added to the heat trapped in his belly, Yoongi reached down with one hand to desperately knead at his cock head.

 

“Jimin, fuck, Jimin-”

 

“It’s OK, it’s OK, just hold onto that pleasure, Yoongi,” Jimin sighed out, his own voice sounding a little breathless. “Don’t fight it, don’t push it away, just hold onto it and feel that power.”

 

Yoongi felt wetness against his fingers and palm, precum spilling free. He was close, so close that he could feel his muscles tightening and trembling in anticipation.

 

“Don’t be scared,” Jimin continued, lifting his gaze to hold his eyes through his loosely hanging black hair. Yoongi had to brush it back for him, sinking his fingers deep to snag the locks and hold them in his fist. “There’s nothing to be scared about, honey.”

 

Yoongi felt his hips lifting up off the cushion with a sudden twitch, unable to control himself. His breath left his slack lips in a deep moan, before he clenched his jaw tight; his entire body trembling as he ejaculated. His orgasm washed over him in hot waves of tingling pleasure, his fingers and toes twitching and his breath escaping him in groans as his eyes rolled up underneath his closed eyelids.

 

All that he could see was red, pulsing and flashing red behind his eyelids. It was as if a fire had sparked inside of his skull, a fire that was coursing through his entire body.

 

Yoongi slumped back down onto the floor cushions, the powerful waves of pleasure ebbing down after a moment but still softly throbbing deep down in the pit of his belly. He was breathing hard and fast, his heart still pounding in his chest and a slick outbreak of sweat clinging to his hairline.

 

“Holy shit, honey!”

 

“Wuh…what happened?” Yoongi managed to stammer, lifting his heavy head up off the pillow so that he could try and hold his gaze. “Jimin?”

 

Jimin was staring across the room and so he turned his head to see what he was looking at.

 

All of the vines that had snaked their way into the sitting-room were now fully blooming: the Goldfinch flowers having unfurled once more from their tiny buds so that their gorgeous apricot heads were spread wide open. Their scent had flooded the room, heady and sweet, and Yoongi was almost convinced that he could hear whispering underneath the sound of the shifting vines and tendrils.

 

Yoongi dragged his gaze away from the roses so that he could look at Jimin, seeing that the witch was still staring up the roses with an awestruck expression. It took him a moment to notice that he was staring at him, and then he turned his head to return his gaze. Then his lips lifted in a wide and happy smile, his eyelids crinkling at the corners.

 

“Oh, Yoongi…”

 

Jimin reached over to grab hold of his hands, dragging him off the floor cushions and to his feet with a sudden burst of husky and breathless giggles.

 

Yoongi was pulled along the hallway by Jimin on his wobbling legs, tangled up in his arms as he kissed him and tried to get out of his own clothes. His tee-shirt was finally wrenched off over his head and tossed onto the flooring without a single care; the other man’s hands roaming down his bare spine to sink his fingers into his buttocks.

 

Jimin dragged him into his bedroom, pushing him down onto his bed with a hard shove that had the both of them laughing breathlessly - so caught up in the moment and their excitement.

 

Yoongi hit the mattress, bouncing off the thick spread of pillows and cushions as Jimin unbuckled his belts and he dropped his leather trousers to his ankles. He hit a switch on the wall, plunging the bedroom into a vivid and shocking shade of red lighting that made Yoongi gulp hard because this was just like his dreams.

 

Jimin shifted to climb onto the bed, crawling across the mattress like a cat; his eyes gleaming with passion and power and his necklace charm swinging like a pendulum. He wasn’t wearing his underwear, his stiff cock tenting at the front of his still mostly buttoned-up silk shirt; thick in girth and raised from his thatch of pubic hair.

 

Yoongi sat up to help him out of his shirt, finding his lips again so that he could kiss him and snag his lower lip between his teeth to suck and lick at it. This made the witch moan against his mouth, shrugging his silken shirt off and then dragging him close enough to press their chests together.

 

As a result of Jimin’s monthly treatment of supplements, Yoongi found that it took him a short amount of time to reach arousal again. It still took some time, time in which Jimin teased him with his hands and mouth; kneading and stroking, sucking and licking his limp and numb cock until it started stiffening once more. He explored the other man’s body too, pressing kisses against his hot skin and making Jimin moan with every teasing lick around his nipples and firm knead around the base of his cock.

 

Yoongi’s first time inside of Jimin was as fumbling and fast as he had always known that it be, not at all long and drawn-out like his dreams but just as passionate in its own simple way. Just slipping inside of him after the initial stretching, feeling the heat and squeeze of his muscles as Jimin gasped underneath him, the wet slide of the lube easing the friction, was an intense enough experience. It made him feel weak, and with every experimental slow rock of his hips, it just increased in power until he was shaking and gasping for breath between his deep groans of pleasure.

 

Yoongi didn’t know whether to seize tight handfuls of the bed sheets or hold onto Jimin’s biceps and face, just feeling the uncontrollable urge to grab hold and squeeze tight just like how his toes curled up to snag at the covers.

 

Jimin liked it a little harder than he had imagined that he would; liked it when he thrust fast and rough and made his breath escape him in hard huffs and whines. Yoongi didn’t want to hurt him, but the other man told him that it felt good, that he didn’t want him to be too gentle because he craved the rough stimulation. Whenever he rolled his hips up with a sharp snap and felt their skin slapping together, Jimin cried out breathlessly from the intensity of his building climax.

 

The heat coming from Jimin’s body was unbelievable. Yoongi could hardly believe how hot that his skin was against his, because it almost felt like it should burn him. That, combined with the slick sweat coating his body, made Yoongi cling to him desperately; gasping for breath against his throat and feeling Jimin’s nails scratching down the valley of his spine as he let out a husky moan of pleasure.

 

“Mmm-huh,” Jimin moaned breathlessly, rocking underneath him and digging his heels into his upper thighs for purchase. “Yoongi, honey-”

 

Yoongi lifted his head from the crook of his neck so that he could hold his gaze. He shifted one hand from the covers to cup his cheek, finding that Jimin’s skin was flushed with heat and colour, and there was a light sheen of sweat that made his face glow in the red lighting.

 

“Does that feel good?” he asked in a whisper. “D’you like it like this, Jimin?”

 

Jimin nodded vigorously, his hair spread across the golden silk pillows in a mess of loose black curls. He didn’t seem capable of vocalising a reply beyond this, his Adam’s Apple bobbing as he swallowed a moan. His eyelids fluttered shut as another jolt of pleasure coursed through him, his nails digging into his skin to scratch at his shoulder blades as he moaned another one of those deep and husky moans of his.

 

Yoongi didn’t know if it was him or Jimin, but one of them made the candles all over the bedroom set alight with a hard fumph; the flames flickering fat and hot as they both climaxed within mere moments of each other. Jimin did so first, the sight of his orgasmic expression and his cries of pleasure driving Yoongi right over the edge to attain his own orgasm.

 

Jimin felt so wonderful around his cock that he didn’t want to pull out, but he had little choice but to do so when he started softening. So he shifted to pull out at last, collapsing back on top of him with a breathless grunt of pleasure and burrowing his face against the soft swell of his chest muscles.

 

“Oh my god,” Jimin breathed out, his chest rising and falling hard and fast as he gasped for breath. His heart was beating so fast in his chest that Yoongi could feel it through his skin; thrumming just like his own. “Oh my god, Yoongi, that felt…so fucking good.”

 

“Shit, Jimin, I-I think I can go again,” Yoongi admitted, before letting out a sheepish laugh against his sweat-slick chest.

 

“Good,” Jimin sighed out, his teeth flashing in the red ceiling lights as he sucked his plush lower lip between them and nibbled at it. “I’m just getting started, honey.”

 

Yoongi found that he actually could make love again as soon as he had recovered from that frantic bout, that he could achieve even more pleasure. He was almost desperate for it, hungry to feel the powerful sensations after so long spent scared of his own desires and sexual energy.

 

It was as if Jimin had managed to tap down deep inside of him and break down the wall that he had erected to keep it all trapped behind, and it seemed that the witch was also desperate for sexual satisfaction. He had told him that he needed it to attain his full powers, that he had been searching to find the right person, and so that meant that Jimin was just as desperate for this intimacy as he was.

 

Yoongi got to experience the sensation of Jimin entering him at last, an experience that had filled his dreams for so long now. It hurt in a way that it had never done so in his dreams: a stretch that stung enough to make him claw at the covers and cushions and bury his face against them to mute his cries of discomfort.

 

But when Jimin fucked him down into the mess of throw cushions, Yoongi found that the pleasure soon drowned out the pain. He felt the soft silken cushion snagged right between his spread thighs; humping it to feel the material rubbing against his cock as he leaked precum all over the silk.

 

“Huh-uh, yes, Jimin,” Yoongi moaned into the pillow, which was damp from his biting and drooling.

 

Jimin was relentless, every single snap of his hips sinking his cock deep and flooding Yoongi’s body with hot jolts of pleasure. He could only squirm underneath him, curving his back to try and seek out more stimulation, to try and make the other man press him back down into the cushions.

 

Jimin orgasmed first, sloppily bucking his hips until his body shuddered and hardened with a grunt of pleasure. After pulling out, he slipped his fingers back inside of him again, massaging at his prostate for him until Yoongi was able to reach his climax too; ejaculating all over the cushion and moaning into the pillow.

 

“Fuck, Jimin, mmm,” Yoongi huffed, riding out the last of his orgasm and gasping for breath.

 

Jimin dropped to lie on the bed beside him with a breathless laugh, reaching up to wipe at his sweaty brow with the heel of his hand. His strength looked to be flagging at last, and that was no wonder at all.

 

Yoongi’s body was so heavy with pleasure that he couldn’t quite seem to move, could just about turn his face so that he could breathe properly and look at the other man.

 

“Jimin?”

 

“Mmmhmm?” he breathed out, turning his head to look at him and sticking his tongue out to wet his lips.

 

“I think I’m…I’m falling asleep,” Yoongi sighed out against the pillow, struggling to keep his eyes open because his eyelids felt so heavy. “Shit…I feel so…tired…”

 

Yoongi felt his eyelids shutting on him, struggling to keep them open because they were so heavy and tight. Something brushed against his brow, and he realised that it was Jimin brushing his sweat-clumped hair back off his face for him.

 

When he opened his eyes again, Yoongi saw Jimin bathed in that red glow; his skin covered in a sheen of sweat and his hair a mess across his brow and the pillow. He looked so beautiful right now, and he wanted to tell him that he did but he just couldn’t seem to move his tongue to do so.

 

The last sensation that Yoongi felt before he drifted off was Jimin rolling onto his side to slip an arm around him, dragging him into his arms so that he could slumber in his warm embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

IV.

 

When he plucked the peach from the branch and brought it to his nose to breathe in the scent, Jimin found that it smelled perfectly ripe enough to just sink his teeth into. Even when he knew that he really shouldn’t, he decided to just take a huge bite of it, the juices spilling free onto his tongue that he swallowed with a hum of satisfaction.

 

“Oh, sweeter than ever,” Jimin said with a pleased smile, reaching up to wipe at his chin and then taking another bite of the soft fruit.

 

Nari’s customers are going to love these new white peaches, just like the rest of the crops that he had harvested. The fruits were so much more sweeter, the vegetables had more crunch to them, and the trees and plants had started producing at a rate so fast that he was going to have to start bringing them to the restaurant in much bigger shipments.

 

Not that Nari would mind, for she was planning on extending the hours that the restaurant stayed open into the afternoon too, along with hiring more staff to meet the constant nightly demand. It was a great idea, and Jimin knew that it would benefit everyone if she decided to do so. Hell, she might even decide to open another restaurant entirely across town, or even in the next district, and he also knew that he would be able to provide her plenty of produce to do so.

 

Even the size of his crops were different, for his strawberries were all huge and succulently soft rather than small and firm, his radishes were large enough to need to be carried in two hands when he unearthed them from the soil. The difference was noticeable in his flowers too, for they were growing much more heads and berries and reaching heights that he had never seen before.

 

Jimin felt like he was starting to tap into a newfound well of herbalism power, and it wasn’t just his plants that were starting to benefit from his increased strength.

 

No, over the past few weeks, Jimin had found that his power at creating fire and water had increased a considerable amount. They were no longer basic skills that his mother witch had taught him when he had been a child, but were now so much more useful in helping him tend to his garden.

 

Jimin had discovered ways to control the temperature of the flames that he could produce, to simmer and boil and even cool his cauldron and pots so that he could be incredibly precise with his experiments and creation of tonics. He had also learnt that he could not only draw water from the earth, but he could now gather it together in little misty clouds that he could let hover over his flowers to water them like natural rainfall. His flowers had loved that, had danced underneath the showers with glee and had told him that it felt wonderful to bathe in the water.

 

Jimin had also learnt that he was able to talk to his pets in ways that he had never done so before. It wasn’t very strong right now, was a budding skill that was hopefully set to develop with time. It was just the little things; like hearing Geumseong purring about how much that she loved it when Yoongi pressed kisses against her wet nose - especially if he had just eaten something tasty; like hearing Hwaseong almost singing to himself in happiness as he chased after sticks in the front garden that the human tossed for him; or how Mokseong would whisper in excitement if he caught sight of a fat-looking rat sneaking around the greenhouse.

 

When Jimin was finished eating the peach, he plucked the pit free and shoved it inside of a pouch dangling from his belt loop. Then he left the remains at the base so the tree so that it would decompose and sink into the soil; being absorbed by the tree that birthed it so that it could create life once more.

 

The basket in the crook of his elbow was heavy with goods, goods that he was going to have to pack into the crate and seal up as soon as possible. It was still the mid-afternoon hours right now, and so there was no rush for him to finish tending to his garden.

 

Not when Jimin now had a special helper.

 

So he got on his tiptoes to retrieve another two ripe and large peaches, placing them in the basket so that he could leave the orchard and go back into the main sprawl of his garden.

 

Yoongi was kneeling in the grass close to the porch, currently in the act of carefully planting new bulbs in a stretch of fertile soil. He could see where he had planted the first couple, for there was little mounds of earth still sticking up here and there. He was planting a small patch of sunflowers just for his uncle, which he would bring home to his mother in a bouquet that would go in the vase on the shrine.

 

Jimin could see that his brow was furrowed in concentration, a smear of dirt on his cheek and all of the way up his bare forearms somehow. His white tee-shirt was a mess, his jeans also coated in dark and slightly wet soil that meant that the scent would cling to him until he took a long and hot bath to cleanse his skin. His tongue was sticking out between his lips, just the tip out in a way that reminded him of the way that Mokseong would scent the air with his thin and vibrating tongue.

 

Unsurprisingly enough, ever since Yoongi had stopped suppressing his sexual desires and bottling up all of his incredible energy, he had finally started sleeping at last. It had taken a few days for him to adjust without his special treatments, but eventually, Yoongi had traded his herbal cigarettes for a bout of lovemaking every couple of nights that helped purge him of his intense energy. It had improved his health and happiness, and it had helped Jimin’s powers start growing too.

 

Jimin finally felt like a flower in bloom; a flower that had been nurtured and treated with tender love and care to help him finally achieve full beauty and strength.

 

After assisting his mother in sorting out the legal matters surrounding his uncle’s death, Yoongi could have returned to Seoul to carry on living his life in the capital. He had inherited the rights to Namgi’s home, which he had stewed over for quite some time before deciding to sell it because he didn’t feel right moving into the home or keeping it as a second house that he could spend time if he came back down to Daegu again for a small break.

 

Yet, rather than return back to Seoul, Yoongi had told him that he had decided to stay with his mother instead. In his own words, he was more than able to resume working on his projects up in the capital because he could do it all digitally, and he could secure even more clients in Daegu too. Being a freelance photographer meant that he could do whatever he wanted really, and it seemed that Yoongi had found himself smitten with the funny little ghost town that he had once claimed he had been so glad to have escaped from over breakfast tea.

 

For a little while, Yoongi hadn’t voiced the rather obvious fact that he had wanted to stay in Daegu to be with him, but he had finally admitted to it one night in bed when he had been close to falling asleep. He had mumbled about how he liked him so much, about how he could even love him if he would let him, and then he had drifted off with a final sigh about how beautiful that he was against his neck.

 

Jimin found it kind of funny just how much that Yoongi had changed since that very first night that they had met in Taehyung’s café. Gone were the bruised eyelids, nibbled lips and dull skin, replaced instead by bright eyed curiosity, a glowing complexion and lips that begged to be kissed just as often as they curled up into lazy smiles. Even when he was just sitting at his laptop, working on his photography projects, Yoongi looked so at ease and content rather than stressed and exhausted.

 

Jimin thought that he looked absolutely handsome when he was immersed in his art; just like how he had told him that he looked his most beautiful when he was tending to his flowers and singing to them.

 

“Give them a couple of days, honey, and we’ll probably have an entire garden overrun with sunflowers,” Jimin joked, as he placed the basket down beside the crate and he started carefully packing the crops in the bubble-wrap padded interior. “They’ll be taller than the both of us.”

 

This made Yoongi laugh heartily as he secured the soil over the bulb, patting it down firm before he started digging another furrow in the earth with his fingers.

 

Just watching him dig his fingers in deep to root the soil out and create a deep bed for the bulb, made Jimin pause in the act of placing the cucumbers inside of the crate.

 

There was something so strangely erotic about the act, but it wouldn’t be the first time that Jimin had found the sight of Yoongi working in his garden sexually stimulating. It had resulted in quite a few instances of them tumbling down into the grass with a burst of laughter in each other’s arms, kissing and nuzzling each other affectionately.

 

Jimin carried on packing the crate so that he could fix the lid in place and seal it shut with a couple of nails. Satisfied that he had Nari’s shipment of fresh restaurant produce sorted, he moved to join Yoongi down in the grass and he hunkered beside him.

 

“There, that’s all of the fresh ingredients for your mama’s restaurant packed away nice and tight,” Jimin said, as he plucked a bulb free from the bucket and he started digging in the soil to plant it too. “I’ll have to deliver them to her soon.”

 

“She told me that she wants you to come visit this morning on the phone, Jimin,” Yoongi said with a soft smile, as he turned his head to look at him. “I think that she wants to cook you dinner tonight, which’ll probably consist of most of the ingredients of the garden but-”

 

“I’d love to come,” Jimin spoke over him, reaching over to cup his filthy cheek with his equally filthy hand. “How are you going to introduce me, hmm? Are you going to call me your beautiful boy? Your beautiful boy that you once thought was the biggest hustler in town because ‘witches ain’t real’.”

 

Yoongi guffawed at his teasing, stopping in the act of burying the bulb so that he could reach up and hold onto his wrist loosely.

 

“My mama already loves you plenty, honey,” he said with a fond smile, his full cheeks flushing with a wonderful hint of pink. “If she finds out that you’re my boy, she’s probably gonna lose her fucking mind.”

 

“That’s OK, Yoongi, I might have a treatment for that. When does she usually start preparing dinner, hmm?” Jimin asked him, brushing a tangle of Yoongi’s hair back behind his ear for him.

 

“Uh…7pm? After that, she leaves for work in the restaurant for the rest of the evening,” he replied, shoving soil over the bulb to house it in the earth. “Why’d you ask?”

 

“I was wondering if we had enough extra time to go back inside and just-” Jimin moved close to him so that he could whisper in his ear, “fuck each other silly for an hour or two; you know, the usual?”

 

Yoongi finished patting the soil down in place and then he dusted the earth off his palms, turning his head to look at him so that he could give him that lazy smile of his.

 

“Just for an hour or two?”