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Lavender Tea

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It was a cold morning; the sun simply starting to appear along the horizon, melting the frost on the road ways and illuminating the landscape with an orange-like haze. The once visible ghosts disappearing under the growing light, groggy vampires strolling briskly back towards their underground covens before the sunlight becomes too intense for their delicate skin, and werewolves – now returned to their human frame – making the walk of shame back towards their flats to start their day anew.

Towers ascend high in the sky, canvassed in vines and blooming foliage, the odd spriggan using its growing roots for arms to tend to the numerous plants developing along the outside whilst the local birds chirp and situate themselves along the spriggan’s many branches. As the sun continues to rise, as do the non-nocturnal dwellers, many shop owners begin to prepare their stores for the clamouring day to come. Along one of the many streets within the green city sits various café’s, potion-brewing stores, charm booths and the odd fortune tellers hut squeezed between the over-shadowing buildings. There is however, one store in-particular that makes the street smell heavenly and always has pixies dancing along the pots in front of the shop’s windows. A singular flower shop stands directly between one cute, and cosy charm café run by an equally adorable enchanter and a Familiar store owned by fast-talking and quite enthusiastic half squirrel/human hybrid. Furthermore, as much as it is home to numerous flowers, the store also has a nursery concealed away in the back, growing inside a greenhouse where there can be numerous herbs and other plants grown to sell in remedies or as fixings. Luckily for the owner, the neighbouring buildings did no heed in blocking the sunlight from filtering into the small greenhouse as they stood barely two stories tall.

It seemed to be the perfect location for a flower shop as nervous dates would pick up white lilies or chrysanthemums for their significant other waiting in the café or a young witch would be picking out their first familiar, detouring into the flower shop to pick up specific plants and greenery the contracted creature would prefer. The flowers are always the perfect colour and the customers always form a smile either walking in or even simply passing the fascinating shop. However, in contrast, even though the store is vibrant in every way, the shop owner is always seen wearing neutral colours, not a speck of colour on them.

The owner’s arms are sprinkled with numerous small, but intricate tattoos and their eyes always drowsy, though their small but plump lips are constantly kept in a simple smile, respecting each and every customer whom steps into the store, even on rough days. He is a strong, youthful male awaiting his nineteenth birthday, though to his dismay, his stature happened to be on the smaller side of all his friends (including the owners of the neighbouring stores) due to being conceived half fairy, however, he utilizes it to his advantage while inducing people to spend more money in his shop as many customers find his appearance adorably charming. Though he owns and runs the store himself, he is particularly introverted, shy and tends to get irritated easily (but never shows it), though finds peace in watering his plants and cutting up stone fruit for the pixies outside.

His name is Changbin, and additionally happens to dabble in sorcery alongside his nature magic, a well-used, large spell book always kept by his side. You see, not only is Changbin half fairy, but he is also half demon. Not that being half demon was a bad thing, however it did tend to scare some customers away due to his inexplicably dark emanation, marginally grey skin and the short horns that would peek out of his pitch black hair, yet he continued to show a comforting smile to every individual whom ventured into his store. His pointed, long ears adorned with studs would twitch slightly as he bowed politely to every customer, using his most cheerful voice to say, “Welcome to Binnie’s Bouquet, how may I help you?”

 

“Good Morning Changbinnie! Love seeing you this early in the morning,” Crowed a happy voice, entering the flower shop with enthusiasm, their pointed hat bouncing dramatically with every prance the young witch would take towards the front counter. The loud entrance startling Changbin and his familiar – a small wind-breathing dragon – of which was nestled unobtrusively within the flowers beside where Changbin occupied. It was Minho, one of Changbin’s very close friends and a renowned witch whom deals with extremely precise and difficult medical potions. “I didn’t know you wore makeup, is that a new trend? Under-eye shadow?” Minho teased, clearly ridiculing his friend’s tired expression, it’s not Changbin’s fault, he just happened to stay up late playing an extremely addictive game which he had bought the previous day, and also happened to finish it at 5:00am this morning.

The witch worked from home, taking orders over the phone or receiving commissions in the mail as he trusts he functions admirably in the solace of his own home, without any distractions. Changbin doesn’t believe his words on that account as Minho lives with the very uproarious and rowdy squirrel hybrid that owns the familiar store sitting to the left of the flower shop, however he does suppose both of them have quite loud personalities, maybe it cancels out when they are alone together? On the usual occasion though, Minho will frequent Changbin’s shop to pick up rare ingredients for complicated mixtures as the flower shop is quite renowned for its up-to-date and useful produce. The two met through Jisung – the squirrel hybrid – at a small gathering one of their friends held, warming up to each other instantly after bonding over their love for plants and their admiration for each other’s profession. In spite of the fact that Changbin remained guarded and shy, he grew to learn and observe that Minho is extremely witty and sarcastic, with the greatest heart and all the adoration for his loved ones, just by listening to the older talk endlessly about them. The fairy really admires his friend, but after nearly a year of knowing each other, he has learnt how to deal with Minho’s sassy and playful side.

Changbin gives a scowl in return to his friend’s question, knowing the older will take that as an answer. Minho does, and walks straight past the dark fairy, heading towards the archway to the left of Changbin that leads to the greenhouse. The flower shop in itself is quite large, though with all the plants and flowers covering nearly every last inch of the shop, the room looks drastically smaller. Entering through the entryway, on the left there are three large glass-door refrigerators with numerous crisp blooms and bouquets resting in it, shelves on either side of them adorned with water plants sitting in jars and the odd book for decoration. Vines and other creeping plants of all hues hang from the ceiling in baskets, swinging under every gust of wind that comes through the door when it opens. Amoung other bushels of assorted flora, large islands of tall plants and flowers are positioned around the room, replicating that of many small scale biomes, one of Changbin’s most loved features in the store. The dark fairy’s counter is situated towards the back of the room, parallel with the entrance and displaying many odd pots and plants behind it on tall racks. There is a set of stairs to the right of the counter which leads to Changbin’s small apartment upstairs, colourful beads on string used to block the view of the staircase.

“Did you happen to get any Hawthorn Berries?” Minho asked noisily as he walked through the nursery, searching for his particular fixing.

“Yeah I got some in two days ago, there should be a tree up at the back that’s still in its pot” Changbin shouted back, not bothering to move from his perched position on the stool behind the counter. Five minutes later Minho walks back out of the greenhouse, carrying the large pot with a healthy Hawthorn sapling situated in it, the leaves tickling the witch’s blonde hair.

“Thank you my dude, now I shall be go-“

“What will I get as payment?” Changbin blankly looked up at his friend struggling with the heavy pot in his hands.

“Are you kidding me? After all I’ve done for you? I’m your hyung!” Minho protested back, lips framing a slight pout and his fingers slipping significantly more under the pot. The two gazed back at each other, quietly battling, but Changbin could predict how it was going to end as he knew Minho had a soft spot for him. After a few more seconds of their staring-eye-contest, the witch lets out “Ugh fine!” Softly placing the pot on the ground before strolling up to the dark fairy whom is grinning in all his winning glory from behind the counter. “What do you want this time? Considering I have endless treasures and so much to offer you.” Ignoring the obvious sarcasm, Changbin takes the time to thoroughly consider his decision as he didn’t really think that far ahead, but he still wanted something out of his friend, hyung or not, hawthorn saplings are rare and Changbin made sure to put a little bit more effort into his order so Minho would end up getting one. Okay, so maybe Changbin also has a soft spot for Minho.

“Hmmmm, I’m going to save it, consider it a favour for when the time comes” Changbin could always use a solid against Minho, that witch seems to have ties with numerous prestigious figures in their world, maybe he could be introduced to one.

“Fine! Okay fine, whatever you say, I’ll do you a favour whenever. Only one though!” Minho agreed, rushing back to pick up his plant, opening the shop’s front door with his back and shouting a loud “Only one okay!” Before the door shuts and Changbin is finally left alone again, in peace.

“Yeah yeah I get it, have a safe trip home” Changbin mumbles to himself, absentmindedly itching his ears while rolling his eyes playfully and glancing at his familiar, who seemed to have enjoying watching the whole act from its place roosted between two pots of hydrangeas. “Stressful day for you isn’t it, Zephyrus?” He asked the tired dragon, which only gave a small nod and a loud sigh in return before disappearing beneath the flowers for a deeper sleep. The sight made the dark fairy tired in return, waiting for the day to be over. It was a Tuesday, one of the calmer days, which implied he could likely close earlier so he can reside upstairs to his small apartment space above the shop. Oh how he wished to be sleeping right now, but alas, he has a job to do so he settles for gazing out the windows across the store before him, watching the small pixies eating the stone fruit he had prepared for them in the morning before opening. The pixies were great for the plants as their pixie dust would encourage the plants to grow their brightest and influence the flowers to bloom longer, attracting people walking by to smell the sweet-scented flora. Despite the fact that Changbin had an obvious evil presence running through his blood, they didn’t seem phased by his dark aura, perhaps they could sense the fairy in him or chose to stay for the free food? Either way, the pixies had made a home in the nearby public park, flying over to his flower shop every day, remaining until dusk. It added a sense of tranquillity to his life, and made him all the more joyful to practice his sorcery when there were no customers, his large book of spell owning a spot on the front counter. Even though Changbin wouldn’t mind doing this for the rest of his life, he still wished for someone to share it with. Watching his friends meet new people and form romantic relationships made him feel like he should be doing the same, though he knew that if he waited, he might end up meeting someone special.

Distracted in his thoughts, he started to absentmindedly trace the small tattoos dotted along his left arm. He acquired the vast majority of them when he turned 18, though that’s not to say he didn’t get any before that as his independence lead him to mature quicker and make rash decisions – such as getting a tattoo – at quite a young age. As his mind continuously runs wild, every so often he spontaneously thinks of ideas for a new tattoo, quickly writing a description for them in his journal, as he believes he isn’t much of a traditional artist. Most of his current tattoos are simple flowers, some quotes and others are ones he had done in the spur of the moment; mini pieces of artwork sprawled along his arms. His closest friend, Bang Chan aka Chris, owns a popular tattoo parlour up the road – of which Changbin has had most of his tattoos done – and is renowned for its unique style as well as its clean and precise artistry. Both have been friends for as long as they can remember, growing up together and attending the same school was never planned, but they wouldn’t want it any other way. However, as Chan was two years older than Changbin, the artist finished school earlier and was able to start his adult life becoming the official owner of his tattoo parlour…. and was also able to begin other chapters in his life as well... You see, Chris is currently in a very committed, love-filled relationship with none other than the adorable enchanter that owns the café next to Changbin’s flower shop, Woojin. Changbin isn’t bitter or anything – just a little bit – but seeing the cute couple peck each other’s cheeks and hug the other from behind makes the fairy realise how goddamn single he is. Though he shouldn’t really be complaining since he has put little to no effort into meeting new people, and also the fact that anyone who does show interest in him, Changbin will just end up friend-zoning or turning them down because hey, standards are a thing. So no, he shouldn’t be complaining, but he will, for the sake of being in a position where he can.

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As it reaches 1pm, the rush ends and Changbin decides it’s the perfect time to clip dying leaves off the plants displayed in the window. It’s therapeutic to him in a sense, being able to look outside but only being able to hear a dull hum of the busy scenery. It had become a game for him to pick out random people and make up backstories for them, romance packed or ones full of adventure, he’d like to think that the activity helps grow his creativity. Sometimes, if his backstories seem unique enough, he will write them down or make a song around it, opting to show them only to Chan as the artist said it helps bring him creativity and inspiration as well.

As Changbin starts clipping the dead leaves, his eyes search through the numerous people walking by, looking to find inspiration for a backstory. He makes sure to continuously look up and down as to avoid accidentally cutting off parts of the plant he is trimming. In his distraction, he doesn’t notice the young boy bending down in front of the window to play with some of the pixies dancing along the pots, holding out his smooth fingers in order to greet the diminutive creatures, hoping to possibly befriend them. Changbin also doesn’t seem to notice when the boy stands up, as his focus is on cutting off a particular leaf, however when he does eventually look up and notice the boy on the other side of the glass, his brain seems to shut down altogether as he is body temporarily pauses whilst looking down at the – now staring back – stranger. It’s like time has stopped altogether as the two are momentarily fixated on each other’s features, not a care for any passer-by that seems to witness the awkward situation.

The stranger has short, ash-grey hair with obvious dark brown roots growing through at the top, styled so that his forehead slightly peeks through. Multiple daisies are scattered in his soft-looking, tousled locks, almost like he had been rolling around in a flower patch before getting distracted by the pixies at the front of the store. His pointed ears, which are adorned with few earrings that seem to glow under the afternoon sun, slightly stick out, similar to that of an elf’s and frames his face perfectly in every way… oh god Changbin is starting to blush. As the fairy’s eyes slowly cast downwards, avoiding the stranger’s eyes, he is met with a constellation of freckles dancing along the boy’s slightly puffed cheeks and Changbin swears he can seem them sparkling in the afternoon glow. Almost as if his demon side had suddenly taken over his impulsivity, Changbin finds himself staring directly at the boy’s lusciously plump and perfectly arched lips, slightly parted in the stranger’s distraction staring back at Changbin, the dark fairy watches the boy’s lips slowly form a small yet blinding smile out of awkwardness, and he almost thinks he can see it reflecting off of the glass panes, yep definitely, definitely fucking blushing. That’s when he looks into his eyes, trying to pull his attention away from the strangers lips but instead ends up even more entranced by the boy’s bright eyes. Compared to Changbin’s pitch ebony eyes, the stranger’s eyes are a dark hazel, specks of green floating around in his irises, sparkling as if his eyes are made out of pure magic itself. Changbin had never felt so relentless to look away from someone in his entire life, but he knows he has to, or else he will seem weird, and boy does he definitely not want to make a bad first impression. Though, they both are yet to break each other’s gaze as it seems the stranger is also quite reluctant to look away any time soon so Changbin takes the initiative in this awkward but spiritual situation and silently counts to five in his head before giving the boy a small smile, before looking down to hide the raging blush prominent on his cheeks.

When he looks up however (after counting another 5 seconds, forcing the blush to go away), the boy is seen to be running down the street, accidentally bumping into a few people and tripping over a crack in the pavement, watching the mess, Changbin chuckles lightly under his breath silently swears to himself that he shall never pass that boy again or else his heart might just explode.