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Blue Bits (Indi Drabbles)

Chapter Text

“Name?” the clerk asks, not even bothering to look away from his riveting game of Solitaire.

Minseok clears his throat. “Xiu-…Xiumin,” he mutters, sliding his funds card through the slot. It was a stupid idea to use an alias, considering his real name was embossed right across the card, and all of his credentials would load on the screen. Thinking about it now makes him sweat.

The clerk pats blindly for the card and swipes. It has to process, he knows this, but a part of him keeps envisioning iron bars dropping down and intergalactic detectives descending from holes in the ceiling. It’s all legal. It’s all consensual. But he’s a human, and things like this aren’t exactly common on Earth, so that uncomfortable feeling in his stomach refuses to settle.

Beep. Green light. Good to go. “Room 88,” the clerk informs him in a bored tone. “Tips are appreciated for all of staff, not just the dancer. Enjoy.” With that, he taps Minseok’s card against a separate machine marked “TIP JAR” with “cum dumpster” graffitied in neon green underneath along with some other vulgarities, before sliding it back through the slot.

It’s a short walk. The hall smells like some of the moon’s local herbs, which is odd until Minseok considers how it’s supposed to be the equivalent of catnip for some of the locals. Room 86…Room 87…and here he is. He palms the small panel, swallowing hard as the door retracts into the wall.

The room is larger than he expected. He’s sure it’s decorated tastefully. He’s sure it’s clean. But one step past the threshold, the door shutting behind him with a soft schick, and all he can focus on is the man on the golden silk sheets.

The chain clinks as the man rolls over to face him, upside down on the bed, tilting his head upward to look Minseok’s way. His large eyes are kohl-lined, spotted ears twitching as his thick lips curl into a wicked smirk. He’s nude, fully, save for the black collar around his neck. The chain attached to it winds in loose loops down his right arm, where he holds the other end out toward Minseok. His tail swishes as the smirk spreads into a beautiful smile. “Don’t be shy,” he purrs, alluring and warm. “I only bite a little.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t even know why you keep coming here, you fucking asshole. You don’t even like bowling,” Baekhyun shouts.

“Screw you, you don’t know that I don’t like bowling!” Jongin shouts back, spittle flying.

“Oh yeah?” Baekhyun challenges, eyes wild. “What is the ball called then, huh?“

“What?”

“What is the ball called for bowling?” Baekhyun spells out slowly.

“….Wait, isn’t it just a bowling ball?” Jongin asks, voice losing all heat in his confusion.

“Oh,” Baekhyun says after a pause. “Wait, I think it is.”

“Idiots,” Kyungsoo mutters, making sure it’s loud enough that everyone can hear.

“My point’s still valid. You don’t even like being here. All you do is bitch and whine. You need to gee-tee-eff-oh,” Baekhyun says, giving his best hair flip and heel turn and heading back to the seats.

“Your hair isn’t long enough to flip,” Jongin shoots back, sneering when Baekhyun gives him a horrified look. “And it’s fried. You look like you’re wearing a wig made of hair stolen off a microwaved Barbie doll.”

“Why are you two even arguing?” Kyungsoo barks, stepping between them before they start slapping each other.

“Because he’s an idiot who insulted my hair get out the way I need to end this scalawag!” Baekhyun screams, growing increasingly hysterical.

“No, really though, you two are friends,” Kyungsoo says after gripping a handful of Baekhyun’s hair and leading him back to the seats. “What the hell is going on?”

“It’s building tension,” Jongin guesses.

“Right,” Kyungsoo says. “But why would we build tension?”

“Huh?” Jongin says.

“This is terribly artificial,” Kyungsoo explains. “So either we’re all being drugged with some sort of mind altering substances…are either of you high?”

“If we were high, would we know?” Jongin asks.

“Yes,” Baekhyun snaps, glaring at him while nursing his sore scalp. “Idiot.”

“This is like some sort of bad writing,” Kyungsoo says.

“What, like are we in a movie?” Baekhyun asks.

“This would be a terrible movie,” Jongin says. “I mean what kind of line is ‘what are the balls called in bowling’?”

“No, this isn’t even like disaster movie level,” Kyungsoo says, shaking his head at them and sighing. “This is like bad fanfiction level.”

“Fanfiction like Fifty Shades of Grey?” Jongin asks.

“I thought it was Gray,” Baekhyun corrects.

“See, that’s my point,” Kyungsoo says, waving them off before they interrupt him again. “You don’t know how he spelled it. It’s because it’s being written. This is fanfiction.”

“I can’t be fanfiction,” Jongin argues.

“And why not?”

“Because I mean…I’m real.”

“Real person fanfiction,” Kyungsoo counters.

No,” Jongin gasps.

“I mean, look at us,” Kyungsoo says, spreading his arms out. “Don’t either of you think it’s weird that every single person in our town of like, what, twenty fucking people is like preternaturally, Kpop-idol level attractive? Like this isn’t the land where plastic surgeons go to retire, this is Bumfuck, No Where.”

“Oh shit, wait,” Jongin rushes out. “Wait, you might have a point.”

“So what now?” Baekhyun says, sneakily standing back up and staying out of grabbing range of Kyungsoo’s arms. “What, do we break out of here? Write an angry review? Bitch on our fakeass Twitter?”

“I have a boner,” Jongin offers.

“Put it away,” Kyungsoo says, shaking his head disapprovingly. “It’s not even real. You’re not even real.”

“But I have a boner?” Jongin repeats.

“Wait, now I do too,” Baekhyun says, squirming to adjust it.

Kyungsoo lets out a loud sigh. “I said to not talk about it, and now I have one too. This is clearly a distraction.”

“You didn’t say not to talk about it,” Jongin mumbles.

“And now we’re all naked,” Baekhyun says.

“Thank you for stating the obvious,” Kyungsoo glares at him as he tries to shield his crotch and avoid looking at the others’.

“Well, I kind of have to,” Baekhyun snips. “If it’s all in text, then how will people know?”

“Is this going to be a threesome?” Jongin asks. “I really don’t want to have a threesome with you guys.”

“Hey, look, there’s lube dripping down the walls,” Baekhyun points.

Chapter Text

“Nope, everything’s fine,” Kyungsoo answers slowly, an odd feeling of dread sweeping down on him.

“Well, the reason I ask,” Mr. Kim starts, tenting his fingers on the table between them, “Is because Baekhyun has been…ah, unusually aggressive with the other children lately.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says to fill the silence.

“Yeah…” Mr. Kim drawls out. Clearly, he’s uncomfortable broaching this topic, but it’s no picnic here for Kyungsoo either. “So typically, these kinds of outbursts are due to…new changes at home or…” He trails off, probably hoping for Kyungsoo to jump in and help.

“Well, nothing’s going on,” Kyungsoo says, perhaps a little too snappy. He’s feeling defensive.

“Or perhaps a change in diet?” Mr. Kim offers.

“Mr. Kim, look-”

“Jongin,” Mr. Kim corrects.

“Whatever,” Kyungsoo replies, waving his hand dismissively at the interruption. “There’s nothing wrong with my son.”

“Oh, of course there isn’t!” Mr. Kim rushes out loudly, holding his hands up. “However…he didscratch one of his friends’ face and then he pushed a little girl and stole someone’s banana pudding. And then some of his drawings, well…”

Kyungsoo gulps as he watches Mr. Kim push the pieces of paper across the table. Heavily black and red jagged crayon lines, depicting a child’s version of a horror movie, full of vague red splotches of blood and gore. Well.

“Mr. Do?” the teacher asks after a minute goes by.

“We were watching Resident Evil the other night,” Kyungsoo explains. “I know it’s violent, but like…you know.”

“Well, I don’t think we could say that zombie movies can make him go steal people’s lunches,” Mr. Kim blurts out before his eyes go wide and his mouth closes with a soft ‘pop’. Yeah, you really overstepped with that one, buddy.

“Excuse me?” Kyungsoo asks.

“I’m sorry,” Mr. Kim apologizes quickly. “I was just wanting to help… Baekhyun’s typically a very sweet kid, and it’s just odd to see this transformation. Is….he like this at home too or?”

He watches Mr. Kim - Jongin - squirm under his gaze as Kyungsoo stares at the teacher’s face while he figures out his thoughts. Well. Yeah, but… “He found out he was adopted,” he says, licking over his lower lip.

“Oh…wow, yeah, that’d be something big for a child,” Mr. Kim says.

“Well, it wasn’t just that,” Kyungsoo mutters, scrubbing at his eyes. “My husband at the time, he hasn’t been by to see Baekhyun in months now, since he’s too busy with some new boy toy, and then he found out the adoption thing…I’m assuming from here, since someone explained to him that two men can’t make a baby.”

Chapter Text

It was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the closed down antique shop along with some broken trinkets. Why would someone throw this away? It's beautiful. The lamp seems to have a glow from within. Jongin looks around. No one in sight. He loops a finger around the handle. Mine!

He can totally polish this up and hawk it online. It can probably pay for at least a few meals. Jongin looks around his shabby little apartment. He doesn't have anything for polishing. Will sesame oil work? It should work. He drizzles some onto a paper towel and starts wiping it down.

Something rattles inside the lamp. His hands are covered in the oil by now. Jongin didn't even think to check. What if there were roaches inside, or...? Shuddering involuntarily, he persists, watching the glow. It almost looks liquid, like it's moving. Maybe this is a lava lamp.

It's not a trick of light. There is a strange wisp of smoke emerging from the spout. The tendrils curl upward, dark blue and dense. Jongin sets the lamp down, backing away warily. "What the fff—"

The smoke is sinking, settling into a form before him. He gapes as he watches it congeal within seconds into a figure. Where there would be hands, the limbs lift up, and with an audible clap, like the air pressure suddenly dropped or space suddenly filled, a young man stands.

The man gives him a disinterested look and glances down, shaking his left hand. Lamp Man flicks his wrist, and a tablet appears in his hand. He swipes it, taps purposefully, and finally looks back up at Jongin. "Genie," he deadpans, turning the tablet to Jongin. "You have three wishes. Can't bring back the deceased. Can't hurt anyone. Can't turn back time. Can't ask for more wishes. My name is Kyungsoo. You have wifi, right? Can you sign me in?"

Jongin gapes until his jaw aches. The tablet is taps his chest, and he takes it. It's real plastic and metal and glass, complete with a protective silicone case. It's real? "Uhh..."

The guy looks like an ordinary, albeit rather attractive, guy. Buzzed hair, oversized grey sweater, black trousers. A thin bangle made of deep green jade on each wrist. He clears his throat and taps his foot. "Look," he says, deep voice like smooth, dark velvet, "It's been 612 days since I was moved into that stupid old shop. They didn't have wifi, and there's a finale and whole new season of Game of Thrones to catch up on. Can your shock and awe happen simultaneously with you signing me in? I will literally combust if I have to wait any longer."

Dumbfounded, his body goes into autopilot, numbly entering the password and handing it back, gasping and jumping back when Kyungsoo salutes him and disappears into a plume of smoke that quickly whirls back into the spout of the lamp. What? What the f—??

"Is there an expiration date?"

Kyungsoo dangles his legs off the countertop and nibbles a corner off of his triangle gimbap. Jongin doesn't even know where he gets the food from, or if there's a whole tiny kitchen, or even tiny WORLD inside the lamp. It's been two days, and all he's been able to find out is that Kyungsoo is definitely real.

"Nah," the genie says. "And you have good wifi, so I mean, take your time."

"Oh." Relief. That's less pressure to find out if he's going to accidentally deal with the devil or something at least.

"What do...people typically wish for?"

Kyungsoo holds up a fist, extending first his pinky, then ticking down the rest of his fingers. "Wealth. Looks. Extra dick, usually." He swallows his bite and snaps his fingers, producing a cup of tea and sipping. "Don't worry, everyone always asks for the same thing. I won't judge you." He pauses, looking at some imaginary spot next to Jongin's head. "Well, I will, but I won't be surprised."

"I don't need to wish for all that!!" Jongin exclaims, face warming up. "I me- I mean, money would be nice..."

"Is that your first wish then?"

"How did you get into the lamp?" Jongin asks instead, curiosity overriding nerves. "Were you cursed? Were you made? ...How old are you?"

Kyungsoo gives him a bored look and takes another bite, crossing one leg over the knee and snapping his fingers. His tablet materializes, along with a set of earbuds. He pops one of them into place and chews noisily. "Are you wishing to know? Because if you're not in a wishing mood, I need to see how Khaleesi will once again screw up her perfect setup for takeover of Westeros."

"You know," the genie sighs, "you don't have to use sesame seed—in fact, you SHOULDN'T use it—to polish the lamp. And actually, you don't need to polish it. You can just like...knock. The smell makes me hungry, and I feel all sticky and greasy. It feels nice and all, but I mean, take me out for dinner first."

"Oh," Jongin throws the napkin away, burning red with embarrassment. "I- I didn't know." Kyungsoo doesn't volunteer much. It's been a week, and with rent day looming, he's been thinking about his first wish more and more.

"What are the consequences to the wishes? Are they actually real? If I wish for money, will it turn to pretend money after all the wishes are done? Or will it set off some insane Monkey's Paw thing?"

Kyungsoo gives him a blank stare. He's very good at those. "Do I look like a rotten monkey hand to you?"

It's a very intense gaze. Jongin squirms. "No..."

Two days later, he gives in. "Okay," Jongin exhales loudly. "Okay, I'm ready."

Kyungsoo makes a come-hither motion, not even bothering to look up from his puzzle game. "Hit me."

"Umm, I want...." A billion won? Where will he keep it? Will he be taxed? What if he gets robbed?

Can he ask for unlimited money? What about magical pockets where every time he reaches in, there's always ₩20.000? Safer. Handy. Potentially tedious though. "Wait. Can you advise me? I want to have money, but I'm not like, GREEDY. I just don't want to worry about money anymore."

Kyungsoo enjoys sitting on the countertop, he's noticed. He crosses his legs and palms circles over his scalp, looking mildly irritated. A snap of his fingers vanishes his ever-present tablet away. "What about me makes you think I know or care anything about money?" he asks.

"You finished Game of Thrones yesterday," Jongin mumbles, fixated on the genie's lovely face. "What are you even watching?"

"I'm marathoning all the Oscars nominated movies."

"...Wait, how?"

Kyungsoo shrugs. "Some stream site I found."

"On my wifi???"

"What are you worried about?"

Jongin sputters, "Going to jail??"

Only then does clarity reach the genie's bright eyes. "Ohhh," he nods before hitting Play again, eyes locked on the screen. "You can always wish your way out of jail. I'm watching a merdude with a bubble butt."

"Can you...not?" Jongin asks, feeling his stomach tense. What if the genie is out to sabotage him, forcing him to use his wishes to prevent further disaster?

Kyungsoo sighs, rolling his eyes up to look at him. "I'll watch Buzzfeed Unsolved then. But bootyfish was better, just so you know."

His research has turned up a lot of stories of people granted magical wishes, only to end up either in the same place they started, or far, far worse. But the temptation is still there. He'd be foolish to NOT use it though, wouldn't he?

"How will the wish be granted?" he asks.

Kyungsoo turns stormy. As in, with an actual little storm cloud thundering away above his head. The rain doesn't touch his clothes, but somehow manages to pool at his feet, wetting Jongin's carpet. "Look. I'm just a vessel," the genie says, tossing his tablet out of existence.

"You make a wish, I clap my hands, and if it CAN happen, then it just happens." He tilts his head forward and rubs the top of it. "Do you see horns? I'm not a demon. I'm a genie. I live in a lamp-"

"Why?"

Kyungsoo squints, studying him. "...No one's ever asked me that before."

"So..?" Jongin drawls out.

The genie shrugs, whipping his hand forth and catching a steaming hot slice of pizza out of thin air. A minute of quiet chewing passes.

"Are you a prisoner?"

Kyungsoo lifts his free hand, jiggling his arm until the jade slides down his wrist. "Eh."

"Eh?!"

Another shrug. "If you feel bad about slave labor, you can let me finish my bootyfish movie."

Jongin claps a hand over his mouth. "That's horrible!"

The genie scowls, "That Hellboy spinoff won 4 Oscars. That's an achievement, you ass. Even Ironman didn't get an Oscar."

"You're a prisoner! This is awful- I can't do this?"

"If you're all that beat up about it," Kyungsoo doesn't bother looking up from his newest show, an anime of some sort. "You could always wish for my—wait for it—freedom!" The genie doesn't even wait for a reply, magicking his earbuds back into place.

Jongin considers this. Obviously, no one's ever tried that before, or Kyungsoo wouldn't be here in the first place. He frowns. That's the right thing to do. The alternative is to continue Kyungsoo's sentence, which is beyond cruel.

But..three wishes though… He can still grant Kyungsoo his freedom...and have two more wishes first. Is that awful?

"What happens if I wish for your freedom?" He has to repeat the question, since Kyungsoo's gone back to illegally pirating movies again.

The genie laughs, eyes crescenting mirthfully. The laughter dies off after several awkward seconds. "You want to what, now?"

"I was thinking...I'd use two wishes to just...get my life together. And you can have the last one. What happens if you get it?"

Kyungsoo stares at him, wide eyed, unblinking, for over a minute.

"You're...serious?"

"I mean, is that ok?"

" Serious? "

"What do you mean you 'don't know' if you want your freedom?" While Jongin was pondering how to phrase his wish, his genie has been mulling over other things, apparently.

"What if I don't have my powers after this? I don't have life skills! I like to watch tv and eat. Who will pay me to do that? Are you going to take care of me? What if I can't go back into my lamp? Where will I live?"

"Isn't that place a prison? Why would you want to go back?"

Kyungsoo jabs a finger into his face, eyes narrowed. "Don't change the subject!"

"You can"—Jongin holds his arms out, gesturing around the room—"-you can stay here until you get on your feet? It's not much—"

"It's a hovel!"

"I mea—"

Kyungsoo advances, stepping close so they're nearly nose to nose. "You better make good wishes, or I'm- I'll-.."

The genie blinks, momentarily confounded at being unable to come up with a good threat. He holds out a menacing finger again, "Wish well!"

Jongin gulps. No pressure. None at all.

"What do humans even need anyway?" the genie mutters to himself, brows furrowing in deep concentration.

"Money...looks...and extra-" Jongin recites, flustering at the last subject.

The genie's eyes widen and he steps back, hiking his sweatshirt up and pulling his pants out, sucking his stomach in to look down into the opening. "Hey, what's an average size for dick, by the way?"

"...Uh."

"Like, would you say this is a good size?" Kyungsoo yanks his pants further down, jumping a little to assist its trip. Luckily, Jongin has the wherewithal to avert his eyes, catching only blurry bouncy motions.

"Aren't you supposed to be the expert, granting these wishes?!"

Kyungsoo stomps a foot to get his attention. "Everyone always asks for 12 inches. I tried giving myself one once. Almost passed out from blood rush. I think I can make changes now before I'm human though. Come on! Help me!"

"I'm sure it's fine!"

"Don't be selfish!"

"I-" Jongin focuses on a spot on the ceiling to try and extinguish his burning cheeks. "We have two wishes before you even have to worry about that." He hears Kyungsoo sigh and fabric being tugged, and chances a glance down to find the genie fully covered again, albeit scowling.

"I'm gonna need to do some experiments," Kyungsoo says ominously.

Jongin can almost hear thunder crackling outside of his window. "Should I start the wishes? Will you help me with them?"

"I can't coerce you," the genie explains.

"I didn't say coercion, I meant like give advice!" Jongin thinks, "Like, can I say I wish I never had to worry about money again?"

Kyungsoo shakes his head, "No, that's too vague. It's dumb. You want to be kind of specific."

"Oh."

"I wish..." Jongin intones nervously. They've rehearsed it several times already. It'll be fine, but try telling that to his nerves. "I wish to be insanely, discreetly wealthy, where my money will never run out, but it won't attract attention."

Still vague, but doable.

Kyungsoo claps, the jade bangles on his wrists glowing into solid gold, and a bright light blinds him. When his vision normalizes, Jongin gasps, covering his mouth with a hand. He stumbles forward, jaw hanging open as he takes in the sight. This house is HUGE. He turns a corridor—no. This isn't a house. This isn't even a mansion, he discovers, as he finds a courtyard, fragrant with exotic flowers in perfect bloom. This is a PALACE. How is this discreet????

"Kyungsoo?" he calls out quietly.

"Niiiice," the genie answers. He's perched on the balcony above sipping a brightly colored drink and smiling at the scenery. "I can get used to a place like this."

"HOW is this discreet??" Jongin hisses.

The genie shrugs. "It's discreet enough for insanely wealthy, I guess. I dig it. Next?"

He can barely recall his own name at the moment, everything is a little too surreal. A walk into one of the rooms reveals a bedroom with frescoed walls and gold accents, an insanely plush bathrobe hanging with his name embroidered on it. What the actual hell…

Kyungsoo appears in a puff of blue smoke, beaming ear to ear. "I just checked the front, and you have like eight supercars. I call dibs on the black Maserati."

"...The...wha—" Jongin shakes his head, feeling dizzy and overwhelmed. He was expecting wealthy as in he would never have to suffer through his ramen experiments to get to his next paycheck, not...this, holy crap.

"C'mon, next next next." Kyungsoo bounces on the balls of his feet, pausing abruptly. "I should learn how to drive first..."

"That seems prudent..."

"Uhhh," Jongin frowns as he struggles to collect his thoughts. "I wish for my entire family to live to old age healthily. To 100 years old. To go peacefully in their sleep."

When there is no response, he turns to see if the genie is still there, finding a surprised Kyungsoo looking back at him.

"Is...that wishable?"

"That's rather selfless of you."

"Not really. I don't want to see them die or suffer."

The genie smiles warmly, eyes turning downward. He raises his hands again, bangles gleaming, and claps. They flash to gold. And then...nothing.

"Seems like it worked," Kyungsoo muses. "Too late to take it back and ask for extra peen now."

Jongin gives him a small smile. Even he can tell the genie is nervous, avoiding making eye contact and squirming. "Is there anything you need to do before the last one?"

"The last one..."

"Your freedom."

Kyungsoo's chest inflates and pauses. He seems to freeze, wide eyes staring at Jongin. Upon closer inspection, Jongin notices his hand is shaking.

"Are you ok?"

"You mean it?"

"If you don't need to...set anything up, I can just do it then?"

The genie vanishes with a soft squeak and a puff of smoke. Jongin blinks, looking around in confusion for a few minutes before setting off through the house to find him.

It's strange, the accents of the house seem to match that of the lamp. For a moment, he has an eerie thought that perhaps he's actually trapped inside the lamp, that this is just an illusion, but once he breaks into a full run, he locates the lamp sitting on a marble counter.

Tap tap.

"...Kyungsoo?"

A thin tendril of blue smoke comes out of the spout, reluctantly spilling to the ground to slowly form Kyungsoo, who has the sleeves of his sweater pulled over his hands, curling them into sweater paws. His eyes dart nervously at Jongin.

"It's fine. You only really got one wish. You can just wish for something else. It's really fine."

"...Are you ready?"

The genie gulps.

"I wish for your freedom." The moment he utters the last syllable, everything goes silent. He didn't even notice all the background noise until it stopped. Somewhere in the palace was a water fountain, birds singing, and they've all gone silent. Kyungsoo stares at him, terrified.

Suddenly, the air crackles. A storm rolls in in an instant, dark clouds spiraling overhead. Kyungsoo is hyperventilating, looking around at the chaos, and yelps as he's lifted into the air, back arched. His bangles glow to gold again, burning brighter, to white hot.

Is he ok??

Jongin's vision whites out. After a mind-numbing delay, he realizes he had seen a lightning bolt zigzagging from the eye of the storm, striking Kyungsoo square in the chest. He gasps, shouting out the genie's name as he stumbles forward, eyes slowly readjusting to make out the figure still hovering in the air. Kyungsoo's eyes are glowing. The bangles splinter, cracking and falling to the ground, shattering upon impact and turning back to their regular jade.

The genie lands, his legs giving underneath him, and collapsing in a heap.

"Kyungsoo!"

The genie looks the same. Jongin gathers him into his arms, shaking the unconscious man and shouting. "Kyungsoo! Kyungsoo!"

Disoriented, but definitely alive, Kyungsoo slowly flutters his eyes open, dazed, breathing heavily. He grips Jongin's shirt and pulls himself to sitting.

Still not quite stable on his own feet, Kyungsoo clings to him like a life raft. He misses the first few attempts, finally snapping his fingers solidly and barking out a single laugh when his tablet materializes. Throwing it out of existence again, he quickly undoes his zipper, ignoring Jongin's questions, and pulling his underwear and pants down in one quick motion.

Jongin looks away, blushing at the genie's priorities, embarrassment turning to confusion when he hears repeated snapping of fingers. He turns back when he hears the zipper to find a bashful Kyungsoo.

"...Do I want to know..."

"You made me panic," the freed genie explains, pursing his lips. "I didn't get a chance to experiment, so I just went with 12." He shrugs. "I guess I'm stuck with it now."

He'll forever associate the genie with that number now, and.. Jongin blushes again, shaking his head. "So..uh..what happens now?"

"I can stay here, right?" Kyungsoo asks quietly, toeing at the jade fragments.

"There's plenty of room," Jongin confirms. "Of course you're welcome"

"Cool," Kyungsoo nods repeatedly, as if to reassure himself this is real.

Jongin can't quite relate to sudden freedom after eons of servitude, but he can relate to the surrealness of it all. He rubs Kyungsoo's arm reassuringly, opening his mouth to ask what the genie would like

"Hey," Kyungsoo covers a hand over his, squeezing gently. "Wanna rewatch Game of Thrones with me?"

"I've actually never seen it."

"You...what."

Jongin shrugs. "I've been too busy working."

"Oh, my sweet summer child," Kyungsoo walks away, pulling him along. "Let's fix that."

Chapter Text

He is busy inspecting an especially round rock when a little voice pipes up: “Hyung, what bird is this?”

Ever since he identified the scary bird in their shared backyard as an owl, he has been designated Jongin’s official bird expert. Looking around in confusion, Kyungsoo’s eyes eventually catch something yellow, fluttering around Jongin’s head as he points after it, standing on tippy-toes. He takes a step closer and smiles broadly. “This is a butterfly.”

“Oh, a butterfly ,” Jongin echoes, enunciating the word. “It’s a pretty bird.”

“It’s not a bird,” Kyungsoo corrects, stepping closer so he too can marvel at the dainty creature’s rhythmic movements. “It’s just a butterfly.”

“But it’s flying,” Jongin insists.

That’s a good point, Kyungsoo supposes. Although his book on animals puts butterflies in a different section than birds. It’s just not a bird. “It’s-” he purses his lips, squinting at the butterfly, as if it will whisper the answer to him. “It’s a bug .”

“But it’s so pretty. I think it’s a bird.”

His hands immediately ball into fists that rest on his hips. “It’s a bug , not a bird .”

Not that Jongin is listening. He’s too busy chasing after the insect, who has fluttered toward some tall wildflowers. Eyes focused entirely on the creature, Jongin stumbles, not once, not twice, but three times, nearly faceplanting the last time.

“You’re going to get another Ow,” Kyungsoo grumbles, chasing after him. “I’m out of bandages!”

“I want to catch it,” Jongin declares dreamily, although the butterfly stays just out of reach of his hands.

“Look!” Kyungsoo shouts eagerly, squatting down by a patch of grass next to their path. “Look, Jonginnie! Come here!”

It takes several more tries, but Jongin finally grunts his displeasure and gives up on his current task, turning around and stomping back. Kyungsoo has to hold his hands out to keep the boy a step away. He points down at the ground, by some flat rocks covered in lichen.

“Look,” he whispers as he dips closer to the earth.

Jongin drops into a squat and leans in, squinting to see what is so special. “Ewww,” he shouts a moment later, lifting up so quickly that he lands right on his bottom. “It’s a worm!”

“It’s a caper— A capter—” Kyungsoo’s mouth scrunches up and wiggles before trying again. “A catperpillar. A caterpillar.”

“It’s a hairy worm.”

His hands flutter excitedly in his eagerness to teach Jongin something new. “It’s a baby butterfly!” Kyungsoo says gleefully. “It eats and eats and eats and turns into a butterfly like that other one.”

Jongin scrunches his nose up, looking doubtfully up at Kyungsoo before adjusting the straps of his overalls. The bear print on the front panel is smeared with frosting. No doubt he’s picked up grass stains on the back from his fall. He frowns down at the caterpillar and looks back to Kyungsoo’s face, eyes narrowing with determination. “I’m gonna get a rock.”

“What? No!”