“Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night. That is how galaxies are made.” - Tyler Kent White
The thing about stars is that everything has to be dark in order for them to be seen properly. Even if the sun is just setting, with the line of the horizon orange and red bleeding up into purple and blue, the stars wait until there’s no other light in the sky to shine.
Jin likes to lie on his back and watch the sky’s colors bleed into blackness as tiny pin points of white sprout out of it, like little bits of magic ready to rain down on him, absorb into his skin, and fill him with power.
“Stars are made of the same atoms that we have in our bodies, Jin,” his mother had always said, “so you can burn as bright as they do if you try hard enough.”
(Which is dumb and obviously not the point but it doesn’t matter because the sentiment is there and the warmth the words cause make his whole body buzz with happiness.)
At least he knows the stars will never leave him. It’s a comforting thought to cling to as he trudges up the pathway to the House of Healing.
The House is…well, as Jin takes in his surroundings, he realizes it’s more of a complex, though he can understand that calling it a house (a home) is much sweeter sounding and far less intimidating. It doesn’t sound like a hospital or a place for people in utter despair.
It’s high on the edge of a cliff, reachable only by a long trek on foot or use of clever transporting spells. One could, theoretically, fly a few aircraft up to it but Jin’s never heard of an successful attempt at landing anything in the area: no doubt the work of magical barriers.
The gate, once he reaches it, glows yellow from little baubles of light (pure forms of magic, he thinks,) being blown around in the wind and although he can’t see any chimes, he can hear them tinkling in time with his stars. The wrought iron creaks as it opens for himand he grips the handle of his luggage tighter and walks into the compound, wheels bumping against the gravel. He’s going to need a new suitcase after this.
He’s seen pictures of the House—every witch and wizard has—and perused the articles about it and seen the interviews, but they didn’t really do it justice.
It had started as one house, with a small little garden for food and potions. Quiet and unassuming, it had grown from a tiny little outfit into a haven for the hurting, for those that needed help in all areas of magical life. Jin hadn’t ever thought he’d be one of them…until now.
He has no magic left, his connection to it burned from him. He had been defeated in a duel and he was paying a steep price for it.
The baubles of magic trail after him, bumping into each other as they try to keep up and guide his way. They give him enough light to see the trees lining the path and the flowers and vines and grass stretching back further into the darkness, most likely each one an ingredient for potion making. It smells so lovely: like the sea, like home, and Jin has to swallow down the emotions that bubble up inside of him.
He’s lead him past several buildings before heading straight for the door to the home of the man that is supposed to get Jin’s magic back. He’s the wizard who is also a witch, the youngest Academy graduate in centuries, and the most eligible magical bachelor: Kim Namjoon.
For the record, Jin doesn’t care about that last part. He’s just here to get better and get back to work. Jin sighs. The baubles of light swirl around him. The door to the house creaks open and Kim Namjoon steps out of it
Kim Namjoon, Wizard Extraordinaire and Witch Unparalleled, the best dual affinity magician in the entire world. The man that beat back an army of dark magicians all by himself, the man that refused to run for office despite overwhelming support so that he could open this. The House of Healing. The man who can have anything and everything but doesn’t. He man that just wants to help people.
Kim Namjoon, who has dimples that Jin hadn’t really seen in the newspapers (fine, he hadn’t read at them thoroughly,) and a smile that Jin hadn’t really noticed in interviews (fine, he hadn’t watched the whole things,) and magic that Jin can see coursing through Namjoon’s veins and swirling around him and spilling out into the night.
Jin wants to touch magic again, to feel it, not just see it.
“It’s just Jin,” Jin says, as they shake hands, “Only my enemies call me Seokjin.”
Namjoon laughs and there’s magic everywhere.
Jin has no magic. But he thinks—hopes—his stars haven’t quite left him. Stars are composed of the things in his body, after all.
“Come on,” Namjoon whispers, “we have so much to do.”
All Jin has ever known is magic. He sleeps pulling it over him like a blanket and wakes with it filling his lungs like air. He had rocketed to the top of the Academy (before Namjoon had been accepted,) and gone from graduation straight into curse breaking and then hunting dark magicians for bounty before he had realized it would be even better for the government to pay him regularly for his services.
At least until recently.
Now, Jin wakes feeling magic in the air but unable to grasp it and sleeps breathing it in but unable to let it settle in his bones.
So here he is, at the House of Healing, on the edge of a cliff, hoping the best Wiz-Witch in the entire world can coax the magic back into his blood and get his life back to where it needs to be.
Namjoon gives him a set of rooms on the top floor with a balcony. They’re warm and cozy and Jin falls asleep in the bed, suitcase still packed, not bothering with an alarm. So when he wakes the stars are gone, the sun is up, and someone is knocking on the door.
Jin hasn’t seen Yoongi in years.
Yoongi has tea (of course he does, it’s Yoongi,) and it’s probably a concoction of fifteen different potions. Jin almost breaks down crying, because he’s missed his Academy roommate and he smells like magic and memories and things Jin can’t think about right now.
“It’s been awhile,” he says instead.
Yoongi pats Jin’s knee. “Years. I, uh. I live here, now.”
Jin raises an eyebrow. “I feel like that’s something that ought to go in an solstice greeting card. Hey Jin, I’m living at the House of Healing, come visit! Hey Jin, I have a new job at the House of Healing…it is a job, right?”
“When have I ever sent a solstice card? And yes, it’s a job. Namjoon employs a lot of people. He even has an apprentice, which is where he is now: lessons, down on the beach. So I’ve been commissioned to show you around the complex.”
“Bribed,” Yoongi amended, grinning.
“Maybe I want to sleep more.”
But Jin’s already accepting the tea cup (white with delicate blue and red swirls that look sort of like flowers but are most likely an ancient script. It’s probably a summoning spell. He’s probably drinking out of a cup with a damn demon summoning spell on it,) and he unfolds his legs from underneath him to follow Yoongi downstairs, letting the warmth from the cup seep into his fingers.
Jin eats a little and he’s willing to bet his life there’s five thousand different drops of potions added into his rice and soup. He doesn’t argue when Yoongi hands him a second cup of tea after he’s done, though he can’t help a tiny little jibe at Yoongi’s expense.
“Does the great and powerful Kim Namjoon know you’re using all these potions on me?”
“Great and—wow. Don’t say that in front of him, gods. We’d have a disaster on our hands. And yes—“ Yoongi holds up a finger to keep Jin from speaking, “he does know. You’re staying here, for awhile. You get to drink my magic. That’s how it works. Let me be a witch, Kim Seokjin, so we can get you back to being one too.”
“Don’t call me that. You’re not my enemy.”
“I will be if you don’t shut up and drink what I give you. Now get up. Let’s walk.”
Jin really wants to find something sarcastic to say to that but he can’t. Yoongi’s right. Jin just wants to be a witch again. He takes a sip and this cup tastes like rose petals and cherries and slides warm down his throat and soothes his stomach.
“You’re pretty calm,” Yoongi says, “for having your connection to magic cursed out of you.”
“I’ve already had my panic attacks. I was told it was a curse—it felt like a curse, when it hit me—and that means it can be broken. I’m…optimistic about my chances.”
“Namjoon is the best,” Yoongi says.
Jin will probably be sad again, at some point. He’ll probably end up shouting at one of them. He’ll probably end up punching holes in the wall and sobbing his heart out on the edge of that cliff. But right now, walking in the warm sun and the sweet breeze, he’s doing alright. He feels optimistic.
His tour goes by in a blur. Jin meets Hoseok, the widower, who’s also a healer and apparently always has someone he has to stop from bleeding or someone who was burnt by magic. (“Namjoon’s magic,” Yoongi says, “he’s got so much of the damn stuff it just sort of…spills everywhere and causes accidents. Gotta be careful. He’s good, but only if he’s paying attention. The news stories never told you that, huh?”)
Anyway. Hoseok. Jin likes him and they agree to talk again when Hoseok’s not busy setting bones.
Taehyung runs the familiar shelter, a building filled with cats and dogs but also birds and a koala and a myriad of other strange creatures Taehyung swears are familiar-compatible. He’s covered in scratches up and down his arms but doesn’t at all seem to mind.
“He came here for help,” Yoongi whispers, as Taehyung disappears into stacks of crates and animals homes to find something suitable for Jin, whatever that means, “had some…family issues. But he really took to a few animals that had been drawn here because of Joon’s magic. We got the surprise of our lives when he turned into a fluffy little dog right in front of us.”
Jin chokes on air, imagining it.
Yoongi smiled. “Still does it accidentally if he gets too emotional, or sprouts ears and a tail, not that any of us mind. Anyway. He stayed and got really good with familiars and animal magic. It’s more animals than we're technically allowed to have here but…they make Taehyung happy so we keep them around and don’t say anything.”
Taehyung rushes back then, grin wide. There’s a cockatoo on his head and a snake wrapped around his left ankle. “Do you like cats?”
“Taehyung, we’re not here to find Jin a familiar. Just saying hello.”
Taehyung’s entire face falls, and Jin feels something a little akin to panic grip his heart. No one should be that sad about saying hello. No one so sweet should ever look that upset. “I don’t mind cats,” he says, anxious to ease the wizard’s mind, “I don’t mind animals at all. But I think I need to get my magic back first before I go looking for a familiar.”
“Oh,” Taehyung says, and then his smile is back, inexplicably, “oh, you’re the one staying in Joon’s house!” He takes a very obvious step backward that has Seokjin frowning. “I wasn’t even allowed to stay there when I first got here!”
Jin blinks. “Oh. Um. I didn’t think…”
Yoongi coughs. “Taehyung.”
Something is going on, between the two of them. A weird little language. Taehyung’s nose is twitching and Yoongi looks exasperated. A pointy brown ear pops out of Taehyung’s tousled hair and the cockatoo takes flight, startled. The snake hisses.
Jin hates secrets.
“Well,” Taehyung says, apparently deciding to move on, “not a cat, then. Joon’s allergic. Hmm. I’ll have to think about it.”
“Time to go,” Yoongi says.
He waves his fingers and there’s suddenly an invisible force gripping the back of Taehyung’s collar and dragging him away. Taehyung looks entirely non-plussed about it. “Bye, Jin! Have fun! Don’t let Yoongi ruin your—ow!”
“Don’t make me get Hoseok, Kim Taehyung!”
“Okay, sorry. I’m done, I promise. See you at dinner!”
Jin blinks. “Um.”
“Please don’t ask me. Namjoon will explain.”
Jin decides he can wait. He’s got time, after all. And he has yet to actually hold a conversation with Namjoon besides Welcome! Let me take your bag. Here’s your room. It’s late we’ll talk tomorrow. Rest is important!
“How many people stay here, usually?” Jin asks instead.
Yoongi shrugs. “It depends, I guess. We have enough space for fifty or so. Namjoon doesn’t take just anyone. If he can’t help them, they get sent elsewhere. He is good. But he can’t fix everything and he knows it. And it’s not just Namjoon. Sometimes it’s Hoseok, sometimes it’s Taehyung. We all pitch in and do what we can.”
“Shocking, I know.”
Yoongi had been quiet at the Academy, content to study and learn without really bothering with anything else aside from things Jin had dragged him to attend or fix.
And Jin has dragged him. Once by his ear after Yoongi had gotten into a terrible fight with a friend and he was too prideful to be the first to apologize (—you are the oldest Min Yoongi, you march your ass into that room and admit you were a bastard to him. Unbelievable, the two of you are unbelievable—) and once by his wrist to the hospital after a particularly bloody fight with a dark witch (—it’s like you enjoy bleeding to death you ridiculous blob of uselessness. Here lies Min Yoongi, the most powerful witch this side of the Pacific, who defeated the evil but bled to death because he couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone he had a hole in his side—) and a few other times that were even more embarrassing and so therefore not worth recalling. Ever.
Yoongi had been a mess at the Academy. Oh, how tables have turned.
Taehyung’s menagerie is set on a grassy sort of knoll and the path down from it back towards the houses is lined with lilac bushes that, despite it not being the season for the flowers, are overflowing with blooms.
It’s there that the baubles of light from last night whirl up the path way and morph into little fireworks that make Jin jump.
“Lessons are done,” Yoongi explains, and then asks the lights, “are you at the house?”
They fireworks explode again and Yoongi sighs. “You could just…form the word yes or something.”
Another explosion, clearly out of spite, and Jin coughs into his hand to hide his amusement.
“He knows he shouldn’t do that,” Yoongi sighs, “he’s accidentally ruined so many things because of his lights exploding into fireworks. We all just want him to communicate like a normal person.”
“I think it’s cute.”
As if he could be heard, the fireworks go off at the bottom of the hill again and then the magic zooms away, back towards the house.
“Please never say that again,” Yoongi says, dead serious.
Jin thinks about the Wiz-Witch he’s heard about in the news, the one with perfect control, the one with limitless amounts of power and the one he’d met last night, with the gorgeous smile and the warm hands and the prettiest dimples. He tries to reconcile that with the image Yoongi has been painting for him all morning: one of a wizard that allows his employee to keep a semi-legal zoo on his property out of the kindness of his heart and one that’s kind of silly and loves fireworks and accidentally causes minor catastrophes. Jin wonders if they’re all correct or if they’re all wrong. He wonders which option he’d prefer.
Kim Namjoon in the light of day is similar to how he had been last night: handsome and warm with magic sitting thick in the air around him. Perhaps it’s because of Yoongi, but Namjoon seems a tad less intimidating and a bit more endearing than he had a little while ago.
“Your fireworks are really nice.”
“Oh gods,” Yoongi says, and marches off into the house. “I hope you trip on a rock!”
Namjoon smiles. “Don’t worry, I have cushioning spells all around my house.”
“Is that so?”
“We’re all very accident prone around here. Every little bit helps to curtail that.” He held out a hand and Jin can’t explain why he feels so comfortable taking it. “Yoongi’s in charge of cooking today,” Namjoon says, “let’s go talk while we wait.”
Attached to the house is a garden (it looks like it could use a good weeding; Jin suspects Yoongi is not in charge of these plants,) and Namjoon leads the way. Questionable upkeep aside, it’s gorgeous and smells of so many nice things and has a wonderful view: the cliff, the sea, and Namjoon. Jin is loathe to let the Wiz-Witch’s fingers go as they sit on a bench but he imagines it would get awkward if he didn’t.
“I just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
Jin nods. “We haven’t really had a chance to talk.”
“Curses could…almost be qualified as living things, as I’m sure you know. Some stick to their intended targets but others are like a virus. They travel when someone that’s been cursed touches another witch or wizard.”
“I thought that was a myth.”
Namjoon pulls a face, one laced with both resignation and irritation. “That’s what people would like you to believe, certainly. Unfortunately, I have first hand experience and must inform you that curses being able to spread from person to person is something that happens more often than you might think.”
Jin suddenly understands Taehyung backing away from him in the menagerie. He wouldn’t wish losing magic on his worst enemy.
“It’s probably not the case with you,” Namjoon assures him, “because curses like this are usually tailored to a small group of people, or even just one person, so as to do the most damage. But I can’t risk anyone here being affected. Everyone has been instructed to keep their hands off you and makes sure they’re not close enough to accidentally bump into you.”
“I get it,” Jin says. The repercussions of that would be terrible.
“There are exceptions. Yoongi and I are very good at detecting malicious magic. We’ll be able to tell if a curse is trying to migrate over to us.” As if to illustrate his point, Namjoon very gently takes Jin’s hand again. “So you won’t be entirely starved of touch and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask one of us for it.”
“Okay,” Jin says, trying very hard not to think about the way his skin under Namjoon’s palm is burning at the contact. He’d guessed right; holding hands feels awkward. But Jin doesn’t ever want to let go.
“And it’s just until we figure out exactly what sort of curse it is, which we can start right after I recharge myself with food. Hopefully it won’t take us too long.”
“That sounds good.”
“It’s why you’re staying at my house instead of in the dorms. Just in case you were wondering.”
“I was. It makes sense. I mean,” Jin clears his throat and attempts to get his brain under control and use his best bravado. “I thought maybe it was because of my face.”
Namjoon grins, leans in a little closer, his eyes twinkling like starlight is reflecting off them, even though it’s the middle of the day. “It can be, if you want.”
Jin can’t sleep that evening.
It’s his sixteenth day without magic. Laying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, surrounded by some of the most magical people in the whole world, he feels restless. Sad.
He’d told the truth, earlier. He’d already had his panic attacks. He’d cried and screamed and punched. He’d ruined three very nice down pillows; his apartment still has feathers everywhere.
So, he is optimistic. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t sad. It had been easier to push the feeling away earlier while meeting new people, exploring new places, breathing in the fresh sea air, and letting Namjoon hold his hand. But in the darkness of his room, magic pressing in around him as if to remind him of the connection he lost, Jin misses it.
Resigned, Jin throws his covers back pads softly down the stairs, aware there are people sleeping in some of the rooms and that he’s not the only one trying to get better. The House isn’t here just for him.
But he can pretend.
Before he realizes it, Jin’s wandering out into the garden and back to the bench he’d sat on earlier. The sea breeze is wonderfully light and stars impeccably visible. The air thrums with energy—with magic—and Jin closes his eyes and pretends he’s capable of touching it.
How amazing would it be to let his magic join the threads of every one else living here? How nice would it be to find a familiar in Taehyung’s menagerie? How sweet would it be to help Yoongi with his potions and test his dueling against Namjoon and help Hoseok heal some broken arms? Jin wants to find out.
He doesn’t realize he’d been crying until a bauble of light whizzes up to him and bumps his cheek, one droplet of water being wiped away. Jin rubs the rest away, sniffing.
“I’m out here so I don’t disturb anyone,” he tells the baubles, “I have a feeling you’re not good at being quiet.”
The baubles twirl around each other and then, as if trying to think of something that will make Jin smile, back up a good meter and promptly explode in a shower of sparks, a tiny little ongoing fireworks display just for him.
“Is that supposed to make me feel better? Because all I want to do is try making fireworks for myself.” He’s not sure how but somehow, the little circles the baubles make in the air seem apologetic. “I can’t tell if you’re alive or if Namjoon’s communicating through you. Which is it?”
Jin very nearly loses his balance as he flails in shock.
“Sorry,” Namjoon says, coming up from behind him, “I didn’t mean to scare you.” He slides a cup of wonderfully warm tea into Jin’s hands as soon as he’s steady. Their fingers brush and Jin feels the magic in Namjoon’s skin and wishes, desperately, that he could touch it. Jin wants to touch magic again. “Something to help you sleep.”
“I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“I was up,” Namjoon assures him, and sits down on the bench, waving his fingers to conjure his own cup. “I’ve always found drinking tea under the milky way to be a very calming activity. Especially if it’s Yoongi’s tea.”
Jin takes a careful sip. “I’ve always found the stars to be comforting, tea or not. But this is nice.”
They sit quietly a moment, one of the lights having landed on Namjoon’s head and one on Jin’s shoulder. Another second and it moves to hover in front of Jin’s face.
“I’m not exactly sure what they are,” Namjoon says, “Not alive, I don’t think. But…conscious. Like a robot except magic. Artificial Magical Intelligence. Robotic Magical Intelligence? I don’t really know. I made them one night because the power went out and I needed something to help me see. They haven’t gone away since.”
“Awesome Robotic Magical Intelligence,” Jin decides, and holds his palm up so one can plop down on it, spinning in delight.
“They’re only awesome when they actually listen to me. They’re very easily swayed into mischief making by my apprentice. Or Taehyung. Or both, heavens forbid.”
The light on Namjoon’s head bops him gently and he sighs.
“They’re cute,” Jin says. The light wobbles, pleased.
“At least one of us thinks that—ow.”
The light in Jin’s hands shakes like its laughing and the one that had just run itself into Namjoon’s cheeks hurries to cuddle up beside it.
“I see how it is,” Namjoon says gravely, “well, you can have them. Maybe they’ll stay away from my experiments and I can tinker in peace.”
They don’t really seem to like that idea, tumbling up into the air and bobbing anxiously, looking like they might actually be having some sort of conversation, before they dart in to press light against Namjoon’s cheeks—like they’re kissing it, pressing imaginary lips to skin as an apology—and then they dart away down the path to join the other lights chasing each other around trees.
“Are you sure they’re not alive?”
“No,” Namjoon says, “not really.”
They’re silent until the tea is gone and Namjoon waves the cups away before speaking. “Were you upset because of your magic or because you don’t like it here?”
Jin’s throat burns, suddenly. “I love it here,” he says, taking a deep breath to calm himself. “This is just so…everyone is so…I don’t feel like myself. I’m usually so confident. I’m usually so different than how I am right now. And I keep thinking that if I had my magic it would be so much better. I could touch and feel it and…”
He usually laughs so much. Jin loves laughing and making other people laugh and finding ways to tell jokes that no one thinks they will like but actually they find they quite enjoy after Jin’s done telling them. Jin smiles and talks and makes friends wherever he goes. Jin is exuberant. Jin isn’t afraid of flirting. Jin wants to flirt.
Did the curse also get rid of his confidence?
“I’m Kim Seokjin,” he says, “I’m…I’m the witch to call if you have a dark magician problem. I keep thinking…I keep wondering…was I not good enough? How did he get me? I had all my curse shields up and all my deflectors. I don’t understand how this happened. I’m supposed to be good.”
He’s crying again. But it isn’t the baubles that wipe his tears. It’s Namjoon. Gentle and sweet, his hands cup Jin’s cheeks and his thumbs brush under Jin’s eyes.
(Namjoon has such pretty eyes.)
“Sorry,” Jin chokes.
Tissues materialize from somewhere and after he’s done blowing his nose they disappear.
“You don’t have to apologize. You’ve suddenly been stripped of something you had your entire life. You’re starting over…at least temporarily, until we fix it. You get to be upset as you want. You can cry all you want. No one here is going to judge you. And you are good. You’re a good witch, Jin. I know you are.”
“Everything is terrible.”
(Except Namjoon. Namjoon is the opposite of terrible.)
“I cannot even begin to fathom the pain you’re experiencing.”
“I just want everything to go back to the way it was.”
“It will,” Namjoon promises, “You aren’t going anywhere until we accomplish that.”
He’s heard those words before, of course, from the witch hospital in Seoul, from the curse-breakers in Busan, but they hadn’t been able to do anything. They hadn’t been able to fix him. Still, this feels different. Namjoon’s words sound so much more genuine and Jin feels himself falling, tipping down into the warmth of Namjoon’s voice and drawn in by his sweet smile.
(And the dimples. Jin just isn’t going to survive.)
“Hey,” Namjoon says, and gods Jin’s crying again, “I mean it.”
He shuffles closer, tugging gently on Jin’s hand and Jin seems to skip through time because suddenly his head is on Namjoon’s shoulder and there are arms wrapping tight around him and the little baubles of light are suddenly whizzing up the pathway to whirl around them.
“Don’t you worry Witch Jin,” Namjoon says, “I will absolutely make sure that you will be able to use magic again.”
Jin’s not sure how he gets back into his bed (it was probably Namjoon) or where exactly he fell asleep (it was probably in Namjoon’s arms) but he once again wakes to Yoongi and his tea.
“Is this a demon summoning cup?” Jin asks, sighing. Best to know for sure.
Yoongi shrugs. “It's just a cup. It seems to like you.”
“It seems to…“ Jin stares down at the cup, resigned, “So are all the inanimate objects here alive?”
“No?” Yoongi says, but it’s also a question, “what are you talking about?”
Lights. Jin’s talking about lights and the sea breeze and the dimples on Namjoon’s cheeks that seem to make everything bloom when they’re near…
“Never mind,” Jin says, and takes a sip. It’s warm and sweet, like every other cup he’s had.
Breakfast is the same as it was yesterday and no less delicious, and then Yoongi is leading him down the cliff and to the edge of the sea where Namjoon is watching his apprentice form shapes made out of the salt water. They are mostly misshapen blobs but one almost looks like a flower.
“Jin!” Namjoon waves, bouncing up onto his toes.
“I’ve done my good deed for the day,” Yoongi says, “bye.”
In his exuberance, Namjoon’s sandal catches on smooth stones and Jin watches, almost in slow motion, as Namjoon flails and ends up slamming ass first onto the beach. The cushioning spells suddenly make a lot of sense.
The apprentice’s water dissolves into the sea as he doubles over laughing. Jin bites his cheeks to keep from embarrassing himself.
“Jeongguk,” Namjoon says to the apprentice, dusting off his hands. “What did I just say about concentration?”
Jeongguk is far too busy laughing to answer.
“I guess we’re done for now,” Namjoon sighs. “Go and see if Yoongi needs help in his potion’s store.”
Jeongguk snickers and then waves as he runs past Jin. “See you at dinner, hyung! And hyung number two!”
“Little shit,” Namjoon says, sounding incredibly fond, “He’s supposed to call me master.”
And then it’s just the two of them, Namjoon’s face looming large in front of Jin (even though he’s not that much taller,) and Jin can’t believe it but he has butterflies in his stomach. Namjoon’s pretty smile is giving making Jin feel things he hasn’t bothered with in years.
“Hi,” Namjoon says, “how are you feeling today?”
“I’m…surviving.” Jin decides to say, instead of kind of like I want to shove you back down onto the beach and see what might happen if I kiss your dimples.
And his mouth.
And maybe other things.
Jin is a mess.
“I was surviving for awhile too,” Namjoon says, “back in the day. I didn’t like it very much. But I think given the circumstances we can’t be too picky, at least not yet.” He reaches out for Jin’s hand and Jin’s insides twist themselves up into a complicated knot. “I’m glad you’re surviving. It means you’re here and that makes me happy.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
“I want you to be happy, too. But I guess we’ll get there eventually. Come on. I want to start with some curse testing today. I already have everything I need ready and waiting.”
Namjoon’s labs (“We call them that because they’re mostly for experiments,” Namjoon says, “um, but not that I’d ever experiment on you!”) are no where near his house. There’s nothing surrounding them, not gardens or walkways or even well-kept grass. Jin assumes this is to lessen the damage of any accidents that might occur.
Still, inside it’s spacious and cool, the stone keeping it from absorbing too much warm sun. Even then it’s welcoming and looking around Jin can see traces of Namjoon everywhere, from shelves of meticulously clean potions, each carefully labeled to the couch covered in soft pillows and a pile of blankets in front of it that suggest Namjoon doesn’t always sleep in his house.
The baubles make an entrance then, whizzing down on them from a sky light propped open by a stick. Clearly the only way to reach it is magic, whether Namjoon levitates himself up to adjust it or uses some other sort of spell.
“Look who decided to show up,” Namjoon sighs, tapping one of the lights, “Could have used you earlier when I was trying to get Jeongguk to concentrate.”
The light vibrated, clearly affronted.
“Yes, I’m sure whatever you were doing was terribly important. But I don’t need you now. It’s too late, we’re already done.”
They don’t really seem to care, several of them floating over to Jin to nudge as his hand until he turns it palm up so they can spin over it, pleased.
“I have work to do,” Namjoon grumbles, “work that requires Jin and not you. Please don’t bother us.”
The light does a weird little flip and jiggle that Jin cannot for the life of him interpret but it makes Namjoon blush and he flicks at the light, spluttering. “No,” he says firmly, and the lights move in the way that means they’re laughing.
Jin had already been through a lot of curse testing and in fact Jin thinks he can see the envelope tossed haphazardly on Namjoon’s desk. Clearly he didn’t think much of them, for which Jin is grateful.
But this means that he has to sit through the curse testing all over again, some of it rather painful. Namjoon makes it bearable, soothing Jin through each potion he drinks, for each spell that’s cast. Jin expects a thorough run down of his condition once Namjoon had finished but all he gets is a gentle pat on his shoulder and warm tea in the damn demon cup.
“The cup does likes you,” Namjoon muses.
It feels a lot like secrets and a lot like people might be talking behind his back, but Jin pushes it out of his mind. He’s here to get better and if Namjoon isn’t going to tell him anything than so be it. That’s just fine with him. Really.
It’s dinner time as they make their way out of Namjoon’s labs and back to his house. It smells so good and Jin is not at all surprised to find Yoongi laying out dishes on a table.
“While it’s good to see you again,” Yoongi says, “I’m doubly pleased that you’re here because it means we have another person that knows how to cook an actual meal.”
“Do you really?” Namjoon asks.
“I see how it is,” Jin grumbles.
“Hey, we all have to pull our weight around here,” Yoongi says, “Besides, I miss eating your food.”
Jin resigns himself to kitchen duty as he sits down at the table. “Where are Hoseok and Taehyung?” He asks, because they’d been there last night and the only other person sitting with them is Jeongguk, who sniggers as soon as Jin asks.
“Taehyung was having a bad day,” Yoongi says, while Namjoon reaches out to whack the back of Jeongguk’s head, albeit lightly, “and Hoseok is talking him down.”
“Taking him down, more like,” Jeongguk says, and this time manages to dodge Namjoon’s hand.
“Do you want to eat tonight or not?” Yoongi asks, and that’s enough to shut the apprentice up. Jin decides to not enquire further. He’ll just have to go ask Hoseok himself, that’s all.
“We have someone new coming to stay with us in a few days,” Namjoon says, once they’ve all started eating, “his name is Jimin and he’s having some problems controlling his magic. So we’ll need to make sure all of our magical accident barriers and suppression spells are active. He’s going to stay with you, Yoongi.”
Yoongi promptly chokes on his rice.
“I want him to help you in your store. I think the precise science of potion making will help him measure his own control.”
“Namjoon,” Yoongi starts, still coughing. Jin pounds his back. “Namjoon, you know I don’t do well with apprentices.”
“He’s not an apprentice. He’s a witch that needs help and you’re the best person here to give it to him. He’ll be here soon, so maybe make sure that extra room you have in your house is clean.”
The rest of the dinner is full of Yoongi grumbling under his breath about having less time to make his concoctions and Namjoon and Jeongguk theorizing about a new type of spell they think they might have discovered.
And just like that the days start to blend together.
Jin goes to bed and dreams of Namjoon pressing kisses to his cheeks, baubles of light swirling around them like stars, like little galaxies feeding his power.
He wakes to Yoongi giving him warm tea in the demon cup and eats breakfast and drinks more tea and watches Namjoon teach Jeongguk wizarding at the edge of the sea.
They have lunch (with tea) and then Namjoon brings him into his labs and tests and tests and it hurts and sometimes Jin throws up but Namjoon is always there, fingers gentle on his skin, happy to hold him and hug him and all Jin can think about is how much he wishes Namjoon would hold him because Namjoon wants to, not because he must, not because Jin is sick.
Not because Jin is no longer a witch.
Then they have dinner and sometimes Jin wanders out into the garden if he can’t sleep and stares up at the stars and wonders if, when he dies, as his body decays into the dirt, his soul will disintegrate into the air and float upwards to swirl into a super nova and fly along the path of the milky way.
He hopes so.
Then he sleeps and dreams of Namjoon and wakes and eats and tests. And sleeps. And wakes. And sleeps. And wakes.
And drinks the deliciously warm tea.
And then he starts to confuse his dream Namjoon with real Namjoon. One afternoon, the day Jimin is set to arrive, Jin very nearly leans into Namjoon’s personal space after curse testing to kiss him full on the mouth.
Namjoon doesn’t seem to notice but the baubles of light are buzzing and Jin blushes, happy to get out of the lab before he makes an idiot out of himself.
With Yoongi busy preparing the spare room in his house, Jin offers to make dinner, his stomach flipping at the way it makes Namjoon’s face light up. It’s been awhile since he’s made a meal for more than two or three people so he starts early.
It does feel good to cook again. Losing his magic had made him feel a lot less like himself, made him lose a lot of his confidence, a lot of what made him Jin. But he doesn’t need magic to cook, and even as he stirs his stew and tests his rice, he is able to crack a few jokes at Hoseok as he sets the table.
“Jimin’s really sweet,” Hoseok tells him, “you’ll like him.”
“How is Yoongi taking it?”
Hoseok grins. “I’ve never in my life seen Yoongi blush so much. It’s incredible.”
“Is that so?”
“I assume I can count on you to tease him?”
“Oh,” Jin puts down his cooking chopsticks to give Hoseok’s hand a firm shake, “There’s nothing I’d enjoy more.”
Except, Jin thinks, perhaps, kissing Kim Namjoon.
Everyone is present for dinner.
And Hoseok had been right, on both fronts. Jimin is really nice and Yoongi can’t seem to form a full sentence in his presence.
And by the way Jimin keeps sneaking glances at Yoongi across the table, the attraction is mutual.
It seems harmless, really. Jin is happy, and finds it funny as they stutter and try not to stare. But there’s something he can’t quite put his finger on…it mostly has to do with Namjoon. Namjoon doesn’t seem to find their attraction as nice. Namjoon keeps looking between the two of them, eating slowly as he watches, feet tapping a little anxiously.
Finally, Jin nudges him. “What’s wrong?” he whispers.
“Hoseok double checked my wards in here before dinner, right?”
Jin blinks. “….yes. Why?”
Namjoon sighs. “Well, that’s good. At least it’ll minimize the damage.”
Namjoon doesn’t answer, just continues to sigh in resignation, and Jin frowns. He does not like secrets. This one doesn’t even seem to be about him which makes it all the more frustrating that hasn’t been kept apprised.
But he doesn’t have to wait long to discover the problem.
One moment Jimin and Yoongi’s fingers brush passing a side dish and then the next the curtains (and the window pane and the entire wall behind Jimin,) erupt into flames.
“There it is,” Namjoon says, as Jin’s jaw drops and Jeongguk and Taehyung leap to their feet, water sprouting from their fingertips as they try to put out the blaze.
In a matter of seconds the smoke is thick and Jin’s eyes start to water—if I had my magic I could sweep the smoke out of here, I could help try to douse the flames, gods, why is this happening, why am I so useless—and then Hoseok’s in front of him, wind whipping through the house to keep the smoke away as flames rage.
Yoongi is no where to be seen; Jin’s positive he’d run out to get potions. Namjoon is kneeling by Jimin, who had collapsed onto the floor.
Jin can’t hear the things Namjoon is whispering into Jimin’s ear, but his hands are gentle as he strokes down Jimin’s back and he’s smiling as he talks, despite the chaos around them. It takes some time but eventually Jimin’s tears slow and with them the fires recede. Taehyung and Jeongguk plop into an exhausted heap on the floor, ash settling over them and Hoseok hovering as he checks for injuries.
Clearly, Jimin is in the right place.
“Sorry,” he starts to say, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean—“
“We know,” Namjoon murmurs, “it’s okay, we know you didn’t mean to do it. No one’s hurt and to be honest, I didn’t like the curtains anyway.”
No one laughs, but Jimin’s tears are gone and Yoongi appears at Jin’s elbow, potion in hand. It’s not even disguised as tea, which is concerning, but after Jimin swallows it all he seems to relax.
“We’ll carry you,” Namjoon says, when they discover Jimin’s too weak to stand on his own legs.
Jeongguk still isn’t moving, curled into Taehyung as Hoseok pets them both and Yoongi has disappeared again, probably to fetch more potions. So Jin steps forward, patting Namjoon’s arm to let him know he’s there and between them, they hoist Jimin onto Jin’s back.
“I think you should stay in my house until we can get this under control,” Namjoon says, “I’m sorry I didn’t do it in the first place.”
Jimin’s certainly not heavy but all those muscles add up and Jin huffs a bit as he heads up the stairs, relieved once he’s able to put Jimin down onto the a bed. He’s mostly out of it. Jin and Namjoon help him out of his clothes and into something comfortable. Jin finds a washcloth to wipe away the tear tracks on Jimin’s face and the sweat the ordeal had caused.
Yoongi appears then with a tray full of potions and pills and other questionable substances, looking resolute. “I’ve got it from here. Hoseok is working on…updating the wards. We’ll able to touch without his magic going haywire.” He’s blushing.
“Good,” Namjoon nods, “come and wake me if you need a break.”
“I don’t understand,” Jin says, as they walk out of the room, “is it a good idea to leave them alone?”
“It’ll be fine. Jimin…Jimin’s emotions are making it difficult to control his magic. He’s been causing accidents everywhere he goes if he gets angry or sad or happy. I structured some wards to dampen the effects of that but…I didn’t consider attraction. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Namjoon’s anxiousness during dinner makes a lot more sense. “You knew it would happen,” Jin says.
“As soon as I walked in the room. But everyone was already eating and it was too late to fix. Now that Hoseok’s put up some wards of his own, and once I go and reinforce them, they can blush all they want without worrying about accidentally burning to death. Which would be not cool.”
“Terrible,” Jin nods.
Namjoon steps in front of Jin’s door, turning around to give him a smile. “Hey, dinner was really yummy, though. Sorry it kind of got interrupted.”
“It’s fine. I’ll cook again another time.”
“Don’t worry about cleaning up. Jeongguk has it under control.”
“Does he know that?” Jin raises an eyebrow.
“He will soon enough,” Namjoon says. “I’ll see you in the morning?”
He has to dig his nails into the palm of his hands to keep himself from reaching out to pull Namjoon in for a goodnight kiss. “Sleep well,” he says instead, and shuts the door, wondering if the way he looks at Namjoon and the way Namjoon makes him feel is as obvious to everyone else as Yoongi and Jimin’s attraction.
Later on that night, as he sinks down into his bed and pulls the covers over himself, he still can’t decide if he wants it to be.
Yoongi wakes him the next morning with tea, looking rested and not at all like someone who might have stayed up all night looking after a sick witch.
“You sure are chipper,” Jin gripes, sitting up in bed.
The cup is the same, the warmth the same, and he holds it in his hands, breathing it in as Yoongi opens his curtains.
“Jimin was passed out for most of the night. No more accidents. Very uneventful.”
“Is that so?”
Yoongi scowls. “Drink your damn tea. This is not the time.”
“Yes, it is,” Jin argues. “Are you kidding? I don’t remember the last time you were so infatuated. I love it.”
Yoongi crosses his arms. “Drink. The. Tea.”
Jin huffs. “Fine. But we’re not done.”
The moment the liquid touches Jin’s lips he knows it’s wrong. The cup might be the same, the warmth might be the same, and the taste might be the same but the potion mixed with it is different. He can’t explain it but there’s suddenly a force trying to get him to toss the cup away, to spit the tea out onto the floor.
But he can’t. He’d downed whatever Yoongi had handed to him so many times that Jin’s throat is unconsciously opening and he’s swallowing, the liquid burning as it slides into stomach.
And then he can’t move his limbs, can barely turn his head.
Namjoon walks into the room and Jin’s stomach bottoms out as he sees the Wiz-Witch’s staff in hand. Namjoon’s never used his staff, not in all the time Jin’s been here.
“We’re fixing you,” Namjoon says. “I need you to trust me, okay? Take a deep breath. You can’t panic.”
“Too late,” Jin says, “I can’t move.”
“I know. I promise it’s temporary.”
He can’t explain it but there is a panic building in him that doesn’t really feel like him and he knows he has to get out of here, he has to get out because if he doesn’t—
“You aren’t cursed,” Namjoon says.
Yoongi takes Jin’s hands and gently bends them open, resting each on on a knee. Then, ever so carefully, begins to pour potions over them. They’re vibrant greens and reds, dark blue and bright yellow, and each one makes his skin tingle. Jin watches in fascination as they sink into his flesh instead of rolling off it.
“We’re definitely right,” Yoongi nods, and reaches out for more.
“I don’t understand,” Jin says.
“You aren’t cursed,” Namjoon says again, “You’re possessed. There’s a demon that’s latched onto your soul and it’s sucking out all your magic.”
“There’s a what?”
“It’s why the exorcism cup liked you.”
“Also,” Namjoon says, “Now that I know what I’m looking for, I can see the damn thing.”
Jin’s stomach drops because Namjoon’s eyes are focused a point beyond Jin and that means…that means…
In an instant, there’s a blinding pain in Jin’s forehead and temples and he’s screaming, wishing so badly he could grab his head, try to rub the pain away, anything, and then…
And then he’s not in charge anymore.
There’s someone (it’s the demon, you had a demon attached to you,) speaking through his mouth. Jin is shoved aside into a corner of his own brain and he can’t do anything about it and he can’t understand anything that’s being said. The demon is speaking (screaming, yelling) its own language and Namjoon is speaking it back.
Gods, but Namjoon is terrifying.
Power is radiating off of him and Jin suddenly feels small, insignificant, and he understands it’s the demon’s fear, because it knows it doesn’t stand a chance. It knows that Namjoon is infinitely more powerful and its time with Jin (eating Jin’s magic, latching onto his life force,) is done. It is moments away from ceasing to exist.
Quite suddenly, Jin is full of hope.
His hands are burning, Yoongi pouring more and more potions onto them, the magic sinking into him and chasing the demon, encroaching in on it, trapping it so Namjoon can start his spell. Jin has seen several exorcisms in his day and he knows it’s going to hurt. He’s going to feel the pain the demon does, feel Namjoon’s magic severing their souls. He tries to prepare himself for it, brace himself as best he can without actually being in control of his body.
It doesn’t really work. He feels as though he’s burning, fire licking up from his hands and unbearable heat pressing in around him. The demon does everything to try to get Namjoon to stop his chanting and Jin is screaming as there’s pressure against his bones as the demon tries to break them, as his intestines are twisted and he’s throwing up blood, his throat burning as he gets hotter and hotter.
He doesn’t pass out until he feels his molars start to come loose, black swallowing him, and he lets go knowing, with absolute certainty, that Namjoon will not let him die.
Everything hurts as Jin wakes.
But there’s something licking his face and he’s a little distracted from the aching and twinging as he attempts to twist away from it. He tries to open his mouth to say go away but all that comes out is a strange mumble of sounds.
Everything is blurry and Jin blinks trying to clear his vision.
Hoseok is peering down at him with a little fluffy dog in his arms.
“Sorry,” Hoseok says, “He wasn’t supposed to wake you.” He puts the dog on the floor. “Go and get Namjoon, pup. We’ll have a talk later.”
Jin blinks again.
“Don’t try to move. Nothing was broken but there was a ton of strain put on your body and it was totally over exerted. I’ve fixed what I can but you need rest. And please do not attempt to touch any magic until Namjoon gets here.”
His magic. Oh gods. Jin aches to reach out, to see if he really can use it again, if it really had been the demon keeping him from it.
But Hoseok looks deadly serious, so Jin swallows down the urge.
And speaking of swallowing, Jin is so, so thirsty.
“Water?” He finally manages to croak. He drinks the entire glass by the time Namjoon arrives.
“Taehyung woke him,” Hoseok says, frowning, “so it might just be temporary. He’s still not fully healed.”
Namjoon frowns, “Well, we can address that later.” He sits gingerly on the side of the bed, hand coming out to brush at Jin’s bangs and then down his arm so their fingers tangle together. Jin feels like he’d blush if his body was actually functioning correctly. It isn’t, so all he can do is try to grip Namjoon’s fingers back.
“I imagine you’re confused.”
“Quite,” Jin says, and then coughs.
“If you’re still in the mood for trusting me, I’d like to explain when you’re feeling a bit better. Is that okay? I think you need to just…sleep for now.”
Jin wants to argue but he an already feel his eyelids drooping. “S’good,” he slurs.
Maybe he’s imagining, maybe he’s dreaming again, but as darkness closes in around him, he could have sworn Namjoon had bent down to press a kiss to his forehead.
Jin wakes a few more times and falls asleep a few more times before finally blinking into a much better sort of awareness: less pain, less confusion, more comfort.
Namjoon is in a chair by the window, reading a book and Jin just takes a moment to look at him. Gods, but he’s so handsome. If he had been feeling a little more brave, Jin might have say it out loud. Instead he shifts, reaching up to rub at his eyes and immediately, Namjoon is up out of the chair and by his side.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better,” Jin says, and lets Namjoon sit him up against the pillows. A glass of water is conjured and it’s the most delicious thing he’s ever tasted. Which is weird, because he’s tasted a lot of things more flavorful than water.
“Not entirely myself just yet,” he amends.
“I imagine not. You went through a lot.”
He drinks a little more, sips a few spoonfuls of broth, before realizing that this time he isn’t going to fall back asleep. Namjoon seems to reach the same conclusion. “Feeling up to an explanation?” He asks, setting the dishes aside.
“Yeah,” Jin nods, “I want to touch my magic.”
“I don’t think you should try, just yet. A little while longer.”
Jin doesn’t like that answer but nods anyway. “So then explain.”
“I knew from the second I laid eyes on you that it wasn’t a curse. Curses…curses don’t do to people what I was seeing. I’d heard so much about you. The boisterous witch Kim Seokjin, who told jokes with every sentence that came out of his mouth and flattened dark witches and wizards without so much as blinking.”
“I don’t tell that many jokes,” Jin mutters.
“Well,” Namjoon says, “regardless, you were quiet when you got here. And scared, and everything Yoongi had told me about you seemed…wrong. Curses don’t do that. They don’t change a person. They’d don’t feed on a person like that.”
“That hardly seems enough to conclude I was possessed. I mean. I knew I felt different. But. I couldn’t sense the demon at all. How did you know?”
Namjoon smiles. “The cup. I had a suspicion it was a demon, and so I had Yoongi give you tea in the exorcism cup.” It materialized in his hand, filled with Yoongi’s brew. “Take it,” Namjoon encourages.
Carefully, Jin does, and he takes a small sip. “It’s not warm,” he says, wrinkling his nose.
“Good. The thing about this cup…if the person holding it is possessed, it warms up. Not too hot, not too cold…just right, for someone that has a demon sucking their magic.”
Jin’s stomach twists unpleasantly. “It liked me,” he says.
“Yeah,” Namjoon nods, “and that’s how we knew.”
“Why didn’t you tell me right away?”
“Because then the demon would have known. The cup isn’t well known magic. I invented it. I said the spells. I make sure it’s a secret so that it stays effective. I tested you for curses to fool the demon and Yoongi kept giving you tea so that when we were ready, drinking whatever he gave you was routine enough to the point that you’d swallow an exorcizing potion despite the demon trying to get you to spit it out. After that, it didn’t stand a chance against me.”
Jin hands the cup back. “If I never drink out of that again it’ll be too soon.”
Namjoon laughs and the cup disappears.
“And my magic?”
“We just need to wait. Your connection to it is burnt out. With a lot of care and a lot of Yoongi’s potions, it will come back.”
Jin feels a tiny bit of his courage creep back and he reaches out to grab Namjoon’s hand. It’s warm in a way it had never been before. “A lot of care, huh?”
“Yeah,” Namjoon says, “I’m going to wait on you hand and foot. Hope you don’t mind.”
Jin’s heart burns with affection. “I mean, as long as your hands and feet are clean, I guess.”
Namjoon laughs again and Jin thinks maybe—maybe, maybe, maybe—he’ll have enough courage for this.
Maybe now, he and Namjoon will soon be able to kiss.
True to his word, Namjoon does care for him. But Jin has never really been one to just sit around and wait to feel better. So soon he’s up and out of bed, drinking all the potions Yoongi give him (no demon cup in sight,) and able to walk from Namjoon’s house to Yoongi’s store.
He finds Jimin fun to be around, easy to joke with and so wonderfully sweet. Plus, it’s fun to watch Yoongi and Jimin flirt with each other and steal kisses in between helping customers.
He wakes now to Namjoon giving him coffee, and spending the mornings in the shop and then the afternoons with Hoseok or Taehyung and then the evenings in the gardens.
Sometimes Namjoon joins him, both of them staring up at the stars and it’s wonderfully routine. Jin can close his eyes and imagine the stars falling, sinking down into his skin and sparking his magic and he doesn’t feel sad about it, anymore. His magic will come in time and until then he has the stars and Namjoon and it’s okay. It’s okay, now.
Jin’s not sure, exactly, when he knows it’s time. But one night the moon is hanging full in the sky and the breeze is light and sweet, and suddenly just standing there together is not enough.
He wants more. He wants what he’s been craving since he arrived. He wants the one thing he suddenly realizes he needs more than he does his magic, at least right at this moment.
And he doesn’t want to wait anymore. He wants Namjoon. He wants to touch him, to pull him close, to let the attraction tingling underneath his skin bloom into something tangible.
Jin needs it.
He needs to kiss Namjoon.
Jin’s been holding back, using his issues as an excuse, using Namjoon’s position as a reason for why kissing him might be a bad idea.
But Namjoon’s hair is glowing in the moonlight (in the starlight!) and his baubles are bobbing in the breeze around them. His collarbones are peeking up from his shirt and Jin wants to bite them, mark them until he’s bruised the skin, until it makes Namjoon moan. He wants everyone that looks at Namjoon to know he’s taken.
Jin wants to take him.
He feels every thread of linen as he reaches out and grips the sides of Namjoon’s shirt, tugging him close. He feels magic gathering around them, drawn to Namjoon’s emotions, so thick Jin’s sight is blurring. Or maybe it’s his tears, relief bubbling up inside of him as he finally decides to do something with all of the things that he has been feeling.
He can’t keep his breathing steady, anticipation building in his chest and squeezing his heart. The pads of Namjoon’s fingers are pressing onto his cheeks and then sliding back to hair, his smile warm and sweet and his eyes asking are you sure? Is this what you want? Is this okay? Have you wanted this like I have?
“Yes,” Jin says, “yes, yes, yes, please—“
Kissing Kim Namjoon is everything Jin’s imagination had told him it would be.
It’s their mouths sliding together messy and then easy. It’s lips to tongue and tongue to teeth and zaps of electricity darting down to Jin’s toes and fingers and his stomach curling with arousal, his cheeks heating as Namjoon cradles the back of his head and wraps his other arm around Jin’s waist.
Distantly, Jin realizes the baubles are exploding into fireworks.
Namjoon tastes like magic, like everything Jin has lost and he’s pressing his nose into Namjoon’s jaw, holding his face steady so Jin can kiss those dimples as many times as possible, so he can bite down Namjoon’s neck and gasp into the warm skin as Namjoon’s fingers get under his shirt and brush the bottom of his rib cage.
Suddenly, there’s a pull of magic at his feet and dazed Jin pulls away. Blinking slow, heart pounding, Jin finds they somehow have moved not just inside the house but right inside Namjoon’s room.
“Um,” Namjoon says, “I…think I accidentally teleported us. Sorry.”
His blush is adorable and Jin leans back in to kiss it. Multiple times.
“That’s fine,” he says, and steps away until the back of his knees hit the bed and he tugs at his shirt, pleased with the fire he sees in Namjoon’s eyes as he watches, “I was going to suggest we start getting naked anyway.”
Jin wakes with the sun, warmth spreading across him as light shines through the windows and he can’t help the smile that blooms on his face. He feels like himself today. He feels good.
“Hi,” Namjoon’s voice says into his ear.
Jin only has to turn his head a little to look into Namjoon’s eyes. “Hi. I feel good.”
“Me too,” Namjoon says. “I’m going to kiss you.”
He’s a lot gentler than he had been last night. It’s soft and sweet and overwhelming. “I’ve wanted to do that since I saw you,” Namjoon murmurs, “just so we’re clear.”
“Demon kinda turned me off, though. Wanted to get rid of it before I touched you properly.”
“That’s fair,” Jin says, smiling. “But now we have lots of lost time and lost ground to cover.”
Namjoon’s hand slides down Jin’s side, a little too low to be innocent. “Yeah, yeah we do.”
It comes on slow.
It’s evening, Jin and Namjoon are sitting out in the gardens, glasses of wine in hand, laughing as the baubles of light bump their heads closer so they have to kiss between sips or risk sore spots on their skulls. To be honest, they’d be kissing anyway. But it’s nice to have a bunch of tiny cheerleaders that explode into fireworks every time they’re obliged.
They’re kissing, kind of like their first kiss (lips to tongue and tongue to teeth and zaps of electricity darting down to Jin’s toes and fingers) and Jin ends up in Namjoon’s lap, knees against the bench with Namjoon’s hands resting low on his back. (Fine, his hands are on Jin’s ass. It’s nice.)
They’ll probably need another teleporting situation soon, but it’s so refreshing to be out in the cool air and so nice to feel the stars above them and know no one will really bother them, not unless it’s an emergency.
They’re kissing and Jin’s incredibly aroused and he suddenly remembers that a minute ago they’d been holding wine glasses and now are not.
Curious, Jin pulls away, turning his head to look down at the ground expecting to see shattered glass and dark red stains on the cobblestoned path.
But he doesn’t. Instead, they’re hovering mid air, swirling a bit lazily around the bauble of light. The lights seem to find it fascinating, having discovered they can pop into the liquid and pop out of it only to shake droplets everywhere.
“You should put those down,” Jin frowns.
But as he looks back at Namjoon the Wiz-Witch is grinning. “That’s not me.”
“I’m not doing that? Jin. Jin! It’s you!”
“Don’t be an idiot! I’d know if…”
Jin takes stock of himself. Of Namjoon. Of the garden. Of the stars.
It feels different. He feels connected to the earth, to the grass. He feels connected to the air, to the atmosphere, to the atoms as they rise and fling themselves into space.
Carefully, he reaches for his magic.
And it’s there. It’s right there.
“Jin,” Namjoon says, and it sounds like he’s crying.
Jin might also be crying.
His magic is holding the wine glasses, keeping them aloft and carefully, consciously, he lowers them to the ground, watching as they wobble on the grassy knoll and then tip over, lines of liquid sinking into the dirt.
“Oh,” he breathes. “Oh.”
Touching Namjoon’s magic is incredible. Jin swirls his fingers in the power that is emanating from Namjoon, breathes it in and feels it settle into his bones.
“It’s back,” Jin says, “it’s back.”
He might be imagining things, but as his crying turns to sobbing it feels like the earth beneath them shakes and air whips around them and the skies shift to welcome Jin home.
“It was so dark,” Jin gasps, “it was so dark but now it isn’t anymore.”
“I know,” Namjoon says, “I know it was. But you were so bright, Jin. You were incredible. You are incredible.”
Jin’s not sure how long they sit there. Namjoon holds him tight and the magic flows between them and by the time his heart has calmed down one of his feet has fallen asleep.
Namjoon wipes his face, magic pulling away his snot and tears.
“Now that’s my kind of spell,” Jin sniffs.
Namjoon smiles. “Good. Now you can learn it.”
Jin winds their fingers together. “Yeah. Yeah, I can.”
Jin has magic. The stars are still with him; the stars are there, whether it’s dark out or not. Stars are composed of the things in his body, after all, and magic is part of his body and he knows now—Jin knows—he’s never truly without either one of them.
And even if that were to change…it would be okay.
It would be okay because Jin has Namjoon now. Jin has Namjoon and Namjoon is magic. Together Jin and Namjoon are the stars and they are magic and together they are everything that the other person needs.
“Hey,” Namjoon says.
They’d been kissing, basking in the afterglow, magic thick in the air around them. Jin presses his mouth to Namjoon’s collarbone. His neck. His jaw. Namjoon is his. “Mm?”
“I want you to stay. If you’d like. I mean. I think you’d be good here. Even if it’s…just for a little while. Or a long while. Or for…ever. You could stay forever.”
Jin pulls away long enough to look in Namjoon’s eyes and make sure he’s serious, to make sure Namjoon knows that Jin is serious (because Jin wants it so much, more than anything, more than going back to fighting dark magicians. Jin wants Namjoon.)
“I’d love that,” Jin says (warmth and magic and light curling in around them, making his heart pound, his breath come short,) “I’d really love that a lot.”