Jeongguk's known his neighbour is definitely not an ordinary person since their first meeting in the middle of the night, somewhere between third and fourth floor.
But he never cared enough to question why Min Yoongi was talking to himself, surrender by flowers and colourful gems on the old fire escape stairs. He didn't ask why there was line of salt on his threshold. He didn't complain about shitload of ravens right in front of his window (at least he thinks it’s his fault) or strange marks drew all around their apartment building (Jeongguk knows it was Yoongi because he caught him more than once.)
But right now standing in the backyard in the middle of the night in only his pastel blue striped boxers, white t-shirt, and his favorite rainbow blanket Jeongguk must know what the hell Min fucking Yoongi did to nearly cause a fire at 2 am.
Jeongguk's eyes are openly throwing dangers at Yoongi at this point. Or rather at the back of his blue hair. He is broke college student, he can't afford neither losing sleep, nor apartment.
"What have you done?" he hisses in his direction.
When Yoongi turns to him all sparkling gems and beads rattles. Even though there aren’t as many of them as usually, the amount of jewelry put on his pyjamas was still kind of impressive. Although Jeongguk have to admit that his pyjamas looks more like a messy outfit than it should. Does his neighbor sleep at all?
Taehyung thrusts his elbow somewhere between Jeongguk’s sixth and seventh rib.
"Kookie, that wasn't nice." his friend whispers.
"It wasn't supposed to be." he wants to respond, but the last thing he needs now is an argument with Tae. So he ignores him.
"So?" he questions Yoongi.
The neighbour looks at him for a moment. His face is cold and impenetrable. His small, sharp eyes stares right into his, but he says nothing. Jeongguk drops his gaze to his small lips. “I’ve never seen him smile.”, he thinks. When he looks up, Yoongi’s already looking at firefighters who are coming out of the apartment building.
"I'm the worst witch ever.", he whispers.
Jeongguk doesn't react at first. He’s just looking blankly at the firefighters. And then his brain flashes big neon sign WAIT WHAT.
"You are… what?", he blurts out.
Yoongi sighs and looks in Jeongguk’s direction.
“I’m sorry for… that.”, he says gesturing in general direction of their apartment building.
Jeongguk stays silent. His brain is generating just white noises.
“Are you sure? I mean - you could misheard what he says. Or, I don’t know, it was some slang?”, Taehyung asks.
Jimin and Taehyung are his best friends. He knew them since childhood. He and Jimin went to the same schools, playgrounds, grocery shops, parks, and possibly everywhere to the point it could be consider creepy. After accepting their fate they became friends. Jeongguk met Tae at summer camp in his 3rd grade when little Taehyung tried to sell him wild lizards. He still doesn’t know how or why they became friends.
Jeongguk throws his spoon into an almost empty yogurt.
“What kind of slang it could be, hyung?”, he fumes.
Tae opens his mouth to say something but he decides against it.
“I don’t know, Kookie. It’s just… hard to believe, you know. That some kind of a wizard-”, Jimin adds.
“A witch.”, Jeongguk corrects him eating another spoon of his yogurt.
“Not important.”, Tae deadpans. “Look, what I want to te-”
“What if I gave you the proof?”, he interaps him again.
“A proof that Min Yoongi is a real witch. With magic and all of that.”, the younger one replies.
“I don’t need a proof of anything. He can be an ancient seer or an android, and I wouldn't give a single fuck, for crying out loud.”, Tae responds.
“I’m gonna do it. I’m going to expose Min Yoongi! It’s decided.” he states vigorously.
Jeongguk smirks proud of his genius thought. Taehyung sighs deeply.
“Whatever.”, he mutters.
Jeongguk stuffs another seaweed inside his mouth, and heads toward their poor couch.They were planning to buy a new one for almost, well from the time the moved in. But they’re always broke.
A shadow lies on the living room for a few seconds. At first Jeongguk ignores it. There’s an old fire escape staircase by their window, he’s used to people form higher floors using it as a shortcut. But then at the corner of his eye he sees a mop of blue hair. There’s only one person in this god-forgotten place who has hair like this. Jeongguk drops the package of seaweeds, and rushes to the window. Yoongi is already at the bottom of the stairs. He crosses the front yard, clearly in hurry. Jeongguk narrows his eyes. Yoongi suddenly stops, Jeongguk opens the window. Now he finally hears an ungodly screams of ravens. “That’s strange”, he thinks.
Yoongi crouches, a crowd of ravens around him. Jeongguk watches as Yoongi takes off his hoodie, and lies it on the ground. A few minutes later he stands up, holding the gray material in his hands. Jeongguk has no idea what going on until he notices a black wing between folds of fabric. He’s staring at Yoongi, how he’s carefully carrying the animal, making sure it’s okay. He’s so stunned that he barely manages to close the window, and hide before Yoongi walks by him.
He’s sitting on the floor, eating seaweed and thinking about Min Yoongi.
He has to find out what kind of person Yoongi is.
Coming up with a legit plan took Jeongguk some time, and in the end, it was so ridiculous that he aboard the mission before it even started. From lack of better idea, he decided to just go to Yoongi’s apartment and make him confess. He still didn’t figure out how though.
“What the fuck are you wearing?”, Taehyung asks him, walking into his room without knocking. Again.
To be honest, Jeongguk can understand his concern. Tae is a fashionista. And an overdramatic diva. A fashionable diva. He grimaces at his own thought.
Yesterday Jeongguk read that red is a colour of protection. So here he is, in Tae’s cap, which he took without asking, oversized t-shirt, old, wash out hoodie, Namjoon’s baggy sweatpants, and his own timberlands. All red. Expect timberlands. But they are his lucky shoes. And he needs luck.
“Jesus.”, his hyung mumbles. He stares at his friend for a moment and whispers “I can’t.”, and leaves the room. After a moment Jeongguk hears sound of slamming door.
So much when it comes to his friend’s support.
Jeongguk leaves his flat before he has time to chicken out. He storms through stairs, and stands right in front of Min Yoongi’s door. Here his doubts catch up with him. Jeongguk’s hand stops a few inches away from door surface. He stares at it blankly.
“What if he puts a spell on me? Or worse - a curse.”, he thinks.
“Do you need something, kiddo?”
From Jeongguk’s mouth comes out high-pitched scream. He turns around, wide-eyed, regretting his every decision when his eyes land on Min Yoongi. His neighbour raises his thick eyebrows. His hair is mint now. It’s suits him.
“That scream can shatter glass.”, he says, fishes out his keys, and walks past him. “So, why are you here?”, he asks without sparing him a glance.
The boy finds his throat dry. He just looks at Yoongi with his big doe-like eyes. The older man sighs, opens door to his apartment, and steps aside. “Come in.”, he orders quietly.
Jeongguk doesn’t move even an inch. All his bravery fueled with anger from that night disappears. He would be lying if he said that Min Yoongi wasn’t intimidating. It’s not that he tries actually or comes across as a bully. He is calm, quiet, and mostly unimpressed. And somehow that makes Jeongguk feel uneasy around him.
“Oh, come on, I don’t bite, y’know.”, he says, his voice is flat but there’s a hint of amusement in his features. Or Jeongguk just imagines things. Yoongi’s facial expression is rather minimalistic. Nevertheless, it sounds like a challenge. And Jeon Jeongguk never backs out of any challenge.
“I hope so.”, he wants to be confident and sarcastic. It comes out as a squick. “I want to die and be dead.” he thinks and steps inside before he has a chance to change his mind.
To be honest, Jeongguk expected a lot. Skulls, candles, dead bodies, dried flowers, pentagrams, blood in jars - that kind of stuff. He imagined black walls with gruesome marks. In short, he thought Yoongi’s apartment will be a mixture between haunted house and graveyard. It is all but that.
Yoongi’s place is small and neat, despite sheet of papers lying everywhere. On gray walls instead of pentagrams, hangs posters of some underground bands. Similar to Jeongguk’s place, it has a kitchen-living room hybrid. Jeongguk notices two doors - probably bedroom and bathroom. He lets his gaze slide through piles of books, shelves full of colourful gems, candles and bottles. On long windowsill there is a few different plants, bouquets, and jars of water, at least that’s what Jeongguk thinks. Together with industrial view from the window it creates a composition that makes his fingertips itch - he wants to take just one photo so badly. He averts his gaze, old couch, even older armchair, three or four blankets lying on the floor, beautiful tired piano. For some reason his eyes stay glued to it. He imagines Yoongi playing, his features soft, small gentle smile tugging on his lips. He takes a few steps in its direction and the floorboards creak under him, just like the ones in his flat. Suddenly, the haze he was in breaks, and he’s painfully aware of himself.
“Sorry for the mess. I‘m terrible at cleaning.”, Yoongi says quietly from behind him, trying to pick up some papers. “This project is kicking my ass.”, he adds gesturing in general direction of the room.
Jeongguk looks at the sheets of paper lying on the floor. There’re messy notes on them. Jeongguk recognises some of them. He’s never managed learn to play on any instrument he tried to in high school, but he at least can read basic notes. Yoongi doesn’t only play, he also creates music. Jeongguk’s impressed, to say the least.
“Anyway, why are you here?”, Yoongi asks.
He takes a deep breath, and blurts out before his courage leaves him. Unfaithful bitch. “I came here to make you confess that you are a witch!”, he doesn’t know why he almost shouted but at this point it’s irrelevant. He’s mentally preparing himself for an argument or lies and definitely to be throw out of his apartment.
“Yeah, I am. Why? You need something?”, he answers casually.
Jeongguk definitely didn’t see that coming. He’s just looking at Yoongi, dumbfounded. Before he registers what is happening he is already out of Yoongi’s flat.
“So you… achieved your goal, right?”, Jimin asks.
Taehyung refused to listen to Jeongguk either alone or sober so he called Jimin, and Jimin brought some leftovers from the party he had thrown a week before (mostly for dance majors, for which Taehyung had been calling him a traitor for almost two weeks before the party despite being invited to it too.) In short, Jimin brought a few bottles of soju and beer, which were immediately captured by Taehyung.
Tae pours himself another glass of soju, sights deeply, and gives Jeongguk a death glare. “Because of you I’m going to become an alcoholic, waste my beauty and talent and destroy my bright future in show business”, he mutters. Jeongguk says nothing.
Tae and Jiminie are sophomore. They both took a gap year. Tae claimed he needed it to work on his name. He spended it mostly taking selfies, adopting a dog with weirdly charismatic eyebrows, and taking selfies with the pet. But he has a shitload of followers on instagram now, so there’s that. To Jeongguk and Jimin’s distrease, Tae’s overdramatic behavior was increasing proportionately with the number of his followers. And it had been high even before he had an instagram account.
“Truly heartless, Jeongguk”, he adds rising his pointy chin, and exponating his sharp jawline. Jimin rolls his eyes. Jeongguk stays silent.
On contrary to Tae, Park Jimin, his childhood friend spended that time working on his dancing skills, whining about his dancing skills, dancing some more, and partying enough to achieve a title of legend before he became a college student. But he’s so good at dancing that he get a scholarship, so there’s that.
“Look, hyung! Now he’s also ignoring me.”, Taehyung fumes like a little child.
“Whatever, TaeTae. Where were we? Ah- Yeah. Sooo, you came to his house?”, Jimin asks, Jeongguk nods. “Then you confronted him…”, Tae snorts, Jungguk nods again. “He admitted he’s a witch and so forth.”, he states. “And then… You ran away.”, Jeongguk bangs his head hard against the surface of the table. He wants to repeat the action but Tae stops him.
“I don’t understand.”, he says softly. “You have what you wanted. He told you he is a witch. What else do you want?”
“I don’t know, hyung.”, he whispers.
Tae is ill. Some stomach flu. Or at least this is what Jimin said it could be. Taehyung refused to go to the doctor, and if there’s anybody on this world who can compete for a title of the most stubborn person with Jeongguk it’s definitely Kim Taehyung. So they both dropped the topic, although Jungguk is pretty sure Namjoon, Tae’s childhood friend, will try to persuade him to make an appointment anyway.
So here he was, in the nearest park, walking his roommate’s dog, probably looking ridiculous. Yeontan is the size of a small cat and looks like a plushie, pretty intimidating plushie but Jungguk will never admit it out loud. (he doesn’t know why but something in dog’s expression makes him think that Yeontan hates him.) Everytime when Tae put a collar and a leash on him Jeongguk laughed that he was going to look like he was walking with stuffed toy. Now karma caught up with him. And he looks even dumber because: a) he’s lacking in Taehyung’s confidence, b) Yeontan is doing the exact opposite of what Jungguk wants him to do. Yeontan loves only Tae, everyone else is just an obstacle in his way to him.
Yeontan somehow reads Jungkook thoughts, and decides to pee on his timberlands.
“Please, don’t, pleasepleaseplease.”, he whines, gently pushing the dog away from him. Unfortunately, Yeontan is as stubborn as his owner.
Jeongguk hears a light chuckle, and somehow he immediately knows who is behind him.
“You need help, kid?”, Min Yoongi asks.
Jeongguk sighs. It’s like a whole universe decided that today he has to deal with everything he’s tried to avoid recently. First Yeontan, now Yoongi, and there’s that assignment waiting for him in his room. He turns around.
He looks at Yoongi. Gray, warm hoodie and ripped skinny jeans. And he somehow looks really good. He sighs again.
“No, I think I’m able to take care of half a dog.”, he answers.
Yoongi smirks, and looks at Yeontan. Yeontan stares back at him. Yoongi furrows his eyebrows. He opens his mouth, but closes it before any word escapes it.
“Yeah, I know. He looks like a toy but his face says “fight me behind a dumpster”, he says, his voice flat.
Yoongi’s laugh is not sweet, melodic, or smooth like silk. Definitely not worth describing in a cliche romance novel. It starts as shaking shoulders and incoherent sound in the back of his throat. Then a beautiful smile, small teeth and gums. And then comes a sound higher than Jeongguk expected but still pleasant. The younger feels blinded by his happiness, even when Yoongi bends a little and hides his face behind his hand. It was short. To short in Jeongguk’s opinion.
“Sorry.”, his neighbour says, when his laugher dies, still smiling. “I don’t know why that made me laugh. Just… Your expression when you said that.”, he adds quietly. Jeongguk smiles, even though he doesn’t know why. A loud bark stops him from staring too much.
The sound comes from Yoongi’s little friend, waiting patiently by his side. The pet looks like a fluffy dog-sheep, it’s very pretty, and it’s brown. Jeongguk sucks at descriptions in general. The older notices that Kookie is looking at his companion.
“This is Holly.” his features melts with love and affection. Jeongguk wants to melt too. “Don’t let his name fool you, he’s a boy.” he says seriously, his voice soft.
Jeongguk chuckles and awkwardly waves his hand. “Hi, Holly. This’s Yeontan.” he points at a smaller dog.
“Your dog is cute. Despite his aura, I guess.”
“He isn’t mine. And I’m pretty sure he hates me.” Yeontan barks immediately. Probably to agree with Jeongguk.
“You can’t be-” Yeontan barks again, this time louder. Yoongi doesn’t finish. Holly starts to wiggle and whines loudly. “Okay, I think we’ll be going. Someone’s impatient. See you around.”, and just like that, he walks away, sun shines on him, wind ruffles his mint hair.
Jeongguk blinks. There’s logo of his favourite band on the back of Yoongi’s hoodie. He feels excitement rushing through his veins. For a fraction of a second he wants to run up to him and talk about their music.
“What the fuck.”, Jeongguk thinks instead.
Jeongguk is crouching in the middle of their kitchen, peeling garlic. He needs something to protect himself. Last time when he’s seen Yoongi the neighbour made him feel a lot of positive emotions. But Jeongguk read fairy tales when he was a kid. Witches always come across as nice but them curse you or… kill you. He decides to peel more garlic.
“What are you doing? Cooking?”, Tae asks skeptically, walking in. He knows Jeongguk doesn’t cook. Jimin let him do sweet potatoes once. They were tasty. After they managed to peel them off the plate.
“Nah, I’m going to eat it.”, Jeongguk answers. “Or… rub it in my skin? I haven’t decided yet.”
Tae snorts, “Someone’s being sarcastic today, huh?”
Jeongguk turns around and looks him into the eyes. “I’m serious.”, he states. Tae eyes widens. He mouths why with the most terrified expression Jeongguk has ever seen on his face. Jeongguk shrugs, “I’m going to Yoongi’s. I need protection.” Tae looks at him, the garlic and him again. “Costumes of vampires and witches are in the same category on Amazon. So I thought… That if garlic works on vampires…”, he doesn’t finish, leaves ending his explanation to his hyung.
Taehyung silently looks at Jeongguk. Then he starts shouting, “Jimin, call Namjoon! Now!”
“Why? He’s busy, anyway! An important assignment or something like that! Deadline is close!”, Jimin shouts back. Because this is what they do in this household.
“I don’t fucking care! Just do it! I can’t deal with it!”, he points at Jeongguk, even thought Jimin can’t see them from Tae’s room.
In the end, Jeongguk didn’t use garlic. Tae threatened to kick him out of the apartment. Namjoon instead of coming over gave him a half-hearted talk - “Please, don’t annoy V. I want to finish my work in peace. Please, JK.” TaeTae and Joon call each other V and RM when they were kids and didn’t stop, even when their bond had been broken after Namjoon moved out of their little city. Jeongguk still remembers Taehyung’s happiness when he found out that Jimin’s new roommate is his long lost friend. At first Jeongguk was confused by the nicknames, then he envied somehow cool aliases. He must have been pretty obvious because Namjoon one day called him JK. Which really flattered Jeongguk. But he’ll never tell him. He’s not a child.
So now, standing in front of Yoongi’s door, he feels unsafe. But he knocks anyway. There’s no answer. Jeongguk knows that eavesdropping is bad but he presses his ear to the door surface anyway. There’s a sound. He closes his eyes, and focuses. A piano. Even through wooden door the melody is gentle and beautiful. It’s stupid but Jeongguk presses on the door-handle. It opens with a soft click. He can’t believe it. Who leaves door open nowadays? Apparently, Min Yoongi does because Jeongguk is already in the narrow corridor. He doesn’t know why but he’s walking on his toes, praying the floor won’t creak this time, won’t break this little spell. And then he sees him.
Yoongi is sitting on a small stoll. He’s bending, his shoulders move together with his hands in rhythm of the unknown melody. Jeongguk can’t see his face, and for some weird reason it upsets him a little. He lets the melody wash over him. He can sense that Yoongi’s a really skillful pianist. Every sound is beautiful, soft like a whisper but it somehow leaves melancholic aftertaste. Jeonguk takes a few steps forward, the music pulls him like the pied piper. Jeongguk wishes it would last forever.
And then Holly barks. Jeonguk freezes, takes a step backward, the floor creaks, Yoongi stops. Jeongguk dies inside. Yoongi stares at him, an intruder standing in the middle of his living room, feeling like doe caught in the headlights.
“Well, fuck.”, Jeongguk thinks.
Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “What are doing here?”, he asks, his low and calm voice gives Jeongguk chills.
Like a complete idiot, which he is, he ignores the questions, and says the most embarrassing thing so far. “This is the most beautiful melody I’ve ever heard.”, after the words leaves his mouth they’re just looking at each other, Yoongi a little taken by surprise, Jeongguk on the edge of panic attack. He must run away. Now.
“Thank you, that’s really… That’s.”, he mumbles, a pink blush slowly spreads onto his cheeks, ears and neck, which he’s scratching nervously. He doesn’t look Jeongguk in the eyes, there’s a small, shy smile on his face. Jeongguk melts right there, he’s unaware he’s smiling too until his cheeks start to hurt. His heart grows a little.
“I really thinks so.”, he say sincerely, a little bit breathy. “I’ve never heard anything like that.”
Yoongi becomes even redder but he raises his head, and looks at Jeongguk. His eyes shines and they aren’t terribly calm, there’s boldness and proudness in them. And Jeongguk feels blinded by them.
“I wrote it myself. Of course, it’s not finished yet.”, Yoongi boasts.
Then he starts his rant. Words are coming out of his mouth, fast and more often than not indistinct but Jeongguk doesn’t mind. He likes hearing and seeing Yoongi so full of life and passion.
Somehow Jeongguk ends up sitting on the floor right next to the piano, squeezing Kumamon plushie he’s kidnapped from the sofa, quietly singing while Yoongi’s playing.
He pretends he doesn’t notice Yoongi’s quick, found glances. He pretends he doesn’t look at him like that too.
“Okay, so I checked all that witchy stuff, you guys had told me about and I don’t see anything wrong with that tbh.”, Namjoon says between bites of his lunch.
“RM, for the love of God don’t say “tbh” in real life conversations.”, Tae whines.
“But he’s a witch. An-And what about side-effects? What the Internet knows anyway?”, Jeongguk exclaims.
“You’d be surprised.”, Namjoon murmurs. “I had a feeling that you could doubt it, so I went to that mystic shop at the corrne-”
“Alone!?”, Jeongguk interrupts him.
“Well, yes. Why wouldn’t I?”, Namjoon says bluntly. “Anyway, there was an unbelievably handsome man. He looked like a Greek God an-”
“No offence, man.”, this time Tae stops him. “I’m always here for your gay crushes but let’s skip to the main event.”
Namjoon goes a little red but he continues, “He told me that being a witch has nothing to do with satan if it’s what scares you, JK.”
“I’m not scared!”, Jeongguk protests. “It’s just strange, isn’t it?”
“Well, when it comes to me he can even summons demons. I don’t care. He doesn’t leave mess on staircase, isn’t loud and didn’t call cops on us when Jimin did that wild party four months ago. The perfect neighbour.”, Tae remarks.
Tae’s right. But something inside Jeongguk just can’t quit.
Jeongguk notices Yoongi on his way back from the campus. His hair colour starts to fade and Jeongguk can see dark roots. He stops, and watches him for a moment. Yoongi’s drawing some strange graffiti on the wall yet again. Jeongguk has never paid attention to them. Now when he looks at them they look like some kind of alphabet. He hesitates but in the end decides to come up to Yoongi.
“Hi.”, he says and stops next to him.
“Oh, hi.“, he stops drawing. “What’s up?”
“Everything’s fine. What… What are doing?”, he asks. He hopes he doesn’t sound like a cop or that nosey lady from second floor.
“I’m writing some runes.”, he answers casually, and continues his work.
Jeongguk nods like he knows exactly what’s up. Like he does it on weekdays too. Yoongi’s eyes flick to him, he chuckles.
“Runes are letters of old nordic alphabet. The one I’m writing are for protection.”, he explains patiently, smiling a little.
“Protection? From what?”, Jeongguk’s never considered their neighbourhood as dangerous. Maybe not the safest part of the city but still.
“You know, like no to aggression, destruction or raising the rent”, he answers.
“Raising the rent?”, Yoongi nods. “You’re my fucking hero.”, Jeongguk says fiercely.
Yoongi laughs, “It’s just a rune.”
“I’m broke and I’m in college. It’s already more than I asked for. And what I can afford.”
They look at each other, and laugh. Yoongi teaches him the “no to raising the rent” rune.
“You’re going to Yoongi’s, aren’t you?”, Tae asks, still wearing his favourite fluffy dressing robe, holding a mug of hot tea in his hands.
Jeongguk slips on his timberlands, not bothering to tie the laces. “Yeah, why?”, he doesn’t miss Taehyung’s smirk, like he knows something Jeongguk doesn’t. “What?”
“Nothing. Just, don’t you think you spend a lot of time with him?”, fake innocent laces his voice.
Jeongguk is taken aback. He has to admit that he spends majority of his time with Yoongi-hyung but. “I-I have to find out what’s his deal, remember?”, Jeongguk says, trying to sound as casual as possible.
“Yeah, right. It’s just it.”, Tae says smirking and walks away.
“Is it though?”, Jeongguk thinks.
Jeongguk watches how carefully Yoongi’s cutting some herbs he bought recently, his face is focused, and Jeongguk just can’t stop staring. His hair is gray now. It still suits him. Holly is lying by his side, he pets him automatically, and it calms him. Raindrops hits the window glass, in Jeongguk’s ears it sounds like a beat or a melody, and his pretty sure Yoongi thinks so too. His fingers are tapping the table surface like he’s practising some new notes on his piano. Maybe it’s a start for a new song.
“You should study.”, Yoongi murmurs, and Jeongguk goes all red.
He promised Yoongi that he won’t interrupt him, he’ll just study quietly. “Tae’s out and I hate being alone. Expectedly when I’m studying. I can’t concentrate on nothing else than being alone.”, he told him. It’s true but to be honest it’s just an excuse to be here now.
“Sorry.”, Jeongguk apologises. Before he averts his gaze at the notebook in front of him he catches Yoongi’s smile. He smiles too.
Jimin pokes a little colourful pouch tied up to Jeongguk’s backpack. Mini bells attached to a red ribbon rings quietly. “What’s that, Kookie?”, he finally asks.
“A talisman.”, Jeongguk says, not bothering to look away from tv screen. Jimin gives him questioning look but he is quickly reminded that neither Kookie or TaeTae would spare him a look during their sacred gaming time.
“When did you start wearing talismans? It’s not midterms time anyway.”, he says, louder than necessary just to make sure Jeongguk won’t ignore him. Even Taehyung looks at him for like 0.2 a minute or less.
“Yoongi gave it to me. It’s for protection or something. I don’t know.”, he tells him too focused on the game in front of him to notice Jimin’s devilish smile.
“Protection you say?”, he asks a little too sweetly. Jeongguk doesn’t react for a while.
“Yeah, I told him I’m starting that part-time job.”, he pauses for a while to kill some enemies. “Nice one, TaeTae,”, he mummers.
“Not bad too, Kookie. On your left.”
Jimin rolls his eyes. “And?”, he asks Jeongguk again.
“Wha- Ah, so he found out I have night-shifts in the weekends so he gave me it.”, he continues. “For safety or something like that.”
Jimin nods slowly. “So… When did you change from a witch hunter to his special client, huh?”, he says in his special tone to mess with Jeongguk a little.
Jeongguk throws his controller and turns to Jimin’s direction. “I-I’m NOT. He gave me this and I just took it because… I’m polite.”, Jeongguk wishes he didn’t sound so defensive.
Jimin gives him that one smile because of which Jeongguk always claims that he’d be Slytherin. “If you say so.”
Jeongguk would argue but as soon as tv screen goes red Tae throws a pillow in his direction and then himself. “WE LOSE ‘CAUSE OF YOU, YOU IDIOT!”, he screams.
Jeongguk knocks quickly and walks in without waiting for a permission. “Yoongi-hyung, you won’t believe what happened!”, he calls. “My photo-”, Jeongguk stops. He stands rapidly. There’s two persons in Yoongi’s living room and none of them is Yoongi. Jeongguk is just standing there, watching. For a record, they look as surprised as him. In the end, Jeongguk is the one who addresses the elephant in the room, “Who are you?”
The first to break out from the spell is the man with dark red hair. He looks older than Jeongguk, and has a smile so warm it could be a reason of global warming. “Well, I’m Hoseok and this is Seokjin.”, he points at very handsome man, perfect body sculpture and pink hair, who looks like he’s more than aware of his beauty. “We’re Yoongi’s friends. And you are…”, he waits for Jeongguk to end the sentence. Jeongguk doesn’t know what to say. He knows Yoongi but he isn’t sure if they’re friends already. Well, he didn’t know about existence of Seokjin and Hoseok until now so he can only guess how many things he doesn’t know about Yoongi.
“Jeongguk. Yoongi’s neighbour.”, he finally answers.
Hoseok and Seokjin share the look only close friends can understand and smile knowingly. Jeongguk feels painfully out of place. “Soo…”, Seokjin starts, giving him the once-over. Jeongguk wants to disappear. “ You’re the neighbour. Nice to meet you.”, he says, his smile isn’t as bright as Hoseok’s but it’s still warm. And Jeongguk has a feeling no one has a smile warmer and brighter than Hoseok.
Suddenly Jeongguk hears a quiet sigh behind him and he knows it’s Yoongi before he turns around. Yoongi looks between all three of them, his face says “I regret I woke up today.” and Jeongguk knows because Yoongi has days when he looks like that at everything.
But then he smiles at Jeongguk. “I guess you’ve already met them. Ah, I’m sorry.”, he says.
“What are you sorry about, you little brat!?”, Seokjin snaps, his face’s a little red, his words fast like bullets.
Yoongi ignores him. ”Why are you here, Kookie?”, he asks warmly.
Jeongguk feels like a trouble right now. ”Well, it’s… nothing important, hyung.”, he says. “Got to go. Don’t want to bother you guys.”
“Oh, you’re not, Jeonggukie.”, Hoseok assures him. “We’ve just met for a coffee and a few spells or hexes, you know.”, he adds like he’s talking about the weather.
Now when he looks closely, Jin has a lot of gems similiar to Yoongi’s but necklaces and bracelets are much more elaborately done. He has a few complicated talismans tied up to his belt, and well, a flower crown, which Jeongguk noticed before but didn’t give much attention. Hoseok’s wearing a lot of wooden and earthen colour beads. And there are messy runes drew on his forearms.
Jeongguk stares at them for a moment. Then looks at Yoongi who looks back at him. And he realises.
“It’s THE COVEN!”, he yells.
“Hey, let’s not jump to conclusions.”, Hoseok protests.
“I mean, he’s kinda right.”, Seokjin says.
“Jin!”, Yoongi and Hoseok shout unisono.
“What?”, he asks bluntly.
Yoongi sighs. “You don’t have to panic, Kookie.”, he says softly almost like he’s talking to a scared animal. Then he says the strangest thing he could possibly tell Jeongguk right now. “Stay.”, it’s gentle and sounds a little bit like a question.
And Jeongguk says even stranger thing, “Okay.”
“Excuse me, but why on earth you smell like walking herbal tea?”, it’s the first thing Taehyung tells him after he enters their apartment.
“It’s a long story.”, Jeongguk really don’t feel like answering Tae’s questions (because he knows there’s going to be more than one).
It’s not that the time he spended with Yoongi and his friends was terrible. They mostly talked, joked around, or gossiped about people Jeongguk didn’t know. They also did some magic, he guesses. It was nothing Jeongguk expected. Yoongi’d already done some things like that around Jeongguk but he thought it was some minor staff because Yoongi had claimed that he’s a terrible witch. They chanted something, charged some gems and threw some beautifully smelling herbs into the fire (that’s why Jeongguk smells like that now and possibly this is how Yoongi nearly set fire that night.) Seokjin himself said that it was more for a reason to meet and use some magic than to achieve something anyway. And Jeongguk believes him because he had fun too. Hoseok’s open and easy-going, he always knows what to say and spending time with him didn’t make Jeongguk feel awkward like new people usually did. Seokjin’s so warm and caring, even when he tried to scold Hoseok and Yoongi for mistakes or their attitude his eyes showed only tenderness. Despite being older and more mature than him he didn’t treat him differently. And they’re both funny (despite Jin’s terrible jokes). All in all, Yoongi’s friends charmed him, literally and lyrically. (They decided that he, for some unknown reason to Jeongguk, needs more protection than, to quote, “Yoongi’s crappy lucky charm”.)
And Yoongi. Well, for most time was annoyed but even Jeongguk knew it was just a facade. His eyes had this soft little shine when he was around them and it made Jeongguk genuinely smile. Watching them all interacting, watching Yoongi messing around and being more open made Jeongguk thirsty for moments like that. Made him wish he could see it one more time.
He walks into his room, closes the door, and throws himself face first on his bed. He groans. He doesn’t care if Yoongi is a witch, a vampire, or a werewolf anymore.
He just want to spend time with Yoongi. So bad.
Jeongguk doesn’t remember how Tae and Jimin convince him that throwing a party was good idea, but here he is, in the middle of an unabashed chaos called a horde of drunk college students. Someone is already lying under the table while bunch of Taehyung’s classmates play beer pong on it. And they’re so terrible at it that Jeongguk can’t watch. Jimin is dancing on the coffee table with another dance major Jeongguk doesn’t know. Namjoon managed to broke a lamp and now he gives some poor soul, too drunk to run away, a philosophy lecture. Yugyeom left him for a bottle of whiskey and the beautiful owner of the bottle. Oh, and Taehyung went missing an hour ago. He probably makes out with someone right now. Jeongguk is definitely too sober to handle it all.
Someone puts his arm around Jeongguk shoulders. He sighs.
“Hey, buddy. Wha’s up, maaaaan?”, he says right into his ear, too loudly, with that type of intonation only drunk people can achieve. He turns around, and recognise Jackson, Namjoon’s friend and Yugyeom’s roommate. They met a few times but Jeongguk still doesn’t know his real name.
Jeongguk doesn't have time to answer. His new companion continues conversation on his own. Some girl from kickboxing or other material arts broke his heart, or bone, or both. It’s too loud, Jackson slurs, and Jeongguk doesn’t care enough. Then the weight is taken from his shoulders. He turns around, and sees Namjoon.
“Jackson, buddy, you promised.”, Namjoon sounds literally heart-broken.
“Sowwy, bro. ‘m soo sowy.”, Jackson sounds even more heart-broken, and Jeongguk doesn’t know what to think right now.
Namjoon drags Jackson away, he probably didn’t notice Jeongguk at all. He watches a little amused as RM tries to prevent Jackson from doing back-flip. Not like he can do it anyway. And then he feels someone’s eyes on him. He looks around, and stares right back at Yoongi. He wears all black. Black ripped skinny jeans, black plain t-shirt, and black leather jacket. The only peak of colours is his regular set of jewellery. His new blond hair look almost snow white right now. He looks to good to be real. Before he has time to rethink his actions, he’s already halfway to Yoongi.
“Hi.”, he says softly, suddenly a little shy. Jeongguk can’t tell if Yoongi even heard him.
“Hi.”, Yoongi repeats louder.
“Did you use some spell to catch my attention?”, Jeongguk jokes in an unpredictable wave of bravery - his prodigal son is back. Of course, it’s still lame.
Yoongi smirks. “Nah, I usually use my magnetic stare for that.”, he jokes, Jeongguk chuckles.
“Are they… flirting? Is this is it, right?”, Jeongguk wonders silently.
“What are you doing here?”, Jeongguk whinces. “I mean, it’s not that your not welcome. I’m just surprised, you know?”, he adds quickly.
Yoongi smiles, and watches him for a moment. “Taehyung came to me an hour ago and dragged me here. And you know, arguing with drunk people is a lost case.”, he explains.
Jeongguk nods, and they just look at each other. Yoongi looks blankly at his glass, and takes a slip. Jeongguk guesses that party-life probably isn’t Yoongi’s element. He smiles knowingly. “I’m not the only one feeling out of place, huh?”, he asks.
Yoongi looks at him, slipping his whiskey with cola. “Yeah. Want to… take off?”, he asks, unsure. “I know a great eatery. The best lamb skewers I’ve ever eaten.”
“I love lamb skewers.”, he says. Yoongi smiles. Jeongguk feels weak in his knees.
Jeongguk packs another piece of meat into his mouth. He can’t remember when was the last time he’s eaten something so good. Yoongi chuckles, “You look like it’s christmas morning.”
“I feel like it!”, Jeongguk exclaims, his mouth is full of food but he isn’t physically able to stop eating. They eat mostly in silence but it’s not unpleasant. Yoongi’s looking at him, a little amused. “What?”, Jeongguk asks.
“Nothing.”, he says simply shaking his head. Then he leans in and wipes something of Jeongguk cheek. Probably some sauce. “Not big deal.”, Jeongguk tells himself. Yoongi licks his thumb. Jeongguk’s soul jumps out of the window. He clears his throat.
“So, hyung, how did you become a witch?”, he asks. Because it’s the only thing occupying his mind expect Yoongi’s soft lips. “What the fuck is wrong with me!?”, Jeongguk thinks.
Yoongi looks surprised. His eyes bore into Jeongguk like they search for something. He finds nothing.
“Well…”, he starts. “It’s because of my grandma, actually. She was a witch too.”, he says shyly. Jeongguk doesn’t interrupt, he lets Yoongi talk. “I loved spending time with her. She kinda raised me, I guess. It’s not that my parents didn’t care about me… They just didn’t have much time.”
“I can relate.”, Jeongguk says softly, maybe a little sad.
“Yeah.”, Yoongi mutters, looking at him. “Back then it was just some funny things she did around me. I liked helping her or just looking. Then I grew up, went to school and well, I didn’t have time… I didn’t want to spend my free time making potions with my grandma. For teenage me it sounded lame as fuck.”, he stops, pokes food on his plate with his chopstick.
“You regret it.”, Jeongguk says carefully not to hurt Yoongi.
Yoongi simply nods, “Then, I fell in love.” Jeongguk freezes. “I fell in love with music. I wanted to become an artist. To write songs.” Jeongguk imagines skinny teenager sitting in front of the piano so full of hopes and dreams. His heart swells. Yoongi’s expression darkens. “But my parents hated the idea, well they still kinda does. I-I felt so miserable. And then my grandma was there for me. She understood. After all, it’s not like parents dream their daughter will be a witch.”, he smiles. “She believed me, she made me pursued music. Two weeks before I was about to move out she’d fallen ill. She ordered me to never give up. She died during my freshman year.”, when he finishes his eyes are glassy.
Jeongguk swallows lump in his throat. “I-I didn’t know her but…”, Yoongi looks up at him. “I think she’d be proud of you, hyung.” he says sincerely.
Yoongi’s still looking at him. Slowly, a smile appears on Yoongi’s face. It’s small and unsure but it’s charming. His wet eyes reflects artificial lights. Even on the edge of crying Yoongi looks beautiful in Jeongguk’s eyes. He wants to capture it on photography.
“I’m glad you didn’t give up, Yoongi-hyung.”, he adds, doesn’t know why.
“I’m too, Kookie.”, his voice is hoarse, low and Jeongguk likes it more than he should. “After her death I started practising magic. This is why I’m a witch. To be close to her.”, he confesses.
Jeongguk nods. They end their meal in silence. They sit there after, not real wanting to go back to loud apartment. They talk about meaningless things. Jeongguk tells him about his little achievement - his photos were chosen for college exhibition. Yoongi tells him about the song he writes right now. They laugh when Yoongi tells him how he met Seokjin - owner of mystic shop, who scolded him for his lack of experience in magic, and offered to teach him. How he met Seokjin’s other apprentice Hoseok, who is even worse than Yoongi but he’s too eager to quit. Jeongguk tells him about Taehyung, Jimin, Namjoon, and his new friend Yugyeom.
When they stop talking it’s way past 4 am. They go back, and Jeongguk stays at Yoongi’s because his place looks like warzone. He sleeps on the old sofa, despite Yoongi’s protest. “You’re my guest. Take my bed, I’ll take the sofa.”, Jeongguk ignored him.
It’s almost 6 am when he realises. He is in love with Min Yoongi.
“What do I do, hyung?”, Jeongguk asks one night, staring blankly at some drama Tae’s picked up.
“Just tell him.”, Tae mutters. Like it was that simple.
“Would you want to…”, Jeongguk asks but his bravery leaves him before he can finish.
Yoongi stops playing. He looks at Jeongguk, urging his to continue.
He swallows, his throat suddenly dry. “Would you like to go to this exhibition… you know, the one with my photos? With me?”, he doesn’t look at him when he asks.
“I’d love to.”, Yoongi says sincerely and goes back to playing.
Jeongguk can’t help smiling.
“Is this a pink rabbit?”, Yoongi asks poking his plushie.
It’s the day of the exhibition and Jeongguk was planning to pick up Yoongi from his apartment not the other way around. But he couldn’t fall asleep because of butterflies, no, no butterflies, fucking hawks in his stomach. Blood-thirsty hawks. When he fell asleep, he was so out that he overslept the alarm. Then he couldn’t decide what to wear. Looking at his closet Jeongguk finally understood why Tae called it the kingdom of plainness and poor fashion sense. He was saved from the depths of his despair by Taehyung and Jimin (he forgot to ask why the hell Jimin was in their apartment so early on Saturday). He didn’t fully trust their fashion choices expectly Taehyung’s but in the end they gave him dark green sweater, black denim jacket, and black jeans. They made him push his hair out of his forehead. “No to Mr. Coconut Hair today”, Jimin said.
“His name is Cooky and he’s cool.”, he says, a little bit childish but Yoongi has Kunamom plushie, he has no right to judge him. Yoongi smirks, and raises his hands up in the gesture of giving up.
Yoongi looks as gorgeous as always. He’s wearing black jeans (Jeongguk is pretty sure it’s the only pair that isn’t ripped), black turtleneck, and black bomber jacket with small flower pattern below his collarbones. Min Yoongi looks effortlessly stunning. He’d be jealous if he wasn’t so catch up in having a crush on him.
Jeongguk’s quickly throwing his stuff to the backpack lying in the middle of the room. He can’t believe he’s late. Not only Yoongi has to wait for for him, despite the fact that Jeongguk invited him, but also he is in his room. His crappy, small, messy room full of clothes on the floor, shitty photos Jeongguk forgot to throw away, and abnormal amount of cameras, camera lenses, and other photography equipment. Definitely not cool.
He feels cold hands on his. He looks up. Yoongi is crouching in front of him, smiling gently. “Breathe.”, he says. “Do you need anything else?”, he asks looking at his backpack.
“No.”, Jeongguk answers quietly. Yoongi zips it, stands up, and holds it for Jeongguk to put it on. “Let’s go.”, he says, smiling,
They were almost late. Almost. They had to run through campus. Well, for Jeongguk it was only a jog while Yoongi was complaining like it was at least a half-marathon. But he was smiling the whole time. They rushed right into the big hall but no one seems to care.
Jeongguk feels warmness of Yoongi’s hand on his. He grabbed it when they were running. “To make him run faster”, Jeongguk told himself. But that wasn’t entirely true. Now he feels the warm of their laced hands radiate up his arm, to his neck, and cheeks. To his heart. He tries to hide his goofy grin. They’re walking slowly, checking out every room and corridor full of students’ works. Everytime he sees wrinkles of confusion on Yoongi’s forehead, he leans in and whispers the explanations or just laughs at the pictures, making him show that beautiful gummy smile. When they approach the room where Jeongguk’s works are shown he suddenly wants to throw up.
“Yoongi, I forgot to tell you something.”, he lies. He didn’t forget, he didn’t find the courage to tell him before. “It’s about the photos. I-I… One of them…”, he tells weakly.
Yoongi squeezes his hand, looking at some photograph. “Go ahead, Kookie.”, he says quietly.
“I took a... one of you… I didn’t ask.”, he stammers.
“Let’s see it.”, Yoongi says simply. Jeongguk notices that Yoongi has a manner of saying the most stressing out things Jeongguk can imagine painfully simply. It annoys him but he can’t imagine Yoongi any other way.
When they finally sees his photographs, Jeongguk’s heart tries to escape his body through his throat. Yoongi is silent. He’s just watching them closely, mindlessly tracing circles on Jeongguk’s hand. Jeongguk’s dies a little.
“Tell me about them.”, Yoongi whispers. Jeongguk looks at him, silently questioning. “I know there’s’ story behind each one of them. Tell me.”, he asks sincerely.
And he’s right. And Jeongguk can’t refuse him. So he leans in one more time. Their heads are almost touching, and he whispers. His lips are few inches away from Yoongi’s ear, and he pretends he isn’t aware of it.
The first one shows the man (it’s actually Namjoon) turned away from the camera, running through dark alley toward a street full of colourful neons. He wanted to capture the trill, the feeling that the man is scared of something, despite all bright colours. To be honest, he isn’t quite satisfied with it but everyone says that he achieved his goal. And professor chose it so.
The next one is autoportret. Professor Choi would kill him if he called it a selfie. He is standing in the middle of photograph, looking right into the camera. There’s carousel behind him but it’s blurry, the viewer sees only bright golden light and some random shapes. He didn’t plan it, well he hardly ever plans any photo. Jimin, Taehyung and he were at the amusement park, Tae and he wanted to ride the biggest rollercoaster, Jimin was supposed to wait for them near the carousel but he wandered away. Tae went to search for him, Jeongguk was waiting in the meeting spot in case Jimin showed up. For some reason it made him feel melancholic. He wanted freeze it in time - the feeling of sadness and loneliness in the middle of bright and lively place.
His third work is simple. There’s only Tae and endless sky. In the white shirt, matching trousers, and baby blue coat on his shoulders he looks like a real model. He looks a little to the left, his eyes focus on some distant object. There’s no story, he took it just because of the aesthetic.
Next is Jimin. On his first day at the college. There’re crowds of people. Everyone’s running somewhere in hurry. Expect Jimin. He’s standing there, waving to the camera, alone, a little scared, smiling. He thinks it describes the beginning of a new adventure. Of growing up. Of a change. He knows it’s silly. But he feels that way.
The last one is the reason of Jeongguk nervousness. There’s Yoongi, sitting at the coffee table, flowers and sheets of paper spread in front of him. He’s focused, his glasses has slipped on a tip of his nose, the sun is shining right behind him making him look even softer, almost blurry. Calmness, tenderness, safety. Love.
Jeongguk probably isn’t breathing right now. His heart’s beating like crazy. He keeps his eyes on the wall in front of him.
“The world...”, Yoongi stops. “The world is so beautiful through your eyes.” Jeongguk dares to look at him. Yoongi’s gaze is so warm it could melt metals. It’s already melted his heart. “If I hadn’t been in love with you, I’d fell for you now.”
The world stops. Noises die down. People disappears. There’s nothing and no one but Yoongi. He smiles. Yoongi smiles.
They didn’t kiss that day. They had time.
They did it in front of a little cafe where they met for their first date. Yoongi’s lips were warm, a little chopped from the wind, he tasted like iced americano, he insisted on despite the low temperatures. The kiss was too short. But they were in the middle of the street, exposed to unkind eyes, to say the least. They went back to their apartment, holding hands, talking in hushed voices like the very sharing a big secret.
When Jeongguk closes his eyes he still sees how afternoon sun touched Yoongi’s skin. He can taste bitterness on his tongue. He slips on his timberlands, doesn’t bother to tie the laces. He checks himself in the mirror one more time.
“You look gorgeous, sweetheart.”, Tae teases him. Jeongguk sticks his tongue. “Going out with Yoongi?”, he asks.
“Yeah, why?”, Jeongguk responds.
Taehyung smiles. When Jeongguk opens the door he finally asks, “Did you find out?” Jeongguk looks at him a little confused. “Did you find out what’s his deal?”, he asks, a little teasingly, a little caring.
“No, not yet.”, he answers, and leaves.
They have time.