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Paint My Spirit Gold

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There is a certain part of this forest that opens up to a meadow in the middle of tall and looming trees. Several humans believe this to be something close to magic, because the forest itself has been thought of to be haunted, or at least, enchanted. 

The meadow in question is a beautiful one, the stillness of the entire world something anyone who steps into this small space can feel. The way the wind blows, it almost feels like it’s afraid to make too much noise, to disturb the leaves, and the silver lake just a few winding trails up ahead. 

It is the type of space that demands to be appreciated, but at the same time, respected.

This is the same meadow that Hoseok finds himself sleeping in, robes in a complete disarray as he wakes up from a particularly good nap to the sound of a horse’s hooves, just a few feet up ahead. He tries to zero in on the sound, eyes slowly adjusting back to the orange glow of the mid-afternoon. 

When he had fallen asleep here, he was alone. Now, he feels a presence unlike his own. He slowly gathers himself up, takes one last sweeping look around the meadow he’s already claimed as his own—and in his mind, he hears Jimin’s voice, quite indignant, telling him that he can’t own a meadow, gods, and will you please stop taking naps when you’ve got a job to do?—and starts the short trek to where the silver lake is. 

It’s not uncommon to hear a disturbance in this part of the forest. It just so happens that what’s more common is for Hoseok to expect someone who’s more like him—part of the Fae, or perhaps even a sprite, a creature of the forest, of the Earth. What he finds when he finally fits himself behind a large tree, is a human jumping off of his horse, red hood swept off his head to reveal stark dark hair against his pale skin. 

He looks tired, hair a mess, the dark circles under his eyes quite prominent. The summer sun must have taken its toll on this human, because it’s pinched his cheeks red and pink, made him look close to sunburnt. Hoseok almost feels sorry, fingers tightening around a vine, when the human turns away from the lake to pet at his horse—a beautiful white stallion that causes envy even to someone the likes of Hoseok. 

A mental note is made, perhaps to look for a horse similar to this, or to steal this one from the human, nobody really knows. Hoseok isn’t quite sure himself, but that’s always been how the fae are, isn’t it? A little bit undecided when it comes to things they want. 

Some people have mastered the art of weeding away the fickle desires that have bloomed from a whim. But Hoseok, well, he’s getting there. Slow and steady. Seokjin’s always told him that he can get quite foolish sometimes, a well known statement that’s rung true around the faerie court, but then again, if there’s one thing Hoseok’s learned, then it’s to brush everything that doesn’t quite take to heart right off.

It’s easy. 

Which is something he can’t quite say to the human now, who’s taking his first steps towards the like. It glitters like something silver is hidden just underneath the surface, and it must be alluring to mortals, how beautiful it looks. To Hoseok, it looks exactly like its purpose—a trap, ready to ensnare anyone who gets close enough. 

Hoseok is about to step out from behind the tree when they both hear it, a startling sound somewhere to the back. It makes the human boy jump, dropping his cup. He quickly turns to where the sound had come from, his horse whinnying in shock as well.

When he attempts to pick the cup back up, probably already dismissing the sound for something that the forest had just made to play tricks to his ears, Hoseok starts to hold his breath. 

This is the same exact moment when the human makes a mistake, boot slipping on the muddy grass just on the outskirts of the lake. 

Hoseok is quick when he wants to be, slipping out from behind the tree and then appearing right next to the human, fingers already clutching tightly into the fabric of his cape, pulling him up and away from the lake before he makes contact with the surface. 

They fall in a heap of tangled limbs and huffed breathing, Hoseok’s hair falling into his eyes, and a sharp pain right under his chest—an elbow, jabbed right into the bone. He winces.

“Hello,” Hoseok decides to say, if only to beat the silence that had suddenly fallen over them. “Your elbow—it’s right up there against my ribs, can you—oh, that’s better,”

Hoseok takes the hand that’s offered to him, fingers lightly wrapping around the human’s cold one before he finally straightens up again, his smile when their eyes meet one that he hopes is friendly and open, and not at all like Hoseok’s already started an evil plot in his mind to steal the wonderful, beautiful white stallion he’s got with him as a travel companion. 

“Hi—hey, that was close,” the boy starts, an unsure smile tugging on a corner of his mouth. He seems to be looking Hoseok up and down, sizing him up, try to see if there’s anything odd about him. And there shouldn’t be, that is, until Hoseok drops the glamour he’d hastily thrown over himself, revealing pointed ears, and eyes that seem to turn a too-light brown under the glow of the sun. 

This is when he stumbles back and away from Hoseok, cup clattering to the ground as he raises a hand up, as if the distance between them isn’t enough.

“You’re—“ he starts, voice cracking, and eyebrows furrowing, a clear sign of suspicion and distrust on his face. “You’re one of them. The fae,” 

Hoseok hums a silly little tune under his breath, smile barely held back as he nods. “That sounds about right,” and then he cracks another smile, something far less nice and more—well, more playful, because if the fae are known for anything at all, then it’s there penchant for mischief. “Did you get water on you anywhere?”

He shakes his head. “No, but you—you touched me,” it’s a very silly accusation, a prejudice that’s gone on for as long as the fae can remember. 

Silly humans to think that a faerie’s touch is enough to drag them into eternal enslavement. As if. They’ve grown past that. Are better fae, now. For the most part, anyway. At least, Hoseok is, which is the important thing here. 

“I sure did, but I saved your life in the process, too,” Hoseok takes a few steps away from him, just to give him more room to breathe. It’s no good to have a human who’s panicking over meeting a faerie—and probably for the first time, too.

See, Hoseok and his kind, they like to stick to themselves. Don’t always venture too far away from the Court. 

For the most part, at least.

It seems as if for all these rules and these expectations, Hoseok's always at the top of the list when it comes to exceptions. 

“Listen, listen, little red riding hood, there’s nothing you have to be afraid of,” wry, sure. Perhaps a little suspicious, that’s up there, too. But scared—and of Hoseok, of all the fae? No, that’s not likely. Not possible, really. “You’re safe. I swear it, faerie’s honour,” 

“That doesn’t mean much, does it,” the boy tells him, eyes narrowing slightly. “I’ve heard stories,” 

“Everyone’s heard stories. I’ve heard stories about mortals, too, and some of them not very good,” Hoseok reaches a hand out to pet at the white stallion, fingers sliding down its glossy mane. It really is a beautiful one. A thing of wonder.

Hoseok looks over his shoulder at the human, who’s starting to look less like he expects Hoseok to bind him in a dungeon forever. Now, he just looks—well, he looks a little bit confused, is what. 

“See, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll tell you a secret,” Hoseok walks over to him again, steps as light as a feather. The only sound is the wind rustling at the leaves as it blows past them. The silver lake remains eerily still. “Touching humans have no effect at all. It’s a—it’s a very ordinary thing,”

“It’s ordinary, then,” the boy muses, dark eyes regarding Hoseok with something new, now. Curiosity, but at the same time, apprehension, because one can never let their guard down. Hoseok respects that. Knows from his various dealings with humans that comfort comes at a price. Sometimes, the fae aren’t always so kind to pay it. “Something very human for beings who are the farthest thing from human,”

“You’re a smart one,” Hoseok trills, reaching over to flick at a strand of hair that hangs just right before his eyes. “I like you. What’s your name?”

Here he sees the human stiffen, shoulders going rigid. He doesn’t say anything at all, lip pressed into a thin line. 

Hoseok can only smile at that, surprise and—and something else. Something that’s bordering on pure and innocent, because mortals have always been known to disappoint. But not this one, at least, not yet.

This is perhaps one of the few times they’ve completely surprised Hoseok. 

“I mean, I’m not asking for your full name—just, your name. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll tell you mine,” Hoseok opens his hand out, where a single yellow daisy sits in the middle of his palm. He urges the human to take it, but he only looks at it, guard still up, and eyes still untrusting. Of course.

His fingers close into a fist, the daisy discarded as Hoseok just laughs, a tinkling laugh that is enough to get the wind blowing much, much gentler, the heat of the sun starting to feel more bearable, now. 

It’s been a while, but Hoseok feels something very close to happy. 

Interested, even. 

“My name is Hoseok. My family call me Hobi,” this is two names he’s giving, all in the same breath. This is two names too many, but Hoseok has more. If there’s anything he’s learned from growing up with Namjoon, then it’s that you never give your full name away. No matter who you are, giving a name is as good as signing a contract. 

“Among other things,” the boy comments, eyes flicking up to look at Hoseok. He seems to wait on it for a little while, still contemplating, until he finally relents, shoulders relaxing, if only for a little bit. “Yoongi. My name is Yoongi,” 

Yoongi,” Hoseok breathes the name out like he’s a man devoid of air for so long, the name itself is enough to blow fresh air into his lungs. 

Yoongi startles at the sound of his own name, eyes widening slightly. He’s still afraid, still doesn’t trust Hoseok. But that’s okay, this isn’t a problem at all.

It doesn’t change the fact that Hoseok is still interested. Still—well, genuinely curious about the mortal with the messy black hair and eyes that seem to hold their own secrets. Hoseok wants to flip through those secrets, one by one, like how someone would flip through the pages of a book.

But not today.

No, now isn’t the right time.

“I’m enchanted to meet you,” Hoseok says, the smile on his face brighter. He doesn’t reach a hand out for Yoongi to shake, because he already knows that he won’t take it. At least, not today. “As much as I’d love to chat, I have to go. But thank you for trusting me with your name,”

Trust. 

It’s always a two-way street, and he knows, as soon as he steps back into the Court to tell Jimin of what had happened, that he’ll have his ears yelled off, because you’re an idiot, Hoseok, why would you tell a mortal your name? One of your—two, two of your names. I’m going to kill you. 

But that’s a problem he’ll have to face later. For now, Hoseok just slinks back into the shadows of the forest.

“Hoseok—about the lake,” Yoongi calls, turning to him. 

“Didn’t you learn the most important thing about the fae?” The smile falls from Hoseok’s face, head shaking when he says, “Never thank us for anything unless you want to be indebted,” 

And then he’s gone, one with the shadows and the trees and the wind that sings its own song, guiding Hoseok home until he finds himself back in the Court and far, far away from the meadow and the sinister silver lake that had almost claimed a pretty interesting—pretty—human boy today. 

Oh, will Jimin love this story, thinks Hoseok, already setting out to find the boy. 

(Jimin proves Hoseok right because as soon as he hears what Hoseok had done, Jimin chokes on a strawberry and then—when he’s washed it down with nectar—proceeds to climb onto the table to grab Hoseok by the front of his dress robes and yell, “Oh my gods, you’re an idiot. You’re an idiot, why did you do that?”

To which Hoseok’s only reply is a shrug and a very quiet, “I want the white horse.”)

 

 

See, Hoseok’s a good civil servant to the King. He follows orders, he does as he’s told—and does things without being told, too, like for example, he likes to lead the younger fae astray by dragging them away from the Court and into the human realm, just so they can pick fruit that hasn’t been enchanted in any way yet. 

Hoseok loves his duties, he really does, but there’s something inside of him that tells him that he shouldn’t be too confined all that time, that he should give himself room to breathe. And please, the King isn’t a bad guy. Hoseok’s known him since they were kids—and perhaps it’s because of this that he’s trusted so much.

It’s just that Hoseok likes to do things his way, and if his way of doing his job on this cloudy Wednesday morning is to annoy Seokjin beyond belief, then that’s that.

Seokjin sneezes, sending a flurry of purple and pink, and orange crushed petals everywhere. Hoseok holds his breath until they all settle down, and Seokjin apologises with a wry smile and a wave of his hand—it settles the dust almost immediately, although when he turns to his empty bowl, the relieved look on his face turns almost disappointed.

“I almost had that, too,” Seokjin says, pushing the bowl away to walk over to where Hoseok’s sat on top of one of the tables. He knocks an empty mug against Hoseok’s knee as he passes. “What are you doing bothering me again? Didn’t the King mention something about the rain down in the Valley?”

Hoseok shrugs at that.

“It’s cloudy. There’s no need for extra rain,” Hoseok sneaks a peak outside Seokjin’s window to try and confirm that but then pulls back, realising that the weather in this realm is controlled by the King himself, and if he wants it to be sunshine and rainbows all year long, then it will be.

But it isn’t—not sunshine and rainbows, anyway. It’s more of a muted grey, now. He’s been feeling a little under the weather, Hoseok notes. 

“Then maybe that’ll be better incentive of you actually getting some work done,” Seokjin pulls the flimsy blinds to a close. No use looking out that window to determine the weather in the mortal realm. It’s different, because the King’s influence can only stretch so far.

But Hoseok’s—

Hoseok’s influence on the weather can, which is probably why the King keeps sending him on these diplomatic missions all the time.

The Vale’s offered their sacrifices, said they haven’t had rain in months, or The Valley’s been experiencing heavy floods, can you please look into that, try to put a stop to it?, and then one time, when Hoseok had started to put his foot down, Seok, the kids down at the farm said they wanted to see a rainbow, could you do that? To which Hoseok’s only reply was a very firm no, because no, your Highness, I can’t just pull a rainbow out of my ass like that. 

But the King had only laughed, amused and unbothered by how Hoseok spoke to him. They’ve known each other for nearly a century and a half. They’re well past the point of trying to be civil—and besides, growing up side by side gives you that much of a leverage when it comes to talking to the King. 

Now, though, Hoseok’s feeling a little bit too constrained. He’s been running the King’s errands up and down—just a few days ago he’d chanced a visit to the kingdom, where the mortal king welcomed him with open arms and a smile that seemed to feel far too friendly, even for Hoseok. 

The visit had been uneventful until the mortal king asked if it was about time the king of the Fae invited him over. 

“I’ve had your king over several times already, and he seems to enjoy my company just fine,”

Back then, Hoseok had just smiled, nodded his head, and said that he’ll make do on that request. 

“Of course, no offence to you, you’re a gracious guest,” but Hoseok’s never just a guest to these towns, to these kingdoms—he’s always a hand to help, and he doesn’t mind, not really, anyway, except that he gets tired, too. And no amount of honey-sweet nectar that Seokjin’s concocted himself will get rid of that.

And so Hoseok’s here, days after his visit to the kingdom, laid flat on his back on one of Seokjin’s tables, the oils and the candles pushed aside to make room for his entirety. 

“Give me one of those magic nectars,” Hoseok asks, turning over to his side to watch as Seokjin starts to work again, making good progress on crushing the petals from the flowers he’d sneezed all over earlier. 

“Just go to sleep, Hobi,” Seokjin calls, a fond lilt in his voice.

Hoseok thinks that that may be it, that he can just sleep if he wants to. Maybe. But he doesn’t, because as soon as he closes his eyes, his mind brings him back to the kingdom, the king’s banquet hall lined with soldiers on either side, waiting for Hoseok to pull one mischievous trick up his sleeve—except Hoseok never does, and if he did, then no one dozen human soldiers can keep him down—and then it brings him further back, too—

To the meadow from a few weeks ago.

To the glittering silver lake that even Hoseok won’t ever dare touch. There are certain magic so dark you’re better off avoiding it. 

His mind takes him back to the dark haired boy in the red hood as well, because of course it does, because Hoseok’s been thinking about him a lot. Yoongi. 

What a pretty name, he thinks, staring at Seokjin’s stained glass ceiling. What a pretty name for such a pretty human.

“What’s this about a pretty human boy?” that has certainly gotten Seokjin’s interest, because Hoseok hears a clattering of the bowl, his work left behind in favour of bothering Hoseok. 

Hoseok realises that he’d been mumbling under his breath for the past few minutes too late, and he regrets it, he really does, because Seokjin pulls him up by his wrists and sits him up right, hands on his knees and holding him down on the spot in an effort to get him to talk.

For the Court’s assigned and most effective healer, Seokjin sure can cause as much damage as he can heal.

“I didn’t say anything,” Hoseok says, though he knows it’s useless, because nothing ever gets past Seokjin. 

Seokjin, who just throws that pretty, pretty head of his back in a laugh that’s so loud and tinkling, it fills the entire room with a soft pink glow. 

Hoseok hates faeries sometimes, he really does. 

Which also means he hates himself, but that begs the question. It always does. 

But only sometimes.

“Tell me and I’ll give you honey,” Seokjin dangles these concoctions like drugs to an addict, but Hoseok knows better. He means well—always does, always will, but he also has an irritating tendency to make you work for it. Faeries. That’s gotta be it. 

“Fine, fine, fine, but I can’t believe you’d be so awful about this,” Seokjin’s grip on him relents and Hoseok refuses to talk until he’s passed a warm cup of honey infused nectar. It’s good. Hoseok can feel his energy slowly seeping back into him, starting from his toes and then all the way up his legs. It’s like a subtle warmth that keeps him cozy. “I met him once, saved his life in the process—he’s got a nice white horse, too, which I’m planning to steal. One of these days, just wait on it—oh, and I’ve no idea which town he’s actually from,” 

Seokjin is quiet for a second, lips pursed. 

Okay, so perhaps Hoseok sounds a bit crazy—is it the fatigue, the lack of sleep, or the overall feeling of working himself to the bone every goddamn second that he starts to think he might just be a tad too attached to a human he’s only met once.

A human who’s got eyes that had regarded Hoseok with steel, like there’s not a word Hoseok can say that he was going to trust, not a thing Hoseok can do that he was going to like, and that had been—well, that had been refreshing, after meeting so many other mortals who would bend over backwards for him, knowing who he is.

Because Hoseok’s got a bit of a reputation in the human realm.

(And really, maybe he’s just known as the King’s errand boy, but whatever. Hoseok takes pride in that—to serve his King is a duty any faerie would be more than happy to do.)

“I got it,” Seokjin finally says, hands clapping. “I can’t believe it took me that long to even think of this but—just ask Namjoon to help you find him. Say he owes you the horse, or something—y’know, the whole, indebted to the fae for life, accidentally and all of that,” 

“But he isn’t indebted to me,” Hoseok’s brows furrow. He doesn’t think it’s right, to trick the human into accepting him. 

“Yeah, but Namjoon doesn’t know that,” and here Seokjin winks, that devious wink of his that almost makes Hoseok think of those small, mischievous sprites that like to wreak havoc to your day and mess up your entire garden of roses. “I think he owes you one, too. Just a small token of his gratitude, yeah?” 

Right, if a normal faerie can’t locate a single human, then perhaps the King of the Fae will have better luck. 

“If he finds out I’m just tricking him, he’ll kill me,” an exaggeration, but it’s enough to set Seokjin off again, the older man laughing. Hoseok laughs, too, and for the first time in several days, he starts to feel lighter. Warmer.

Maybe it’s the honey. Yeah, definitely. 

 

 

See, this is how it starts.

Or, rather, this is how it’s supposed to unfold—

Hoseok walks into town. Meets some people. They recognise him for what he is, not for who he is. They try to invite him to their homes, because it’s better to beat the fae to the punch rather than have the entire floor pulled out from under you. Hoseok declines their offers, however graciously he can, and continues on. He’s supposed to find Yoongi at the outskirts of town in a little cottage, the white stallion from a few weeks ago tied to a post, grazing the grass. It’s supposed to be this easy, but no, nothing ever comes easy to him, because it seems like the entire world has it out for him.

So instead of that, it goes a little bit more like this—

Hoseok avoids Jimin the whole day, knowing full well the boy will want to berate him again for using Namjoon to fuel his little red riding hood agenda. So he succeeds in that. Succeeds in getting out of the Court, of their realm. He even manages to get to the town in one-piece, which isn’t that much of an impressive feat, given how this is one he’s visited before. 

A few years ago, maybe. During a distress call. They’re too far away from the mortal king’s kingdom but they still fall under his jurisdiction, and so Hoseok had done an errand or two for them.

The Fae King’s errand boy, some people used to whisper.

But this is Namjoon, whom Hoseok has known for a century and more, and he doesn’t mind. Sees it as an honour, really. 

And besides, being best friends with the King has its perks—like, for example, finding the one mortal who’s managed to distract Hoseok for days on end, even when their encounter had been short-lived and mainly filled with barely contained animosity—the human’s side, not Hoseok. He’d been nothing short of nice, really. 

So it goes like that. 

It goes smoothly for the first half of the morning, Hoseok throwing on a glamour over himself to hide the less than natural brown of his eyes—they always seem more orange out in the daylight, too—his ears are concealed as well, because he doesn’t feel like getting mobbed by humans. 

Hoseok finds his way down a winding foot path, steps light as he spots the cottage just overhead. 

See, it’s supposed to be as easy as walking over to the front door, asking if he can come in for tea. It’s supposed to be that easy but then he remembers that mortals aren’t bound to the fae’s pursuits and desires, that something as easy as tea might be something they’ll want to shut the door at, especially if it’s a faerie asking.

Faeries and their no good history, or something like that.

And for all the work Hoseok’s done for them, too.

So instead of walking right up to the bright red door, Hoseok just finds himself watching from a distance, definitely not feeling like a total creep, because he’s not even sure if the human boy is at home. He’s just—observing, really.

And if Yoongi really is inside, then he’ll knock. Pay a visit. Hope he won’t stab him in the heart for what happened last time—although, if anything, Hoseok had saved him from a lifetime of servitude, so perhaps they should be on even ground.

This is the exact train of thought that passes through his mind when he feels a tap on his shoulder, and then hears a cough from behind him.

“First of all,” it’s a voice that’s familiar, and Hoseok slowly turns around, eyes going wide. “Drop the glamour, I know it’s you. Second of all, are you stalking me?” 

Hoseok has the audacity to look insulted.

“I’m insulted,” Hoseok says, a hand to his heart. But he drops the glamour, anyway, revealing pointed ears and eyes a golden brown. “And no, I’m not staking you. Stalking you would mean I’ve been following you for some time now, which I haven’t—mind you, I just came for a visit,”

Yoongi raises an eyebrow at that, still untrusting of him. “You wanted to pay me a visit,” 

Hoseok tries to hold on to any shred of dignity he has left. 

“Yes, for the—for last time,” this is definitely not how it’s supposed to go. “I mean, not that you have to return the favour, but I just—y’know, I just wanted to check up on you. See if exposure to the silver lake had some slow-acting side effects. That—maybe. Yeah, that’s it,” 

Yoongi lets out a breath that sounds more exasperated than anything, sidesteps around Hoseok, and then stops after a few steps, looking over his shoulder at him, the look on his face one of quiet expectance, as if he’s surprised Hoseok hasn’t gotten the hint yet, which is—

Oh, right. He should be following. Right.

“You didn’t think this through, did you?” Yoongi asks, pushing the red hood out of his face. “But—yeah, okay. I’ll take it. A visit to check up on me. What are you, anyway? Some kind of healer?”

Hoseok can’t help but smile at that, the corners of his lips curving up in amusement, because gone is the human who had tried to be so cautious around him the first time. Hoseok remembers a time when the mortals were taught to be polite to the fae—and they are, for the most part.

Perhaps Yoongi falls outside of that spectrum.

Hoseok can’t say he minds. In fact it’s—it’s good. Surprising, yes, but he’s never shied away from surprises.

They stop just short of Yoongi’s front doorstep, Hoseok hesitating, because he doesn’t want to intrude, fae entitlement be damned. So he waits, gaze going to Yoongi, who reaches a hand out to the door knob, a furrow in his brow, and a funny look on his face.

“Do you—I mean, if you want me to leave,” Hoseok feels kind of pathetic, now that he’s here. First, he’d felt a little silly. Then, a little bit crazy. Now, he just feels—well, nearly pathetic, anyway, because what is he doing? Things aren’t supposed to go this way. 

“Hoseok,” Yoongi says his name like he’s testing it out. For a second, Hoseok sees an openness in his expression. “Is that really your name? I remember my grandmother—she used to say the fae would never give out their name, not to anyone, at least,” 

“That’s my name,” Hoseok says, trying for a smile that he hopes comes off as more genuine than anything. “And we don’t really give out our name—names, for most. But that really is my name, if you wanna take my word for it,”

“Okay, then,” is all that Yoongi says, turning the knob to his little cottage. He takes the first few steps inside, leading the way, and stops to turn around, watching Hoseok with dark eyes that seem to be searching—and for what, Hoseok isn’t quite sure. Maybe he’s searching for a certain type of sincerity.

Maybe that’s it. 

“Come on in then, Hoseok,” Yoongi says, a ghost of a smile on his face. Hoseok isn’t sure if he’s just being polite, as is tradition, but he takes it, anyway. This beats getting glared down any day, he thinks. “Don’t look so shocked. Unless the fae don’t drink tea,” 

Hoseok nearly stumbles over his own feet in his hurry to follow Yoongi inside, the smile on his face barely contained. “No—I mean, yes, we do. I like tea,” and then, after a while. “Does this mean you trust me?” 

Yoongi gestures for him to take a seat, already busying himself in the kitchen, probably to heat the water up. 

“Trust is a heavy thing, isn’t it?” Yoongi pours him a steaming cup of tea, gently pressing the cup into his hands. Their fingers brush, if only for a split second.

Hoseok stares into the cup. It’s a rosy-coloured mix. Smells like petals, too. Hoseok already loves it.

“It is,” Hoseok murmurs, taking one sip. 

Yoongi raises his own cup, as if for a toast, and cracks a sliver of a smile. “Let’s just say that I believe you when you say your name is Hoseok,” 

“That’s a start,” Hoseok doesn’t know why he’s smiling so much, or why he wants to laugh. It must be the tea, or it must be the cosy cottage that Yoongi owns. 

Or perhaps it’s being sat right across from the human, who lowers his guard down enough around the fae to drink tea with him, no pretences. 

Things weren’t supposed to go this way, but Hoseok thinks that this is much, much better than he’d expected. 

This is a start. 

 

 

This time, when Hoseok finds himself back in the small village, he thinks back on what Yoongi had said a few days ago—you’re free to visit again, if you want. If you need an invitation, this is it.

To which Hoseok had laughed, and laughed, and laughed so hard he’d almost tipped the cups and plates over the table. Finally, after his laughter had subsided, he said, “Silly, the fae don’t always need an invitation.”

Yoongi had only sneered at that, “See, I knew you were stalking me.”

Which explains how Hoseok is here, now, back in Yoongi’s little patch of home. The white horse Hoseok wants to take with him back to the Court is sleeping lazily just under a tree, surrounded by apple cores and peaches. He looks at peace, which is just about the last thing Hoseok can say about himself when he starts the short trek from the forest line to Yoongi’s cottage.

Yoongi must have heard him approaching, because he calls to him from the back, voice ringing when he says, “Hey, idiot, if that’s you, I’m out in the back,”

Hoseok tries not to smile too hard at that, teeth biting down on his lower lip as he follows the sound of Yoongi’s voice.

He spots the boy sat on the ground, surrounded by various gardening tools. His hands show the efforts of his labours for the day, his white shirt—his white shirt that he used while gardening, Hoseok cringes—stained by dirt. 

Yoongi looks immaculate, even when his hair is a mess and he’s got grass stains on the cuffs of his pants and his shirt. He looks—pretty. And god, Hoseok can hear Jimin’s voice in his head again, an annoying trill, telling him that this isn’t right, that he’s going to find himself in big trouble if he keeps doing this, if he keeps—

Keeps what, Hoseok had finally asked just the other day.

Keep pursuing the human, but that’s not unheard of. Not to the fae, anyway. Perhaps Jimin is just feeling over-protective. In the decades that they’ve known each other, Hoseok has never—

He’s never really taken an interest like this, if he’s being honest. 

And Hoseok’s not even sure what kind of interest this is, at least, not exactly, anyway. All that he knows is that Yoongi is a wonder of a human being, bright eyes and a smile, when he lets himself, enough to drive all the storm clouds away. 

The look that greets Hoseok when he finally rounds the corner is one of bemusement, Yoongi’s eyebrows raised.

Hoseok wonders of a day when Yoongi will warm up to him, but then he remembers that to mortals, days don’t always flow by the same as the fae. Days sometimes drag on. 

If anything, and if only to really reassure himself, Hoseok thinks back on the other day, when Yoongi had said he trusted him enough to believe in his name. It’s more than Hoseok could really ask for, if he’s being genuinely honest with himself.

Between the both of them.

“Hello, Hoseok,” the name rolls more familiarly off Yoongi’s tongue, now. It sounds good. Sounds like warm honey. A small part of Hoseok wonders what it would taste like, but he stifles it immediately, pushes it back down to the hell that it’s come from. “Do the fae have no jobs, is this why you’ve got so much free time?”

Yoongi brings a hand up to swipe at his cheek, lips pursed as if in concentration. He’s squinting a little bit, too, as he looks up at Hoseok. 

Hoseok wants to place a wide-brimmed hat on top of that mess of dark hair, but he stops, settles himself down in front of Yoongi, and notes the slightly scandalised look on Yoongi’s face when he does.

“Your—“ Yoongi starts, gesturing to Hoseok. “Your clothes, get up. It’s dirty,” Yoongi gets on his knees, now, trying to shoo Hoseok back up to his feet, but Hoseok just shrugs his shoulders and grins at him, because this is fine.

A little dirt is something he can handle with ease.

“It’s no big deal,” Hoseok says, hand raised as if in surrender. He doesn’t budge, though, just waits until Yoongi settles back down, albeit a little begrudgingly. “It’s just the dirt, fruit of the Earth, or whatever it is they call it,”

Yoongi snorts. It almost sounds like he’s amused, but his face is still unreadable. Still guarded. Hoseok doesn’t fault him that. He understands. 

“Well, then. Hello,” 

“You said that already, but,” Hoseok bites down on his lower lip, tries to school his features into something more passive, less like he’s excited to be in Yoongi’s presence and more like he’s just—well, that it’s all just pretty natural at this point. “Hi, Yoongi,”

There is a certain kind of delicate that comes with knowing Yoongi’s name. No human has really given their name to him, at least, not in the way Yoongi has.

And no human knows more than one of his, so perhaps they’re on equal ground, when it comes to the names. 

Perhaps. 

“Would you mind if I helped you today?” Hoseok asks, stretching a hand out to touch the growing mint leaves. He smiles down at the plant, then turns back to Yoongi. “You know what they say about the fae,” 

“That they’ll trick you into being indebted to them for life?” Yoongi counters back, and Hoseok’s hand falls to his lap, shoulders going straight. Rigid. The look on his face must’ve reflected how he felt at the accusation, because Yoongi immediately back tracks, a small smile breaking across his face. “No—no, Hoseok, it was a joke. I was joking,” 

And here Yoongi gets up on his feet, the smile on his face still a little embarrassed, a little unsure. 

“It was a joke?” Hoseok asks, looking up at him. It’s his turn to squint, now.

Yoongi walks over to the other side of his garden, gesturing quietly for Hoseok to come follow him. 

Hoseok does, hands dusting at his robes as he makes to follow Yoongi to the small strawberry patch tucked into the farthest corner of his little backyard garden. 

He watches as Yoongi bends down, fingers grazing at the vines. It still hasn’t flowered completely into full strawberries, but it’s getting there. 

“D’you really think that about the fae?” Hoseok asks, standing just beside Yoongi, watching in apt fascination as Yoongi grabs a blade, ready to hack off at the weeds that have started to grow—a bit prematurely, but Hoseok thinks that if anything, Yoongi likes to take care of things as soon as the problem presents itself.

(And he also wonders how Yoongi’s going to take care of his little fae problem—and god, Hoseok’s kind of worried about that, because he’s here, and he just—he doesn’t know what he wants, all he knows is that he’s interested, that he’s fascinated, that maybe, just maybe, he wants to extend a hand of friendship to this little mortal. Wants something more than slight distrust and jokes that seem to fly right over Hoseok’s head. That’s—that’s all.)

“I don’t think that about you, Hoseok,” is what Yoongi finally says, voice a quiet murmur. He’s successfully managed to clean the strawberry patch of the vines, setting them aside just behind him. “Does that make any sense?” 

“Yeah—it does, actually,” Hoseok smiles this time, a smile that’s more quiet than anything, because he thinks that with every moment he spends with Yoongi, he’s a little closer to understanding him. And to getting understood, too. “If my word is worth anything, then I trust you, too,”

“For a human?” Yoongi quips, eyebrow raised as if in challenge. The slight tug on the corner of Yoongi’s mouth is enough of an indication that he isn’t serious, that he’s just poking fun. 

Hoseok allows himself to laugh, head shaking, “No, no. For who you are, Yoongi,” 

“You don’t really know me, though. Just saved me from falling into my impending doom,” he has a point, and it goes both ways. Yoongi seems to understand this perfectly. 

“I’m getting to know you, though,” here Hoseok’s smile turns warmer, something softer, even. “That’s got to count for something,”

Yoongi is quiet for a long moment, the pause stretching so long and so far that Hoseok wonders if he’s offended him. 

Instead of directly addressing him, though, Yoongi just tilts a head to his strawberry patch. “You mentioned something about helping me? Well, show me what you can do, then, faerie boy,” 

Hoseok feels his cheeks grow warm at that comment, at that name. It’s not insulting, but it sounds friendly enough, given who Yoongi is. What Yoongi is like. 

But Hoseok’s never really one to disappoint, especially not now when it’s in front of a human he wants to impress. So he bends down, gives Yoongi a smug smile over his shoulder—because this Hoseok knows he can’t fuck up, no, not ever. This is something he’s really good at. Helping people. Helping the Earth. This is basically his job description, if he ever did his job, at least (and that little voice in his head sounds a lot like Namjoon, but just like what Hoseok does with Namjoon’s actual voice, he squishes the tiny voice in his mind until he can barely hear it. Until it’s nothing but an echo of a previous thought. Gone. Good.). 

The air changes significantly around them as soon as Hoseok waves a hand over the patch, the smile on his face brighter, now. Wider, too, because Hoseok likes to do this. He likes to see things bloom, grow big, and glow bright in front of his eyes.

But instead of bringing the strawberries to a complete bloom, Hoseok does something else. He charges the surrounding area with an energy that’s quite distinctly magic. 

Before Yoongi can even ask what exactly it is he’s smiling at, it starts—

Moisture seeps through from the ground. There’s a small crack in the air between them, and then a little drizzle concentrates itself just over the strawberry patch. 

Behind him, he hears Yoongi catch his breath, and then, after a moment, Yoongi says, “What the fuck is that?” 

Hoseok stands up, leaving his handiwork behind him. 

“Strawberries grow best if the ground is kept moist, and I noticed from the forest that the trees have gotten a bit too dry, the ground cracked. I figured it hasn’t rained in a while,” he makes a note of that information, making sure to pass this over to Jimin, who’ll be more than happy to know that Hoseok’s actually done a part of his job—even if the part was just to impress some human. 

Yoongi. To impress Yoongi. 

“So you made it rain?” for the first time since they’ve met, Hoseok sees something else in Yoongi’s eyes. Instead of fear for what he’d just witnessed (and Hoseok knows that that looks like, because so many times he’s gone to help, and so many times he’s been met with apprehension, humans speaking under their breaths, whispering about the fae knowing magic so old, it must be the work of the devil. Which isn’t really right, but Hoseok’s not paid enough—see also: not paid at all—to deal with confrontations, so he usually just leaves it at that.).

But the look on Yoongi’s face—

It’s quite different from that.

Hoseok looks at Yoongi and he sees an openness that he hasn’t seen in all the times (albeit very few times) they’ve been together. Yoongi’s eyes are wide, mouth popped into a little oh as he gazes at the miniature rain just over his strawberries. Yoongi’s cheeks are pink, too, hands curled over his pants as he bends down, curiosity and interest piqued. 

“You did that?” Yoongi stretches a hand out, lets the rain drench his fingers for a few seconds. He pulls back, completely unbothered, face so bright, Hoseok thinks he might need to start squinting. “You did that? You can do that?” 

It’s strange, how Hoseok immediately wants to shake his head and tell Yoongi that it’s really not a big deal. Strange how he wants to push that achievement away just so he can know more how to deal with Yoongi’s reaction, because he hardly ever gets this. The most interest he’s gotten were from children, thinking him to be a magician, of all things.

This is almost too good to be true, Hoseok starts to feel lost.

His face grows warmer with every second, the tips of his ears turning red. 

Yoongi seems to notice it, because his smile lessens, but doesn’t disappear, not completely, anyway. 

“Hey, that’s pretty amazing,” Yoongi says, absolutely amused at how there’s a small raincloud right in his backyard. “Can all faeries do this?”

Hoseok shakes his head, laughs a nervous little laugh, and says, “No. Magic is innate, but the type of magic depends from one fae to another. You have to learn it, for the most part,” 

“So you’re a—what is this called?” Yoongi gestures grandly to the rain, to his strawberries soaking up the water, eyebrows raised, and eyes glittering with something different, something Hoseok can’t quite read yet. 

“Elemental magic,” Hoseok’s never had to explain this to a human, either, and that’s—

Well, this certainly is unusual, but he doesn’t really mind. 

This might be different—so fucking different from how his help is often received that it’s like a breath of fresh air. Hoseok’s just afraid that if he breathes in too much, he’ll run out, and Yoongi will want to turn away from him the same way all the other mortals had, after he’d helped them. 

“Huh, elemental magic,” Yoongi says the word like he knows exactly what it means, which makes Hoseok smile, because Yoongi’s a funny little fellow, he’s starting to notice. “That’s—that’s not half bad, I guess,”

“I guess,” Hoseok chooses to humour him this time. “Maybe you should bring me some of the strawberries once they’re ready for harvest,” 

And Hoseok’s almost sure that it’s going to happen again, that this is the exact moment Yoongi’s going to tell him that there will be no need for that, he can just go and maybe not pay him anymore visits, and that’s—understandable, it really is. Hoseok will understand.

Not a lot of fae get friendly with humans. Not a lot of humans want that, knowing who the fae are. What they’re capable of—and the endless list of rules and tricks that can be used against them, if the fae chooses to do so. That’s why Hoseok will understand. He understands, is what he’s trying to get at.

So when Yoongi nods his head and offers him a smile so unlike anything Hoseok’s ever seen, Hoseok almost feels the breath stop right in his lungs, because Yoongi smiles like spring. It’s a breath of fresh air, flowers in full bloom, and the grass as green as it’s supposed to be, with the sky an endless blue, the clouds a wisp of all the grand and wonderful things that are yet to come. 

“You can come over when they do,” Yoongi’s smile is a different kind of magic, Hoseok learns. It’s a new kind of magic that he thinks he wants to know more about. It’s special. 

Yoongi is special.

“Thank you, I’ll really like that.” Hoseok smiles in return, although he thinks that his smile is nothing compared to the beauty in Yoongi’s, but it’s something, anyway. 

Behind them, the rain continues to fall gently over the strawberries. There’s a mist that’s starting to form, but Yoongi’s smile is enough warmth for today. 

“You’re welcome anytime, Hoseok.” 

This will keep Hoseok warm, even when he finally retreats back into the faerie Court, where he burrows himself into his room, all the silk sheets and cotton blankets thrown over him, because no matter how hard he tries, it’s always, always cold in his room. 

 

 

The King summons Hoseok to the faerie court bright and early one Tuesday morning. 

Namjoon sits on his throne, flipping through a book. An actual book, one that Hoseok had brought back with him from his travels, because Namjoon’s always appreciated human literature. Has always said that theirs is a kind of art that’s different from the fae’s own books. That stories are different depending on who tells it, and human narrators are a rather creative and interesting bunch. 

“Hoseok, good morning,” Namjoon smiles, closing the book with an audible shut. “How are you doing?”

Hoseok plops himself down in front of Namjoon, who doesn’t bat an eye at all. Anyone else and his own elite guard will have already demanded they respect the King, but this is Hoseok, and Namjoon lets Hoseok get away with anything. 

“Great, Joon,” Namjoon lets Hoseok get away with that, too. “I mean—could be better,”

“I think we could all always be better,” Namjoon has a funny way of talking. He doesn’t condemn, doesn’t blame, doesn’t point fingers. He just lays it all out in front of you. 

Even when they were younger, Hoseok had already known that there would be no greater king than Namjoon.

There isn’t a day that he doesn’t think that.

And the day hasn’t come where Namjoon’s disappointed him, where a foolish child’s own declaration had proved to be false. Hoseok believes that that day will never come. 

Namjoon humours Hoseok for a little while, although they skirt over the topic of when Hoseok had asked him for help to track a human. They also skirt over talking about how Hoseok has been neglecting his job for quite some time now. And what else do they skirt over—

They skirt over how they think Seokjin’s brewing some kind of new wine that’s addictive even for faeries, and everyone knows how much faeries enjoy their liquor and their alcohol (Hoseok begs to differ, but he’s always been weak, even when he pretends he isn’t, even when he drinks just for the spin and the high of it all, to feel the whole world fall off balance for a second, and then feel the ground right under his cheek the next). 

They skirt over everything that they can until they run out of things to talk about and Namjoon finally says, “So the Midlands have complained about not having rain for months now, and it’s alarming,” he pushes himself off of the chair to stand just above Hoseok. Offers a hand for Hoseok to take, which Hoseok does gratefully, and then says, “Seok, will you please give them a visit? Help out in any way that you can,”

There’s not an offer Hoseok can refuse Namjoon, so he takes that assignment easily enough. As easily as he takes Namjoon hand for help. 

Before he sets out on his next journey, Namjoon gives his shoulder a squeeze, smiles at him, and says, “I don’t know how I’ll do any of this without you, Seok,”

To which Hoseok replies, a laugh bubbling out from his chest and then past his lips, “You’ll still do magnificently, your grace,” and then, after a while, when Namjoon pulls him into a hug, presses a kiss to his cheek, and then ushers him away, Hoseok says, “I’ll see you in a few days, Joon.” 

Namjoon waves back, and then Hoseok is off—

He’s off to the Midlands, a few dozen towns away from where Yoongi is, and it’s not Yoongi’s fault that he lives in bumfuck nowheresville, really, it isn’t, except—

Except that it’ll be much, much easier if he lived somewhere where Hoseok visits often, during work.

Although he likes it this way, too, likes that there’s a clear distinction between work and his personal life, because Yoongi is part of that second one now, isn’t he? He is. Hoseok thinks he is.

Yoongi’s smile from the other day, when Hoseok had tripped over his front porch, sent a wooden mug flying, and then frightened the cat that had been sleeping on a cushion just by the door, was enough of an indication that he thinks so as well. 

The trip is uneventful at most, with Hoseok meeting the head of the town briefly. He’s offered a bed and a place to stay but Hoseok hardly ever stays. He can travel as quickly as he wants, get in and out of a place as soon as his job is done.

This time, the job is fairly simple. Just bring the rains down on this valley and make sure that it comes back every few days, until the drought is solved.

They leave him to do his job, and Hoseok is left alone in the middle of a field. It’s not easy work, bringing upon him a rain that will last for more than a few minutes. That will last for more than a few days, too, on and off, because the last thing he wants is a complaint sent to the mortal king about how Hoseok’s managed to flood an entire village.

The rain comes after a few moments of silence. It comes when Hoseok starts to think about his mother, and how she used to brush his hair to sleep. It starts off slow at first, at the mere memory of his mother. And then it really starts to pour, drenching him right to the bone, when he thinks about how one morning she’d fallen ill. How she’d got up after a meeting with the Council and fallen right after, the colour draining from her face. Hoseok brings that memory up, because rain is always the hardest to summon—at least, this level of rain.

A drizzle is fine. Anything small-scale is fine—like sudden sunshine for a few minutes, if only to warm him up. Like a gentle breeze on a sunny afternoon to keep him cool. Like a small drizzle for Yoongi’s strawberry patch. Small-scale. 

But this—this is big, and Namjoon had known it would take its toll on Hoseok. The look on his face as they’d said goodbye said it all, and Hoseok doesn’t fault him that, because this is his job, and after his mother had passed, nobody else could fill in her shoes. Nobody else but him.

So Hoseok brings that memory back to the surface. The rain starts to relent when he remembers his sister’s embrace. When he thinks back about Jimin keeping him busy and distracted, because they’d still been so, so young. How Jimin had taken him to the ocean with Seokjin and Namjoon. How they’d stared at the sea until Hoseok cried so hard it started to rain, thunder rolling, and lightning clapping. 

They let him, though, and even though the ocean was raging, they still held on to him. They were much, much younger then. More foolish than anything. But they were there, and it’s the only reason Hoseok can bring this memory back to the surface and not completely fall apart, because after every storm is sunshine and a rainbow. 

Hoseok holds off on the sunshine and the rainbow for now, though. Wipes the tears from his cheeks and then explains to the village head that they’ll be experiencing rain on and off for the next few weeks, that it’ll be enough to bring them across the summer and then to the fall. That their crops will survive, and so will they.

They thank him in the form of gold and jewels, not with actual words, because they know better when it comes to dealing with the fae. Hoseok accepts it all, and then asks for one last thing, “If you could give me a book, any book that you like, that’ll be appreciated, too,”

He’s asked why, and Hoseok just smiles, despite the rain and the storm that’s started to brew inside of him, “My King loves to read. It will be a more personal thanks if I bring back a book.”

And Hoseok does, he brings back a book, presents it all to Namjoon, who pulls him into a hug. The jewels and the gold are discarded by their feet, the book clutched tight in Hoseok’s hand as Namjoon holds on to him, one hand rubbing his back, and the other squeezing him gently. Fondly, repeating, over and over again, his thanks, and then, with his voice small and quiet, “I’m sorry I made you go through that memory again,” because Namjoon knows. Namjoon always knows. 

“I’ll do anything for you,” Hoseok says, rather cheekily. He still feels a little hallowed out. 

Namjoon’s smile is a little too sad for this occasion, for this success, but he does give Hoseok’s cheek an affectionate pat, and then says, “Rest, Seok. If you need, give Seokjin a visit. He’ll have something for you,”

“Maybe for sleep,” Hoseok laughs this time, if only to alleviate Namjoon’s worry. “But I’ll do that, I’ll rest, and then,” and then maybe he can visit Yoongi, when he’s feeling better. When he’s in much better shape.

“And then maybe you can visit that little village again,” Namjoon says, rather knowingly. “Send my regards.” 

Hoseok smiles brightly at Namjoon, and Namjoon returns it, eyes alight with fond, and smile stretching across his face. 

 

 

See, here’s a secret that not many people know. That not many of Hoseok’s own kind know—and he thinks he can count everyone who knows on both his hands. Perhaps even less than ten people, because this kind of secret isn’t really something you announce, especially if you’re someone who’s known to be the King’s righthand man. 

See, the secret is that Hoseok might have elemental magic, but it all resides, first and foremost, on what he feels. How he is. 

See, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it, except—

Except that it does, and most people can’t really see just how bad that can get, when Hoseok’s not in tip-top shape.

See, the problem is that Hoseok’s not always in tip-top shape, because nobody ever is, and so his work is affected, his magic limited. Slacking.

See, see, see right here is where Hoseok tries to improve himself, because it’s not fair that others of his kind have such innate abilities they can harness at will and he’s limited to his emotions. It’s not fair and yet he’s here, because there’s no one quite like him. 

No one who can bend air and the weather themselves to do his bidding. 

Another problem is that Hoseok doesn’t exactly see why he’s so important, when there are others who can do a better job. He refuses to see it sometimes, which is why it catches him off guard when Yoongi looks up from the bowl of fruit they’ve been passing between them to regard Hoseok with a tilt of his head and a slight curving of his mouth that could only be a smile, and then say, actually out loud,

“Y’know, Hoseok, you’re pretty special, the whole magic and the weather thing and all—but at the same time, I think it gets quite burdensome, does it?” Yoongi pauses, pops a cherry into his mouth. Chews around it and then swallows. He continues, “That takes a lot of strength. I mean, you’ve been visiting me quite often, and I don’t know how it’s supposed to work back in—back in your realm, but shouldn’t that be tiring? Are you tired, Hoseok?”

Hoseok finds that his hands are shaking, a slight tremble that courses through his very veins. “I—I guess I am. Sometimes, I get tired,” 

“That’s fine, it’s okay to be tired,” Yoongi murmurs, voice gentle. “It’s okay to feel things at a deeper level. I guess what I’m trying to say is—you’re a pretty okay guy. A pretty okay faerie, so it’s pretty okay if you’re not feeling pretty okay. If it’s a secret, then it’s safe with me,”

 And for the first time since a long, long time ago—since Hoseok’s mother had passed away in a shimmer of light and the smell of freshly bloomed peonies—Hoseok feels like he’s seen. 

See, nobody’s actually really seen Hoseok. They’ve just looked at him. But here comes a mortal, here comes a human, in his messy haired glory and favourite red coat that blows in the wind. Here comes Yoongi with the pink cheeks and eyes so dark Hoseok thinks he’s looking right into midnight. Here comes Yoongi and he sees Hoseok. Looks past the magic and the glamour, extends a helping hand. He listens. He hears. He watches, and most importantly, he sees.

Hoseok doesn’t want to speak, afraid that his voice will crack, so he just leans back into the bench, bumps their shoulders together, and he lets out a deep and rattling breath that shakes his very core. He can feel his lungs collapse one second, and then spring right back up the next. Hoseok can feel all sorts of things, now—he feels a gust of cold wind, and then, when Yoongi bumps their shoulders one more time, as a silent show that he understands, that it’s okay if Hoseok doesn’t speak, Hoseok starts to feel it again—a warmth so distinct, it can only be from Yoongi.

So Hoseok looks at his hands and Yoongi continues to eat the cherries beside him, their arms brushing sometimes, Yoongi filling the silence between them with the sound of his fingers tapping against the ceramic bowl, and then, once that’s been pushed to the side, by whistling. 

The wind blows, the trees sway, and the Earth stands completely still. 

Hoseok is tired. His trip from a few days ago had shaken him right down to his core, and he’s tired and he’s not feeling anything like the usual, and he’s, well, he’s not alright. 

“You’ll be alright, Hoseok. If not now, then another day,” Yoongi tells him, voice a new kind of soft that Hoseok’s never heard of, at least, not yet. Yoongi, very tentatively, pats Hoseok’s knee, his fingers sliding over smooth silk fabric. “Like I said, secret’s safe with me.”

Hoseok chances a glance at Yoongi, finds that he’s still staring out at the garden, at his blossoming strawberries and flowers. Everywhere around them, all Hoseok can see is green that stretches on for miles. The sky is a clear blue, the sun hanging high. It’s midday, and it’s been, well, it’s been a while. 

Yoongi’s not looking at him, at least, not exactly, but Hoseok knows. He can feel it as easily as he can feel his blood sing.

See, Yoongi sees him, and that’s all that matters, it really does.

So Hoseok tips his head back, closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath. His fingers lay in a fist at his side, and very slowly, he uncurls it, palms splayed on top of his dark-blue robes. 

And then it rains, and Yoongi looks at him like he understands, and nods his head. 

“Fair enough,” Yoongi murmurs, the smile he offers Hoseok an olive branch.

Hoseok takes it. 

 

 

A bowl of salad slides down the table and stops just in front of Hoseok. He looks up from the book he’s been flipping through—one of the books he’s swiped out of Yoongi’s bookshelf—and finds that it’s Jimin who bears him the small token, as if the last few weeks he’s spent just telling Hoseok it’s a bad idea to even get too friendly with mortals hadn’t just happened.

Or it had happened, and now Jimin’s just apologising.

“My apology,” Jimin says, pointing to the salad bowl that looks like something Jimin’s just scrounged up in ten seconds, flat. It doesn’t even look that appetising, but still Hoseok picks out the cherry tomatoes anyway, and pops it into his mouth. “I feel like I’ve been hard on you these past few—well, I feel like I’ve been hard on you, s’all,”

Hoseok shrugs his shoulder. “It doesn’t really matter. Apologies are for when you’ve done something wrong,” 

Jimin takes a seat across from him, face lighting up.

Beside him, Seokjin slides into the extra seat, and instantly the entire court starts to smell like crushed flowers and sunbeam. It doesn’t smell bad, but it smells—well, it smells like Seokjin. The only signal that the Court’s favourite and most skilled healer is nearby. 

“Where’s the honey?” Seokjin asks, peering into Hoseok’s bowl of salad. “And what is this, this looks like fucking grass,”

Jimin huffs. “Hey, I tried, that counts for something,” 

Seokjin barks out a laugh, that loud, open-mouthed laugh that shakes up the entire dining hall. “You tried and failed, darling. Anyway, everyone get up, let’s go look for proper food,”

Jimin follows, all the while muttering under his breath how none of his kind advances have ever led to anything—well, anything good, and if they’re so great at cooking, then they should do that instead of always doing a shoddy job at their actual jobs, and god, is it really so hard to stick to a schedule sometimes?

Hoseok wonders if it’s tough being one of Namjoon’s most trusted advisors. He looks at Jimin, whose blonde hair is a mess, lower lip bitten down on like he’s been worrying about something, like he’s been stressed, and he nods, realising that everything’s difficult if you set out to do it alone.

And Hoseok has been a shit friend these past few weeks, he really has. The last trip he’d taken to the village had taken its toll on him.

But he thinks he’s better now, although there are still some traces of grey and rain where he goes. Perhaps he’ll never be able to shake it off completely, and that’s fine.

If he’s not alright now, then he’ll be alright soon, and if not soon, then that’s alright, too.

Yoongi had said that.

Hoseok smiles quietly to himself, the memory alone enough of a reassurance.

Beside him, Jimin bumps their shoulders, offers a tired little smile, and Hoseok gives in, because he always gives in when it comes to Jimin.

He throws an arm around Jimin’s shoulder, brings him close to his side, and squeezes him so tight Jimin starts to squirm away from him, starts to yelp, starts to call out to Seokjin for help.

But Seokjin only rolls his eyes at the both of them and continues their walk out of the winding halls of the faerie Court, out of the royal palace. 

They make one more quick stop before completely finding their way out, and it’s to one of the empty classrooms that Hoseok knows is only good for keeping one Kim Taehyung asleep, head pillowed in his arms while Jeongguk pulled at the strings of a lyre on top of the abandoned teacher’s table. 

Both boys are inside the classroom, as expected, and they both perk up at the sign of their friends, Taehyung immediately jumping over to snatch Jimin out of Hoseok’s hold—out of Hoseok’s loving embrace, even if Jimin will say otherwise.

No matter, because Jeongguk’s here, now, so Hoseok pulls the boy—much, much younger than most of them here, eyes still so wide, so innocent. A face filled with youth and the energy that runs through his veins—to his side, presses a kiss into his hair, and listens as Jeongguk erupts in embarrassed laughter, all the while holding tightly onto Hoseok, saying, I missed you, Hoseok, how come you haven’t visited in a while?

And Hoseok just runs his fingers through Jeongguk’s hair, kisses his cheek for good measure, and smiles at him. He’s getting tall. One more year and he’ll have developed fully. He’ll be towering over Hoseok in no time.

Hoseok whispers reassurance into Jeongguk’s hair, tells him that while he’s been gone, he hasn’t been far away. “I’m with you always, Gguk,” Hoseok smiles, and Jeongguk’s cheeks turn all red and pink and it’s adorable, how much Hoseok’s seen this child grow up. Adorable how in just a year he’ll be following right after them, off to serve their King and their Court. 

Seokjin guides everyone out of a tunnel, instructs them to put their hood up, because it’s drizzling—and here Hoseok expects them to look at him, ask him if anything’s wrong, ask him why it’s still raining. Ask him why its raining inside of him again, but they don’t. They just pull their hoods up and follow after Seokjin, who guides them out of the thick forest line and then leads them down a sandy path right to a beach. 

This is miles away from Court. 

Miles away from where they’d been, and when Seokjin finally looks at them, stopping just a few steps away from the shoreline, he winks, and says, “See, I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve,”

“Right, you smuggled all the kids out of the Court and then magicked your way through the forest,” the voice comes from behind them, the King of the Fae approaching with light steps, Namjoon’s light blue robes glittering ever so slightly the same way the ocean does, with the sun hanging low over the horizon. 

It’s been a while since they’ve all been out like this, and Hoseok watches as Jimin smiles sheepishly at Namjoon, as the rest of them rush towards him, Taehyung’s greeting loud, while Jeongguk gets pulled into a hug by the king himself, Namjoon’s hand patting reassurances on his back. 

“You even managed to smuggle the King out,” Jimin says, eyeing Seokjin.

Seokjin just laughs and slaps Jimin’s shoulder good-naturedly.

Eventually, Jimin eases up, and Namjoon offers him a smile of his own, tells him that he’s worked too hard these past few days, that he needs to take a break, too, and, “It’s fine, Jimin, it’s fine. You’re relieved from worrying for this short time,” 

Because it’s basically Jimin’s job to worry.

Now, though, with Hoseok pulling him down into the sand with him, Jimin falling right into his lap, the younger fae’s face one of confusion and then of pure understanding the next, Jimin finally allows himself to relax. 

He closes his eyes, lets Hoseok brush through the curls.

Jeongguk pulls out a small lyre, and Jimin is quiet for a few moments, everyone is, the only sound of Jeongguk playing a melody they’ve known for as long as they’ve been alive. That and the sound of the ocean. 

Finally, with Namjoon’s quiet urging, Jimin starts to sing, voice faint at first, before it grows louder, stronger, Jimin’s melodic voice enough to instil in them a quiet faith that today is all about winding down, that today they’ll be alright, even when they’ve all just escaped from the Court. 

Jeongguk joins him after a few verses, signs with Jimin, who throws an appreciative glance his way, and Taehyung isn’t far off, too, and the rest of them are quiet, appreciative of their little trinity of singers, always in awe of their talent, because they complement each other so well. So perfectly.

Beside him, Namjoon reaches out to hold Hoseok’s hand. Gives it a squeeze, and then says, “It’s strawberry season soon,” 

Hoseok smiles, because Namjoon knows exactly how to deal with Hoseok when it gets bad. When bad gets worse, and when it rains on-end for days, even without Hoseok meaning to.

It stops drizzling, the ocean glittering like there are diamonds right under the surface. Seokjin claps his hands, tells their little trio of singing faeries that it’s time for an encore, and Namjoon’s smiling at Hoseok like he supports him, like he knows, and Hoseok nods his head.

“I’ll bring you some,” Hoseok promises, squeezing Namjoon’s hand back in acknowledgement.

 

 

The next time Hoseok sees Yoongi, he goes and pulls him into a hug. Yoongi stiffens at first, startled, but then he relaxes into it, face buried in Hoseok’s chest, and Hoseok’s arms around his middle, while Yoongi hugs him back, giving him a squeeze, his quiet you were gone for a while barely audible, except that there’s basically no space between them, so Hoseok hears it all.

When they pull away from the hug, Hoseok smiles at Yoongi rather sheepishly and says, “Sorry, have you been waiting for me?”

Yoongi immediately rolls his eyes and snorts out a laugh, “As if. No, was just wondering where you were. Up to your no good faerie tricks, I suspected,”

Hoseok laughs at that, loud and surprised and—and free, because he doesn’t think he’s laughed this much or this hard in a while. “You’re literally the worse,”

How easy it is for Yoongi to fake a little sniffle, to look quite insulted at that when he really isn’t. It’s all too easy, just as how easy it is for Hoseok to be able to see through it, too, and it’s—it’s a development, he thinks. It’s strange, how he knows Yoongi, now, how he can tell when he’s joking, or when he needs space, or when he just wants to sit down in silence and not talk about anything at all. 

But even if he knows all that about Yoongi, Hoseok is still sure that there’s a million and one other things that he doesn’t know, and it’s—it’s wonderful, having this chance to know him, to be able to pull him into a hug now. 

And how great that hug had felt, how just pulling him right into him had been on instinct, how Yoongi hadn’t objected but instead hugged him back. It had felt great and Hoseok thinks that now that he knows what a hug feels like from Yoongi, he’ll only crave for more. Which is—fair, really, since Yoongi gives really warm hugs, even when he’s got bony elbows that can knock right into your chest and send you coughing. Everything beautiful comes with a price, or so they say.

Out in the garden, Hoseok sees two things almost immediately—the first thing is Yoongi’s fat black cat asleep under a tree. The second thing he notices is a little picnic mat laid out right in the middle.

The clouds provide enough shade for them, and with the recent rain the whole kingdom has experienced, the air is considerably cooler than usual, even for summer. 

Yoongi pats the space beside him on the mat, a silent gesture for Hoseok to join him, and Hoseok does, legs folding from underneath him to settle himself down on the mat.

“Here,” Yoongi says, passing Hoseok a bowl full of strawberries. He notices it a little bit late how Yoongi’s strawberry patch is bare. He stares down into the bowl, the smile on his face already stretching across his lips. 

When he looks up at Yoongi, it’s to find that he’s smiling, too, albeit a quiet, much gentler smile. Gone is the apprehension and quiet distrust of his kind that had clouded Yoongi’s vision, that first day they met. Now, in his eyes, Hoseok sees something much more open, something much more vulnerable. He sees Yoongi, as Yoongi sees him, and it’s—

It’s really, really nice. Hoseok thinks he can get punch-drunk off of this concept alone. He wants to. He really wants to.

“These turned out really good,” Hoseok says, dropping the stalk into a separate plate. 

Yoongi rolls his eyes, albeit without any malice. “Right, I had an idiot helping me around,”

Hoseok snickers, props himself up on his elbows, and then lets the easy sunshine drench him, enjoying this quiet relief after weeks of torrential rain. 

“You were gone for a while,” Yoongi finally says, looking down at Hoseok. 

When Yoongi reaches a hand out to brush at the hair hanging in front of Hoseok’s face, Hoseok barely moves, breath caught in his throat, and eyes following Yoongi’s movement. He watches as Yoongi sweeps his hair back. Revels in the feeling of Yoongi’s warm hand pressing gently onto his forehead, before his fingers card through his hair, a soothing gesture that Yoongi repeats again when Hoseok hums quietly under his breath.

“That’s nice,” Hoseok murmurs, now lying down on his back. Yoongi scoots closer, so he can have easier access to Hoseok’s hair, not quite minding that Hoseok is basically an overgrown cat when it comes to getting his hair brushed. There’s a different kind of magic that hair-brushing brings, and it lulls Hoseok right to sleep every time. “And I was. Did you miss me?”

As if taken by surprise at the question, Yoongi nearly yanks at Hoseok’s hair.

Hoseok winces, laughs a little breathlessly, and says, “Sorry, sorry, it was a joke, please don’t rip my hair out,”

“Oh—sorry,” Yoongi murmurs, unaware that he’d even had that reaction, and remedies it by massaging Hoseok’s scalp, warm fingers kneading into his scalp, tugging gently at his hair, brushing the tangles away, and smoothing the worry-lines on Hoseok’s forehead, replacing it with a calmness that has carried through Hoseok ever since that day at the beach. 

This is nice, this feeling.

Hoseok’s slipping right into sleep when he hears it, Yoongi’s voice, a quiet whisper telling him that that yes, he did kind of miss him, and it’s enough to get Hoseok awake again, if only slightly, just to ask, “Sorry, what was that?”

Yoongi is silent, as is expected, not wanting to repeat himself, and Hoseok just smiles up at him, one hand reaching up to Yoongi’s hand still caught in his hair.

Hoseok catches Yoongi’s hand. Holds it for the first time, and gives it a squeeze. 

“I said yes you insufferable faerie, I did miss you,” it doesn’t sound like it pains Yoongi more than usual to say that, if anything, now that Hoseok’s more awake, he’s more attuned to the environment—how the wind blows a refreshing breeze around them, the sun shining brighter, warmer, but in a way that they can enjoy, being out in the open. And Yoongi—

Well, Yoongi’s cheeks are dusted a light pink, mouth pressed into a thin line, like he doesn’t really want to say it again, so if Hoseok can fix his hearing for someone who’s supposed to be a magical, ageless creature, then that’ll be great, thanks. 

There’s a squeeze on his hand, Yoongi finally responding, their fingers easily threading together. It’s not a perfect fit, Yoongi’s fingers much, much longer than Hoseok’s—and Hoseok thinks that Yoongi’s palm is enough to cover up Hoseok’s entire fist, and that’s alright, because it’s just one of the long list of things that Hoseok thinks he’s so captivated by when it comes to Yoongi. 

Holding Yoongi’s hand is new, but unlike most new things, it isn’t frightening. It feels—it feels right, like it’s been a long time coming. 

“I missed you too, lil red riding hood.” Hoseok says, if only to tease Yoongi, who grows less pink and more red, flushed from his cheeks right down to his neck at the comment.

The next thing that comes is Yoongi squeezing particularly hard at Hoseok’s hand, and Hoseok—

Well, Hoseok just laughs, because Yoongi’s got a nice hand to hold—the best hand to hold, Hoseok believes—and the weather is nice, for once. It’s almost perfect, almost, almost, almost, until Yoongi sighs, gives in, and laughs with him, and then—

And then it’s perfect. 

 

 

Namjoon appreciates the basket of strawberries, and so does Jimin, who was the only one who’d been reluctant about Hoseok befriending a human.

“See, they’re good,” Namjoon tells Jimin, passing him a strawberry.

Jimin takes it, holds it gingerly between his fingers, and then takes a huge bite before he nods, finally relenting, “Yeah, I didn’t say the strawberries weren’t any good, I just said the human—“

“Yoongi, his name is Yoongi,” because if there are people Hoseok will trust when it comes to this name, it’s them, his friends. His brothers. His family.

“Thank you for sharing that with us, Hoseok,” Namjoon says with the grace only a king can have, and then motions for Jimin to follow along, because Hoseok’s really only been worried about Jimin’s reaction, especially after that first day.

“Right, this is what happens when you save humans,” Jimin mumbles, but Hoseok notices that he’s reaching into the basket for another strawberry. “You save their lives—they’re not even indebted to you because you refuse for them to be, and then—and then now we have this situation in our hands,”

Humouring him, Hoseok just hums out his question, head tilting, and his orange hair spilling to one shoulder. It’s getting long again. It’s almost time for him to cut it, because he’s never liked long hair, had always preferred to trim it as soon as it starts to grow out.

Namjoon will beg to differ, and so will Seokjin, but it’s just—it’s just what Hoseok prefers, hates that he has to wake up in the morning and spend long, agonising minutes just detangling it from when sleep had messed it up. 

“What Jimin means is, you made a friend, and that’s great, Seok,” a look passes between the king and his adviser, and Hoseok doesn’t mean it, although he doesn’t question it, because Namjoon may be the king, and they all may be bounded to each other not by blood, but by a brotherhood so strong that nothing else will contest it, but they’re also entitled to their own thoughts. Hoseok doesn’t need to be privy. “It’s nice to see you happy,”

At that, Jimin giggles behind his hand, eyes glittering. “Happy and playing hooky all the time,”

To which Namjoon and Hoseok just groan at, because trust Jimin to ruin this little conversation with the mention of work.

“Anywhere you wanna send me next, I’m already there,” Hoseok tells Namjoon, who nods at him, his smile gentle. “I’ll even take Taehyung with me next time, show him around. He needs more practice, so I think an adventure is in order,” 

There’s suspicion in Namjoon’s gaze, eyebrow raised at that, but whatever it is he wants to say, Jimin beats him to it,

“Please don’t tell me that your definition of practice is asking Taehyung to shift into a horse so you can ride him into the next town over,” 

Hoseok shrugs his shoulders, wanting to remain completely innocent and guiltless of that upcoming crime.

Meanwhile, Namjoon just sighs, but he doesn’t say otherwise, so Hoseok takes it as a win. 

And he’s not heartless.

The fae may be known to be mischievous little tricksters, but they’re not exactly heartless.

See also: Hoseok bringing his friends some strawberries that he could have enjoyed by himself, but chose to enjoy with them instead. 

Not heartless at all. They owe him one.

Jimin seems to know exactly what he’s thinking about, because he bites rather viscously into his next strawberry, a glimmer in his eyes that Hoseok has no want to contest. 

Anyone is better off not contesting Jimin. There’s a reason he’s been an adviser to the King for as long as Namjoon’s taken the throne—and it’s because Jimin, for all intents and purposes, embody the true nature of the fae: he’s a tricky little thing but he’s also fiercely loyal and protective of upholding tradition.

But eating strawberries while the king sits on the throne and the both of them stay sprawled on the floor in the middle of the fucking faerie Court—well, that’s not exactly tradition, but Hoseok’s also learned that Jimin’s helping Namjoon usher in a new age for all of the fae. 

Old traditions are nice, but coming up with new customs and practices to fit the time and age, that’s nice, too.

Passing the empty basket back to Hoseok, Jimin stretches himself out on the floor, eyes closing as if he’s ready to take a nap—in the middle of the Court, right in front of Namjoon. Amazing, and to think everyone who knows Hoseok have said he’s got no limits when it comes to Namjoon. 

They’ve clearly never seen Jimin in his natural habitat. 

“Tell your human we said thanks,” Jimin yawns, a small, serene little smile on his face. 

Namjoon steps down from his throne, walks all the way to where Jimin’s curled on the floor, and shoots an apologetic look at Hoseok. 

“He’s like a cat sometimes,” Namjoon sighs, easily picking Jimin up in his arms, the smaller fae having no problem with getting swept off his feet, because he curls up even more, face buried in Namjoon’s chest. “No, no—it’s fine, I’ve got this. See, he hasn’t really slept in days, so this is good. Really, it’s okay,” 

The amount of times Namjoon’s had to repeat himself, had to repeat okay is a bit worrying, but Hoseok takes his word for it, anyway, especially when he notices just exactly how Namjoon looks at Jimin, asleep in his arms, eyes a different kind of tender, and a smile curling over his lips.

And oh, Hoseok’s never noticed that before, but that’s—

Well, that’s definitely something.

He doesn’t say anything towards that, either, just nods to Namjoon, fingers tightening around the basket. 

Before Namjoon rounds the corner to disappear completely from the Court, Hoseok calls out to him, the tips of his ears suddenly warm.

“He’s not—he’s not my human,” Hoseok says, finally finding his voice. “His name’s Yoongi.” 

Namjoon’s smile widens into a grin, eyes turning into half-crescents as he laughs, all of a sudden, surprising the sleeping Jimin in his arms.

“Of course, Seok,” Namjoon says, laugh still ringing. “I’ve always known that.”

 

 

Yoongi is truly his own person and Hoseok won’t have it any other way, because Yoongi is magical all on his own. Yoongi with the green-thumb and the affinity to be loved by all animals he chooses to call to him. Yoongi with the warm smile and the laugh that always leaves Hoseok breathless, and he might be guarded, as some people ought to be, but that doesn’t mean he’s closed off, because he’s open. So, so open, it almost feels like Hoseok’s rushing into the garden of paradise whenever he sees Yoongi, because there’s nothing but light in his eyes, his fingers, when they trace circles over Hoseok’s cheek absentmindedly, warm. 

He’s got his own brand of magic and at the same time, gets completely enthralled by Hoseok’s, especially now that the weather has turned well and fine, summer breezing right past them, replaced by the early signs of spring—a cool breeze, sunshine that doesn’t beat down harshly against their skin, and the colour of the leaves turning as beautiful as the sunrise—orange and red and yellow, foliage crunching underneath their feet, underneath them as they find themselves in the middle of the meadow this time.

The very same meadow Hoseok had found himself sleeping in when he’d first answered Yoongi’s call—or, at least, when he’d first seen Yoongi, anyway.

It’s not very far from the lake, but here, in the middle of a faerie circle, they are safe. 

“One more time,” Yoongi demands, tapping on Hoseok’s knee. 

Hoseok is all too eager to oblige, his smile warm when he waves his hand over the grass just by Yoongi’s feet. 

Flowers start to bloom, despite the season. Pink and blue and white tulips that sway with the wind coming up tall and beautiful, and magnificent right in front of Yoongi’s eyes. 

When Yoongi laughs in delight, that loud laugh that seems to spill out from his lips, and makes his shoulders tremble—makes all of him shake, as if his laugh is so loud and so powerful his slight frame can’t hold it all—Hoseok just listens, plucking one of the white tulips out from the impromptu flower bed by Yoongi, and passes it to him.

“You’re a bit crazy, aren’t you?” Yoongi asks, turning the flower over in his lap. “I mean—this is amazing, Hoseok. You can do all of this and yet—“ Yoongi stops, plucks another flower from across of him, and then continues. “And yet you spend all your time with me,”

Hoseok laughs with him this time, warm and sounding a lot like the song of the forest, the song of summer finally going to bed to give autumn it’s chance. Hoseok’s laugh and existence is similar to that of the seasons, and right now, Hoseok feels like spring. Like freshly blossomed flowers and trees starting to gain their colour. Like the air getting warmer and the nights growing shorter in favour of longer days, more sunshine. Spring always feels like something new, a beginning—it feels like a new chance to hope.

And if Hoseok is spring, then Yoongi is an evergreen tree. 

“I like spending time with you,” Hoseok says, watching as Yoongi arranges the flowers on his lap. “It’s nice. We’re—we’re friends, aren’t we?”

Yoongi catches his gaze. Holds it for a beat too long. A beat that drums right against Hoseok’s ears. Yoongi nods, finally, and then says, “Of course we are. Although you’ve done more for me than I have for you, so really, I don’t know how much you’re benefiting from this friendship, but—yeah, friends,”

This time, when Hoseok waves a hand over the grass in front of them, instead of a bunch of tulips sprouting up from the ground, only one lone white peony appears. Hoseok watches, waits for it to grow and blossom completely before he pulls it out and passes it over to Yoongi, who places it right in the middle of all the tulips. 

“Being with you makes me happy, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, as easily as someone pointing out how blue the sky is. “It makes me feel alright, if that makes any sense,”

Beside him, Yoongi is tying his little bouquet of flowers with a string that he’s managed to pull out from his pocket.

“These are beautiful,” Yoongi passes the bouquet to Hoseok, who laughs, breathless and short, and passes it back to Yoongi.

“The flowers are for you,” Hoseok says, fingers grazing Yoongi’s when he lays it back down in his palms. “They’re all for you.” 

Yoongi’s fingers tighten around the stems. He looks at Hoseok this time, and Hoseok looks at him, and he smiles a smile that he thinks must be good enough, because Yoongi smiles at him, that little half-smile that Yoongi always smiles when he’s a little bit overwhelmed but pleased at the same time. It’s a nice smile. A really pretty smile, too. 

He’s really pretty, Hoseok thinks, watching as Yoongi brings the flowers up to his face to smell them. Prettier than the flowers. Prettier than everything surrounding them. 

When Yoongi smiles down, a little bit unaware that he is, at his flowers, the look in his eyes gentle, lashes so long they’re almost touching the tops of his cheeks, something inside Hoseok aches. 

Quietly, with the sun slowly starting its descent down the horizon, Yoongi places the flowers between them. Reaches a hand out to take Hoseok’s, allowing their palms to press together in a holy palmer’s kiss that Hoseok holds his breath for, because Yoongi’s touch has always been deliberate. Always delicate.

So when Yoongi finally, finally slips his fingers through the spaces between Hoseok’s and starts to look at their interlaced fingers, blinking down at them before he drags his gaze back up to catch Hoseok’s eyes, Hoseok finally breathes out.

Yoongi exhales a quiet little breath of his own, as if he’d been as nervous about holding Hoseok’s hand again as Hoseok had been just waiting for it. 

They don’t say anything for the rest of the afternoon. They just watch as the sun sets, hands held between them. 

Eventually, they draw closer to each other, the distance between them bridged when Yoongi and Hoseok both scoot closer to each other until there’s hardly any space between them. Until their shoulders are pressed together, and Hoseok can hear Yoongi’s even breathing beside him. 

The sky is the colour of a fire festival and Hoseok’s holding Yoongi’s hand. 

This is more than Hoseok could ever ask for.

More than Hoseok could ever expect. 

 

 

So they find themselves back in the meadow again instead of Yoongi’s garden, and it’s fine. Once, a few days ago, Yoongi had whispered, almost like he didn’t want Hoseok to hear, afraid that he probably was sounding a little too silly, how the meadow was perfect because it’s almost like a middle ground. 

Yoongi had been right then, which is exactly the reason why they’re back again. Why they find themselves often here, with nothing but each other for company, or Yoongi’s cat, or the white horse that Hoseok still envies, because they haven’t got much else to do, not when Yoongi’s garden has gone to sleep, and the flowers that they’ve harvested from Hoseok’s touch alone have been kept in a vase, or spread around Yoongi’s warm little cottage. 

It’s all they have sometimes—this comforting quiet that sits perfectly around them. Sometimes they just talk—they talk about everything that’s happened. They talk about their childhood, and Yoongi asks Hoseok how long ago that was, a question that Hoseok just laughs at, because it’s been a while. It’s been a long time ago, and Yoongi nods like he understands perfectly, and for the first time since Hoseok’s emerged from the storm, he looks at Yoongi and wants to kiss him, just one affectionate kiss on his cheek.

But Hoseok pulls himself back, curls his fingers over his thigh, and instead focuses even more as Yoongi talks about how he’d found his cat—Grimes, of all the names—wailing up a storm during a thunder storm right outside Yoongi’s front door. That had been two years ago, and ever since then they’ve been inseparable. 

In turn, Yoongi listens to Hoseok talk about his sister, too, about how she’s been away for so long it’s almost as if she hasn’t been around just as much. How she’s on her own adventure, visiting another faerie court far, far away, because they’re spread out. Namjoon governs over the East and his sister is all the way up North, where it’s mostly cold all the time and the sun doesn’t shine as often.

Which is just fine, because she thrives in the dark, her magic born from midnight and the stars. Hoseok’s magic was born from the seasons, as was their mother’s—

And Hoseok stops himself, suddenly quiet, the story ending as soon as he’d mentioned his mother, and Yoongi must have noticed the sudden change, how rigid his shoulders have suddenly become, because he taps on Hoseok’s hand—clenched so tightly into a fist now, and brings it to his lap, Yoongi’s deft fingers gently prying Hoseok’s open until Hoseok finally eases up, uncurls his hands, and allows Yoongi to massage it, applying gentle pressure where Hoseok’s nails have left indents.

Hoseok never likes talking about his mother. He doesn’t want—he doesn’t want it to rain. Doesn’t want the rain to ruin this day.

Yoongi seems to understand more than he shows, because he tries to distract Hoseok, the corners of his lips tugging up into its tell-tale smile, “Hey, you wanna play a human game? It’s very boring, but I swear it’s also very human,”

Hoseok’s smile is stiff, eyes a bit unfocused because Yoongi is a blur in front of him. All he can feel is Yoongi’s hand squeezing on his, trying to ease the sting from Hoseok’s own nails by tracing over the lines on his palm. 

The only thing that Hoseok can manage is a nod, and that’s enough for Yoongi, who tugs Hoseok down onto the grass with him, the both of them flat on their backs and staring up at the sky. 

“Tell me what you see, Hoseok,” Yoongi urges him, voice gentle, like the sound of water in a shallow stream, passing over rocks, so smooth with time and circumstance. 

Hoseok stares up at the sky, wills himself to focus. Tethers himself to Yoongi, who holds onto his hand, squeezing it gently between them. 

Tell me what you see, rings again, and Hoseok finally, finally starts to see, the sky a gentle blue, the sun nowhere in sight. The clouds pass by overhead, fluffy and wispy and all too much, and tell me what you see

Hoseok sees it all, he sees a blue so vast he thinks he might drown in the sky before he can drown in the ocean. He sees the clouds drift by—sees all the fond memories people have attached to these clouds, hoping one day that someone may benefit from them. Hoseok attaches his own fond memory to a cloud—this specific time, this moment right now, with the both of them just staring up at the sky, willing shapes to appear, watching, waiting. Together.

Tell me what you see,

“I see—I see a rose,” Hoseok says, voice sounding wet. Cracked. 

If Yoongi notices, he doesn’t point it out. 

“Lovely. I see a giraffe,” now that’s got to be a lie, but Yoongi hadn’t called him out earlier, so Hoseok let’s it slide, too. 

“What else do you see?” Hoseok isn’t giving up on this game, but he wants to see what Yoongi sees—what Yoongi finds up in the sky. Is it the clouds, or is it the stars far beyond this sky, far beyond their world? Is it everything else—constellations so faint to the naked eye, especially at this time. Is it the moon, sleeping? Or is it  the sun, biding his time until he can come out again at full force during the summer?

Tell me what you see,

“I see clouds shaped like clouds,” Yoongi finally says, and that’s it, that’s all Hoseok needs to hear.

His laugh trips past his lips, surprised and breathless, and everything else that Hoseok’s suddenly started to feel again, talking about his sister, about his mother. It all spills out in this laugh, and all the while Yoongi just holds tightly onto his hand, listens to him laugh, and then when his laughter subsides, listens to Hoseok sniffle, breath hitching, because he’s close. He’s so close to the rain, he can smell it.

Petrichor. 

Hoseok isn’t crying. He won’t cry. 

Overhead, the clouds turn grey, the sky growing darker. Beside him, Yoongi muses.

“That one looks like mashed potato,” Yoongi squeezes on Hoseok’s hand, to try and bring him back. To drag him out of his own thoughts. It works, if only slightly. Hoseok can barely see anything if not for the wetness in his eyes. “That other one—I’m not joking here, but that one looks like a bunny,”

Hoseok actually searches the sky for that, trying to search for the bunny. He thinks he spots it, just a little bit to their left. If anything—and only if he’s slightly generous—it looks like a deformed bunny.

Yoongi runs his thumb over Hoseok’s, his touch warm, despite the sudden change in weather. 

Hoseok is okay. Hoseok is okay. He’s fine, he can’t keep thinking about his mother and crying, affecting the entire kingdom. No, he has to be better at this—and he is, he really is, except for that stint in the village, a few weeks ago. That had taken too long and heavy a toll.

Perhaps he’s not ready to get back into things, at least, not yet. 

“Tell me what you see,” Yoongi repeats, turning to look at Hoseok.

Hoseok tears his gaze away from the sky and looks to Yoongi, laying on his back, dark hair a stark contrast to the yellowing green of the grass, to the reds and oranges of the leaves. Yoongi will always be a determining factor, Hoseok thinks—will always be the only distinction one needs.

So Hoseok looks at Yoongi, and tries not to think about the clouds. Tries not to think about his sister and his mother and his family, because they might be gone, but he’s got another one back at Court. So he thinks about them instead—about Seokjin and his honey-laugh, Jimin and the miracle that is his voice, Taehyung with the heart of a lion and Jeongguk with the eyes that seem to only wish his brothers peace and prosperity, because they’ve all lived long lives, and then—

And then there’s Namjoon. Hoseok thinks about Namjoon and he feels calmer. Namjoon’s always been his rock.

Hoseok doesn’t realise he’s been closing his eyes until he opens them again to see Yoongi slowly come into focus and everything else go a little bit blurry, like the whole world is in a perpetual blur and Yoongi’s the only one sharpened, the only one Hoseok can see, now that he’s looking at him.

“I see you,” Hoseok says, breath thin. He’s trying, he really is, because he doesn’t want it to rain. Doesn’t want this afternoon ruined. Hoseok lifts a hand slowly, reaching out to touch Yoongi’s face, fingers trembling. 

Yoongi doesn’t stop him, so Hoseok continues, a single finger tracing over Yoongi’s cheek, following the line of his jaw until he settles it under his chin, tapping on it gently. 

Hoseok continues, “I see you and all that’s wonderful about you, Yoongi,”

Above them, the clouds pass, the grey sky slowly starting to fade in the wake of the upcoming sunset. The sky suddenly starts to bleed an orange and a red so powerful, it colours the whole meadow in the last rays of sunshine. 

It spills over Yoongi’s face, his dark hair, it shines right in his eyes, and Yoongi’s not breaking eye contact at all, because he sees Hoseok, too, has always seen Hoseok. 

“I see you, too,” Yoongi whispers, closing his eyes. He brings Hoseok’s hand up to his chest, keeps it clutched right over his heart, and breathes out slowly. “Come on, Hoseok, breathe with me,”

Hoseok counts Yoongi’s inhales. His exhales.

He breathes with him. 

Feels the air between them calm, the breeze warmer now, in the light of the sunset. 

Yoongi breathes.

Hoseok breathes with him.

When Yoongi breathes out, Hoseok does, too.

And they do this for a few moments, Hoseok following after Yoongi, one hand cupping Yoongi’s cheek, the other clutched tightly in Yoongi’s hand. They’re locked together like this, two parenthesis staring at each other, Yoongi with his long lashes and his high cheekbones, orange and red from the sunset, and Hoseok with his rain-forest heart and eyes that seem to not want to look past this moment, because history haunts him. His past haunts him, and Yoongi puts him at ease.

Yoongi grounds him.

Hoseok is all too happy to be closer to the Earth, now. 

It comes sudden, as sleep sometimes does—it pulls him under, the last thing Hoseok hears a ruffling of robes, and then Yoongi’s gentle voice, telling him that all he needs to do sometimes is close his eyes and count his breathing. 

So Hoseok falls asleep out in the meadow with Yoongi holding his hand, the both of them smack-dab in the middle of a faerie circle, and it’s safe. The safest place anyone can fall asleep out here in the open.

Hoseok trusts Yoongi enough to allow himself rest here, and Yoongi must feel the same because he falls asleep right next to Hoseok, their heads brought close together, foreheads almost touching, and their hands held between them.

When Hoseok wakes up much, much later, the sky is completely dark, the stars now twinkling rather happily, pleased that rain has not come to shoo them out from their corner of the sky. The moon seems to be the only source of light, a faint shimmer on them—around them, with them, because that’s the only explanation for how Hoseok’s heart skips a beat when Hoseok comes to, fully awake, only to find Yoongi dozing beside him, chest rising and falling, and lips parted slightly. 

What do you see,

Hoseok sees that their fingers are still loosely laced together. Hoseok sees Yoongi. Hoseok sees someone he cares about more than—more than he can ever imagine. 

Hoseok sees Yoongi and he thinks there’s nothing quite like him. 

What do you see,

For the first time in a very long time, Hoseok sees what it must be like to be completely captivated by someone. 

It’s like looking at the sunrise after a particularly bad summer storm, when the air is warm against his cheeks, and everything smells like fresh grass, and the grey sky breaks out, the storm clouds pushed away to make way for the clear blue that everyone seems to hold dear in their hearts. 

What do you see,

The first sunbeam that breaks across the sky, signalling the end of the storm, and the start of a better day. 

That’s Yoongi.

It’s Yoongi.

What do you see,

Hoseok sees Yoongi. 

 

 

The day Hoseok realises he’s in love with the human is the same day it starts to rain particularly hard. It’s nothing on Hoseok this time, because the seasons have changed, and with summer gone and autumn well on its way into settling all over this part of the world, so does the rain, coming in waves and torrents that even Hoseok can’t escape from.

Hoseok is drenched, shivering, even. But he’ll take care of it when he gets inside, where it’s warm and it smells like peppermint tea and strawberries. 

What he doesn’t expect is Yoongi spotting him from the slip in his blinds, from the window.

Hoseok doesn’t expect Yoongi to rush out of the door, tripping over himself and nearly falling when he slips on the path. Yoongi catches himself before he makes more of a fool of himself, before he hurts himself, and rushes to meet Hoseok halfway, a distance away from his front door.

In no time at all does Yoongi get soaked, too, hair sticking to his face, and the raindrops clinging to his eyelashes. 

Hoseok opens his arms out to catch Yoongi, who barrels right into them, and it’s the rain, the sound of the storm, the roll of the thunder and the clap of the lightning, it’s because of all of that that Hoseok barely manages to hear what Yoongi’s saying. 

When he realises that Yoongi’s talking, raising his voice to be heard over the sound of this terrible storm, Hoseok starts to listen, straining his ears, fingers folding over Yoongi’s shoulder to keep him from shaking so much, because he’s cold, they’re both so cold, they’re both drenched, and god, why is Yoongi out here, why did Yoongi do this—he could have waited in the cottage, could have just stayed warm and safe, but now here they are, out in the middle of a storm, and Hoseok—

Hoseok hears him, finally. Finally. 

“Are you okay, Hoseok—Hoseok, what’s going on—“ Yoongi asks, again and again, a litany of oh my god, what happened, are you okay, please talk to me and Yoongi holds him this time, fingers tight around Hoseok’s arms, nails biting into his skin. He looks so, so worried, and so pale—he looks like he might get sick if he stays out too long in the rain, so Hoseok pulls him close to him. Pulls him to his chest and wraps both of his arms around Yoongi, lips pressing into his hair, leaving wet kisses, trying to combat the rain. The storm.

It’s useless.

Hoseok is powerless against this, but he tries, anyway, says it right into Yoongi’s ear this time, because it’s the only way he can be heard, “Yoongi—Yoongi, this isn’t me. It’s not me—it’s just raining. It’s just a storm. It always storms in October, did you forget?”

Yoongi suddenly falls very still in his arms, but he does still keep Hoseok close to him in a hug, Yoongi’s embrace so, so tight, Hoseok thinks he might need help breathing, might need to remind Yoongi that even if he’s a faerie he still needs air, and—

“Oh my god, I’m an idiot,” Yoongi yells, eyes wide, crazed. He looks so, so embarrassed, and even with the rain, even in the middle of this goddamn storm, Yoongi still has the gall to look scandalised by what he’d just done. He looks away from Hoseok to stare up at the sky—completely dark for two in the afternoon, and he curses, again and again, until Hoseok laughs, combatting the rain, but being powerless against it, and it’s fine, it really is, because everything is okay, and Yoongi had just been beside himself, worried so, so much for someone like Hoseok.

For Hoseok.

Hoseok presses endless kisses into Yoongi’s hair, hands coming up to his face, to look at him, to beg him to lift his gaze from the ground so he can see the look on Hoseok’s face, see that Hoseok’s not laughing at him but at the storm, and it’s fine, it’s fine, I’m fine, Yoongi, I’m okay, this storm isn’t me, it’s not raining, I’m not making it rain—this is just natural, this is the season. Please, don’t be worried—or embarrassed, I—I’m fine, Hoseok kissing Yoongi’s wet hair, his temples, and then the tops of his cheeks, because it’s the only thing he’ll allow himself access to, even when Yoongi’s fingers tighten around his wrist, eyes imploring. Eyes wanting, wanting, wanting, waiting.

“Are you afraid of the rain, my love?” Hoseok asks, pulling Yoongi along beside him, because they can’t keep standing out here, not when it risks a fever and a cold the next day for Yoongi. “I can—I can try something, I’ll try for you,”

It’s hard to bring on the rain, but even harder to make it stop, because bringing it down all Hoseok really needs to do is think of his mother. Making it stop—he doesn’t know what to think about that, except.

Except perhaps all he’ll have to think about is Yoongi, rushing to him, worry so clear on his face, and hands still warm when he touches Hoseok, when he holds onto him. Perhaps he can try, if that’s what Yoongi wants.

But Yoongi shakes his head, falling into step beside Hoseok. Refuses to speak until they’re safe in the cottage, Yoongi’s clothes on a pile by the door, shoes forgotten somewhere as he rifles through his drawers to get into something dry, something warm. 

While waiting for him to dry himself, Hoseok sits in front of the fireplace. There is no need for wood, not when Hoseok is an elemental faerie—the strongest of their kind, in recent times. He taps the fire place once, and fire springs from nothing. It is enough to warm his hands when he sticks them out in front of him. 

They’re warm enough that when Yoongi settles down beside him, hand already reaching out for Hoseok’s, he comments about it. “Warm,” is all Yoongi says, before he closes the distance between them and burrows into Hoseok’s side. “You’re warm,”

Hoseok is also considerably much, much dryer than five minutes ago, but that also comes with the perks of being an elemental faerie. Fire is one of the elements, isn’t it. 

Hoseok loops an arm around Yoongi’s shoulder, waiting until his shivers subside. It’s only when Yoongi finally breathes out a sigh of relief that Hoseok passes him a cup of peppermint tea. 

Yoongi accepts it, takes a careful sip, and then sets it down in front of them. He rests his head on Hoseok’s chest, and his breathing evens out. Yoongi is warmer, now. Calmer, too. 

“No, I’m not scared of the storm,” Yoongi finally answers Hoseok, the fireplace flickering in his eyes. “I was—I was worried. Afraid that something had happened—“ a pause, Yoongi tearing his gaze away from the fireplace to look at Hoseok. “I thought something had happened to you.” 

Instead of answering him, Hoseok just meets Yoongi’s eyes, and then, very carefully, twists a little bit until he’s looking at Yoongi directly now. He taps a finger to Yoongi’s cheek, a silent question, a plea, of sorts, and Yoongi nods, eyes wide, surprise, perhaps, unaware of what Hoseok wants to do. What Hoseok will do.

But Yoongi nods, anyway, and Hoseok smiles down at him. He doesn’t kiss Yoongi. 

Hoseok just knocks their foreheads together, closes his eyes, and waits for their breathing to settle. Waits for the air around them to warm up, despite of the storm. Hoseok waits it out with Yoongi, who falls into a quiet little hum. 

The fire crackles, the cat meows somewhere in the back, and Yoongi opens his eyes, nose nudging Hoseok’s.

Hoseok opens his eyes, too, and he sees it again—sees the first ray of sunlight after a particularly bad storm. That’s Yoongi. That’s what Yoongi is. 

“I’m completely enchanted by you, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, voice barely above a whisper. 

“Sure,” Yoongi says, though his voice betrays his earlier bravado. He sounds a little nervous, and Hoseok doesn’t understand why, because he’s okay, they’re okay, they’re warm and safe and in each other’s arms, and Hoseok’s completely captivated, so, so in love, he thinks, that he’s fine with whatever Yoongi gives him, whatever the olive branch entails. 

Hoseok’s fine, he really is, but when Yoongi closes the gap between them with a kiss that he presses tentatively on Hoseok’s lips, Hoseok almost forgets what it’s like to breathe. 

Yoongi’s lips are still cold, but it’s a kiss, it’s a kiss, it’s a kiss, and Hoseok kisses him back, an innocent, close-mouthed kiss that warms him up from the top of his head to his toes, Yoongi’s fingers curling over Hoseok’s shoulder as he presses closer. 

It’s wonderful and magical and everything Hoseok had not expected because he’s always been too afraid to expect good things, afraid that all the people he’s ever truly cared about will leave. But Yoongi is here and he’s kissing Hoseok and Hoseok can’t help it, he laughs half-way into the kiss and finds that Yoongi’s laughing, too, a nervous little chuckle that Hoseok is completely enamoured by because he leaves a trail of kisses on Yoongi’s cheek, follows the trail down to his jaw, and then to the corner of his mouth, until Yoongi sighs right against Hoseok’s lips, and they kiss again, warmer now, no sense of urgency at all, just a tender quiet that settles over them, and wraps them both up in the smell of cinnamon and peppermint, the sound of the fireplace crackling enough to drown out the storm outside.

What do you see—Hoseok hears the question again, and he smiles, because Hoseok—

Hoseok sees love. 

It is the brightest, warmest feeling he’s ever seen. 

 

 

The morning comes like this—

It comes quietly, as most things do after the storm.

It comes in the form of sunlight seeping through Yoongi’s curtains. 

It comes in the form of Yoongi’s cat butting his head right into Hoseok’s, Hoseok startling awake, a little jostled by his surroundings, because he’s never really spent the night away from the Court before—and if he has, then he’s never really slept.

It takes him a while until he remembers where he is. 

Beside him, Yoongi stirs, the blanket drawn higher over his shoulders. He’s shivering slightly, probably from the storm last night, and Hoseok’s heart sinks as he runs his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, as he watches Yoongi lean into the touch, into the warmth, murmuring something like, It’s too early, Hoseok, come back to sleep, and Hoseok is surprised at that, surprised that he’s here, now, in bed with Yoongi—

Although.

Although nothing happened, because Hoseok remembers last night so clearly. So fondly.

He remembers them kissing once, twice, and then another few more times, until Yoongi tumbled into Hoseok’s arms, and they crashed to the floor, laughing, laughing, trading cups of peppermint for rose petal tea and honey that Hoseok had swiped away from Seokjin the other day, just so Yoongi could have a taste.

They pass warm cups of tea to each other and Yoongi burrows close to Hoseok, tells him that the bed is much, much warmer, and it won’t mean anything—at least, it doesn’t have to, now, because they need the blankets, they need the pillows, and Hoseok had wanted that, wanted all of that—he still wants it, and the rest of the night had gone by just like that, with their laughter turning into quiet whispers as Hoseok recounted the storm, as Yoongi laughed quietly to himself, saying something like he must’ve looked like a right fool, and Hoseok—

Hoseok had just shaken his head, kissed Yoongi one more time, and smiled against his lips, no, no, no, never a fool, I understand, and I’m grateful. I’m grateful for you. I’ll be grateful for a long, long time. For as long as Hoseok will breathe, he thinks, now. 

Yoongi’s feet are cold right next to Hoseok’s, and Hoseok winces, more out of surprise than anything, because he’s used to the cold. His room back in the palace has always been cold. Always, always, always.

So it’s not foreign to him, not a stranger.

Except this time, it’s Yoongi, and Hoseok doesn’t want him to be cold. He wants Yoongi to be warm and wonderful and cosy, so he runs his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, kisses his forehead rather fondly, and then rolls off the bed to start working in the kitchen.

The fae may be known for their magic, but they’re also known for something else—everything they touch blossoms. Flowers, fruits, vegetables. Which explains how good Hoseok can be in the kitchen, when all he can work with is oats and fruits and orange that he squeezes into two cups, while he waits for the kettle to boil, because he knows Yoongi will want tea, to keep him warm.

It’s still a little bit cold outside, but Hoseok suspects that it’s going to start getting colder, now that summer is over. Now that they’re well into the fall already. 

Hoseok manages to whip some oatmeal up for Yoongi, warm and piled with strawberries and berries as well as a cup of orange juice with just a few drops of honey. Hoseok sets the juice aside in favour of the tea, this time it’s just lemongrass tea, because it helps the best with colds.

He climbs back into bed with Yoongi, careful not to spill the tea and the oatmeal, and very gently sets the plate and cup down on the bedside table.

Hoseok folds his fingers over Yoongi’s shoulder, his good morning coming out quiet, quiet, quiet, because Hoseok doesn’t want to startle Yoongi awake. 

“Come on, let’s get you warmed up,” Hoseok murmurs, fingers carding through Yoongi’s hair, imploring him to wake up.

Yoongi’s fingers reach out to Hoseok, locking around his wrist, thumb drawing lazy circles on the inside of his wrist. He stirs before he opens his eyes, grumbling something about how the fae should be damned for waking up so goddamn early, and god, it’s cold, “I’m so cold, Hoseok,” 

Hoseok throws an extra blanket around Yoongi’s shoulders, brings him close to his side. Cuddles him, trying to share as much heat as he can to Yoongi without burning him, because fire is a tricky element, and Hoseok doesn’t want to play around with it if it means he might endanger Yoongi. So in lieu of starting up an impromptu bonfire right in the middle of Yoongi’s bedroom, Hoseok passes him the cup of lemongrass tea, urging him to take a sip, “It’ll make you feel better. Warm you right back up,”

Yoongi does as he’s told, surprisingly more pliant and quiet when he’s sick—Hoseok doesn’t like it, because Yoongi’s sick—but he does find it kind of, well, kind if adorable. If there’s a positive outcome to this whole situation, then it’s that Yoongi becomes more adorable when he gets sick. 

It takes Yoongi a few more sips until he’s finally stopped shivering, breathing out a sigh of relief as he slumps against Hoseok, one hand now thrown over Hoseok’s middle as he burrows even closer to him, fitting himself right into his side, and this—

This is a shock to Hoseok, but it’s one that he welcomes, because he loves surprises, and Yoongi.

Even if they both fit like two puzzle pieces that don’t go together at all and have just been forced to connect, and that’s fine, that’s wonderful, too, because the point of it all is that they’ve tried, since day one, and even now they’re still trying, their movements jerky, their kisses awkward, especially when Hoseok tries to kiss Yoongi’s forehead the same time Yoongi attempts to kiss Hoseok’s cheek.

Hoseok hits his forehead on Yoongi’s nose and Yoongi groans, head falling back. 

“That was a bad idea,” Yoongi says, sounding deeply pained from what had just happened. “Let’s try that next time, when I’m better,”

Hoseok laughs into Yoongi’s hair, fingers squeezing gently on Yoongi’s shoulder. He nods his head, but he tries again, anyway, this time succeeding when Yoongi just lifts his head up, like he’s expecting it. Hoseok kisses his forehead once, and then blows a few strands of hair away from Yoongi’s face, voice warm when he says, “Go back to sleep. I’ll take care of you,”

Yoongi’s hold around Hoseok’s middle tightens. “Keep me warm,”

It goes without saying.

“Of course, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, hand slipping under Yoongi’s sleep-shirt so it can settle on the small of his back, already doing as Yoongi’s asked, because Hoseok can try. Hoseok will try all the time, for Yoongi. With Yoongi. “Of course.”

 

 

Hoseok’s summoned back to the faerie court when a raven comes knocking on Yoongi’s window, a day after the morning of the storm. Yoongi’s much better, now. The fever is gone, although he still sneezes from time to time.

But, mostly, he’s okay. Yoongi’s okay. 

Which is exactly what Yoongi tells him when he practically kicks Hoseok out of his house, although he does help Hoseok back into his cloak, tying it loosely around the neck, and pushing his hood back so he can see him, so Yoongi can raise both hands up to Hoseok’s face to frame it. 

“Go, my idiot of a faerie,” Yoongi murmurs, sounding so, so fond Hoseok’s heart aches.

Yoongi tilts his head up and meets Hoseok half-way there for a kiss, Hoseok kissing Yoongi back with a quiet sense of urgency, because now that he knows what it’s like to kiss Yoongi, to hold his hand, to be with him in all the ways he could have only imagined, it’s hard to tear himself away from him.

“I’ll be back soon,” Hoseok promises, unable to untangle his fingers from Yoongi’s.

Yoongi raises their clasped hands up to his mouth, kissing the back of Hoseok’s hand. One kiss for each knuckle. 

“Very soon,” Hoseok says with a grin, and Yoongi absolutely beams up at him.

“Go,” Yoongi says, pushing Hoseok playfully out the door. “Go and come back,”

“Do you want anything?” Hoseok stops just before the bend to yell it out to Yoongi, who shakes his head, and says,

“Don’t take too long this time,” Yoongi calls out, a twinge of annoyance in his voice, one that Hoseok thinks has stemmed from the last time he’d been gone for a while, from when Yoongi had nearly punched him right in the ribs for asking him to admit that he’d missed Hoseok. Twice, Yoongi had to say it.

Hoseok smiles at the memory. 

Hoseok waves at Yoongi, hopes that his smile can still reach him, from where he stands, and then heads towards the forest, because the Court calls, and for once in his life, Hoseok is actually excited about this, and only because it means the faster he gets the job done, the sooner he can come back and visit Yoongi again. 

 

 

The next trip Hoseok takes, he takes with Taehyung.

Taehyung sits perched on Hoseok’s shoulder, a little black raven that occasionally nips at Hoseok’s ear. 

“Stop it,” Hoseok says, giving Taehyung his hand to jump on to.

Taehyung flaps his wings, squawks rather disdainfully at Hoseok, and then jumps off his shoulder to fly a few circles around him, his beady little eyes staring down at Hoseok the entire time.

Hoseok plants both hands on either side of his hips as he looks up at Taehyung, trying to will him to get the fuck down because they’re half-way through their journey and Taehyung’s already bored. 

Finally, Taehyung gives up, landing back down onto the ground. He ruffles his feathers and then, in a feat that’s amazing every time Hoseok sees it, transforms back into his original form, long dark hair swept back, and his dark cloak pulled over his shoulders, a single ruby pendant resting on the base of his neck. It glows red hot every time Taehyung transforms, and Hoseok confirms that now, tapping a finger on it. 

Taehyung playfully slaps his hand away and says, voice still a bit heavy from the transformation, “Hey, hands off the merchandise,”

Hoseok rolls his eyes. “Y’know humans only say that when they’ve got actual merchandise to sell,”

But Taehyung’s not hearing it anymore, the younger boy running away from Hoseok, an amused smile he shoots at Hoseok when he looks over his shoulder.

Hoseok shakes his head, but he follows right after him anyway, shoulders already hunching because he can feel what’s waiting for them up ahead. 

He calls for Taehyung to slow down now that they’re nearing the mortal king’s land. Now that they’ve found themselves surrounded in mist. 

A hand reaches out to Hoseok in the fog, Taehyung holding onto him, afraid that they’ll lose each other with how thick the fog and the mist has gotten, and Hoseok lets him hold his hand. He grips Taehyung’s hand a little tighter than normal, too, because they don’t know what’s waiting for them in the mist. 

The king’s expecting them, but what about the other humans?

That’s really the only explanation how they have to travel with their ears hidden, and even then it’s obvious that they’re not human—the limbs, the eyes, even a single strand of hair is enough to set them apart. 

Taehyung is hardly one to miss, too, because even by fae standards, he’s just something else all on his own. Tall and beautiful with an air of mystery around him that can only be explained as the young fae boy still growing into his new role, into his powers, harnessing his magic until he’s mastered it. 

For someone who can shape-shift into any creature in the world, Taehyung sure is afraid of the fog.

Hoseok tries his best to dispel it, but it’s no use, because once they take a few more steps closer towards the city, the rain starts to fall down in earnest. 

“Make it stop,” Taehyung hisses, curling up against Hoseok’s side, suddenly annoyed at the rain. “It’s cold, Hoseok,” 

Try as Hoseok might to pacify Taehyung, he just can’t, because there’s no way for him to stop the rain, at least, not right now, anyway. They’ve got to meet the king first, be polite. Respectable. Perhaps even a little amicable before Hoseok can do what he’s been sent out to do. 

And meet the king they do, the royal guards guiding them through the palace and into the human king’s throne room, where the man sits in a throne made out of gold and silver and diamonds, and rubies, and it’s so ostentatious compared to the throne Namjoon’s got back in the Court.

Humans have always been flashy creatures. It’s often led to their own demise, Hoseok thinks.

The king welcomes them with open arms but with eyes that seem not to trust them completely, because this is mainly a business deal. A partnership. It doesn’t matter who they send as long as they send someone to help them, and Hoseok’s always asked why they do this, why they allow themselves to be in the service of humans, and Namjoon had just shaken his head and said that this is a two-way street, that it’s beneficial for the both of them.

If it’s so beneficial then explain the stigma against them, but that’s really a can of worms Hoseok doesn’t want to unleash now, so instead of telling the king to hurry up with his agenda, he just bows his head politely. Beside him, Taehyung follows. 

They’re escorted into the banquet hall, wine and juice and food laid out in front of them, plates of beef and pork everywhere around them. 

This is Taehyung’s first time out of the Court, and he visibly pales at the sight of the food, at the animals on a platter, and Hoseok reaches to him, closes his fingers around Taehyung’s clenched fist, and gives it a squeeze. 

“We don’t have to eat,” Hoseok tells him, because not once has he ever eaten anything the king has given him. And it just shows how hospitable they are to be serving a bunch of faeries cows and pigs and whatever else they can get their hands on, and it makes Hoseok’s stomach churn, the sound of the storm far away from so deep in this castle.

There’s a few plates of fruit and vegetables set in front of them, but the amount of meat dwarfs it by comparison, and all the while during dinner Hoseok just taps Taehyung’s leg, reminding him to breathe, to drink water if he wants, because this won’t be long, now. He also passes Taehyung a cherry, because it seems like it’s the only thing they can eat here without risking food poisoning, and god, how stupid is the king to not even treat his guests like actual guests when all he wants is to boss them around, tell them what to do?

Hoseok has to bring this up with Namjoon as soon as he comes back, because he’s had enough of the roasted pig and chicken and whatever else humans have thought of for dinner. He’s had enough.

Which is exactly the same time that the king closes his long and winding speech about how it’s been raining for three months, and how there’s a flood in certain parts of his kingdom, and that’s just not good, not for his people, and not for his crops, so would the faerie that’s always visited them during these seasonal troubles please help them once again?

Hoseok’s nod is curt as he takes Taehyung’s hand in his, following one of the king’s advisers, probably, who leads them to their own room, tells them that they can get started tomorrow.

“I’ll get started tonight, I think,” Hoseok tells him, but he accepts the room, anyway, if only to sit Taehyung down and confirm if he’s okay, reassure him, because this is his fault, he’d forgotten how these dinners would run on. Forgotten just what exactly passes as dinner for the king. 

Once they’re in their private chambers and everything is quiet except for the sound of the rain pelting against the window, Hoseok sits Taehyung down on the bed. Gathers him up in a hug and presses a kiss to the side of his head, “Hey, hey, I have something here—Seokjin packed us something. Here, take this, Tae, eat this,” Hoseok presses a single cube of ambrosia past Taehyung’s lips, watches as Taehyung chews around it and swallows. 

The colour isn’t completely back to his face, but Hoseok’s got a drink for that. He’s got Seokjin’s tea for that, enough to last them a few days. Enough to nurse Taehyung’s upset stomach. 

“Come on, just rest up. I’ll go see what I can do and then we’ll be out of here by sunrise, does that sound like a plan?” Taehyung nods at Hoseok, eyes closing. Hoseok brushes Taehyung’s hair back, trying to smile down at him. “Sorry, I forgot how barbaric humans can be,”

“Some humans,” Taehyung tells him, finally finding his voice. He sounds better, now, cheeks pinched pink. “Your Yoongi is nowhere like the rest of them,” 

Hoseok’s breath hitches, his heart stuttering.

All the while Taehyung looks at him with bright, innocent eyes that seem to speak more than he’s actually said, and a smile that toys on the verge of amused and—and endeared. 

When Hoseok finds his voice, he nods his head, and says, “You’re right. Yoongi’s special,”

Yoongi has always been special, and it warms Hoseok’s heart when he realises just how that’s a fact, now. How it’s something his friends accept—his brothers have taken to heart, too, even if they haven’t met Yoongi yet. 

“Rest now, Tae. I’ll go see what I can do, okay?” Hoseok pulls the blanket high up to Taehyung’s shoulders, lays a small bag of the extra food Seokjin had packed for them right next to him, in case he needs more, and then sets out to the large floor-to-ceiling doors that led out to the balcony. 

Hoseok pulls his hood up onto his head, but even the action is futile, given just how much the wind is blowing, how hard the rain is falling. Up ahead he can see just where the king had spoken about the floods—it doesn’t look that bad, at least, not yet, but harvest season is over, and the amount of food and grain lost will definitely affect this city come the winter, so Hoseok nods his head, steels his resolve, and looks up at the sky. 

See, being an elemental faerie has its drawbacks. One of them is that Hoseok has to rely mainly on his emotions, on his feelings to even get started on his magic, to get anything done. Which is why it’s always so, so heavy on his part to bring on the rain, because it’s decades worth of memories—a century, even, when he thinks about his family. When he thinks about love and loss. It’s all of that pain balled up into one single moment.

He’s never really tried to stop the rain because experience with it has assured them all that when it rains, it rains, and when its time to stop, it’ll stop. This time, though, it doesn’t look like it’ll let up soon. And Hoseok understands the urgency, understands that this isn’t just a foolish human king’s whim, so sick is he of the sound of the rain that he wants it stopped. This time, he’s concerned for his own people. There is a good reason, now.

So Hoseok closes his eyes and thinks of all the reasons why the rain should stop. He pulls to mind a good memory, because that’s the only way to bring the sun out, to overpower the dark grey clouds enough to make it stop. He thinks about his friends, first. His brothers. He thinks about that day at the beach, the sound of Jimin’s voice guiding them into a rest that they’ve needed and hadn’t had the luxury in such a long time. He remembers Jeongguk as he played on his lyre, and Taehyung’s voice, deeper, stronger, a wonderful, perfect harmony with Jimin’s. 

He also thinks about how Seokjin’s always there with a punch-line or two, and open arms that seem to always welcome Hoseok back, even when all Hoseok does in his clinic is break cups and demand for more tea than one single fae can handle. Hoseok thinks about Seokjin and he feels warm. The same can be said about Namjoon, who always seems sorry that he has to send Hoseok away for these trips. Who understands how hard it is and tries to make it better whenever Hoseok returns. Namjoon understands—Namjoon, the one brother Hoseok’s always had, ever since he’d been a baby, nursing still in his mother’s arms. There had been Namjoon, for as long as Hoseok can remember.

And then Hoseok thinks back to Yoongi—to his eyes and to his button nose and his cheeks that seem to fit right into the palm of Hoseok’s hand, to his lips that had felt so soft, so tender, Hoseok had ached, felt so, so pained just kissing him, because Yoongi is special and Yoongi had kissed him and he’d been worried out of his mind, worried himself literally until he’d gotten sick over Hoseok, and no one has ever really done that, worried themselves sick just because Hoseok’s an idiot, and Hoseok hears it, too,

My idiot faerie, and it’s endearing and fond and all Hoseok can hear, Yoongi’s voice warm like honey. 

Hoseok breathes in. The rain slows down, finally, when he thinks back to that moment at the meadow, when all Yoongi had done was hold his hand and look at him, as in, really look at him with eyes that see past everything Hoseok’s ever thrown over himself. Glamour and walls and humour and a laughter so loud if only to compensate for the rain inside his mind. Yoongi sees through all of that and Hoseok feels a warmth in his stomach and in his heart. 

What do you see, Yoongi had asked.

Hoseok opens his eyes, and he sees it, now. He sees it for real.

The sun breaks through the heavy dark clouds, the rain pushed aside until there’s nothing left, the fog lifted, the first sunbeam after a storm. There’s a faint shimmering in the air, the seven colours of the rainbow starting to form, something magnificent and breathtaking that even Hoseok has to stare for a while, completely captivated.

By the time he’s finished, by the time he’s dried himself off and stepped back into the room, the rain’s completely gone and the sun has already risen. The sky is a bright blue and the sun hangs high up right in the middle of it all, the rainbow a reminder that the rain doesn’t always bring with it inconvenience and destruction.

Taehyung is awake the second Hoseok enters, the grin on his face absolutely beaming.

“Time to go home?” Taehyung asks, rolling off of the bed to slip back into his shoes, to pull his cloak back over his shoulders.

Hoseok smiles back at Taehyung, feeling considerably light, and a lot warmer in this October weather, “Time to go home.”

 

 

It doesn’t take long for Hoseok to make his way out of the Court and then into the backwoods that would lead to Yoongi’s little corner of the village. He lives so far away from the rest of his people that Hoseok wonders if it’s safe, if he’s fine living here—but really, so far, so good.

Yoongi’s mentioned taking trips to the market, either in this village or the next, when he runs out of supplies. Anything he can grow, he grows himself. He’s very self-sufficient, Hoseok’s observed. It’s quite admirable.

Which is why, when he finally comes back after being gone for—what, for a week or two? Perhaps twelve days or so—he finds the flowers on Yoongi’s front porch parched and wilting, the ones that Hoseok had helped him cultivate, especially for the winter season. 

They don’t look like they’ve been taken care of the past few days. Hoseok doesn’t have time to check the backyard, see if Yoongi’s there, because he already has a bad feeling about this—up ahead, the clouds roll by, the wind picking up. It’s colder, all of a sudden.

Inside, when Hoseok finally jimmies the lock open and pushes his way into Yoongi’s little cottage, he finds that it’s in a little bit of disarray. There are empty plates and mugs with tea still in them, stale, of course. He finds Yoongi’s cat pacing outside the door to Yoongi’s room, and Hoseok bends down quickly, pats a hand on his head, and then whispers, “What’s going on, Grimes?”

The cat just bumps his head against Hoseok’s hand, pawing at Yoongi’s door.

Hoseok really doesn’t like how he’s getting a bad feeling out of this, because the last time he’d left Yoongi, he’d been—

Well, he’d been better. And it had just been a cold, hadn’t it? A fever, at most. But Yoongi had gotten better. Warmer, as he kissed Hoseok goodbye and laughed.

What greets Hoseok when he steps inside Yoongi’s bedroom is one that almost makes his heart stop completely, because it’s Yoongi curled up in a corner of the bed, hand dangling limply over the bed, and pale—almost like he hasn’t gone out in a while.

Hoseok crosses the room quickly, hand catching Yoongi’s. It’s cold, so, so cold, but Yoongi’s face when he touches it is warm. Warmer than the night of the storm. Hoseok runs his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, tries to look around the room for any indication. Finds that the only thing that Yoongi had tried to help himself to was tea—all the tea that Hoseok had left, as well as some fruit. They remain half-eaten or uneaten at all, and Hoseok doesn’t know what to do, now, especially when Yoongi is barely responding, face drained of colour, and the circles under his eyes so dark it almost looks bruised.

“Yoongi, Yoongi, it’s me,” Hoseok says, cradling the boy to his chest, now. He wraps his arms protectively around him, trembling lips pressing a kiss to Yoongi’s temple. “Wake up, I’m here—tell me what happened,”

But Yoongi doesn’t wake up, at least not for a while. He doesn’t really wake up completely, is the problem, the afternoon sky bleeding into evening when Yoongi finally starts to stir quietly in Hoseok’s arms, his voice groggy, shaky. Hoseok can barely hear him.

“Hoseok,” is what he says first, and then, shortly after, “Missed you,”

Yoongi’s out again, face growing even paler, lips chapped. His hands are ice-cold and the warmth that had flushed his cheeks down to his nape is gone, replaced with a cold so chilling Hoseok’s fingers feel hot, like it’s burning whenever he touches him. 

Hoseok tries to shake Yoongi awake, finds that he’s not moving, his breathing so, so slow, it’s almost agony. Hoseok counts his breath. Tries to time it with Yoongi’s. 

Outside, thunder rolls loudly.

Inside, Hoseok presses his fingers against Yoongi’s pulse. Tries really hard to listen, but when he lifts his head up again, finds that the sound had been faint. So faint Hoseok himself stops breathing, teeth biting down on his lip so hard he doesn’t even notice he’s drawn blood until he tastes it on his tongue. 

It’s only through sheer desperation alone that Hoseok manages to even think straight, because Yoongi’s breathing is turning shallower and shallower with every passing minute, his pulse growing weaker, and by god, he’s cold, so cold, “Yoongi, you’re so cold, love,”

Yoongi hardly even stirs in bed. Hoseok wraps him up in one of his blankets and then scoops him up into his arms, pressing his forehead against Yoongi’s, if only for a second, an endless list of promises tumbling past his lips as he carries him in his arms and out of the cottage. 

Hoseok doesn’t even think about what he’s doing, if it’s right, or if it’s wrong, because the only thing on his mind is to get someone to look at Yoongi, try to fix him, give him something to drink, and the only healer Hoseok trusts with his life is Seokjin, and Seokjin is—

Seokjin is back in the fae kingdom, back in the Court. 

No human has ever stepped foot into Namjoon’s Court in ages (and a small voice in Hoseok’s mind tells him that technically, Yoongi isn’t even stepping a foot into Namjoon’s court, because Hoseok’s carrying him, and he’s—he’s dying, he’s dying, Yoongi’s dying and Hoseok’s mind is a mess of rain and thunder, and lightning.)

It’s so much all at once that by the time Hoseok steps out of the human realm and enters the realm of the fae, it starts to pour, and it hardly ever rains in here, unless Namjoon wants it.

And this rain isn’t because of Namjoon, it’s not because of the king, because the king always wants their temperature perfect, never too hot, never too cold, just good enough for all of them to live comfortably, so this is Hoseok’s fault, it’s all his fault, if he hadn’t left, if he hadn’t shown up when it rained and then left the very next day, Yoongi wouldn’t—

Jimin bumps into him then, voice high when he sees just what Hoseok’s carrying. Just who it is.

“Hoseok,” Jimin tries his hardest not to screech out in surprise, but the look on his face is enough to tell Hoseok that he feels as shaken by this whole ordeal as his earlier reaction had. “Is that—what are you doing—what’s he doing?”

“He’s—he’s sick,” is all Hoseok tells Jimin, and Jimin must notice, must see in Hoseok’s eyes that gone is the usual folly, gone is the mirth and mischief, and endless walls fortified by a sense of humour and laughter. Gone is it all and now, in its place sits what can only be horror and worry. Despair. 

“Seokjin, let’s—let’s bring him to Seokjin,” Jimin leads the way down the winding halls of the palace, past the large open windows that blow harsh wind and rain into the castle. Jimin doesn’t say anything the whole walk over, just kicks the doors to Seokjin’s clinic so hard they almost fly off the hinges because they have a problem here, they have—“Seokjin, Seokjin, Jin, Hoseok needs help,” 

Hoseok sets Yoongi down on one of the beds, and Seokjin takes one look at him and grimaces. He places a hand on Yoongi’s forehead and blanches almost instantly. It’s not a good look, and Hoseok’s going out of his mind here and it’s storming, and his vision is tunnelling, and—

And Seokjin places both hands on either side of Hoseok’s shoulders, says, “Seok, come back. Come back to us. We need you here,”

Hoseok blinks his eyes. Doesn't realise what Seokjin means until the whole world spins and he falls down on a chair. Until he opens his eyes again and sees them all for the first time in dizzying blur and sharpness. 

“Please,” Hoseok’s voice breaks. “Help him—please.” 

 

 

Somehow, somehow, somefuckinghow, Jimin manages to calm Hoseok enough to actually keep him in his seat. Jimin, with the warm hands and soft, honey-like voice, whispering nothing but reassurances, telling him that Seokjin’s the only one Namjoon trusts when it comes to healing, that Seokjin’s been doing this longer than any of them have lived, and he can do this longer than that, too. That he can keep going. 

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Jimin whispers, squeezing on Hoseok’s hand. He brings their foreheads together, a silent show of solidarity, and takes a breath with Hoseok.

Hoseok’s breath shudders in his throat but he feels—somehow—he feels that little bit much better, but there’s still a heavy pressing on his chest, on his shoulders, pushing him down, down, down.

But Hoseok will not let this feeling win, won’t let it rain forever, because he can’t—he just can’t have that, not when he’s got Yoongi, sick beyond belief, and Seokjin, trying his hardest to at least wake him up, at least get some clarification. 

“When did this start?” Seokjin calls, pressing a palm against his eyes. It’s been—it’s been a while, now. A while since Hoseok and Yoongi had gotten here. A while since they’d started. Since Seokjin has managed to do some work on him. 

Hoseok tells Seokjin just when it had started—two weeks ago, when it had rained, and Yoongi had started to grow cold one second, and then hot the next. The morning after he’d been fine, which is surprising, now, with just how sick he’s gotten.

“This happens,” Seokjin murmurs, turning back to Yoongi, hair plastered to his pale face. “This is common amongst humans—when they can’t sweat out a fever, when it doesn’t die out, this can happen. Can catch something else, too, with how weak their immune system has gotten,”

“What can happen?” Hoseok asks, not even wanting to touch Yoongi, afraid that he’ll come back either scorched from how hot he’s gotten or burned from how cold he is. 

“Convulsions,” Seokjin lifts a dropper to Yoongi’s mouth, lets him taste it, if anything, because he can’t drink, hasn’t even spoken at all, or so much as stirred since they’d gotten. “I’ll try to give him some nectar, mix it up with crushed poppy. See if it wakes him up, brings him back. If it doesn’t,” here he lets himself trail off, and Hoseok stiffens in his chair.

Jimin rakes his fingers down Hoseok’s knee, wills him to stay with him. To stay with them. 

“If it doesn’t, we try something else,” Hoseok says, because there’s no way he’s losing Yoongi tonight. No way he’s going to, there’s just no way—not when it’s Hoseok’s fault, all of this. This is all his fault so he should think of something, he shouldn’t let him slip. Won’t let him slip away. Someone’s going to survive this tonight and Hoseok will be damned if he gets through the next morning without Yoongi.

Seokjin seems to understand the intention so clear in his eyes, because he nods, and lifts Yoongi’s head up slightly so he can tip the mixture into his mouth. 

Seokjin’s magic is an old one. A craft, even, that he’d studied, worked really hard to perfect. Hoseok knows he can crush flower petals all he wants and mix it up with some nectar and it still won’t be the same with what Seokjin’s managed to come up with, because the truth of the matter is, Seokjin’s got hands that heal. He’s got a heart that calls, too, and Hoseok knows that from experience.

But Yoongi still doesn’t stir, and Hoseok can’t keep himself from basically falling apart, which is why he’s shocked at himself when he manages to stand up. When his hands don’t shake as much anymore.

“Did it work?” it’s Jimin who asks, peering over Hoseok’s shoulder.

Seokjin blinks down at Yoongi, still unresponsive, and shakes his head. “No—no. But there’s—there’s another way. It’s old magic. Nobody’s attempted in ages, Hoseok, you have to understand,”

“We said we’d keep trying,” Hoseok manages to get that out without his voice breaking. He walks over to where Seokjin is. To where Yoongi is laid out on the cot, still, his breathing shallow and slow. 

For the first time since they’d arrived, Hoseok touches a finger to Yoongi’s forehead. 

Cold. Yoongi’s very cold. 

Seokjin presents a small knife to Hoseok. Turns over his arm, and traces the dull side of the blade on his palm. “Just a small cut. I’ll need your blood. He needs your blood—please, don’t look at me like that—this is blood magic. This is old magic, that’s what I told you—just. Trust me. Trust me, Hoseok,”

Hoseok does trust Seokjin, which is why he listens. 

Listens as Seokjin tells him that this is a very old form of healing magic, that they need to do it quick, and that Hoseok has to be willing. Willing to give Yoongi his life force, the very energy that flows through him. 

“Will it work when he’s human?” Jimin asks, starting to look worried, now. 

Seokjin nods his head. “It’ll work if both parties consent,” 

“How will he consent if—“ but before Hoseok can even finish that sentence, Seokjin’s already tipping another concoction into Yoongi’s mouth, this time it looks dark and murky and heavy, and absolutely venomous. “This sets his insides on fire—not literally, please. But it’ll send a shock through his nerves, enough to wake him up for a few moments.” Seconds, is what Seokjin doesn’t say.

But it’s what Hoseok hears anyway, so he offers his hand up to Seokjin, who drags the knife’s blade lightly on his palm. Hoseok winces, trying to look away from the blood.

“Hoseok, this isn’t going to be on me,” Seokjin says, turning Yoongi’s limp hand over his. He traces the knife over the lines in Yoongi’s hand. “This is all on you. It’s your energy you’re giving, your magic that’s going to fuel this exchange,” 

“This is blood magic—right under the King’s roof. Oh my god, how do I even explain this—“ whatever Jimin says next is drowned out by a ringing in Hoseok’s ears. It rings so loud it drowns out the sound of the rain. Drowns out the rest of Seokjin’s voice. 

The same ringing that stops as soon as Yoongi’s eyes open. Unfocused. Unsteady. But Yoongi lifts his head up, grimaces at the pain all of a sudden—his insides on fire and his hand fucking bleeding, god, if this doesn’t work Hoseok’s going to throw himself off a cliff and ask one of the water nymphs to drown him, maybe, maybe, maybe, but he stops himself. Silences his mind, and keeps the rain away as he kneels down by Yoongi’s bedside. 

“Yoongi, it’s me—it’s me. You’re safe, but you’re very sick,” he knocks their foreheads together. Hears Yoongi draw in a breath. “You have to trust me this time. I can heal you but only if you let me—“

Yoongi moves his hand up to touch Hoseok’s, their fingers tangling for a second before Yoongi grips as tightly as he can onto Hoseok’s hand, his voice so, so quiet and small that Hoseok almost doesn’t hear it,

“I trust you with my life, Seok,”

And that’s all it takes before Yoongi goes under again, but something else has changed, now.

Something has happened.

Hoseok can feel it. Feels white-hot electricity surge through their joined hands. He closes his eyes, wills himself to focus everything he has on this one second. Focuses on the idea—on the act of sharing. Of giving. Because that’s all there is to this ritual. To give to someone who’ll accept his energy, his life-force. So Hoseok gives as much as he can. Doubles what Seokjin had said he had to give, because it doesn’t matter if this is the only chance he gets—doesn’t matter if he doesn’t give it all he’s got. 

Bright white light erupts from their joined hands, spilling all across the room, and drowning all of them in a sheen of yellow and gold that has Hoseok’s ears twitching, the strange, burning fire in his stomach suddenly blown out. 

Jimin lets out a gasp and Seokjin comes around to squeeze on Hoseok’s shoulder.

Hoseok turns over their joined hands, now, Yoongi’s limp in his, and notices that the cut on Yoongi’s hand has healed. 

The cut on Hoseok’s hand has healed, too, which is good, he hears Seokjin say from behind him, it means it worked, and Hoseok—

Hoseok can’t explain it, this sudden rush of air. How he feels light-headed and warm at the same time. He thinks he might need to lie down for the next forty-eight hours, perhaps sleep the fog that’s startled to settle in his mind away. But before he does that, before Hoseok even gets up, he brings their joined hands up to his mouth. 

Kisses the back of Yoongi’s hand, much like how Yoongi had, right before Hoseok had left. 

“Don’t take too long,” Hoseok murmurs, lips brushing against Yoongi’s hand. “Come back soon.”

 

 

That first night after the exchange, Hoseok falls into a dreamless sleep. He doesn’t know how long he’s slept, the only thing he knows is that when he wakes up, it’s to his head pounding so hard he has no choice but to fall back down into bed. 

Eventually, someone checks up on him. First it’s Jeongguk, the younger fae bringing him food, asking if he’s okay, and just sitting with Hoseok, holding his hand.

Jeongguk leaves only to be replaced by Taehyung, who manages to pull Hoseok out of his room that first day and out into the king’s personal garden. Neither Namjoon nor Jimin are anywhere to be found, which probably means they’re both busy on official royal business.

And that’s fine, thinks Hoseok, because then he doesn’t have to explain what he’d just done, although Seokjin did assure that blood magic isn’t illegal—no, they’re all encouraged to explore their own magical potential. It’s an old kind of magic, something unknown to most of the fae, but it isn’t dangerous. If anything, it’s so difficult that the success rate is quite low.

Which is exactly what Hoseok is afraid of, though Seokjin did assure that the healed cuts on their hands is enough proof that it had gone well. Now, they just need to wait.

So Hoseok waits. 

He waits for days, finding himself unable to sleep at first, because all he can think of is how cold Yoongi’s hand had been, how he’d looked dead when Hoseok found him practically lifeless on his own bed. Hoseok tries to block it out, tries to think instead of what Yoongi had said—

I trust you with my life, Seok.

It’s Hoseok’s turn to trust him now, isn’t it—trust that he’s going to be okay. 

The fourth morning after the exchange, Hoseok finds that he’s feeling much better. He sleeps peacefully, no more nightmares, nothing to disturb him. His dreams don’t come back, either, which is probably a side effect of the magic or just of the rain in his own mind, he doesn’t know. But it’s a side effect of something. 

Hoseok’s staring at his own hands, the scar from the cut still prominent. It doesn’t sting anymore. It’s just—it’s just there, a reminder of what had happened. He’s tracing a finger along the line when he hears the door to his bedroom creak open.

Light floods into his room and he looks up, finding Namjoon looking at him expectantly, kind eyes, and even kinder hands when they close over Hoseok’s own, fingers pressing gently on the scar. 

“You know, I always said this, but you might just be the strongest person I know, Seok,” Namjoon tells him, pulling Hoseok up to his feet. “Your magic is different from everyone else’s—“

“No, Joon—that’s you,” because Namjoon is the king of the fae. Namjoon has ruled this Court justly and with the grace only a true king can exhibit. 

Namjoon just smiles gently at Hoseok, “You trust me too much, I think,”

Hoseok bumps their shoulders playfully at that, lets out a tired little laugh.

Namjoon laughs with him, pulling Hoseok out of his chambers. He doesn’t let go of Hoseok’s hand until they’re both out in the halls again, and even then Namjoon walks close by. 

“You did a number on the Court the other day,” Namjoon definitely means the storm that had crashed through the canopy outside, affecting some of the other fae who lived on the outskirts of the Court. “I don’t blame you. But like I said, really powerful magic,”

There’s no hint of malice in Namjoon’s voice, in his face, even. Nothing. Only an openness that Hoseok’s always expected of him. 

So Hoseok swallows his apologies and just quietly follows after Namjoon, not realising that they’re heading to Seokjin’s part of the Court until they get there, the both of them standing just outside Seokjin’s clinic.

“Go,” Namjoon says, fingers folding over Hoseok’s shoulder. Squeezes. “He’s awake.” Namjoon pushes Hoseok forward, and Hoseok nearly stumbles on his feet, but rights himself just in time to wrap his hands around the doorknobs. 

When he steps inside, it’s to find that the room is bathed in warm sunlight. It’s still early in the morning, orange and gold sunshine cascading through Seokjin’s large windows. 

Seokjin is nowhere in sight, and so is Namjoon, whose quiet footsteps can only mean that he’s left.

What Namjoon had said doesn’t register until Hoseok sees movement up ahead, and then it clicks—he’s awake—Hoseok’s heart picks up speed, fingers curling in his sides as he makes the short walk over to the other side of Seokjin’s clinic. 

There, sat on the edge of the bed, is Yoongi, turning over a white peony in his hands. He doesn’t hear Hoseok come in, doesn’t even look up until Hoseok is a few steps away from him, breath hitching, because here Yoongi is, drenched in sunlight, hair a mess, and his face flushed with colour. 

Here, under the light of the nine in the morning sun, Yoongi’s round edges are soft, his eyes, when he lifts them up from the single flower in his hand to stare at Hoseok, surprised at first, before they reflect exactly what Hoseok’s feeling inside—a different kind of hope and longing, and adoration so clear, Hoseok is afraid to say anything, afraid that his voice will fail him, that the right words won’t come.

So instead of saying anything, and because Yoongi knows him much, much better than Hoseok can ever expect, Yoongi smiles at him. Sets the flower down, and then opens his arms out for Hoseok, who rushes into them and crashes right into Yoongi, head buried in the crook of Yoongi’s neck and shoulder. 

Yoongi gathers Hoseok in his arms, hugs him something strong and fierce and warm, like he’s got no intention of letting go, and Hoseok stays completely still in his embrace on Yoongi’s lap, breath shuddering when he takes a deep inhale, and eyes wet when he blinks. 

“You’re awake,” Hoseok whispers into Yoongi’s side, still unable to let him go or lift his face. “I—I missed you so much,” 

Yoongi runs a hand down the small of Hoseok’s back. Rubs small circles in an effort to reassure him. “I’m sorry I worried you. I got—I got sick, kind of,”

Here Yoongi laughs, and it’s such a beautiful laugh, Hoseok can’t help but pull away slightly just to see it. Just to see Yoongi shake his head in amusement, eyes closed as he lets a gentle laugh trip past his lips and fall right into Hoseok’s open hands. 

“Sorry,” Yoongi whispers again, hold around Hoseok tightening. He locks gazes with Hoseok, and Hoseok looks at him for the first time—really looks at him—since the scare. Since the exchange. “I’m sorry,” 

But Hoseok will take no apology from Yoongi, so he just shakes his head and leans forward to brush their noses together, eyes closing instinctively when he feels Yoongi press a closed-mouth kiss against his lips. 

Hoseok kisses him back, something soft and innocent at first, because it’s been so, so long, and Yoongi’s back, Yoongi’s here with him—in Hoseok’s home, albeit the circumstances aren’t exactly ideal for the first visit, but he’s here and that’s all that matters, so Hoseok traces a tentative tongue along the inseam of Yoongi’s lips, waits until Yoongi opens his mouth, and then deepens it, fingers sliding into Yoongi’s hair. 

Yoongi kisses Hoseok like he wants to slow things down and put the entire world away, and Hoseok kisses Yoongi like he’s been starved of the sky and now he has all of the stars in the backs of his hands, a map of all the constellations in the back of Yoongi’s eyelids. 

“I’m back,” Yoongi tells him, when they pull apart. Yoongi, with his gentle hands, tucking strands of Hoseok’s hair behind his ear. Yoongi, who’d literally been on the verge of death, now the one reassuring Hoseok. 

Hoseok raises both hands to frame Yoongi's face, and leans in to knock their foreheads together. Stays like that for a few moments, before he says, his smile simply unbridled energy, so warm that even the morning sun can’t compete. 

Home, they seem to say. 

Home, Hoseok sees, looking into Yoongi’s eyes. 

“I’m home,” Hoseok finally says, looking into Yoongi’s eyes and wondering how it’s possible that a very star is being born right this second, right in the depths of Yoongi’s gaze.

Yoongi smiles up at him, runs his fingers through Hoseok’s hair, and sighs, “Welcome home.”

 

 

Once, when Hoseok had been younger, and before his whole life had fallen apart, his mother had taken him in her arms, ran her fingers through his hair, and pressed endless kisses on his plump cheeks. That had been when he'd first conjured his first little drizzle over their flower patch . She'd been so happy, then.

She had just laughed called him her little treasure, and said, before they retreated back inside, "That magic always has a price, Hoseok," but Hoseok had been so young, then. Hadn't really understood.

Perhaps a part of him still doesn't understand, now. Perhaps he still can't quite grasp it. Because his magic hasn't really cost him anything. Nothing has really changed, except for the loss of his mother. His sister. But aside from that—

Aside from that, it's been the same. Normal, even. 

Which is why they don't really think much about, Hoseok and Yoongi. The first few hours after Yoongi had woken up, they'd spent in the clinic, just talking, Hoseok touching Yoongi's face, and whispering nothing but sweetness that may even rival the very flowers that Seokjin so loves to add to his juice every morning.

Yoongi had watched Hoseok the entire time, eyes wide, and hands tight around Hoseok's, waiting, listening, wondering, because this is new, this is all so new, and just a few days ago he'd been in his little cottage, and now he's smack-dab in the middle of the faerie Court.

"And it's a bit crazy, I think," Yoongi says, looking around the palace. It might be a bit overwhelming for someone new, and if it bothers Yoongi at all that he's not quite home anymore, he doesn't show it. Instead, he just walks with Hoseok, their hands linked between them, palm to palm. Like this, it's warm.

Like this, they're happy.

"Come, come, Seokjin said he had dinner ready for us," they take the smaller, narrower halls this time, bypassing the Grand Hall in favour of the smaller kitchens that Seokjin's fallen in love with since—since  along time ago, Hoseok can't even remember. "A welcome present, he said. For you,"

Yoongi raises an eyebrow at Hoseok, the same look he'd worn that very first day they'd met on his face, and Hoseok realises a tad bit too late that while Yoongi may trust him, the same cannot be said for the rest of Hoseok's kind. 

So he smooths Yoongi's hair back, pulls him in for a quick kiss to the cheek, and smiles, leading the way to the small dining room where Seokjin waits for them. 

"It'll be fine," Hoseok tells him, the smile on his face easy.

Inside, Seokjin's already waiting. Taehyung and Jeongguk are sat on either side of him, both young boys talking animatedly with each other, hands moving around in the air, and eyes alight. When they notice that Hoseok's just walked in with Yoongi, they stop, falling quiet.

It's Seokjin who breaks the silence, gesturing for Yoongi to take the seat right next to Taehyung. He ushers Hoseok over to the other side as well, and as Hoseok slides down into his seat, he notices that Jeongguk's looking at him, doe-eyes wanting to say something but holding back. 

Jeongguk nods a bit stiffly at Hoseok, while Taehyung waves at Yoongi, who squints his eyes at him. This is the first time Yoongi's met another faerie, and Hoseok can't help but laugh, because he'd never expected this. Had always thought things would go differently. Instead—

Instead, they're here, with Taehyung trying to make friends, and Yoongi looking like he might just pick his chair up and move to the other side next to Hoseok.

But he doesn't, so Hoseok takes that as a good sign. 

"Eat," Seokjin says, clapping his hands. He seems happier, now. Relieved, even. The look in his eyes tells Hoseok that he's got a lot of things to say, a lot of things to talk about, but for now Hoseok just shrugs it off and focuses on the meal. 

Taehyung and Jeongguk resume their earlier conversation, while Hoseok pulls a bowl of cherry tomatoes towards him. 

Yoongi doesn't touch anything at all, and Hoseok grimaces, because of course Yoongi would still be cautious, even around the other fae. 

"It's fine," Hoseok says, trying to push a plate of strawberries and grapes towards him. "Nobody's up to anything here,"

Yoongi rolls his eyes at that, although Hoseok thinks it's just him being petulant, if anything. Eventually, Yoongi just huffs, wraps his fingers around a cup of lemonade, and then very slowly brings it up to his mouth, gaze never once drifting away from Hoseok's. 

"Huh," Seokjin muses, looking up at the both of them. Taehyung and Jeongguk fall silent again, waiting. "You should be fine from now on. No more faerie tricks. Entrapment, binding contracts against your will—none of that foolishness anymore. You're basically immune, I believe,"

The cup clatters back down on the table.

Hoseok looks at Seokjin, eyes wide, and brows furrowed in confusion, because it doesn't make sense, unless he means that none of them will want to pull Yoongi into a life of servitude just to pacify their faerie whims, but that's not the case, because they know. They know how much he means to Hoseok, and besides, that's not what they do. At least, not anymore. Namjoon's pretty much made sure of that the second he took the throne. 

It's Yoongi who asks the question, the look on his face one that mirrors Hoseok's own confusion. “What—what do you mean by that? By immune?”

This time, Seokjin turns to Hoseok, an eyebrow raised. "You didn't tell him?"

Hoseok raises both hands, as if in surrender, because there's no way he's going to be on the receiving end of Yoongi's glare, so he shakes his head and says, "Tell him what. I'm in the dark here," 

"No," a shadow passes over Seokjin's face, mouth dropping into a little o. He pushes himself up from the chair, probably just to pace, and is quiet for a very long time until Taehyung breaks the silence to ask,

"So what exactly is happening?" 

"What's happening—or what's happened is that Yoongi has fae in him now," Seokjin directs this at Hoseok, disbelief clear on his face, like he can't quite comprehend how this detail has slipped Hoseok's mind. "I thought you understood that during the exchange. Hoseok, you gave him your life-force. Your blood. That's faerie blood," 

It feels as if someone's just delivered a swift kick to Hoseok's abdomen, chest suddenly tight, because he can't understand. Can't quite wrap his head around what Seokjin had just said. 

Across from him, Yoongi pushes out of his chair. Hoseok notices that his hands are shaking, mouth forming words he can't quite say yet. 

“What happened?" Yoongi asks, voice shaking. He turns his hand over to inspect the scar. His matching scar with Hoseok. The only indication that the exchange had happened.

“Yoongi—" here Hoseok gets up, too, nearly knocking his chair over in his haste. He rounds the table, is immediately by Yoongi's side.

Yoongi, who looks up at him with wide eyes and a pale face. Who looks—who looks afraid, and this is the first time Hoseok's ever seen him look afraid. 

Yoongi's afraid of him, of what he'd done. The price of Hoseok's magic. 

 

But he doesn't rip his hands out of Hoseok's, though, just stays completely still, disbelief washing over him, and his hands trembling. 

“I—I didn't know," Hoseok tightens his hold around Yoongi's hand, voice cracking when he says, "All I knew was that I would do anything to save you, Yoongi," 

Magic always comes with a price, and for this one time, the price is the weight of Yoongi's gaze, eyes wide and afraid. Hoseok thinks he might have heard his heart break, but that's impossible, not when he can't hear anything except for Yoongi's shallow breathing, fingers digging into Hoseok's arms as he tries to steady himself.

"I want to go," Yoongi whispers, falling against Hoseok. "Please, Hoseok, I don't understand. I just—I just want to go."

Hoseok presses a kiss to his forehead, offers a smile he knows is not enough, at least, not for now, and then loops an arm around Yoongi's shoulders, pulling him close to his side.

They make their way out of the dining room, the last thing Hoseok hears the heavy sound of Seokjin’s sigh.

 

 

They find themselves out in the garden.

It’s quiet today, the rest of the Court already getting ready for bed. 

Hoseok waits for Yoongi to calm down. God, he’s waiting for himself to calm down, too, because the weight of Seokjin’s words have just settled, and Yoongi—Yoongi’s got fae in him, now. His blood mixed with Hoseok’s.

“What does it mean?” Yoongi finally says, after a considerable amount of silence. He looks up at Hoseok with eyes that seem to plead, that want an answer. An answer that Hoseok can’t quite give because he’s as lost as Yoongi is. 

“I—I don’t know, honestly,” Hoseok asks, turning over his hand. He runs a thumb along his scar. “Seokjin said that you were immune to faerie tricks, now,” 

What else that entails, Hoseok isn’t quite sure.

And Yoongi looks like he’s growing more frustrated by the second, because he stands up all of a sudden, fingers balled into a fist in his side. 

Hoseok gestures for the space beside him, gives it a small pat. All he wants is for them to figure this out together, but how, Hoseok has no idea. Not exactly. So for now he’ll settle with having Yoongi beside him, because aside from their blood mixing, there doesn’t seem to be any other problem, except—

Except Hoseok doesn’t quite understand what that could mean, at least. 

Yoongi finally relents, draws in a big, shaky breath, and then sits himself down beside Hoseok. 

“If you would permit me to intrude,” comes a voice from behind them, and Hoseok turns around, finds that it’s Namjoon this time, head bowed politely to the both of them, his smile a little sheepish. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, I just overheard while I was passing by,”

“Your Grace,” Hoseok says, nodding, because what can he do when the king asks for permission to speak? The king doesn’t even need to ask in the first place, anyway. “Of course.”

Namjoon waves the formalities away and steps in front of Yoongi, offering a hand in what can only be a handshake, a human tradition, a show of cordiality. 

Yoongi accepts the invitation, reaches out to shake it for a short moment. He drops it almost immediately after, taking a step closer to Hoseok’s side, now.

Hoseok hooks their thumbs together, if only to keep himself tethered to something. Keep himself tethered to Yoongi. 

“You two should sit with me, it’ll make this easier,” Namjoon’s smile is disarming, at most, his eyes alight with a genuine sincerity that Hoseok knows he means, because Namjoon’s always worn his heart on his sleeve. Always been kind to every creature he’s had the opportunity to meet.

And in what can only be an impressive feat because it’s the King himself who’s doing it, Namjoon plops himself down onto the grass, gesturing for Hoseok and Yoongi to join him.

They do.

Namjoon looks around his garden for a moment, enjoys the warm breeze that blows past his face. 

It might be nearing Winter out in the human world, but in here, in the Court, it’s whatever season the King wills it to be. 

“As Seokjin may have already mentioned, Yoongi, you have a little bit of fae in you now,” Namjoon taps a finger thoughtfully on his chin. “Actually, more than a little,” and here he catches Hoseok’s gaze. 

A glance at Yoongi tells Hoseok that he’s listening, hands now still. He’s calmer this time, and perhaps that’s because of Namjoon’s presence. Namjoon’s always had his own brand of healing ability. It’s amazing, really, how he can calm anyone down. Pacify any situation.

He seems to be doing the same thing now, although at a lighter level, because there’s still that little voice in Hoseok’s head telling him that what if this is it, what if this is the end of the line for them, and all because Hoseok had done something so stupid like share his magic with Yoongi, and—and that had been necessary then. Hoseok would do it all over again if it means keeping Yoongi alive.

Namjoon reaches over to him suddenly, taking his hand. Hoseok doesn’t realise he’d clenched his fist until Namjoon carefully unfurls it, giving his hand a squeeze after. 

“Be gentle to yourself, Hoseok,” Namjoon says, smiling. He turns to Yoongi this time, reaches out a hand again and Yoongi, after a few beats, offers his hand for Namjoon to take. 

“Don’t be scared, Yoongi,” Namjoon’s talking directly to Yoongi, now, their hands held between them. “What Hoseok did—it was a feat of magic unseen in ages. He shared his vitality with you. Sealed it with blood. And you can take all the time you need to process this, but what it means is that you’ve got a little bit of fae in you, and a little bit of fae means you’re immune to any and all of our tricks,” here he lets out a sigh, because there are still some of their kind who resort to faerie tricks when bored. Some things can’t be helped, Hoseok thinks.

“What else,” Yoongi asks, because he’s quick to catch on, even when Hoseok isn’t. “Tell me what else,”

“A little bit of fae also means that you’ve got the immune system of a faerie, now,” Namjoon squeezes gently on Yoongi’s hand, dropping it carefully back onto his lap as he pulls away. “No more getting sick so easily, or at all, even,” 

It’s Hoseok’s turn this time to push, his voice finally finding words when he asks, “What else does it mean?” because this doesn’t seem to be the end of it, not when Namjoon looks pleased, not a hint of worry in his brow. He even looks—

Well, Namjoon looks amazed, even, at the both of them. At what had just transpired. 

“The fae can live very long,” Namjoon says, voice as quiet as the wind that blows. It’s just as warm, too. “I don’t know how long that actually means for you, but there’s a considerable amount of Hoseok’s magic and blood in you, so it’s safe to assume that a while may be an understatement,” 

That had never crossed Hoseok’s mind, how sharing his blood and his energy with Yoongi meant sharing all the things that make him a faerie, too, albeit by a smaller scale. An iron immune system, a perceptiveness to magic, and—and a long, prolonged life, with hardly any signs of ageing. 

Namjoon takes that moment to stand up, offering both hands for Hoseok and Yoongi to take.

They both take Namjoon’s outstretched hands, Hoseok feeling a little light on his feet at the sudden revelation.

“Does this happen often?” Yoongi asks, surprising Hoseok. 

Namjoon lets out a low chuckle. Shakes his head, and then says, “Often, no. But when it does happen, it is always special.”

Special, Hoseok thinks, tearing his eyes away from Namjoon to look at Yoongi, colour slowly seeping back into his face.

Namjoon excuses himself from the conversation with one last final nod and a reminder that if they’re up for it in the morning, then he’ll expect them both for breakfast at the Grand Hall, with the rest of their family. 

“Practically my brothers,” Hoseok tells Yoongi, once they’re alone, and Yoongi raises an eyebrow at family. “Namjoon, Seokjin—you met the other two earlier. Taehyung and Jeongguk, and—and Jimin, yes, Jimin,” 

Yoongi nods at that, and in an action that surprises Hoseok, grabs for Hoseok’s hand. 

“Hoseok, this is a lot to take in,” Yoongi murmurs, lips brushing against the inside of Hoseok’s wrist. 

Hoseok draws closer to him, bringing their joined hands up to his lips, pressing a chaste kiss to Yoongi’s knuckle. “I understand. If you need time—and space, we can leave the Court. I’ll take you back home, and—and give you all the time that you need,” 

Alone, Hoseok doesn’t say, but Yoongi hears it, anyway, because he shakes his head. Tightens his hold around Hoseok’s hand, and tilts his head slightly to press a kiss on the underside of Hoseok’s jaw.

“No,” Yoongi says, voice sounding stronger. “No, please. Stay. I don’t want to go anywhere without you,”

“Okay,” Hoseok says, the weight lifted off his shoulders. “Okay, whatever you want—we can do whatever you want, my love,” 

Yoongi cracks a smile at that, his eyes turning soft. “I just want to go to sleep for now.”

 

 

As all things do, it takes time.

So Hoseok doesn’t impose, doesn’t even ask Yoongi to do anything with him, for him, because he knows that he needs time to really take things in, to really understand the gravity of the situation. Hoseok doesn’t even suggest anything, just waits for Yoongi to ask him, to tell him he wants to do something, because the last thing Hoseok wants is for Yoongi to suddenly feel so overwhelmed he’ll want nothing to do with—with anything new about him. 

And as they say, time heals all wounds, or some kinda bullshit like that.

 It takes Yoongi a few more days to come around until he finally rolls out of bed one morning, tugs Hoseok away from the warm silk sheets, and says, “I wanna go for breakfast,” 

Hoseok nods, heart in his chest, and his smile stretching across his face. 

They join the others for breakfast, Namjoon’s invitation extending for all the days possible. For every single day, Hoseok is sure. 

Namjoon welcomes them with a smile, gesturing for Yoongi and Hoseok to take a seat on his right hand side, and everyone else follows along, throwing casual good mornings that Hoseok accepts with a smile so wide it almost starts to hurt.

Yoongi eats quietly at first, keeping to himself, but Hoseok notices that he’s paying attention to everyone else’s conversation.

It’s Seokjin who manages to get Yoongi to say something, and only because Seokjin says, “You know Hoseok planned on stealing your horse from day one,” 

Yoongi sets his fork down and throws a menacing look at Hoseok, and it’s so, so comical Hoseok almost chokes on an apple. “You planned to what,”

“No, no, it was—it was a joke. I just—“ Hoseok glares at Seokjin, who shrugs innocently at him. But it’s too late, Yoongi’s already murmuring to himself, something like he knew the fae couldn’t be trusted, and my horse, of all things, to which he just shakes his head disbelievingly at, though the smile that tugs on the corners of his lips says otherwise. If anything, Yoongi seems more amused than anything.

“And speaking of your horse and Grimes,” Jeongguk says from across the table, pouring himself some orange juice. “Taehyung and I have been dropping by every day to feed them, play with them,”

“Jeongguk said he wanted to keep the cat,” Taehyung reveals through a mouthful of salad. 

“What’s with faeries and wanting to snatch animals away—“ Yoongi doesn’t sound the least bit annoyed, though. His shoulders are relaxed and the smile that plays across his features is enough to say that he’s taking this in the best way possible, which is wonderful, to say the least. 

And it makes Hoseok’s heart soar, it really does, and it might have taken a few days and a lot of quiet between them, but Yoongi’s slowly coming back. This is more than Hoseok  could ever ask for. 

Their little back-and-forth is interrupted when Jimin walks in, hair a complete mess and robes looking like he’d put them on backwards. He pulls on his sleeves, sniffs at the air, and plops himself down on the empty chair to Namjoon’s left.

Everything’s quiet for a second, Jimin pulling bowls of fruit and vegetables to him, downing orange juice like it’s a shot of liquor. Everything’s quiet until he looks up to catch Hoseok’s eyes, and then spots Yoongi beside him. 

“Wait,” Jimin’s voice is considerably higher at the sight of Yoongi out and about. “Wait, what—he’s awake,” 

“Oh my god, what do you mean—“ Taehyung says, throwing a berry at Jimin’s head, who doesn’t do anything to avoid it.

Jimin seems genuinely surprised, and it’s only now that it clicks—in the mess of it all, they’d all forgotten to tell Jimin about what had happened. God, they’d forgotten to tell him Yoongi had woken up. 

“Oh my god,” Jimin says, sounding more incredulous by the second. He looks up at Hoseok, eyes wide, and mouth hanging open. “Your human’s awake.”

Hoseok opens his mouth to speak but Yoongi beats him to it with a laugh that bubbles out of his chest and fills the entire room with a light and warmth so foreign Hoseok thinks he’ll want to hear it over and over again, just to get acquainted with it. 

It’s been a while since he’s heard Yoongi laugh that Hoseok feels like he’s gone a full century without it. So he leans back into his chair, shakes his head in amusement, and follows after, because Jimin’s silly and sleep-deprived and what is Namjoon doing to him, honestly, for Jimin to be so lost in the current affairs of the Court. 

Finally, when the laughter subsides and everyone stops calling Jimin out for being anywhere else but present in the past few days, Yoongi says, a quip in his tone, “Yes, I’m awake. I can’t say the same for you, though,”

And it’s wonderful, Hoseok thinks, catching Yoongi’s glance. 

Yoongi, who smiles at him a little bit sheepishly at first before it turns into a full on grin that stretches across his face.

Hoseok reaches across the small space between them to thread his fingers through Yoongi’s, and smiles back at him, feeling like the pieces are suddenly falling into place again, and the cogs have started to turn. 

Everything takes time, and when time does what it’s always meant to do, life becomes that little bit much better.

Or, in this case, a lot better.

 

 

They spend the morning together, after that.

“Show me around the Court,” Yoongi asks Hoseok, and who is Hoseok to deny that simple request, really?

So Hoseok shows Yoongi around the Court, around the palace. Pointing out significant places where he’d scraped his knees running too fast and slipping. Pointing out the very room where he’d met Jimin for the first time, when they were both younger and Jimin was smaller than you could probably ever imagine, a point that Yoongi finds particularly funny, tucking himself into Hoseok’s side as he laughs and laughs, following along the story.

Their next stop is at a balcony overlooking the entire Court.

“This was where Namjoon told me he was going to be crowned King soon, when his father abdicated the throne,” Namjoon’s father, who had been as old as his Court, who had peacefully passed in his sleep a few days after Namjoon’s coronation. “He hadn’t really prepared for it, being king. But there’s nobody else quite like him, I think,”

Yoongi squeezes on Hoseok’s arm. “He’s very nice,” is what Yoongi says, the smile on his face telling.

Hoseok smiles back at him, and then at the memory, because it is a fond one. Something he holds close to himself. The fact that Namjoon trusts him. How they’ve got a bond that’s deeper than blood, one forged out of a brotherhood and camaraderie of choice and loyalty. Hoseok thinks he’ll always be devoted to Namjoon, loyal to his cause and to his Court. 

They continue their little tour, stopping for a short while to pop their heads into the throne room, to say hello to Namjoon and Jimin who’re pouring over a map. 

When they look up at them, the movement so sudden and quick, they end up bumping heads. 

It’s Jimin who reaches up to smooth Namjoon’s hair, whispering his apologies quietly, Namjoon easily falling into his touch, and the look on his face one something Hoseok hardly ever sees, because it’s tender, but—but different, like Namjoon’s looking at someone he can’t quite imagine a day without.

“Sorry to interrupt,” is what Yoongi says, pulling Hoseok out of the room and then back out of the hall, where their hurried steps lead them out and away from what they’d just witnessed, from something Hoseok isn’t sure he quite understands.

“Was that—“ Hoseok asks, once they’re out in the garden. 

Yoongi digs his blunt fingernails into Hoseok’s arm, just gentle enough to apply pressure and not cause harm. “Yes. Or, at least—I think. I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s cute,” 

Hoseok laughs, because it’s great to hear this from Yoongi. Great to see him so involved again, so—so alive. The past few days have been rough, but Yoongi’s warm again. 

As warm as the sun that shines down on the garden, touching the leaves a golden and orange hue, making the sunflowers sway in the breeze, and all the flowers bloom, their blossoming much more beautiful now that Hoseok’s got Yoongi’s hand in his, and the whole world is in order. 

Hoseok tugs Yoongi deeper into the garden, past the ten-foot sunflowers, and through the thick hydrangeas until they find themselves in the heart of it all, with a small pond tucked away in the corner, and a stone bench just a few steps away from it.

“My mother used to take me here all the time,” the words don’t come easy, because Hoseok never talks easily about his mother. But he thinks that this is a good reason to, if only to celebrate her life. If only to bring her closer to Yoongi, even though she’s gone. “We would sit here, the both of us, and she’d just—she’d make little sun-stars dance on the palm of her hand,” 

Yoongi drags Hoseok down onto the bench with him, eyes wide with genuine curiosity, and the smile on his face patient. Fond, endeared, and—and there’s something else there, something Hoseok doesn’t want to quite put a word on, at least, not yet, but he’s sure the same smile is reflected on his face.

Fond.

Devotion.

Adoration.

Love, really. 

It’s there, it’s clear, even when words have not been used, at least, not yet. 

“Can you do that?” Yoongi asks, pointing at Hoseok’s hand. 

Hoseok laughs nervously. “I mean—it’s really just fire, nothing more,” 

But Yoongi insists, anyway, “I mean, you make it rain and you bring out the sun, and you can literally grow your own flower garden, but I still wanna see this,”

And Hoseok knows that it’s Yoongi encouraging him to connect, to draw upon the memory of his childhood and his mother, and not for the first time today, Hoseok feels a swelling in his heart and a warmth that spreads through him. It is love, so clear as the sky is blue. Love that has Yoongi pushing Hoseok into a good memory, wanting him to hold on to this instead of the rain and the thunder. 

Who is Hoseok to deny Yoongi, anyway? 

He opens his hand, gives it a few seconds, and then watches as tiny balls of fire start to appear, a little bit in awe himself because this is something he hasn’t done in years—in decades, really, ever since his mother had passed.

The fire is small enough that they resemble the stars high up in the sky, far, far away from everyone’s grasp all the time. 

They dance on the palm of Hoseok’s hand. Tiny little stars that seem to take on a life of their own. Tiny little stars that Hoseok’s only really seen in Yoongi’s eyes, finally coming to life in the palm of his hand.

“Open your hand,” Hoseok tells Yoongi, and Yoongi does, laying his open palm next to Hoseok. 

The little balls of fire—sun stars, Hoseok’s mind supplies—jumping from both of their palms, skirting over the matching scars that runs from the base of their pointer to their thumb. 

Yoongi watches with wide eyes the whole time, mouth open in surprise and in wonder, his cheeks flushed with colour, and god, it’s beautiful, so, so beautiful, to see Yoongi like this. To see him bewildered and surprised and—and happy. 

Hoseok reaches his free hand out to Yoongi, lets it slip around his neck and into the back  of his hair, fingers sliding through his hair and tugging in a question that he doesn’t even need to ask because Yoongi is there already, always meeting him half-way.

Yoongi kisses Hoseok with the stars dancing right behind their eyelids, with the stars everywhere around them, the whole garden warm and wonderful because Hoseok’s managed to tap into a part of him he hasn’t wanted to open in a very long time.

The way Yoongi kisses Hoseok this time is quiet, a reassurance that he understands, and that he’s happy for him, and that he loves it—loves every single part of him he’s got access to, and Hoseok kisses Yoongi back because there’s nothing about Yoongi he doesn’t want. 

His fingers slide through Yoongi’s hair and Yoongi slides right into his lap, arms loped around his neck as he holds on to him, body pressed flushed against Hoseok, lips warm and inviting, and calling. 

Yoongi hums into the kiss, thumb tracing circles down the back of Hoseok’s nape, fingers catching at the tips of his hair. Yoongi’s the one to break away from the kiss but only so he can kiss along the side of Hoseok’s face, and then up to his cheeks, peppering tiny kisses that has the both of them smiling, and then laughing, because Hoseok’s heart is so full and he’s got Yoongi right in his lap and in his arms, and—

And he’s not letting go. 

But Hoseok still has something to say, so he pulls away, if only slightly, and looks at Yoongi with all the seriousness he can try to muster with his lips kiss-swollen and his cheeks tainted with a blush, eyes blown with a different kind of want this time.

“I just—please, let me just say this,” Hoseok says, hands settling on either side of Yoongi’s hip. “Please, let me apologise for what happened. If I hadn’t left—or if I’d gotten back earlier, this—this would be different. I just, I want to make it up to you,”

Yoongi knocks their foreheads together a little bit rougher than usual, voice low and sounding a lot like iron steel when he says, “Hoseok, you saved my life. Brought me back. I think I’m the one indebted to you,” 

For a very long time, Yoongi doesn’t say, but Hoseok hears it loud and clear.

“No—none of that, please, I just want you to know that I’m sorry if you feel like you’re suddenly thrust into this situation, into this world,” Hoseok feels Yoongi shift on his lap, the lock he has around Hoseok’s neck tightening, but only for a second.

“You’ve done so much for me, Hoseok,” Yoongi rocks a little bit in his lap, kisses either side of Hoseok’s cheek. “You do so much for me, always,” he kisses the tip of Hoseok’s nose, now. 

“I do it because I love you—“ Hoseok says, a little bit in awe at Yoongi towering over him for once, looking down at him, both hands raised to cup Hoseok’s face. 

“Then let me stay with you,” Yoongi asks, voice like he’s pleading, but there’s no need for that. Not when that’s all Hoseok wants. All Hoseok can ever want. “If you’ll have me,”

Hoseok leans in for another kiss this time, a barely-there, chaste kiss that’s more of a pressing of their lips than anything. It’s tender, it’s quiet, it’s—it’s innocent, how careful they both are with this kiss, just a hint of Yoongi’s tongue on the inseam of Hoseok’s lips, but nothing more, Yoongi’s fingers pressing gently into Hoseok’s cheek. 

To say that Hoseok’s out of breath and gasping after that kiss is an understatement, because he feels like he’s suddenly so high up, with Yoongi the only one leading him up, up, and higher. 

“Yes,” Hoseok breathes, their faces so close he can see just how many brown flecks dot Yoongi's eyes. Can count each of his lashes. “Yes, of course, Yoongi. That’s not—that’s not a question. It’ll never be a question, because I want you. I wanted you then, I’ll want you now, and I’ll want you for as long as time will have us both,”

The smile that blossoms across Yoongi’s features is beautiful. So, so beautiful, Hoseok has to remind himself to breathe. 

Yoongi throws his head back in surprised laughter and Hoseok holds tight to him, careful not to let him tip over. 

“Okay?” Yoongi finally asks, when his laughter subsides. There are still sun stars dancing around them. It’s warm. It’s safe. They reflect in Yoongi’s eyes and it’s a burst of fire. It’s a sight to see. 

Hoseok smiles up at Yoongi, “Okay.”

 

 

The younger of the bunch drag them both to an underwater cave that they found just on the edge of the Court, nearly bordering the human realm once more. They’re not far enough that they escape past the protective boundary, but they are far enough that Hoseok is more on his guard, because while the fae who follow Namjoon are all well and good, the forest still has other dwellers.

Taehyung and Jeongguk don’t seem to have the same problem, though, because they drag Yoongi with them, leaving Hoseok to follow in the back.

Yoongi allows both boys to take either of his hands, allows them to guide him down a long and winding dirt path before they all stop just in front of a lake. It’s so similar to the glittering silver lake back in the human realm that Yoongi looks over his shoulder at Hoseok, the look on his face unsure, doubtful. 

“No, no, this is fine, see,” Taehyung demonstrates by jumping into the pool.

Jeongguk does, too, and for a second both boys are distracted by their own proximity, by the water between them that they start to just splash at each other, forgetting the earlier agenda.

Hoseok decides to step in, taking a few steps into the water, hand outstretched for Yoongi to take.

“C’mon, you’re safe with us,” Hoseok says, beckoning Yoongi towards him.

Yoongi huffs, murmurs something like well if I die then I die, and takes Hoseok’s hand in his, fingers curling around his. 

“Okay, we just gotta get to the middle, and then we dive—and, oh, trust me, we’ve done this before. There’s a little opening down below, it’s not far, you can do it,” Taehyung says, looking directly at Yoongi. He’s got his trademark boxy little grin on his face, eyes alight with amusement, with barely concealed playfulness. 

“No morphing into a fucking fish,” Jeongguk says, hold around Taehyung’s arm vice-like, only letting go when Taehyung nods. 

Hoseok sees Yoongi mouth the words fish again and again, and he just squeezes on his hand, bumps their shoulders together, and says, “Come on, if they say it’s fine, then it’s fine,”

Because while the two may get into trouble often, Hoseok also kind of trusts them with his life. Even though they’re prone to getting their own selves into some very harrowing situations. Even though. 

Taehyung dives first, Jeongguk quickly following.

Hoseok watches Yoongi, waits for him to say anything, because this is his call. If anything, they can just back out, lounge around the side of the lake. 

“I mean, we’re already wet,” Yoongi says with a little grimace. 

“If you say so,” Hoseok grins, already knowing what this means.

With one last nod between them, they both take the plunge, Yoongi swimming down, down, down, following after Taehyung and Jeongguk up ahead.

Hoseok takes a short second to look around the lake, sees that it’s crystal clear and beautiful, even when they’re underwater. Up ahead he can see the opening of a small cave, Taehyung the first to disappear through it. 

They manage to swim through the cave with no problem. The other two boys are already swimming up again, towards a distant kind of blue light that Hoseok can’t quite identify. 

He catches up to Yoongi and they both break the surface at the same time, both gasping out for air. Hoseok’s chest feels tight but it’s nothing compared to how Yoongi’s holding on to him, fingers tight around his arm and teeth biting down on his lower lip.

It’s going to be fine, you said, I almost forgot how to breathe—“ Yoongi starts, letting himself get dragged away by Hoseok, who winds an arm around his middle and does a mixture of splashing and swimming and dragging, though the whole time he just laughs, listening to Yoongi try not to splash around. Listening to Yoongi try to regain his breath.

Only when they find themselves up on smooth granite does Hoseok remember to look around.

Beside him, Yoongi lets out a sound of amazement, and then says, hand tapping his thigh gently, “What is that?”

Hoseok looks up as well, finding the source of the blue light from earlier.

“It’s a crystal cave,” Jeongguk provides, still in the water. He’s floating on his back, now, the look on his face one of pure bliss. “It’s really nice, isn’t it?”

“It’s beautiful,” Hoseok says, not too far from sounding like his breath has been completely blown away. 

Yoongi sidles up next to him, head leaning on Hoseok’s shoulder. 

Hoseok wraps an arm around him, hand slipping underneath Yoongi’s thin shirt to rest on the small of his back. 

“Mmm, that’s nice,” Yoongi sighs, leaning his weight on Hoseok this time. “It’s warm, Hoseok,” 

Hoseok rubs soothing circles down Yoongi’s back, revels in how Yoongi’s slowly, slowly starting to regain colour again after their dip in the slightly cold water. The joke of the century. 

Yoongi seems to be just fine watching the other two swim along the underground pool, the light of the crystals sending a rain of glitter down on the surface of the water. It’s so, so beautiful like this, large, uneven crystals hanging from the sky. 

Beside him, Yoongi lets out another contented little sigh, completely at ease at how Hoseok’s managed to warm him right back up. 

“Magic hands,” Yoongi says, tilting his head up to press a small kiss to the underside of Hoseok’s jaw. “And your magic tricks,”

“Hey, the magic trick is keeping you warm,” Hoseok bites back, nipping playfully at Yoongi, who lets out a laugh that echoes all throughout the cave. A laugh that bounces along the walls and hits the crystal. A laugh that colours the whole cave a warm and rosy pink and purple, reminiscent to the sunrise after a terrible storm. 

“You’re right, it’s keeping me very warm,” Yoongi closes his eyes, head pillowing on Hoseok’s chest now as his breathing evens out, as he allows himself to fall slowly into sleep.

Hoseok just holds on to him, trying to keep him warm, and allowing the sound of Yoongi’s sunrise laughter to wrap around him. 

It’s a wonderful sound, Hoseok thinks. Perhaps it’s even his favourite sound. 

 

 

There is a different kind of magic that the night brings.

Odd, isn’t it, how things fall together in the dark. Even odder, still, how so many things can be said without the need for actual words. 

They find each other in the dark, in the canopy of hanging drapes and with a sea of silk beneath them. The smell of crushed flowers grow more prominent with every little movement, with every little kiss that Hoseok presses to Yoongi’s lips, and then to the underside of his jaw, before he drifts further down, littering kisses along his neck, and then his collarbones. 

It smells like flowers and vanilla oils, and lit candles in the room, and when Hoseok leans down to kiss Yoongi again, more determination and thought put into a single kiss, he can smell Yoongi, too—and Yoongi smells a lot like mint and freshly plucked peonies. Yoongi also tastes a lot like strawberries and juice, and the salt from the underwater cave they’d spent all afternoon in.

Yoongi runs his fingers down Hoseok’s back, arches off of the bed so he can press himself close, close, impossibly closer. 

They take things slow—so slow that it’s almost agonising, but there’s nothing Hoseok’s wanted to do than to praise every inch of Yoongi’s skin, so he does that, lets his palms travel down Yoongi’s angles and plains, lets his kisses alternate from chaste to searching, wanting Yoongi so much it’s the only thing that runs in Hoseok’s mind, because he wants, and he wants, and Yoongi wants, and he wants, and they’re both ready to take as much as they can and then give it back, because things have fallen into place, much like how Hoseok’s finally, finally managed to slip himself inside of Yoongi.

Yoongi digs blunt nails into Hoseok’s bicep, bites on his lower lip, and Hoseok pauses, doesn’t dare to move until Yoongi opens his eyes, and nods quietly, opens his mouth to say, “Hoseok, I want you,”

Hoseok threads their fingers together and starts to move in earnest, although he’s careful, because this is Yoongi, and Hoseok hasn’t any intention of hurting him. 

He’ll let Yoongi take the lead. 

“Okay?” Hoseok whispers when they part for a kiss, when Yoongi’s breathing turns ragged. “Okay?” he asks again, when Yoongi surges up to hook a leg around Hoseok, pulling him even deeper, driving him forward into himself. 

“Okay,” Yoongi finally repeats, eyes shut tight as he chases after Hoseok’s lips, teeth nipping on Hoseok’s bottom lip, before Hoseok opens his mouth and kisses Yoongi slowly at first and then messily after, because Yoongi’s got hands that can’t seem to stay still, either in Hoseok’s hair or raking down his back. 

So Hoseok kisses Yoongi back, tongue running along the back of Yoongi’s teeth and the roof of his mouth and it’s warm and Yoongi tastes like strawberries, and underneath it all he tastes exactly like himself, like sunrise after a stormy evening. Like the first beam of sunlight that’s managed to break through the clouds. 

Yoongi kisses Hoseok on the tip of his mouth and then plants both of his hands on Hoseok’s chest, giving him a gentle nudge until their positions have reversed and he’s got Yoongi straddling him, looking down at him with flushed cheeks and eyes blown with want.

Hoseok thinks he doesn’t look too far from the perfect picture of fucked out, but he wants to hold out a little bit longer, wants to give, and give, and give, until it all spills out. 

He wraps his fingers around Yoongi’s cock, strokes him to orgasm as Yoongi moves on top of him, meeting every one of Hoseok’s thrusts. He doesn’t last long like this, and soon Yoongi is spilling into Hoseok’s hand, hot and wet and he’s a mess on top of Hoseok, head burrowing in the crook of Hoseok’s shoulder as he whimpers, a litany of oh my god the only thing tripping past his soft, beautiful lips.

Hoseok comes soon after, with both of his arms around Yoongi, and with Yoongi’s fingers in his hair, lips trailing kisses down every expanse of skin he’s got. In the morning, when Hoseok looks into a mirror, he will see just how many marks Yoongi’s left—bruises and kiss marks from the underside of his jaw to all the way down his collarbones, fingernail marks on his hips and down his back.

In the morning, Hoseok will revel in these marks.

But for tonight, with Yoongi sliding off of him and falling back into the sheets beside him, all Hoseok can think of is how beautiful Yoongi can be with his head thrown back and his cheeks flushed high to the tops with a pink so delicate Hoseok thinks he might not have seen it anywhere else.

They clean up for a little bit, Yoongi rubbing a wet cloth down Hoseok’s stomach, and then over Hoseok’s hands, before he does the same for himself. He tosses the cloth somewhere on the floor and then plops back down next to Hoseok, arm swung around Hoseok’s middle, and head pillowed on Hoseok’s chest. 

“Aren’t you amazing?” Hoseok asks, once they’ve both managed to catch their breath. He presses a lingering kiss to Yoongi’s forehead, breathes in his scent, now—crushed flowers and vanilla with a hint of spice and cinnamon and—and sex. 

Yoongi’s fingers trail over Hoseok’s hip, and it’s ticklish, just a smidge, but Hoseok doesn’t make a move to stop him. “I am,” Yoongi says, quite matter of fact.

Hoseok can’t help but laugh, shoulders shaking, and his laughter muffled by Yoongi’s hair.

Yoongi just presses a smile against Hoseok’s neck. 

“There’s one more thing I want to tell you before we sleep,” Hoseok has his fingers in Yoongi’s hair, gently combing through it.

Yoongi only nuzzles closer to him, the ghost of a smile pressed into Hoseok’s skin, leaving it’s own brand. One that Hoseok will carry with him wherever he goes, however long time will roll. 

In the silence of the night, in the middle of this autumn evening, Hoseok whispers a secret not many people know, voice barely carrying over between them, but it’s enough, because Yoongi hears him say it, anyway. Yoongi hears him say his full name. 

Yoongi doesn’t miss a beat at all after Hoseok pulls away, swinging a leg around Hoseok’s middle so he can straddle him, so similar to how they’d been earlier but so different, given the weight of what had just transpired. 

“Okay,” Yoongi says, placing a hand over Hoseok’s chest, right where his heart is. “My name is Min Yoongi,” 

Hoseok lifts a hand up to circle around Yoongi’s wrist, thumb rubbing gentle circles along the inside of his wrist. A smile tugs on the corners of Hoseok’s lips. 

Yoongi is smiling, too, a little bit too bright for so late in the evening, but it’s a smile that has his eyes lighting up, and the whole room suddenly bursting with a different kind of warmth. 

“Min Yoongi,” Hoseok murmurs, fingers closing around Yoongi’s hand. He tugs on Yoongi’s hand until Yoongi falls forward, until their chests are pressed together and he’s got Yoongi’s lips on his again, in a kiss that feels like everything Hoseok’s ever wanted and needed.

When they break apart, Hoseok cups a hand on Yoongi’s cheek, watches as Yoongi leans into the touch, his smile softening, though the light in his eyes and the stars that have danced behind his eyelids are the same, because nothing can quiet the supernova inside of Yoongi, Hoseok thinks. 

They fall asleep with their legs tangled and with Hoseok tucked into Yoongi’s side, arm thrown over his middle.

They fall asleep to whispered promises and assurances, an endless, I won’t let anything happen to you a promise that Hoseok presses into Yoongi’s hair, their fingers twined between them. 

In the morning, when the sun breaks through the slip between Hoseok’s curtains and wakes them both up, he finds that Yoongi’s already stirring, fingers brushing through his hair, and the faintest of smiles on his face.

“Jung Hoseok,” Yoongi says, in lieu of a greeting. 

And it might have been a while, but a warmth has finally settled around Hoseok’s room. 

It’s the kind of warm that’ll stay for a very long time, Hoseok is sure. 

 

 

 They get a leave from the King, if only for a few days—perhaps even a few weeks, just to get everything sorted out in the human realm again. Hoseok helps Yoongi rearrange everything in his life, helps him through the cold. Helps his garden survive the winter, too, and Yoongi just laughs, and laughs, because Hoseok’s pretty useful outside of the Court as well. 

The life they manage to set up for themselves back in Yoongi’s little cottage is a cosy one. 

His horse and his cat look plumper compared to when they had left, and they both blame Taehyung and Jeongguk for that, especially for how Grimes now looks at the both of them with a little bit of disdain in her eyes. She seems to want either of the boys instead of Hoseok or Yoongi, and it stings. 

It stings so much that Yoongi folds himself around the cat, arms trying to hold his fat black cat to his chest. When Grimes runs off to the other side of the cottage, Yoongi looks up at Hoseok with a pout, brows furrowed.

“I hate your brothers,” Yoongi says, though there’s no malice in it.

Hoseok just picks Yoongi up from the floor and tosses him to the couch, where they both nurse cups of rose-honey tea in their hands. Outside, it’s snowing, but in here, it’s warm, with Yoongi right next to him, the look on his face one that means he’s home. 

And it takes Hoseok a little bit by surprise how this is not a foreign look, how he’s seen the same look in Yoongi’s face, in his eyes, on early mornings back at the Court, or during breakfast with everyone else.

It fills his heart with a honey-like sweetness that he thinks he’ll gladly live with forever, if it meant Yoongi’s finally accepted both worlds to be home. Even if he’s still coming around with Hoseok’s. 

“I’ll have to leave in a few days,” Hoseok tells Yoongi, when the tea is all but finished and the fire has dwindled down in the fireplace. “Won’t be long. I’ll take Jeongguk with me, and then I’ll come back,”

Yoongi nods, petting Grimes who he’s finally managed to trap in his arms. 

“Are you going to be fine here, or would you rather stay at the Court. Seokjin will keep you company, or Jimin—“

It’s Yoongi’s turn to shut Hoseok up with a kiss, an eyebrow raised the second they pull apart, and a twitch in his smile. “I’ve lived on my own for years. I’ll be fine. This is home for me, Seok,” 

Hoseok nods, leaning his head against Yoongi’s shoulder. 

Yoongi shifts a little bit to adjust to Hoseok’s weight. His voice is gentle when he says, “The Court is home, too. But for now, I want to stay here. I’ve been away for a while,”

“Right,” Hoseok says, because he understands. A part of him is worried, but Yoongi’s not the same, even if nothing’s really changed. The only thing that’s different about him is that he’s stronger, now—health-wise, anyway, because Hoseok’s always believed Yoongi to be capable of throwing him across the room. Although that hasn’t been tested out. Not yet, anyway. “I wont be gone long,”

Which is exactly the same thing he says to Yoongi on the day that he leaves, their fingers tangled together, and Yoongi shivering slightly from the cold. 

“Come back soon,” Yoongi whispers, stepping back into the warmth of the cottage.

Hoseok pulls his hood up, and nods. Raises Yoongi’s hand up to his lips and gives it one last kiss. “I’ll be home before you know it.” 

 

 

So they make things work like this.

Hoseok leaves for a few days, sometimes even a week or two, to do his job, and Yoongi just busies himself back in his garden or at the market. 

Things work, they really do.

They alternate from the Court to Yoongi’s little cottage, and it feels like they’ve got two vacation places, both they can call a home. Sometimes, Hoseok feels like he’s asking for too much, but then Yoongi voices out exactly what he’s thinking, and everything is quiet again, because they always seem to meet each other halfway. 

So they make things work like this, and by god do they work.

The other boys visit Yoongi sometimes, too, because they want to explore, want to leave the stuffy Court just to go gallivanting around the human realm. 

Which explains how, when Yoongi opens the door to one particularly sunny spring morning, he ends up screaming, waking up a sleeping Hoseok, who falls right out of bed at the urgency. 

“Oh my god, there’s a fucking tiger—“ Yoongi yells, already stepping away from the doorframe, hands shaking.

Hoseok catches Yoongi by the shoulders and holds him steady against him, his voice the most level he can muster when he says, “No, no, that’s—Yoongi, that’s Taehyung. Oh, for god’s sake, Taehyung, morph back,”

Taehyung lets out a roar that easily shakes up the entire cottage before he transforms, falling onto the floor on all fours. He gathers himself up to his full height, pushes his long black hair over his shoulder, and grins, a little bit feral, remnants of the tiger.

“Good morning, songbirds,”

Hoseok thinks Yoongi might have fainted in his arms from shock. 

“You couldn’t come normally?” Hoseok hisses, his hold around Yoongi still tight, holding him next to him. 

Yoongi’s awake, hasn’t fainted at all, but he looks to be in shock. He snaps out of it soon enough, if only to say, “I really hate the fae,” 

It might have been a while since the exchange, but Yoongi’s still got it in him. Hoseok stifles a laugh in the back of Yoongi’s hair and Taehyung shrugs his shoulders, says,

“But you’ve got fae in you, too,” Taehyung points out, grabbing one fat cat from the floor and bringing it up to his face so he can pepper kisses on the cat’s head. 

Yoongi doesn’t miss a beat at all when he says, “Yeah, I hate myself, too, nothing new,”

And Hoseok stops laughing, because while the first I hate the fae had sounded more of a joke than anything, this one doesn’t.

Yoongi must have sensed the change because he turns around in Hoseok’s arms and gives him a little wince for a smile and says, “Tea for Taehyung?”

“Tea for Taehyung,” Hoseok nods, letting go of Yoongi so he can busy himself in the kitchen. 

Things continue to work just well and fine until Taehyung finally leaves for the evening and it’s just the two of them, alone with the cat that Yoongi had refused to give up to Taehyung who’d pouted and tried his best to win him over. It hadn’t worked.

But, anyway, things work, until there’s a cog in the machine and it stalls, if only for a moment, and the moment is this—

Hoseok and Yoongi on opposite ends of the couch. 

Hoseok opens his arms, the only invitation Yoongi will ever need  as he crawls eagerly to fit himself in Hoseok’s arms and between Hoseok’s legs, and they shift around for a few seconds, trying to find the most comfortable position. When they do, Hoseok hooks his chin over Yoongi’s shoulder, and asks, voice quiet, 

“Did you mean it?” 

Yoongi pulls at Hoseok’s fingers. “Mean what?”

“Earlier, when you said you hated yourself,” Hoseok doesn’t like to bring it up, knows that there are still things Yoongi can’t quite talk about, but Hoseok also knows that without Yoongi, then his mother would just be a memory that brings him rain and fog and thunder, and lightning. Perhaps all his time just biding and staying quiet has led to this single moment. 

“Maybe,” Yoongi murmurs, shoulders going rigid. “I just—Everyone hated me growing up, Seok. My parents, my brother—that’s my family, and they hated me, so I thought—“ Yoongi’s breath hitches, voice sounding a bit wet.

Hoseok tightens his hold around Yoongi’s middle, but he doesn’t interrupt him, just lets Yoongi speak, because there’s a time for them to talk and a time for Hoseok to stay completely silent and just listen, and tonight calls for the second one. 

Yoongi is silent for a few more beats, pulling on Hoseok’s fingers, playing with them, he tries to collect himself. Doesn’t start talking again until much later, when the hour grows late. 

Family is the first thing Yoongi says, the only thing that he can muster up the courage to say before he goes silent all over again, and Hoseok will wait. He’ll wait for as long as is needed, because Yoongi will get there. They both will. 

Eventually, Yoongi finds his voice again and tells him about the family that had hated him, about the father who drank half his life away, and the mother who looked at both her children with such an open display of disdain. They died around the same time as each other, and Yoongi had thought—he’d thought that that it would be it, that there would be something else for him with his brother who promised he’d come back after a trip to the nearby village, after finding a job, but it’s been six years and he hasn’t come home since, and Yoongi—

Yoongi thinks his family’s always hated him, so adding himself to the list isn’t that farfetched, is it, especially when people leave him for something better. Greener pastures. A job. Death. They all leave, is the moral of the story. 

“Everyone leaves eventually,” Yoongi says, dropping Hoseok’s hand. “And you know what, I don’t really hate them for leaving. If they didn’t leave then, they would’ve left at a later time. Y’know, everyone—everyone leaves, that’s all there is to it,” 

There’s a bitterness in Yoongi’s tone that hurts Hoseok like a knife to his gut. 

Hoseok can’t help but hold him tighter, lips leaving kisses down Yoongi’s exposed shoulder, his breath a quiet whisper when he says, “Not me. I won’t leave you, Yoongi,”

There’s a laugh this time from Yoongi, sounding a little wet and—and curt, like he hadn’t meant to laugh. Yoongi shakes his head. “Is it because you’re stuck with me?”

And Hoseok knows that there are days when it rains, and then there are days when it pours, and tonight it’s pouring hard. 

He turns them around slowly, waits for Yoongi to lift his head up to look at him. 

When Hoseok looks up at Yoongi’s face, into his eyes, he sees all the worlds that have yet been explored. He sees flowers blossoming every time he blinks. Hoseok sees a different kind of magic inside of Yoongi, and it’s beautiful. But it’s not the only thing that makes him stay.

No. 

Hoseok’s staying for plenty of reasons, but the most important one might just be this—

“Yoongi, I love you,” Hoseok frames Yoongi’s face with his hand, lets his thumb swipe at the wetness on Yoongi’s cheek. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not leaving. I’m not going anywhere. You know that, please,”

Yoongi does, if the look in his eyes is any indication.

Yoongi, who lifts trembling hands to catch at Hoseok’s fingers, the corners of his lips twitching, either to smile or to cry, Hoseok can’t quite tell. 

“I’m sorry,” the apology sits heavy between them, and Hoseok just smiles, a little sadly, a lot fondly.

“No, no, I—I know what it’s like, to be scared of people leaving,” god, does Hoseok know. He knows it all too well. “But I also want you to know that when you asked me to stay, when I said I would, I meant it. However long that will be,” 

However long you will have me, Hoseok whispers, kissing Yoongi’s forehead, and then either of his cheeks. However long you will want me.

Yoongi’s hold around Hoseok’s wrists tightens. He leans closer into him, until their foreheads are knocking together. Hoseok notices that his shoulders are shaking, hands trembling slightly, still.

“I think I want you to stay forever,” Yoongi whispers, like it’s a secret he wants to protect from the rest of the world. “I love you.” 

See, they make things work. And even when it threatens to stop working, they still find a way, because that’s how they work, that’s how they can manage to live with each other, to love each other. That’s how they are, Hoseok and Yoongi, Yoongi and Hoseok, and there’s no way Hoseok’s giving this up for anything.

“Okay, forever doesn’t sound too bad,” Hoseok finally manages to smile at him, a playful, mischievous little smile that sort of betrays the wetness in his eyes.

Yoongi raises a finger to swipe at a single tear that’s managed to roll down Hoseok’s cheek. Kisses the very spot, and then whispers it again, an I love you that rings loud and true. 

“Remember what you told me back then?” Hoseok asks, kissing the top of Yoongi’s lips. “You said it’s alright not to be alright. So—so you’re alright, even if you have days when you aren’t. When we aren’t,”

Yoongi nods, tucking his head under Hoseok’s chin, the smile that he presses against Hoseok’s skin one that tells Hoseok that they’ll get through the night with just this warmth shared between them. 

“When did you get so smart?” Yoongi asks, thumbing along Hoseok’s collarbone. “You were my idiot faerie with the magic hands,”

Hoseok laughs this time, something loud and wet and surprising, but it’s a laugh, anyway, and in his arms Yoongi lets out a small giggle. 

“I’m still here,” Hoseok says. “I’ll always be here.”

 

 

Hoseok thinks that perhaps Yoongi’s brand of magic is stronger than his own fears, because here they are, standing on a cliff, the sound of the rushing waterfall so loud in Hoseok’s ears it’s the only thing he hears.

Beside him, Yoongi laughs, closes his hand around Hoseok’s, and mouths, “Ready?”

Hoseok doesn’t know how they’d ended up here—the last thing he remembers is the both of them rolling around in bed, not wanting to get up, and then this, Yoongi all of a sudden rushing Hoseok out of the house because it’s the first day of summer and they’ve got to go to his favourite place in the whole wide world, and who is Hoseok to tell him no, when Yoongi had said whole wide world with bright eyes and an even brighter smile? Hoseok would be a demon to have said no to that.

Which explains why they’re here, waiting, with Yoongi all too ready to jump.

“Actually, no,” Hoseok says, shaking his head, and taking a slippery step back. 

Yoongi doesn’t let him move that far away, though. “Is the little faerie scared?” 

Okay, yeah, you know what, Hoseok will back out of any challenge if he deems it too scary, but Yoongi calling him little when he knows just how much Hoseok hates it—and not hate it hate it, but hate it in the sense that it makes him blush, from his cheeks to the tips of his pointy little ears. 

Hoseok kind of hates how Yoongi’s knowledge about him has gotten so extensive, but at the same time, he really doesn’t, because there’s no other way for things to go except for this, and if today isn’t closing with the both of them jumping off this waterfall and into the water than perhaps Yoongi will sulk throughout the whole week. Perhaps.

And Hoseok isn’t a strong man. He’s weak, which is why he finally nods his head, ready to take the plunge. 

It’s Yoongi who leads the way, swinging their clasped hands between them before he takes a few steps back from the edge, Hoseok following after him. They take a running start, jumping on the very last second to fall down, down, down. 

Hoseok screams, and screams, and screams, eyes shutting tight and hand holding on tightly to Yoongi, who laughs, and laughs, and laughs, the wind whipping both of their voices away until there’s no sound at all, the both of them submerged under the cool water. 

When they break through the surface, Hoseok finds that his heart is hammering so fast, he thinks he might die from a heart attack here and now. 

Yoongi wraps himself around Hoseok, arms going around his shoulders and legs around his waist, and he latches on, head tipped back as he laughs, and in the water, with the sound of the rushing waterfall, Hoseok thinks that there’s no music as lovely as this.

They find themselves in the shallower waters, and even then Yoongi doesn’t let go, just runs his fingers through Hoseok's wet hair, and kisses him wild and silly, and foolish, and sickly sweet, whispering, my brave lil faerie, my brave boy, again and again that it colours Hoseok’s cheeks pink and makes his ears twitch.

Yoongi pulls away slightly, Hoseok’s hold on him tightening, not wanting to let go of him for a second.

“I have a question,” Yoongi asks, nosing down Hoseok’s neck. “Will I ever get the ears?”

That certainly takes Hoseok by surprise, because he barks out a laugh, loud and sudden. “No—I mean. I don’t think so. Why, do you want them?”

Yoongi nips playfully at Hoseok’s earlobe and laughs again. “Oh, thank god. I’ve been meaning to ask, but I was just—so afraid you’d have said yes. This is good news,” 

“Is it,” Hoseok murmurs, leaning in again to kiss Yoongi. It’s wet and it’s slippery but it’s special all the same.

“Yes, because now I don’t have to withhold my I love you,” Yoongi ducks his head, not wanting to meet Hoseok’s eyes, and Hoseok just kisses him on his forehead, kisses his wet hair, too, and spins them around in the water until Yoongi laughs loud and earnest and it’s the sound of the sunrise again, pink and purple and absolutely so, so beautiful, Hoseok doesn’t mind not hearing anything else. 

Even when they’re all dried up and back in a place so, so familiar to the both of them, in the middle of a faerie circle right in the heart of the meadow where they’d spent countless days together, Yoongi still rolls into Hoseok’s arms and says, “My brave, magical boy,”

And Hoseok loves this, loves the feel of Yoongi fitting himself into every single nook and cranny in Hoseok’s side. Loves how Hoseok can fit himself right next to Yoongi, too. 

Yoongi raises a hand up to the sky, fingers closing around nothing—perhaps at a star, perhaps at a constellation. It’s all they can see, now. Constellations and stars scattered around the night sky as far as their eyes can see. 

Hoseok raises his hand, too, if only to watch their matching golden bands glint against the little sun-stars Hoseok’s scattered around the meadow, to keep them warm, to give them that extra bit of light. 

“Tell me, my love,” Yoongi’s hand rests on Hoseok’s cheek, now, thumb caressing his face gently. “What do you see?” 

Hoseok looks up at the sky. He sees the stars, twinkling, burning, bright, and beautiful. Then he looks at Yoongi beside him, and sees different constellations mapped out in the depths of his eyes. He smiles. 

He also sees love, and a garden of flowers. He sees the sun after a terrible storm, sunshine cascading down the still-glistening leaves and wet grass. Hoseok sees every little bit of good in Yoongi, and then in himself. 

Hoseok feels seen, when Yoongi looks at him.

But most importantly, Hoseok sees love.

“I see you,” Hoseok says, voice quiet. He smiles at Yoongi, leans in and kisses just the bridge of Yoongi’s lips. “I see you, always,”

Yoongi leans in to kiss him again, a gentle pressing of their lips, barely there and chaste. It’s reminiscent to when they’d first kissed, how innocent it is, how light it makes Hoseok feel. 

Touching a finger to Hoseok’s dimple, Yoongi smiles and for the first time since they’ve met, whispers, “Thank you.”