It had been a lovely summer day, hot and dry, the kind of persistent sunlight his trees loved to reach their leaves toward and drink deep. He smiles up at the little puffy clouds tinted in mid-afternoon gold as he tip toes carefully under a wild rose bush, wary of any more thorn scratches across his face.
He's surprised to find his home empty still. Usually Jungkook is bouncing around his little kitchen or weaving pine needle baskets on the floor by now. Frowning, he takes the lower door out of the hollow tree stump home. No sight of Jungkook. He strolls through the wheat grass that tickles around his shoulders and sways above his head, scanning for any sight of the telltale lavender hair.
There's still no sight of it, but the closer he gets to the massive blueberry bush by the wooden fence, the louder the desperate little wails become. Rushed by worry, Namjoon jogs toward it and overturns the shaking pile of leaves one by one.
“Jungkook, what's wrong? Are you hurt?”
He only cries louder, curling in on himself, burying his face in a balled up strawberry leaf. “Died,” he wails. “All died.”
“Who died?! Jungkook you look terrible, are you sure you aren't hurt?” Namjoon scoops him up easily. Tree fairies always are a little bit bigger than the others, a fact Jungkook loves when it comes time for cuddles.
Pulled uncomfortably into Namjoon's lap, Jungkook wraps his arms around his waist and buries his face in his stomach. “My biggest patch of daisies,” he hiccups. “By the old hazelnut tree. All dead, I- I tried my best but they died.” His tears soak the thin cloth of Namjoon's long shirt, just a bit of stolen fabric from the nearest farmhouse. “They were all withered and they smelled awful.”
His heart aches for Jungkook. It's hard for him to imagine, being the fairy of only a few trees that live as long as he does. The impermanence of flowers is a scary notion for him, and though Jungkook handles it well, he doesn't handle failure well, not when he cares so very deeply.
“Come here, my pretty bloom,” he murmurs, but Jungkook refuses to be consoled.
“I'm the daisy fairy but they all died, they couldn't understand what was happening to them and- and-” he dissolves into a pile of violent sobs.
“Oh, Jungkook. I'm so sorry.” A hard knot catches in his throat as he tries not to cry too. Jungkook won't sit up for a hug so Namjoon brings the hug down to him, laying on his side in the grass and wrapping himself around Jungkook.
For a moment he just lets him cry, face buried in his shoulder. Birds rustle in the blueberry bush above them, raining little leaves over them like confetti as they peck and hunt and flutter back to their nests.
He combs his fingers through Jungkook's pale purple hair, the same light hue as his delicate wings. “But you know, you're not the daisy fairy, you're a daisy fairy. You can't do everything.”
Jungkook's cries calm a bit as he thinks about that. “I know,” he sniffles. “I do. But I was their daisy fairy and I let them die!”
“Heyyy, hey now, you didn't let them die. You tried your best and they know that. Farmers these days just- they have those chemicals that are stronger than our magic now.”
“I hate them,” Jungkook says, impassioned. “I hate them, they kill my daisies but grow roses everywhere. Aren't my daisies pretty too?” He looks up at him with big, wet eyes, begging for the truth.
“Of course I think so,” he whispers, kissing the tears from Jungkook's nose. “I love your daisies. Better than any old rose.”
“Thank you,” he squeaks, voice hoarse, finally wrapping weak arms around him though he's reluctant to be consoled.
“I'm sorry Jungkook, I'm sorry about your daisies. Maybe you should spend more time on the daisy patch by the river, encourage them to spread there where the humans don't go.”
“But daisies should be everywhere,” he pouts. “They love being near your hazelnut tree. And- and near the humans and watching the cars go by, they should be able to! My magic should- I'm the daisy fairy! My magic should be enough to keep them alive, I used all of it and it still wasn't-”
“Wait, you used all of it?! Jungkook,” he chides softly.
Jungkook had started to get himself worked up into an obstinate speech, but all the fire is knocked out of him, lip pouting out with fear in his big eyes.
“What about your other daisies?! It's going to take days for your magic to replenish, they need you too, Jungkook.” He immediately feels bad for bringing it up.
“I know,” he says in a tiny, meek voice. Try as he might to hold back, the tears burst out of him again. He wiggles out of Namjoon's embrace and turns away, eyes buried in his hands. “I know, okay! I'm the worst daisy fairy, I did everything to save the hazelnut daisies but they died anyway and now all the others are gonna die too,” he wails. “I'm so stupid!”
He tries to hug Jungkook from behind but he shrugs him away. “Jungkook,” he says softly, clinging to the sleeve of Jungkook's white shift dress, which he allows. “You're not stupid. But it's the rule, the most important one, a fairy's dust is fine indeed, but spend in full and sleep for three.”
“I know the stupid rule,” he grumbles, feeble and full of sniffles. “I just panicked. They were dying, Namjoon. Dying, and they were so scared and- and-”
He falls back into quiet, bitter tears and Namjoon takes pity on him and leaves the lecture be. He scoots closer, and closer to Jungkook until their legs are touching, and Jungkook lets him hold him close again. “I know they were so glad you were there with them, Jungkook. They knew you were trying your best for them, I'm sure it gave them comfort.”
The warm wind ruffles through their hair, bringing them scents and currents of luck and wisdom that were so difficult to decipher. It's a relief as always, the quick, clever wind- runs through daisy and oak alike, carrying life and death in its invisible hands.
“You know who I think could help us?” he speaks up again, nuzzling into Jungkook's hair, breathing deep of its floral scent. Namjoon doesn't know it, but how naturally he said “us” comforts Jungkook more than anything else. “Yoongi.”
As usual, they find Yoongi relaxing in his little houseboat on the creek, warm and cozy despite rocking a bit on the cool water. As the dew drop fairy, he works hard in the early morning hours to give the little dell a healthy spritzing of mist before the sun rises and cooks it all away. The rest of the day he spends napping and relaxing and baking, much to all his friends' delight.
He scowls when he opens the door, but when he sees who it is, he relaxes and lets them in. “Sorry, I thought you were that damned dawn fairy.”
“Hoseok?” Namjoon laughs. “But he's so nice.”
Yoongi just scoffs, settling back into his cozy nest of sheep's wool. “He's an idiot, singing at the sun every morning.”
“Be nice to him, the darkness is much harder for him to bear.” Jungkook looks up at Namjoon's soft words as if hit with a revelation or curiosity.
Nothing to say to that besides a pout like he's mad he made himself look like the bad guy, Yoongi piles a few pillows of rice grains behind him. “So. What's up.”
“We came to ask a favor. Jungkook's daisies died, the patch by the farmhouse.” Namjoon soothes his hand up and down Jungkook's back.
“I'm so sorry,” Yoongi says simply, and means it.
“I- um. I know it was stupid but I used up my magic trying to save them.” Jungkook speaks more to the wooden floor than he does to Yoongi, kicking his heels against an old, upside-down shot glass serving as a chair.
Yoongi just nods. “I did that once. A few years ago when we had that awful drought? Everything was so dry and thirsty, and no matter how much dew I spread, they all called out for more, they were so scared...”
He nods, tries to carry on conversation but his chin wobbles and he bursts into tears. “So were my daisies! I tried so hard, but- but- I'm sorry-”
Knowing how Jungkook hates for people to see him cry,Namjoon stands and buries Jungkook's face in his chest in a tight hug before he turns back to Yoongi. “The problem we have now is Jungkook's magic won't regenerate for a few days but his other daisy patches...”
Yoongi nods, climbing out of his nest of sheep wool to hand Jungkook a little square of cloth to blow his nose in. “I can give them a little extra dew for a few days,” he says easily.
“Really?” Jungkook gasps, looking up at him with warm disbelief, fresh tears spilling at the kindness. “Thank you!”
He grabs Yoongi around his thighs and hefts him over his shoulder, spinning him around the room in an enthusiastic hug, spinning faster when Yoongi grumbles for him to watch the wings.
Outside of Yoongi's houseboat, they stroll along the shore of the creek, to them a decent river. Jungkook is quiet, not up to his usual mischief and smiles and kisses. He sits down on a fallen branch, digging mindlessly in the sand with a stick. At least not crying, for now.
Worried, Namjoon kisses his soft cheek, but Jungkook just frowns instead of smiling. “Do you want me to make you a maple leaf crown?”
Jungkook shakes his head. “I wanna go check on my daisies on the other side of the river... but I know! I know. There's nothing I can do for them right now.”
The wind blows, carrying that truth perhaps to the daisies themselves, if they care to stop and listen. Namjoon weaves their fingers together, kissing each of Jungkook's knuckles. “Do you want to go feed the sparrows?”
Jungkook just shakes his head again, and Namjoon's concern increases; Jungkook never turns down a visit to the sparrows. He tugs Jungkook to his feet. “Let's go see Jimin, come on.”
Jimin is perched on the heavy head of a sunflower, tiny as he wants to be, humming with his face tipped up to the remaining afternoon sun. Every minute or so he would scan around for his honey bees, checking their progress and making sure they don't overtire themselves. His pet bumblebee, a runty thing that had been born without wings, sat by his side as always.
“Join me!” he laughs, waving down at them. Maybe Jungkook could've sat up there with him, but Namjoon, nearly as tall as a full bloomed tulip and more than a head taller than Jungkook, would've brought the whole massive flower to the ground.
This Jimin knows full well, yet never fails to delight in his unique ability to become half his normal size if he so desires. He giggles freely and they all know, it's the wind's most favorite sound. It swirls around them in bubbly lightness, nearly carbonated, before cascading the laughter in invisible tendrils over the meadow.
Bumblebee tucked safely under his arm, he flutters his way down to where they stand in the tiny wildflowers, too small for the humans to assign any name besides “weeds”, but the fairies know them all; these particular pink flowers affectionately known as knee-ticklers.
Immediately, Jimin senses Jungkook isn't his usual playful self, smile melting away to concern. “What's wrong?”
“My daisies died,” Jungkook mumbles, not wanting to go through the hurt of explaining for a third time. So they settle in the grass and Namjoon explains for him, hand planted softly on Jungkook's knee.
Jungkook stares out at all the other happily dancing flowers and swipes at the tears on his cheeks, chin wobbling when Jimin puts a hand on his other knee in sympathy.
“Yoongi is going to keep them well-watered, and my trees could stretch a bit to keep the sun from wilting them, but I thought maybe your bees could spare a little time, just for the next few days until Jungkook's magic fills back up, just to keep watch over his other daisies,” Namjoon finishes.
Jimin is already nodding, a smile back on his sun-freckled face. “Of course! They'll protect them, they love your daisies, Jungkook.” Kneeling in the grass, he looks Jungkook in the eye, full of sincerity. “Your daisies might be a little dimmed without your magic for a few days, but we won't let them die. They will be okay, okay?”
His face crumples a bit as he tries not to sob, nodding and thanking Jimin.
“I know how hard it can be, caring for such transient little things,” Jimin murmurs, eyes catching on a honeybee zooming between the tall, colorful hollyhocks.
It scares Namjoon a little, fills in his edges with an odd loneliness. He doesn't know how hard it can be, not really. His trees will, or should, live long after him; the sudden loss of one of his few trees would be massive, devastating, unthinkable.
The flower fairies, his Jungkook, they have their end-rituals for autumn, saying farewell to the blooms that have run their course, petals fallen now so the roots can drink deep and rest and blossom again in spring. It's bittersweet always, and Jungkook is always solemn on those days, but this, a full death, abrupt and unnatural, it's too much.
“Wait here, I have something that will cheer you up.” Jimin zooms away, up and up into the trees until he disappears.
When he comes back into view, he's flying a bit more carefully, something held in his hands. “Here,” he announces, taking care to land softly. He hands them a hollowed out walnut shell filled to the top with fresh honey. “The bees always have a little extra.”
“Thank you!” Jungkook shouts, red eyes wide with surprise at such a delicious gift. Nevermind that Jimin brings little pots of honey by their house every few weeks; today it's a precious gift, a balm to his heart to remember that golden, wonderful things can exist during bad times too.
“You should go home and rest. The better you rest the sooner you can get back to your daisies. Don't worry Jungkook, they're tough, they'll survive until then.”
They take Jimin's advice and go home to rest, walking across the meadow in comfortable silence, taking turns dipping their fingers in the walnut bowl of honey and sucking off the sweetness. Jungkook falls into an uneasy sleep on top of the sheets as Namjoon pets his hair, their pet mouse Kupo curled up heavy around his feet.
An hour or so later, as dusk falls in final rich tones of amber and tangerine, Namjoon shakes him gently awake. “Let's go, love.”
“Where?” he asks, groggy, head aching from crying and dehydration. He stretches and sits up to pet Kupo's soft fur.
“You'll see, come on.”
At first, when Jungkook sees that they're headed right back to the hazelnut tree, he stops and protests that he doesn't want to go back there just yet, but Namjoon coaxes him forward, promising it'll be worth it.
The last slivers of gold on the horizon slip away, and the air around them glows a deep, tangible blue, full of the dusk fairies' magic powders and lulling song. Seokjin and Taehyung are there already on a low branch of the hazelnut tree, feet swinging as they wait for their beloved moon to surface from the obscurity of dusk light.
“Heyo!” Taehyung calls out, and they fly down to meet them. Jungkook's hand squeezes tight around Namjoon's, eyes welling up again at the emptiness where his daisies should be slow dancing in the breeze.
“Sorry about your flowers,” Seokjin says, squeezing Jungkook's cheeks together affectionately. “We're here to help their passing be more peaceful.”
“And to cleanse the sadness here,” Taehyung adds. “It's awful when they die this way. The moon, she sees everything, you know. She knows. She loves to help, if she can.”
Night is full and dark around them, and the brother's skin seems to glow just a bit more than any other surface graced by the moonlight. They get to work; moonlight fairies have secretive and complex rituals, but they make it look so joyous, a lunar expression so effervescent and fluid as they chant softly, arms swooping and arcing.
Aching from the beauty and sadness, Namjoon holds Jungkook close, rocking him gently on the rhythm of Seokjin's singing, silvery moonlight dancing so brightly through the hazelnut leaves. Jungkook sniffles, determined to control himself or maybe feeling a little less bitter about it all now.
There's not much left of the dead daisies, wilted and shriveled and smelling of poison, but Jungkook runs his hands down their stalks in affection and apology. Wiping the tears from the end of his nose, he rises and joins Taehyung in his moonlight dance, singing clumsily along with Seokjin though he doesn't know the words.
He's not a moonlight fairy- no magic would come of it, but it's good for his heart, and the wind carries tidings of his sorrowful voice across wheat grass and rocky knoll, to other flower fairies who know the pain of caring for such fleeting lives.
All through the meadowy dell, melancholy and reverence holds the dozens of little fairies for a moment as they stare up at the silver moon, though they know nothing of the ceremony happening beneath the tall hazelnut tree.
At the top of the tallest hill, Yoongi pauses to acknowledge it before he calms his nerves and knocks on Hoseok's door, basket of golden biscuits in hand, a little pot of Jimin's honey tucked in beside them. Down the slope of the hill in a tall sycamore tree, Jimin sits on the branch beside one of his beehives, thinking of Jungkook as he pets his wingless bumblebee.
And here, below the gnarled hazelnut tree, faint streaks of liquid silver swirl between Taehyung and Seokjin, concentrated essence of moonlight that glints off lake water and barn roof and makes one feel a comforting sense of enchantment. Grabbing Jungkook, Taehyung dances toward the fallen daisies, gathering up Seokjin and Namjoon too, leading them to skip a silver-laced circle around the former flower patch, hand in hand.
Hands occupied, Jungkook lets the tears flow free down his cheek, smiling when he hears Namjoon humming along to the moonlight song. The moon descends toward the horizon and Seokjin lowers to a hum himself, their circle slowing to a stop, hands clasped tight as the moment rests heavy upon them.
The moon sinks behind a cloud and finally Seokjin turns away to smile at them all. “She's honored to have been called upon. Your daisies were lovely, Jungkook.”
He sniffles and gives a pitiful version of a smile. “Thank you, both of you. All of you,” he adds softly, looking up at Namjoon.
Namjoon smiles back, reaching up to pet at his lavender hair soaked silver in clinging moondust. “I love you,” he whispers. The wind flutters warm, relishing the words, I love you clinging like pollen to every buttercup and bramble bush it flows through.
“You should rest lots, and drink that honeysuckle tea,” Taehyung says with soft authority. “It always gives me spirit when my magic is low.”
Seokjin grins and tries not to, knowing there's no magic in honeysuckle tea besides what magic it's assigned by the drinker, or in this case, by the stern and loving advice their mother had given them when they were children.
But that magic would work for Jungkook too when he drank it, magic bestowed by the love of a concerned friend. Jungkook nods earnestly, patting the little satchel of flower tea around his wrist.
“Let's go home, little petal.”
Clouds dampen any brightness in the little valley as they stroll home to their hollowed stump, but moonlight clings and glows around the both of them, Jungkook sniffling and humming the moonlight tune quietly to himself.
Their little house is cozy and warm, embers still glowing in the fireplace, all the little firewood twigs burnt down to charcoal. “I'll get some water boiling for tea,” Namjoon says, kissing the top of Jungkook's head.
“Wait-” Jungkook takes him by the hands and rises up on tip toes to kiss Namjoon's cheek. “Thank you for- for- um,”
“You're welcome,” Namjoon smiles, knowing Jungkook isn't good with words.
But he persists in trying anyway. “For always- for- you take care of me but you don't make me feel stupid, or alone. You say 'we' when really it's just my problem,” he mumbles, bashful.
Namjoon wraps him up in a big, gentle hug, rocking him side to side. “Jungkook. I love you, it'll always be 'we'.”
They stand together in the cozy little hollow, firelight glimmering on the dark, polished walls and their gossamer wings. Namjoon kisses his forehead and keeps his nose buried in Jungkook's hair, lips still pressed to skin, breathing in the scent of wildflowers and home.
“You wanna get the scones out?” he finally asks. “They'd be great with Jimin's honey.”
Jungkook nods and strains to kiss Namjoon's cheek once more, and then the other, and once more on the very tip of his nose. “And then we can read a book?” he asks hopefully.
With a grin and chuckle, Namjoon dips down to press a lingering kiss to his lips. “You just want to cuddle,” he accuses.
Jungkook grins back and doesn't try to deny it, skipping across the kitchen to fetch the parcel of scones and bit of butter. The fire crackles and stirs when Namjoon piles a few more twigs on the embers, warming the little room quickly as he fetches a book and a blanket from the bedroom to drag to their seat by the fire, a loosely filled cotton sack of wool and dried beans.
Tea steeping, scones buttered and honeyed, they snuggle close in the cushy beanbag chair and stuff their mouths with the delicious treat, quiet in their thoughts and shared heartbeats.
Wiping the crumbs from his mouth and Jungkook's, Namjoon reaches first to hand Jungkook his cup of tea and again for the book, thumbing through to the bookmark placed the night before. “Ready?” he asks, smiling at the glimmer of silver still clinging to Jungkook's lilac hair, and the contented sleepiness beginning to eclipse the distress that etched his face all day.
He takes three big gulps of honeysuckle tea and sets it back on the floor, nestling into Namjoon's lap and arranging the blanket just so, up around his neck but leaving his toes to peek out, just the way he likes it.
An exhale, then a kiss to Namjoon's shoulder before he's satisfied. “Ready,” he agrees, eyes distant and heavy as he watches the fire and soaks in the comforting tones of Namjoon's low voice beginning the next chapter.
Warm and ever-loved, flowers watched over by the trees and moonlight, dewdrops and honey bees, Jungkook drifts to sleep and dreams of the wind.