It was when faeries turned 21, that the magic that binds them to their home village disintegrates and they receive the most awaited gift: Freedom. Freedom to leave their dwelling and explore the world around them. From large mountains to grand saltwater bodies called oceans, creatures as mighty as the blue whale and rabbits so small they could fit inside the palm of your hand. The world around them had so much to offer and the little fae of this village would eagerly listen to their hyungs and noonas about it all, gathered around small campfires with their large wondrous eyes and their mouths wide open. They would sound tiny gasps and shake their limbs in excitement as they waited for the elders to narrate their adventures.
Jimin used to be one of the many little fae, waiting for his own opportunity to see the world and witness its wonders. Hoseok hyung was by far the fairy who had to tell him the most interesting stories. He was a bit of a rebel, drinking in the pleasures of the outside world more than necessary and it was their little secret. He housed the crazy things his hyung has done deep in his mind, waiting for his own chance to wander.
The faery sat perched on the long twisting branches of their mother tree, his eyes sparkling with the reflection of the round silver moon. It was particularly large and bright that night, the light cascading over the rustling leaves of the forest and his village sleeping within the thicket and blooming shrubs. Nocturnal animals were out and peeping, their voices singing and flooding the silence of the night. It was peaceful and oh so beautiful. Jimin closed his eyes and basked under the lunar entity, a large smile bubbling to existence at the one thing that he’s been patiently waiting for since he was a child.
His 21st birthday.
“You’re too excited to sleep, aren’t you?”
The owner of the familiar voice slowly entered his line of vision, floating in the air with his quivering wings. Taehyung settled on the branch opposite to him, his one amber and one flamingo pink eyes glowing with unhinged enthusiasm. The boy is a special fae and also happens to be Jimin’s BFF or best friends or partners for life or whatever you wanna call it. His gift was unique compared to the others. You see, every faery in this village is born from a flower and blessed with its powers. The color of the flower determines the color of the faery’s hair, their wings and their personality. Jimin’s flower was the Red Amaryllis, and hence the color of his hair and his wings are a bright scarlet, consisting of a soul overflowing with only love to offer for anyone and everyone. Taehyung’s flower was a double shaded yellow and pink Dahlia and hence his hair partitions in the middle with one side golden and the other in pink. The same goes with his eyes and his wings. It’s a rare gift, to be gifted with two colors. But it definitely resembled Taehyung’s unique personality.
Jimin did not waver his eyes from the moon, tendrils of red dancing across his forehead.
“I’ve been dreaming about this day for so many years. I can’t believe this is really happening Tae”
“Don’t you think you need to sleep and save up all this energy for tomorrow instead?” Taehyung was dangling his legs in the air, the silver filtering through his wings and casting beautiful shades of his bright colors across Jimin’s frame and the surrounding area.
“But I can’t stop thinking about it!” Jimin whined through puckered lips, tugging on a bunch of emerald leaves sprouting from the branch.
Taehyung was well aware that not matter how much he would try to convince the fairy before him to come back into their hollow and sleep, it would end in vain. Jimin was a little stubborn in nature and once he has his mind set on something, it's very hard to persuade him into doing anything else. What needs to be done, will be done under any circumstances. But then again, he couldn't really blame him for it when he himself was pretty much the same.
The faery sighed at the thought.
“Okay fine! I'm gonna stay awake with you hmm? I'm super excited for you too!”
Before Jimin could initiate the talk, Taehyung barged in to add the final sentence he failed to address. The most important one.
“And…. I won't tell Jin Hyung” He winked.
“Ah you're the best Tae!”
The next second Taehyung was crushed in a bear tight hug, small arms looping around his chest, fingers digging into his back. Jimin carefully placed his head on the other's shoulder and breathed into the crook of his neck, trying very hard to shun the excitement for the following day. But more than anything, he also wanted one more gift, if that was possible.
“I wish you could come with me” a slight dip in Jimin's tone and Taehyung grabbed his shoulders, looking him straight in the eyes and chuckling under his breath.
“You do realize I'm turning 21 in exactly two months right?”
“I know but-”
“Shut up and enjoy it Jiminie. You've been waiting for so long! But you better come with me when it's my turn, okay?”
“Of course I will” he playfully ruffled Taehyung's hair. On purpose . Jimin knows how much Taehyung hates it when someone lays a finger on his curled locks of hair. He retaliated with a tougher ruffle, nails sinking into his scalp as Jimin yelped and laughed in pain in hushed tones. The last thing they needed was to wake up the entire town, again. Oh yes, this wouldn't be the first time if they did.
The faeries were on each other and giggling through the long hours of night before they decided to sleep, waiting for the sun to paint its colors across the horizon, marking the beginning of dawn.
Marking the beginning of Jimin's route to exploring a new world.
As soon as the first golden rays of the sun entered through Jimin's window, he was up and and bouncing on his bed, the thrill for what was to come washing over his body and leaving a warm, pulsing globule in his chest, ready to burst any second. Sitting idly on the mattress was helping the least and hence he decided to spread the energy to the very person whose name popped up in his mind. Taehyung. He ran through his room and crashed into Taehyung’s, the harsh bang of the door alerting the sound sleeper and before he could even comprehend how that happened, a heavy body leaped on his and giggling all the while.
“Oh my Gods Jiminie! You scared me!” the other huffed and pulled Jimin towards him, spooning his figure, mostly to contain the overly excited fairy.
“How can I? I’m finally going outside!”
“Oh and by the way…” Taehyung softly brushed away the locks of hair away from his eyes and eagerly hugged him so tightly, inadvertently crushing his chest, Jimin couldn’t even breathe.
“If you… c-crush me any tighter. I-it might also be m-my f-funeral”
“Oops!” Taehyung giggled and removed his hands away, locking eyes with the red haired fairy taking in a deep breath. “Let’s go wake up the others, shall we?”
The next thing you know, the mischievous little faeries made their way to Jin’s room and then Hobi’s, dragging their half asleep bodies to their living room. They were literally jumping up and down, furious eyes on them from two men clearly disrupted from their peaceful slumber. But the bulb lit in their heads and they quickly proceeded to hug the red fairy ever so tightly, his death even closer with the amount of pressure the tall men used to crush him. But he loved it.
Loved how each of them pampered him and showered him with so much love. Loved that Jin was secretly preparing the biggest honeycomb cake for him. He caught whiffs of its heavenly aroma just the day before, Jin trying his best to dismiss it as some experiment but Jimin was a sucker for honey and everyone knows that and Tae wasn’t really being helpful either during their awkward confrontation, eyes bulging and hiccuping on the side.
Loved that his friends were, not-so secretly, planning a great surprise birthday party for him at the end of the day, smuggling in pretty streamers and balloons into Hoseok’s room to hide them away. Taehyung wasn’t really discreet about that either. Everything muddled together was sending high surges of energy into his system, his heart would burst. But first, he had one thing to do before his celebrations began: Fly.
“Okay everyone, I’m heading outside now. I will see you guys in a bit okay?”
All the commotion in the room stopped, eyes falling on the red fairy already making his way to the open window.
“Jimin wait!” Jin called out to him from the kitchen. The orange haired fairy was hurriedly pouring steaming liquid into a wooden flask, and stuffing handfuls of nuts and berries into a small olive satchel, not caring for the utensils rolling around due to his frenzy. He buttoned the bag and walked over to Jimin, sliding the strap over his body until the bag securely hung against his tiny waist.
“I know you first timers, you won't be back until the end of the day so here, I packed you some food you can have on the way” he beamed a soft smile.
No matter how annoying his hyung was, cracking lame dad jokes and echoing the walls of their home with his high pitched seal laugh (At some occasions it's been so loud that even their neighbours complained, but that never stopped him from breaking into the same whooping laughter seconds later) But he was gentle and caring, taking care of all them like a motherly figure, feeding them until they’re stuffed and nauseous and standing up for the maknaes whenever they fall into trouble. He was hardworking and diligent, a very inspiring figure in Jimin's life. Let’s not even begin to talk about how utterly handsome the fairy was. He was indeed the most beautiful person Jimin, actually any fairy, has ever laid eyes on. Jin was very much aware of it and he cast an aura of dominance whenever he strolled across the village.
“Thanks a lot hyung” he replied back, his heart melting at his kind gesture.
“I know this is your first time and I know you’re super excited but please be careful Jiminie” Jin deeply sighed and placed his hand on Jimin's shoulder.
“I’ll be safe hyung. Don't worry, you know I'm cautious”
“Cautious? And you?” Taehyung burst out laughing. “Didn't you trip over a tree root just two days ago and fall into Wonwoo’s honeysuckle patch?” The younger questioned, wiping a tear from his flushed cheeks.
Jimin shot him a warning glare. He can't have the fairy ruining his first ever chance to fly out into the open all by himself.
“Wonwoo is still threatening me to snap my wings if I don't apologize soon. I'm sure he's joking but sometimes I don't know about that man.” Jin wondered.
Hoseok who was quiet the whole time started to speak, his face forming the brightest smile known to fae kind. He really was as beautiful and warm as the sun. “Have a great time kid. The experience is truly one of a kind but don't wander out too far, you can easily get lost if you're not careful.”
“I'll keep that in mind” Jimin assured him.
“Have fun Jiminie. I want to hear everything from you after you get back!” Taehyung leaped in for a final hug.
Jimin had to literally claw his way out from his embrace. As much as he loved it, the outside world was desperately calling out to him and he needed to go.
“Have fun Jimin, now don't be late. You have to come back by nightfall okay? Are you even listening to me? Jimin?”
Jimin was already on his way, his mind far away from Jin's voice. He looked out of the large carved out window from inside their tree. Yes they live in trees. Mind you though, these trees are so tall they almost reach the clouds and so wide they can house multiple rooms on each level. Like apartments. And they are thousands of years old. The flower fae folk have been living here for generations, hidden away and protecting their own kind. The outside world isn't a safe place for delicate creatures like the fae, you see. So they've always tucked themselves away into the depths of the forests, hidden and unknown to the rest of the world. Nevertheless they were happy with one another and they had everything they needed in their beloved dwelling.
Delicate pink wings, each scale outlined in dark scarlet, sprouted out from Jimin’s shoulder blades. They extended and grew in size through the slits he made on his wine red satin shirt decorated with pretty embroidered flowers. He turned back to wish them one last goodbye before he dropped, letting gravity do the work and pull him towards the earth, the adrenaline rapidly pumping into his moving body and he could feel it course through his blood and igniting even the tip of his wings. Just as the green expanse of the ground grew larger in his vision, he spread his wings, the air helping him float and glide swiftly through the trees, flying further and further away from home.
As he reached the last boundary that outlined the village, he could feel its magic, powerful and thumping in specks of floating gold forming a dome and protecting them from any dangerous life forms, completely invisible to them. This spell was cast by their ancestors and even to this day, nothing harmful has ever invaded their territory and it was the only reason why they've been at peace for so many years. It was also the same magic that banned underaged faeries from aimlessly flying away into the wild. Jimin being one of the many specimens who accidentally ventured too far a couple of years ago which rendered him temporarily paralyzed for a whole day. It was probably the most traumatizing thing that's ever happened in his life and just the thought made him shiver.
So naturally he was reluctant to be anywhere close to the barrier. Through the years, his mind had been specifically programmed to automatically halt if he was ever near the thing. He found himself suspended in the air, too many thoughts sprinting in his brain, weighing the options to whether he should take that chance. He was 21 so it was obvious that the magic doesn't bind him to the village anymore, the barrier only existing as a useless filter for him to cross.
But… what if it only worked after an entire day after turning 21? What if he was too early for the magic to wear off? But if that was the case then Hoseok or Jin would've warned him beforehand. They were the ones watching over Jimin day and night after the incident, taking care of the boy until he was fine and stable again. Other than Jimin himself, Hoseok and Jin were the only other people who knew how it was a painful scar seared into his soul, never in hell wanting to visit that part of his life a second time. So... what if the magic worked differently on Jimin and maybe he was the only one who was still chained to the magic even after turning 21?
Okay maybe he was going overboard this train of thought now. It was stupid and only the Gods know how many more stories he can weave as his mind stood at the very edge of fear itself. So he inhaled in deeply, letting the air cool his mind and calm his heart and for the first time in years, he flew straight into the barrier, squeezing his eyes shut to whatever was to happen.
If he had opened his eyes a second later, he would've found himself splattered against the trunk of a tree with broken bones and broken wings. Even if his mind was in a state of panic, his blessing was working on saving him instantly. Long ribbons of emerald tightly coiled around Jimin's thighs and biceps, the ends shooting up and grappling on the branches available above him. The straps of leaves burned his flesh but it was the only reason why he was able to halt at least mere inches before the crinkly bark. He was a clumped mess hanging in a knot of his own leaves like an insect caught within the threads of a spider web. It was an odd reflex. The leaves of his flower would grow and elongate when his blessing sensed danger.
When the beating of his heart slowed down, the leaves crumbled to dust sensing no danger and he was free. Jimin huffed. He was barely out of his village and he was already falling prey to danger. But luckily the thought didn't remain in his mind for too long, the adrenaline rush pumping his body again.
He was outside.
The fresh wind in his scarlet hair, the sunlight pouring over his body through the the thick canopy above, Jimin stretched his arms wide and glided through the trees, away from his home. The spike of excitement ran through his veins, powering his wings as he flew straight up into the sky and marveled at the scenery above. This was the very first he flew so high and he could see the entire world spread out in from of him, a patchwork blanket of different colours.
Jimin noticed a yellow meadow to his right amongst the green and instantly dived to his first destination. Bright yellow sunflowers all around as far as his eyes could see, the wind rippling through the flowers and creating waves across the amber ocean. He stood in the very middle, looking around, the smile plastered on his face couldn't get any wider. Jimin had only heard about this meadow, but to be there, to witness it with his own eyes, made him almost tear up.
This meadow was Hoseok hyung’s doing. It was a famous tale in his town and everyone talked about it even now. Hoseok found this meadow burnt to ashes a year ago because of an accidental wildfire. The ground black and lifeless, the fire ate away every little thing. But the sunflower fairy couldn't leave the land as it was so he took up the responsibility to make it thrive with life again even when no one believed him. It took him weeks to make just the soil breathe again but as bright as his flower blessing was, so was his personality, his positivity radiating. After months, acres of land came to life, blooming with tall beautiful sunflowers. It's not that easy to sprout a flower with your powers, especially on such a lifeless patch of mud like this so to achieve such a thing was a miracle.
He spent most of his time with the tall stalks of flowers. He ambled around the field and scrunched the moist soil underneath with his tiny toes, relishing the beauty all around him. After finding a decent clearing, he sat down cross legged on a mound of grass and opened his satchel. As soon as he unscrewed the lid, the heavenly scent of roasted pumpkin soup swirled through the air. The liquid was thick and lumpy and he greedily gulped it down. The warmth slowly travelled from his mouth, through his chest and settled in his stomach, a new wave of energy buzzing his body despite the pain left by his leaves across his limbs. Jimin didn’t want to spend too much time on sitting and eating in one spot so he quickly stood up and walked again, tossing handfuls of almonds and pistachios into his mouth.
He also visited a waterfall nearby. He’s heard his hyungs talk about how the stream that flowed through their village, that provided them water to drink and to wash themselves, originated from a formation called a waterfall. The water was so much more fierce and strong than he’s ever seen it to be. He didn’t even know that was possible for something like water, so calm and tranquil to exhibit such violence. He’s only read about tsunamis and what not in books but even the rush of the waterfall, its sound so loud he couldn’t even hear himself think, was a bit too much for his sensitive ears.
But he liked the place. He liked watching the water fall from such a height, splashing on large eroded boulders and collecting in a pool and flowing hurriedly through the river it formed. So he sat perched on a particularly high boulder, away from the splash zone and watched it with amazement. No matter how much the force, it was definitely a sight worth preserving in his heart and he knew he’d seek out this place again.
Jimin was already unsure of his way back and so he decided to head back home. The light turned dim and dark shades of violet and orange slowly enter the sky, marking the end of his adventurous day. On his way back, he met many animals, some so tiny he could hold them in his arms, some so big and wild, he was chased down until he remembered he could fly.
By the time the moon had taken over the world, he was close to his village, finding familiarity in his surroundings again. He was mentally making a note of all the other places he needed to visit like the ocean and the mountains when he entered his tree. He was in such deep thought that he didn't realize the large amount of fae poorly trying to hide away behind furniture or floating close to the ceiling. Taehyung was literally behind the door, frozen in shock at the sudden barge in. It was when his whole house, his whole tree thundered a Happy Birthday, he snapped out of his thoughts. Jimin completely forgot about the party, decorating the floor around him with full bloomed delicate red amaryllis. The last flower bloomed just above his ankle before it fell into the rest of the pile.
He grumbled at his unstable blessing. This was another side effect of his gift, to magically bloom his flowers across his vicinity when he was experiencing an unforeseen emotion. It could be surprise or shock or fear, anything that spiked the rate of his heart.
“You were not expecting this, were you?” Taehyung ran up to the fairy and held his hands.
He was about to reveal the fact that we was aware of their elaborate plan but the happiness in Tae's eyes made him consider his decision a second time. He didn't want to see his best friend upset so he let it slide.
“Thank you for this!” Jimin replied, squeezing the other’s hands.
His eyes roamed around to find all his friends, from school and his neighbours, excitedly waiting for him and holding colorful bundles. One by one they greeted him and handed their gifts which he stacked them on a table nearby, thanking them for coming over.
“Out of the way, out of the way!” Jin alerted the few faeries crowding in the center as he carried a large honeycomb cake with lots of frosting and lit red beeswax candles. He steadily placed the cake on the table, straightening the candles before ordering everyone to gather around.
It was a wonderful night, the best he's had in a while. Filled with laughter, small talks and music, munching on the various things Jin (with help from Hoseok and no help from Tae, since he’d burn down the place) had prepared for the party. It was past midnight when everyone had finally decided to part, leaving the four faeries to clean up their home before they crashed for the night.
Jimin was busy unwrapping his gifts, he was strictly banned from helping them clean after his own birthday party. Taehyung was in charge of the floor, dunking the mop into a bucket of water and wiping their sticky wooden floor. Hoseok was in charge of taking out the leftover trash. Jin was in charge of scrubbing all the used wooden plates and bowls clean. Even after Jimin was done with his gifts, he decided to give the three some company and wait for them to finish.
He received pretty windchimes, thick notebooks, carved jewellery chests and intricate candle stands. He was admiring a handmade snowglobe, made of wood and glass with figures of four faeries inside the translucent liquid with glitter when he decided to open up his mind.
“You guys didn’t have to invite so many people, you know? I like it when it’s just the four of us”
“But it’s your 21st birthday. It’s supposed to be a big celebration. This is honestly nothing. Most faeries celebrate it in the main hall with dancers and buffet of fruit. But since it’s mandatory to call your closest circle of friends, we decided to stick to our home instead. A place that’s comfortable for you”
“We were kind enough to even sabotage our home and clean everything up for you so be thankful!” Jin added to Hoseok’s statement.
“Is this because of the flowers?” Taehyung asked, a smirk playing on his face as he cleaned behind the chairs.
There is a tradition among the flower fae folk to present their own flowers to someone they are interested in after turning 21. Presenting your flowers to anyone is considered a very intimate act. When Jimin unravelled his gifts to find out that most of them were bouquets of flowers from various faeries, his heart dropped. He wasn’t interested in either of them in the slightest bit and now it would be just as awkward to meet them again in person and not present his own flowers, a sign of rejection. Gifting your flowers in return to the fairy is a sign of reciprocating the feeling and telling them that you are interested in them too. Gosh, he was going to lose many nice friends now.
“Half my gifts are flowers Tae. It’s going to be so weird”
“So many interested in our fae, I’m not even surprised” Hoseok winked as he swiped away the last bits of leftover food in the bin.
Jin was done with the dishes and he sat down next to a droopy Jimin, holding his chin tenderly and directing his eyes towards him.
“And you shouldn’t be surprised either. You’re of age now, this was going to happen sooner or later and it won’t stop here. Faeries are going to keep presenting their flowers to you wherever you are and you’re one of the most beautiful ones here so you’ll have to get used to the attention. And of course, they all know that you will only choose one so they can't be stubborn at you”
Jimin lowered his head. There was no use lingering his mind on it. Who knows how many more of his own friends in class or the ones he hangs out with would present to him later? It hurt his head. His eyes were fixed on the orb that fit perfectly into the curve of his palm. He could see small sculpted figures of himself and Tae and Hoseok hyung and Jin hyung inside it in a group hug, surrounded by a garden of all their flowers: Red Amaryllis, Orange Rose, Pink and Yellow Dahlia and Amber Sunflowers. His family,
“You like it?” Jin asked softly, tucking strands of scarlet behind Jimin’s ears.
Jimin looked up at his hyung and smiled, “I love it”
The red faery tried his hardest to avoid any and every faery the rest of the week, keeping himself occupied by flying anywhere but in his village. Every following day, he expanded his boundary of exploration, slowly increasing his exposure and his confidence to find more places to cherish.
One day he travelled towards the biggest lake, skimming across the glittering water under the warm rays of the sun, eyeing his reflection on the wrinkled surface of the water body. But the poor faery somehow ended up in the water when trying to do a double flip. He had to wait out the entire day for his wings to dry so he could finally fly back home.
Another day he stumbled upon a herd of deer and they immediately befriended him after feeding them his stash of nuts. He played around with these beautiful creatures for a while before he stumbled on an array of hedgehogs. They were the most adorable little creatures he'd ever seen until he picked one up and was pierced with its tiny spines. The day ended quicker than he wanted as he was in bed, Jin trying his best to pluck them out without hurting Jimin.
And one day he decided to go somewhere he was banned from approaching. The confidence in his system had clearly sky rocketed to a state where he thought it would be okay as long as no one knew. He's heard Hoseok wandering near their settlement a couple of times but he did warn Jimin that one should be extremely careful and it's best that no one went anywhere near them. But Jimin was quite the risk taker, over estimating himself like usual.
To approach a human settlement.
Faeries are strictly forbidden to go anywhere near humans. Humans were by far the most dangerous species to exist on the planet and easily posed a threat to the fae folk. Stories of their vengeance and bloody wars have been described to the fae since they were young, scaring the community of the power they hold.
Jimin was scared, he wasn't going to deny that but all he wanted to do was just watch them, from a safe distance, just once and return back home.
What he didn't know was that sometimes fate has other things in mind planned out for him.